Providing insight into Victoria’s health outside cities

Monash University

DRIVERS is a new statewide hybrid conference focusing on regional and rural medicine.

This innovative new conference gives rural and regional doctors-in-training a research platform to develop better healthcare outcomes for rural communities. It will take place online and at COVID-safe regional hubs in Bendigo, Mildura and Gippsland on Saturday 16 October, hosted by Monash Rural Health.

Speakers will discuss topics ranging from caesarean rates in regional hospitals to the issues and benefits faced by rural medical students during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bendigo Health Junior Doctor and DRIVERS Scientific Committee Chair, Dr Jake Bray Butler, explains: “As its name says, DRIVERS 2021 is about regional Doctors and their Innovation, Vision, Excellence, Research and Scholarship. More than 35 doctors, students and medical professionals will be presenting from across the state, with participants from Warrnambool across to Sale.”

“This conference has been an incredible effort to pull together in COVID and make it happen with all the other changes in the everyday practice of medicine across the country. We always need to reflect on our practice and collaborate on delivering better medicine.”

Associate Professor Janelle Brennan, Director NW Victoria Regional Training Hub, Monash Rural Health, a surgeon and regional researcher involved in international medical trials, said: “We have seen an extremely high level of interest and support for the conference from all of the Victorian regional health services and medical schools, and Monash Rural Health looks forward to making this an annual event, boosting Victoria’s regional doctor’s professional opportunities.”

Steering Committee Chair, Dr Katie Blunt says: “I am excited by the DRIVERS workshops and keynote speakers, including the trailblazing Professor Tom Callaly, Safer Care Victoria’s Dr Nicola Yuen and one of Australia’s premier Disaster Medicine experts Dr Annette Holian.

“My own presentation, ‘A qualitative evaluation of a junior-doctor-led education program for final-year medical students’, builds on my own experience completing my Medical School clinical placements as a student in northwest Victoria as part of the Monash University Extended Rural Cohort.

“I reflected on my needs in med school and designed a support program to offer additional tutorials to this year’s cohort. As well as working at Bendigo Health, I am currently Medical Education Officer for the Bendigo Health Junior Doctors Society and this conference is an amazing opportunity.”

Katie, who grew up in Melbourne, is now committed to a life of regional medicine and has a blossoming interest in a career in obstetrics and gynaecology and is the current bi-national co-chair of the Pre-Vocational Obstetrics and Gynaecology Society of Australia and New Zealand.

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