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Articles categorized as ‘James Cook University Medical School’

Thursday, May 11th, 2017

Why should Canadians consider studying at JCU Medical School in Australia?

There are many reasons that encourage people to study medicine. Among the most popular include the desire to help others. Sometimes that wish goes beyond the standard “I want to make a difference in my community” to “I want to make a difference in the world.”

Why should Canadians consider studying at JCU Medical School in Australia?

Prof Ian Wronski (Photo: JCU)

So what makes JCU stand out from other Australian universities? And how on earth can we compare Australia’s and Canada’s health care needs?

James Cook University may not be the largest university, or the most well-known, but JCU has something the others don’t: their riveted focus on Aboriginal health, rural medicine, public health, tropical medicine and the needs of under-served populations.

James Cook University Deputy Vice Chancellor Tropical Health and Medicine Professor Ian Wronski explains why JCU concentrates on rural, remote and tropical health care.

“JCU was established as Australia’s university for the tropics, and so we focus on programs that are particularly relevant to the tropical world,” Prof Wronski says.

“In the medicine, health, molecular science part of the university—that includes all the health professions and molecular biology and biomedicine, and the research institutes we have—we’ve particularly targeted issues relating to under-served populations, especially rural, remote, indigenous and tropical peoples.”

Tropical peoples? How can that relate to Canada you ask? When speaking about Canada, most people think frigid winters, not tropics.

But the connection between Australia and Canada is stronger than you may think.

In fact, in 2013, JCU Medical School Dean and Head of School Richard Murray travelled to Canada as a member of an Australian government delegation at a Canadian-Australian roundtable on recognition of professional credentials between the two countries.

Dean Murray made a case for why Canada and Australia should collaborate our shared interest in health care innovation to meet the needs of our geographically dispersed populations. Prof Murray said that the opportunities this creates for Australian and Canadian practitioners to gain experience in each other’s countries could only benefit the quality and depth of rural medical services.

“In medicine for rural areas, there are opportunities for movement and exchange for students, doctors in training as well as specialists in rural general practice and other generalist specialties. Innovation in areas such as telemedicine and socially accountable health professional education are shared interests,” Prof Murray wrote in an article he published in the JCU Medical School’s journal, A Taste of our own Medicine.

Prof Wronski said there are many countries in a similar position to Australia, including Canada. Like Australia, our population is concentrated on the fringes of the country, where the climate is most ideal and the land most usable. But where people live in rural and Northern Canada, away from the general population, finding health care can be more challenging—just like the people in remote and tropical locations of Australia.

So what kind of student does James Cook University wish to attract?

When asked why JCU likes Canadian students, Professor Wronski narrowed it down: “Canada has a good education system, and students come to us well educated and broad-minded. Also, many of them have that fire in their belly to put something toward the health services side of making life better for under-served populations. Canada, like Australia, has large areas, large rural and indigenous populations,” the JCU professor explains.

“We like Canadian students because we see ourselves as a global hub, and we want to attract students who are interested the tropical world and the health of under-served peoples.”

Does this sound like you? If you’re passionate about changing the world, particularly the lives of those who live in rural or remote areas, JCU wants to talk to you!

About the JCU Medical School Medical Program

The 6-year, full-time MBBS degree is a comprehensive program with integrated instruction in biomedical sciences, professional practice and clinical medicine. Graduates will be uniquely qualified in the fields of rural, remote and Indigenous health, and tropical medicine.

As part of the MBBS application process, all candidates must participate in an interview with Prof Ian Wronksi. For the 2018 intake, JCU will hold interviews with eligible international applicants from Canada either

  • in person in Canada this June, or
  • via video-conferencing following the August 30th program application deadline.

In-person interviews in Canada (dates are subject to change)

June 22 – 23, 2017: Toronto
June 24, 2017: Edmonton
June 25 – 26, 2017: Vancouver

Program: Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery
Location: Townsville, Queensland
Semester intake: February
Duration: 6 years
Application deadline: August 30, 2017 (Note: Early offers of admission may be made to high-achieving international applicants! Candidates are encouraged to apply as early as possible and well before the August 30 deadline.)

