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Exceptional rural NSW student wins Medical Student of the Year Award 2020

Sarah Clark – a final year medical student at UNSW Rural Clinical School - Wagga Wagga Campus – has received the Rural Doctors Association of Australia’s (RDAA) Medical Student of the Year Award 2020 for her dedication to rural health. Read more here...

Raised in Gunnedah in north west NSW, Sarah plans to return to that region after the completion of her medical training to serve the rural communities there.

RDAA President, Dr John Hall, said: “Sarah is an exceptional student with a passion both for rural health and equitable access to healthcare for all Australians.

“At the end of last year, Sarah had the opportunity to complete an elective placement, and she spent half of this doing a general paediatric elective at the Alice Springs Hospital.

“The experience was instrumental in shaping her appreciation not only for Rural Medicine, but exposed her first-hand to Indigenous Medicine and the specific challenges of isolated, cross-cultural practice.

“Prior to her Alice Springs elective, Sarah also undertook a solo task of raising money to purchase much- needed paediatric stethoscopes for the Alice Springs Hospital Special Care Nursery – demonstrating the high level of commitment she has for rural healthcare.

“On her return to Wagga, Sarah requested to undertake the majority of her General Practice rotation at Wagga Wagga’s Aboriginal Medical Service, providing a further opportunity to increase her understanding of local Indigenous Medicine and culture.

“Within the Rural Clinical School, she has actively engaged with prospective students regarding medical school entry and training pathways, and mentored current students.

“She has engaged in local careers events, assisted in the organisation of local Women in Medicine evenings, and participated in the Rural Clinical School’s fundraising efforts for a number of local charities.

“Sarah has also displayed dedication to the wider medical community by completing various research projects concurrently through her studies, most recently working with local clinicians to undertake research investigating the sustainability of neonatal intensive care services in the Murrumbidgee region.

As she will graduate from UNSW this year, Sarah has received an intern position in 2021 at John Hunter Hospital within the Hunter New England Local Health District. This is one of the largest health districts in NSW, encompassing her home community of Gunnedah and providing excellent opportunities for rural rotations in Tamworth, Taree, Armidale and Maitland hospitals.

She also plans to complete the Sydney Child Health Program – a graduate course aimed at providing a high level of integrated learning in Paediatrics.

Outside her medical studies, Sarah is involved in a local church community (as well as a Christian student group within the Rural Clinical School, which she co-established) and a local netball team.
 

Source: Rural Doctors Association of Australia, Article, 8th Dec 2020