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The Northern Rivers University Department of Rural Health (NRUDRH) was established in 2001 as a joint venture of the University of Sydney and Southern Cross University supported by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing and the North Coast Area Health Service. Universities of Sydney, Wollongong and Western Sydney entered a subsequent partnership with the Commonwealth for “long stay” medical students.
Collaboration across the universities of Western Sydney and Wollongong with the established University of Sydney University Department of Rural Health has made a major contribution and expansion to opportunities for medical education in the north coast of New South Wales. Around 700 students from a variety of disciplines and universities are now placed by an active education unit. Medicine comprising 300 is our biggest group of students. We have changed our focus for medical students as much as possible to long stay placements however short stay medical students are accommodated when placements opportunities permit.
In 2010 the University Centre for Rural Health - North Coast evolved as a result of the commitment and good will of four Universities and an Area Health Service combining to progress the rural health workforce recruitment and retention agenda.
We continue to provide a multidisciplinary centre of excellence in education of students for clinical practice in rural health and conduct research relevant to the health needs of rural communities situated within the Northern Rivers region of NSW and elsewhere. The University Centre for Rural Health provides excellent rural experience in programs for medical, nursing, postgraduate public health, and allied health undergraduate students. We also supervise postgraduate research students and provide continuing professional education for local clinicians. The Centre has well-established research streams and has been successful in gaining a number of NHMRC and ARC grants.