A NEW course at La Trobe University Bednigo hopes to help with the shortage of medical practitioners in regional areas.
The Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Medical) course will see 12 students in Bendigo and three in Albury-Wodonga aspiring to be doctors complete the course before continuing their doctor training at University of Melbourne in Shepparton.
La Trobe Bendigo head of campus Rob Stephenson said the new course made for an exciting start to the academic year.
"Students from right across regional Victoria are coming here and commencing (study that) will lead to them becoming medical practitioners," he said.
Students from Bendigo, Shepparton Mildura, Cohuna, Ballarat and Macedon will study the new course at La Trobe Bendigo.
Archana Christopher has lived in Bendigo all her life and has always had a passion for health care.
"I always thought I needed to do something that will make a meaningful difference in people's lives, that's when I decided I want to be come a doctor," she said.
"It was about year 8 when I realised I really loved sciences, communicating with people and working with others."
Archana, 18, grew up in Bendigo and is aware of the difficulties people have in accessing certain types of health care.
"Coming from Bendigo, I know the struggles people in regional areas face in medicine," she said.
"I personally have family who have struggled with accessing specialists and immediate care. That's one of the reasons I want to stay and help out in a place I have grown up in.
"Rural medicine has great benefits. You get closer connections and become part of a community. I'd love to work in a rural area after I finish my course."
Mr Stephenson said it has been a challenge for the university to establish the new course. It was approved last year after La Trobe made the case that the Bachelor of Biomedical Science (Medical) course would make a difference to regional areas.
"One of challenges with medical practitioners is that when students train in metropolitan areas, they tend to drift back to the metropolitan areas," Mr Stephenson said.
"There is a shortage of medical practitioners in regional areas.
"We want to focus on training regional students and expect many of them remain in regional areas after they finish their training."
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