Apply to JCU Medical School!

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Do you have questions about JCU Medical School? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Medical Schools Admissions Officer Courtney Frank at courtney@oztrekk.com.

Friday, April 21st, 2017

JCU medical research finds new drug to ease C-section trauma

James Cook University researchers from the College of Medicine and Dentistry may have found a way to reduce trauma and prevent infections after Caesarean births.

JCU medical research finds new drug to ease C-section trauma

L to R: Lisa Davenport, Professor Geoffrey Dobson, Dr Hayley Letson (Photo: JCU)

Caesarean delivery rates are increasing worldwide and around a third of all mothers in Australia, USA and UK give birth surgically each year, but a C-section is not without risks.

Fourth-year JCU Medical School student Lisa Davenport joined Dr Hayley Letson and Professor Geoffrey Dobson from the Heart, Trauma and Sepsis Research Laboratory at JCU to research ways to reduce the stress response to the trauma of surgery.

Caesarean sections involve one or more incisions in a patient’s abdomen, known as a laparotomy, and are a common option for delivering babies.

But they have a raft of potential side-effects, including cutting the baby, post-surgery infection, fever, excessive blood loss or clotting, scar tissue formation and extended stays in hospital.

Dr Letson said a single laparotomy is a major injury.

“It can activate the brain’s stress response from the multiple ‘damage’ signals sent out from the original incision,” she said.

The JCU research showed that a laparotomy causes inflammation and an early activation of the immune system, which can then spiral out of control.

Ms Davenport examined whether an Adenosine, Lidocaine and Magnesium (ALM) drip could reduce the trauma of surgery when used by itself in experimental models. She discovered that adverse responses were reduced when the subject was infused with a small amount of the ALM drip.

“Low volume therapies may be important, because you want to avoid large fluid volumes that can shock the body a second time,” she said.

Professor Dobson said that precisely how tiny volumes of the ALM drip works is an active area of investigation in the Dobson Laboratory, but experiments have shown it protects against infection as well.

Dr Letson said the ALM therapy appears to be linked to improved brain control over whole body function at times of surgical stress. “It suppresses signals that activate immune cells and promote inflammation,” she said.

The work has applications to other major surgery and especially to rural and remote medicine. Professor Dobson said new frontline drugs are urgently required to make major surgery safer for the patient and more predictable for the surgeon, with the potential to reduce complications and massively reduce health care costs, and possibly reduce waiting times for elective surgery.

“The global surgical statistics are staggering. Of the 234 million major surgeries performed every year, every hour there are around 1,000 deaths and 4,000 major complications, and 50% may be preventable,” he said.

Ms Davenport has completed the study and is currently analysing the data and writing a paper for a high-profile surgical journal.

Her study parallels the Dobson Lab’s ongoing trauma work being supported by the US Military, and a new collaboration that started late 2016 with the National Institutes of Health in the United States.

The research team is also pursuing funding opportunities to investigate the use of ALM fluid as a potential treatment for post-partum haemorrhage. Of the 500,000 maternal deaths each year, approximately 25% are due to haemorrhage.

Study medicine at JCU Medical School

JCU Medical School offers an undergraduate-entry medical program that specializes in rural, remote and indigenous medicine and is located in north Queensland, Australia. Rather than having to earn a bachelor degree first, undergraduate-entry medical programs allow students to enter directly from high school. If you have completed high school studies or would like to apply to a medical school in Australia without using your MCAT score, you may wish to learn more about undergraduate-entry medical programs offered by Australian universities.

Program: Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery
Location: Townsville, Queensland
Next semester intake: February 2018
Duration: 6 years
Application deadline: August 30, 2017

Apply now to James Cook University Medical School!

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Would you like more information about studying medicine at JCU Medical School? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Medical Schools Officer Courtney Frank at courtney@oztrekk.com.

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

Don’t miss the upcoming medical licensing webinars

Applying to an Australian medical school is a big deal.

