Providing opportunities for medical students to experience life in the country.
As part of their university curriculum, all second-year students from the University of Notre Dame Australia - Fremantle campus spend ten days living and working in the Kimberley to experience life in remote locations.
The University of Notre Dame Kimberley immersion program is designed to assist the students develop an understanding of life in remote Western Australia.
The program provides an opportunity for students to engage with and work alongside people in non-medical settings across the Kimberley, such as pastoral stations, schools, art galleries and community organisations.
The program builds student understanding of their own strengths and the strengths of the people who they have lived and worked alongside. It aims to encourage recruitment and retention of doctors in these remote WA locations but even for those who decide to stay in the city to practice, an understanding of the emotional toll and the logistics of receiving healthcare far from home and family informs a doctor’s practice for the rest of their career.
"It’s all about context. We can teach the science of medicine but students need to be exposed and start thinking about the art of medicine. To develop an understanding of the social determinants of health, you first have to walk in someone else’s shoes. To discover how to treat certain populations, you need to listen to what they want from their health professionals.” - Professor Donna Mak
The Kimberley Immersion Program provides the students with incredible insight into remote communities and the people who call the Kimberley their home.
This video captures what the students got up to on the Kimberley Immersion Program in 2021.
The Wheatbelt Medical Student Immersion Program (WMSIP) sees first-year medical students from The University of Notre Dame Australia School of Medicine (Fremantle) and second-year Curtin University Medical School students participate in a four-day placement across nine Wheatbelt towns.
In 2022, the program was a hybrid immersion, with students from The University of Notre Dame spending one day in Narrogin and then having daily virtual visits with people and families living in the Wheatbelt.