Don't miss the upcoming medical licensing webinars

Find out how you can study medicine in Australia (Photo: Griffith University)

Finding out what comes after medical school is also a very big deal. To help make the process a little smoother, OzTREKK hosts medical licensing webinars to assist future Australian medical school students to understand the ins and outs of returning to Canada as an international medical graduate. And the first one will be held tomorrow, April 6, at 7 p.m. EDT! During the webinar, you will learn more about

  • the Australian Medical School systems and structure
  • Australian med school rankings
  • medical degree titles such as MD and MBBS
  • Medical Council of Canada Evaluating Examination (MCCEE), MCCQE1 and MCCQE2
  • the Canadian Resident Matching Service (CaRMS) program and rates
  • provincially specific programs available to international medical graduates
  • the latest information on the licensing process in Canada, the US and Australia;
  • the pathways to becoming a doctor in Canada, the US and Australia;
  • the process of how to apply in Canada, the US and Australia to become a doctor;
  • information about the licensing examinations in Canada and the US, what they are, when you need to sit them, and the application process; and
  • the latest developments and news related to licensing and accreditation from the various forms of government and medical bodies in Canada, the US and Australia.

…and much more!

Medical Licensing Webinars Schedule

OzTREKK students are invited to attend as many webinars as they wish!

Webinar #1
Date: Thursday, April 6, 2017
Time: 7 p.m. (Ontario time)

Webinar #2
Date: Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Time: 7 p.m. (Ontario time)

Webinar #3
Date: Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Time: 7 p.m. (Ontario time)

Webinar #4
Date: Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Time: 7 p.m. (Ontario time)

Webinar #5
Date: Wednesday, August 16, 2017
Time: 7 p.m. (Ontario time)

Webinar #6
Date: Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Time: 7 p.m. (Ontario time)

Please note the medical licensing webinars are extremely popular and are by invitation only. If you are an OzTREKK student, you and your family will be invited to one of the licensing seminars.

Learn more about studying at an Australian Medical School!

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Would you like more information about the upcoming OzTREKK Medical Licensing Webinars? Please contact OzTREKK’s Australian Medical Schools Admissions Officer Courtney Frank at courtney@oztrekk.com.

Wednesday, March 15th, 2017

Australian medical school rankings 2017

Why do so many Canadians consider studying at an Australian medical school?

Austrlian medical school rankings 2017

Find out how you can study medicine in Australia (Photo: Griffith University)

Because Australian and Canada share similar medical systems, similar medical education, and similar medical issues.

Medical schools in Australia offer high-quality education and clinical training in an amazing setting. Studying medicine in Australia is a great experience and really helps students appreciate the worldwide aspect of health, since many clinical placements are offered around the globe.

Another great reason to study in Australia is because of their high world rankings! The QS World University Rankings has recently released its 2017 rankings by subject, and here are the basics regarding how our Australian medical schools stacked up:

World Medical School Rankings 2017

Australian Medical Schools
Canadian Medical Schools
15th University of Sydney
11th University of Toronto
19th University of Melbourne
22nd McGill University
29th Monash University
27th University of British Columbia
42nd University of Queensland
35th McMaster University
(4 OzTREKK Australian Medical Schools in top 50)
(4 Canadian Medical Schools in top 50)
QS World University Rankings by Subject: Medicine, 2017

Undergraduate- versus Graduate-entry Medical Programs

Undergraduate Entry: Rather than having to earn a bachelor degree first, undergraduate-entry medical programs allow students to enter directly from high school. If you have completed high school studies or would like to apply to a medical school in Australia without using your MCAT score, you may wish to learn more about undergraduate-entry medical programs offered by Australian universities.

Graduate Entry: Some Australian Medical Schools offer a graduate-entry medical program where you first have to complete an undergraduate degree, such as a Bachelor of Science, in order to apply to a four-year medical program.

The following Australian medical schools offer a medical program at a graduate-entry level, which are similar to those medical programs offered in Canada and the United States:

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For more information about applying to Australian medical schools, contact OzTREKK’s Australian Medical Schools Admissions Officer Courtney Frank at courtney@oztrekk.com.

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

Applying to Australian medical schools: when do you need to sit the MCAT?

Are you considering applying to Australian Medical Schools? Then you’ll probably want to write the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). The MCAT is administered multiple times from late January through early September, and offered at hundreds of test sites in the United States, Canada, and around the world.

Applying to Australian medical schools: when do you need to sit the MCAT?

Don’t forget to study! (Photo: Monash University)

The following graduate-entry medical programs require applicants to sit a medical admission test such as the MCAT:

Keep the score release dates in mind when you are registering, as you will need to have your MCAT score at the time of application.

All deadlines are at 11:59 PM ET on the day of the deadline.

Test date Score release date
March 31 May 2
April 22 May 23
April 28 May 30
May 13 June 13
May 18 June 20
May 19 June 20
June 1 July 6
June 16 July 18
June 17 July 18
June 29 Aug. 1
June 30 Aug. 1
July 21 Aug. 22
July 22 Aug. 22
July 27 Aug. 29
July 28 Aug. 29
August 3 Sept. 5
August 4 Sept. 5
August 11 Sept. 12
August 18 Sept. 19
August 19 Sept. 19
August 24 Sept. 26
August 25 Sept. 26

The first three sections organized around 10 foundational concepts in the sciences (biology, biochemistry, organic chemistry, general chemistry, physics, psychology, sociology). In the Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills (CARS) section, students are asked to analyze, evaluate, and apply information provided by passages from a wide range of social sciences and humanities disciplines.

  1. Biological and Biochemical Foundations of Living Systems
  2. Chemical and Physical Foundations of Biological Systems
  3. Psychological, Social, and Biological Foundations of Behavior
  4. Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills

Register to write the MCAT.

If you are in high school, you can still apply to an Australian medical school—and you don’t need to sit the MCAT! The following Australian medical schools offer medical programs that international students may enter directly from high school:

Wondering about when you need to write the MCAT? Please contact OzTREKK’s Australian Medical Schools Admissions Officer Courtney Frank at courtney@oztrekk.com for more information.

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

Don’t miss the 2017 JCU Orientation for international students

JCU On-campus Welcome Information Sessions

If you’re headed to James Cook University for the semester 1, 2017 intake, it is important to arrive at the university in time to attend a Welcome Information Session.

JCU Orientation for international students

JCU dentistry students at Trinity Beach during their OzTREKK Orientation

Arriving early will allow more time to adjust to the culture (and warm weather!) and ensure the transition is a smooth experience. After arriving on campus either in Cairns or Townsville, please visit the Student Centre as soon as possible so that they can provide you with details of the JCU Orientation program.

Cairns – JCU Dental School

Compulsory Welcome Session
When: Friday, Feb. 10 at 9 a.m. Morning tea and lunch will be provided
Where: Building A3.2, JCU Cairns campus
What to bring: Passport, copy of your visa, JCU user name and password (if you have one)

Arrival service
Service dates: Monday, Feb. 6 – Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017
Booking deadline: Two weeks prior to your arrival. Book your arrival service now! Visit the OzTREKK Boarding Pass for all your airport arrival info.

Orientation Week
Make sure to attend your faculty welcome on Monday or Tuesday and participate in any of the other activities on offer: campus tours, workshops, student ID card sessions, timetable assistance, parties and much more. Get the most out of JCU O Week!

When: Monday, Feb. 13  – Friday, Feb. 17, 2017

Townsville – JCU Medical School

Compulsory Welcome Session
When: Friday, Feb. 10 at 9 a.m. Morning tea and lunch will be provided
Where: Building 26 (Sir George Kneipp Auditorium), Townsville campus
What to bring: Passport, copy of your visa, JCU user name and password (if you have one)

Arrival service
Service dates: Monday, Feb. 6 – Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017
Booking deadline: Two weeks prior to your arrival. Book your arrival service now. Visit the OzTREKK Boarding Pass for all your airport arrival info.

Orientation Week
Make sure to attend your faculty welcome on Monday or Tuesday and participate in any of the other activities on offer: campus tours, workshops, student ID card sessions, timetable assistance, parties and much more.
When: Monday, Feb. 13  – Friday, Feb. 17, 2017

OzTREKK Orientations at James Cook University

Don’t miss the OzTREKK Orientations which are designed specifically for our students! We offer our OzTREKK Welcome breakfast or lunch and the OzTREKK Shuttle service.

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Be sure to log on to the OzTREKK Boarding Pass for all of your orientation details! Do you have questions about orientation? Contact your OzTREKK Admissions Officer or call 1-866-698-7355.

Thursday, January 5th, 2017

Top 5 tips for international students starting at JCU

Heading to JCU Medical School or JCU Dental School? As a new international student, there are several things that you should know to make the most of your experience at James Cook University.

5 tips for international students starting at JCU

Make the most of your time at JCU!

1. Get connected!

Sign up to news updates via the university website. Join your host campus Facebook page or faculty group and connect with other students who are studying or planning to study in your program. When you arrive, you will find that you already have friends to help you settle in.

2. Plan your study: Prioritize!

With all the welcome distractions of university life, it is easy to lose sight of your academic goals. Planning your study can help to organise your time and priorities. The teaching style and academic standard may be different from what you are accustomed to, so be prepared for a change in study routine and teaching methods. Keeping on top of your studies will free you up to enjoy what your new environment has to offer.

3. Join in!

Moving to a different country gives you the opportunity to meet students of different backgrounds and cultures as well as learn about life in Australia. When you first arrive it is important to explore the community and meet people.

The groups and events on offer at JCU give you an opportunity to mingle and make friends with the local students as well as other international students. As an international student, know that you are not alone. There are currently more than 6,000 international students from more than 100 different countries enrolled at JCU. You may find others who share interests, beliefs and classes with you. Make the most of the opportunities to meet new people. Whether you are interested in playing football, speaking Spanish or cycling, there are many clubs you can be a part of. With the help and support of your fellow students, staff and International Student Support team you will fit in and make life-long friends.

4. Explore your host country!

Don’t return home with regrets. Make a list of all the attractions and locations that you would like to see and plan to make it happen! The best thing about traveling is discovering and experiencing new and exciting places. You will see extraordinary things, meet great people and create life-long memories. Make the most of it!

5. The support team is there to help!

Keep in mind that the International Student Support team at JCU here to help you. The support team acts as your first point of contact once arriving in Australia to study. They will support you and ensure your smooth transition to life and study at JCU.

JCU student services

Student services provide a variety of on-campus student support services which you can access at any point of your studies to assist you. Arriving early will allow more time to adjust to the culture and ensure the transition is a smooth experience. After arriving on campus either in Cairns or Townsville, please visit the Student Centre as soon as possible so that they can provide you with details of the JCU Orientation program.

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Do you have questions about getting started at James Cook University. Contact us at info@oztrekk.com!

Friday, November 18th, 2016

JCU medical student: Australian snacks you need to try

Former OzTREKK student Helena Xiang is back, and she’s got some snacking tips for everyone headed to JCU Medical School in Townsville, Queensland… and for everyone else, too!

Confession: I am a habitual snacker. There are always food packages sprawled across my desk for my convenience when I study. That’s why I’m always on the hunt for new snacks I’ve never tried before. I’ll be talking about different foods to try while you’re here.

When you travel, eating the food from that country is a way to experience their culture. Although Australia is very similar in culture (and food) as Canada and the US, you can still find some foods that are iconic or only available in Australia.

JCU med student: Australian snacks you need to try

Have you tried a Tim Tam slam?

Tim Tams

One of the most iconic Australian snacks, Tim Tams consist of cream between two biscuits and covered in chocolate. There are so many different types of flavours, including the original, three bean, mango, etc. This is probably one of the first snacks to try.

Vegemite

It’s an acquired taste. Only a thin layer of it on bread is needed. Any more than that and the taste becomes too strong. I heard that it tastes best in a grilled cheese sandwich. (OzTREKK note: Vegemite is a yeast-based product. It is extremely salty and bitter and most people won’t like it right away… or ever!)

JCU med student: Australian snacks you need to try

Do you dare to try Vegemite?

Red Rock Deli chips

These are really good chips, but really expensive (for a poor student on a budget). They have a selection of cool flavours that aren’t available where I’m from, like Wagyu Beef and Wasabi Cream, and Creamy Saffron and Sage. (OzTREKK note: Director Jaime Notman’s favourite flavour is Green Chilli & Coriander!)

JCU med student: Australian snacks you need to try

Red Rock Deli chips—Green Chilli & Coriander!

There are many other snacks that are worth trying, including the selection of Arnott’s biscuits, and some chocolate and candies.

On a side note: Townsville is a small city, and there aren’t that many restaurants and stores close to campus. I talked to some people I know on campus, and realized that not many people know of nice Asian stores and restaurants. If you’re like me, and enjoy eating Asian foods or want to find certain oriental ingredients, the following are a couple places worth visiting.

For oriental foods and groceries, such as frozen dumplings, steam buns, spices, and instant noodles, it’s worth visiting Oriental Food Supplies. It’s close by (near Stockland), and the prices are reasonable.

Sun’s Chinese Dumplings

Great dumplings and fairly cheap as well! It’s a family business, and they have free delivery to select places on certain days. Worth a try! You can visit their Facebook page.

Hope you enjoyed it, and happy eating!

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Think you might be interested in studying at JCU Medical School? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Medical Schools Admissions Officer Courtney Frank at courtney@oztrekk.com for more information about your options!

Friday, November 4th, 2016

Global award for JCU medical school professor and Townsville Hospital doctor

Townsville Hospital director of urogynaecology Professor Ajay Rane has been awarded a global humanitarian award, named in honour of India’s most revered statesman, for his work in gynaecological and obstetric care in some of the world’s poorest places.

Professor Ajay Rane is a JCU Medical School Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and works at the Townsville Hospital. He is a multi-award-winning academic who was last week announced as a recipient of a global humanitarian award.

Global award for JCU Professor and Townsville Hospital doctor

JCU Professor Ajay Rane with his medal, which is crafted with Mahatma Gandhi’s image. (Photo: Ian Hitchcock)

The James Cook University professor was awarded the Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Award for Humanitarian Work in Women’s Health by the NRI (non-resident Indians) Welfare Society at Britain’s House of Lords last month.

The society recognises a number of non-resident Indians each year for their work benefitting the global community.

“I was absolutely delighted, of course, to be a recipient this year and, especially, because this is an award from India, my country of origin,” Professor Rane said.

“While it’s always a thrill to see your work recognised, it’s more important to me that this sort of recognition helps to highlight the plight of women in crisis worldwide.”

Professor Rane, who is a naturalised Australian, has spent almost two decades treating and operating on women with catastrophic childbirth injuries in countries that include India, Nepal, Borneo, Malaysia and Kuwait.

He has also trained hundreds of local doctors in the techniques to perform specialised gynaecological surgery including fistula repair.

A fistula is a hole that develops between the bladder or bowel and the vagina after a difficult childbirth and is a debilitating and devastating condition, especially if left untreated as it often is in the poorest parts of the world.

Earlier this year, Professor Rane was appointed appointed Chair of the Fistula Committee for the International Federation of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (FIGO) and is leading the charge for fistula education and prevention in the developing world.

Townsville Hospital and Health Service Executive Director Medical Services Dr Andrew Johnson congratulated Professor Rane on the prestigious award.

“Professor Rane continues to shine a light on the critical dilemma of women globally who suffer serious injuries from child birth,” he said.

“He is a leading academic and surgeon and we are very privileged and proud to benefit from his clinical and teaching acumen and expertise.”

Professor Rane’s award was presented by the Baroness Verma, former Parliamentary Under-Secretary for the Department for International Development.

Courtesy of the Townsville Hospital and Health Service

About JCU MBBS

Located in Townsville, JCU Medical School offers the MBBS medical degree and aims to produce graduates of the highest academic standards who can progress to medical practice and to further studies in medical specialties.

The James Cook University medical program leads positive change in health and medical care for communities of tropical Australia and beyond through socially accountable health education, discoveries, partnerships and advocacy that make a difference.

The program has a distinctive regional mission with a focus on the needs of rural, remote and underserved communities, tropical medicine and the health of Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders.

Would you like more information about JCU Medical School? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Medical Schools Officer Courtney Frank at courtney@oztrekk.com.

Tuesday, October 11th, 2016

JCU opens Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine building

Study medicine at JCU, get brand-new facilities!

Australian research into tropical health and medicine has received a major boost with the opening of a $31M world-class infectious diseases research facility at James Cook University’s Townsville campus.

JCU opens Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine building

JCU has officially opened the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine building (Credit: JCU)

On Oct. 7, the Queensland Premier, Annastacia Palaszczuk officially opened the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine’s (AITHM) new facilities.

AITHM Townsville will undertake research into tropical infectious diseases and will develop vaccines, diagnostic tools, and the identification of bacterial pathogens.

James Cook University Vice Chancellor, Professor Sandra Harding said AITHM is a crucial element of JCU’s goal to create a brighter future for people living in the tropics, and the opening of the Townsville facilities cements Australia’s position as a global leader in tropical health and medicine.

“JCU has a proud history of research and development relevant to the tropics, and the research AITHM undertakes will improve health in the tropics both within Australia and worldwide.

“There are extraordinary opportunities for Australian tropical medicine given Northern Australia’s proximity to the fast-growing nations of the Asia-Pacific region,” Professor Harding said.

AITHM’s Director, Professor Louis Schofield said research programs underway within AITHM include identification, prevention and better treatments for tuberculosis, development of malaria vaccines and peripheral artery disease.

“The Institute will build essential research programs in tropical health and medicine for Australia and the region, specifically building important biosecurity capacity for Northern Australia.

“Our tropical locations and capabilities make a significant contribution to Queensland’s competitive advantage in knowledge-based industries directly relevant to Asia and the Pacific in the areas of research, research training, and the transfer and commercialisation of research findings.”

The Townsville facility and research undertaken within it will

  • focus on re-emerging bacterial diseases for which tropical Queenslanders are at significant risk, including tuberculosis, meliodosis and Q fever, and on communicable disease diagnostics and control;
  • provide a bio-bank facility for clinical and epidemiological samples;
  • engage new high-quality biomedical research staff to join existing researchers;
  • host visiting experts (visitors and trainees will include participants from Australia and from neighbouring countries);
  • train and mentor young researchers and health professionals involved in translating innovation into practice; and
  • accommodate proof-of-concept work leading to commercialisation opportunities.

Facilities include world-class physical containment laboratories for the safe handling of hazardous microorganisms (PC2 and PC3 laboratories). The PC3 laboratory will be used to for research into tuberculosis.

The building also includes a Translational Research Facility, which will allow patients to undergo clinical trials of research findings, improving the delivery of health care for those living in tropical regions.

It will also provide space for researchers in key supporting disciplines, including biostatistics, epidemiology, bioinformatics and health economics.

The Queensland Government has invested $21.49M in AITHM Townsville and the Federal Government has provided funding of $8M, via the Australian Research Council’s Special Research Initiative Scheme.

Study medicine at JCU Medical School

JCU Medical School offers an undergraduate-entry medical program that specializes in rural, remote and indigenous medicine and is located in north Queensland, Australia. Rather than having to earn a bachelor degree first, undergraduate-entry medical programs allow students to enter directly from high school. If you have completed high school studies or would like to apply to a medical school in Australia without using your MCAT score, you may wish to learn more about undergraduate-entry medical programs offered by Australian universities.

Program: Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery
Location: Townsville, Queensland
Next semester intake: February 2018
Duration: 6 years
Application deadline: Generally the end of August each year

Apply now to James Cook University Medical School!

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Would you like more information about studying medicine at JCU Medical School? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Medical Schools Officer Courtney Frank at courtney@oztrekk.com.