The NextGen Medics Program kicks off again this December

Applications for the December 2022/January 2023 cohort of NextGen Medics are officially open!

This unique, student experience program provides current medical and allied health students the opportunity to experience Heart of Australia’s innovative service in action – learning from specialists, sonographers, medical aides and other Heart of Australia staff along the way.

After a successful mid-year program, the Heart of Australia team is excited to bring students back to Stanthorpe, Emerald, and Theodore to show them the life-changing impact Heart of Australia has in these communities and provide an insight into what a career in rural healthcare can be.

To learn more and view the application form click the button below:

2022 mid-year NextGen Medics the first to experience radiology in communities

The fourth cohort in the NextGen Medics Program joined Heart of Australia specialists and field staff on the road in June and July of this year.

This cohort consisted of six medical and allied health students all from different universities across Australia; a testament to the incredible reach this student experience program is receiving since launching back in 2020.

Over the course of 12 days the group visited clinics in Goondiwindi, Theodore, Emerald, and Stanthorpe, shadowing our specialists and medical team, hearing from some of the local healthcare teams on the ground, and gaining in-depth knowledge on the Heart of Australia program and the impact this service has in rural and remote communities.

They were also the first cohort to spend time on HEART 5 and see first-hand the possibilities that come with having a mobile radiology service on-site when conducting other clinics such as cardiology or neurology.

Of the experience, NextGen Medic student Stephanie said the program had been very inspiring.

“I had an incredible time meeting and working with Neurologists, Cardiologists, Radiographers, Sonographers, General Practitioners, and medical aides as well.”

“Being able to meet such inspirational patients who were so engaging and kind taught me so much, not only about their medical situations but also about their upbringing, towns, and families back home.”

“The trucks where each of the clinics were held was so inspiring to see. The modern technology which used to be a ‘12 hour plus drive’ for some of these patients to access was delivered right outside their homes which was incredible. We got to visit HEART 1, 4, and 5 over this trip and each of these trucks even in the couple of days I witnessed, had such a major impact on so many people’s health care.

“Overall, this incredible trip was so insightful and inspiring as I learnt so much about the medical field as well as the significant lack of rural health in so many Australian regions.”

A special thank you to our partners at Bayer for supporting the NextGen Medics Program.

 

Visiting Dawson Mine

Thank you to our partners at Anglo American who offered to take the students on a tour of their Dawson Mine. Not only did they get to see first-hand the operations of a mine site, but it was a great opportunity for them to engage with one of our partners at a grass roots level.   

A renewed vision for national expansion unveiled at the 2022 Gala

On Saturday 20 August, Heart of Australia staff, specialists, patients, partners and friends came together to celebrate a monumental year.

The Great Hall at Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre was transformed to accommodate 500 attendees in the room, symbolically representing the 500 lives that have been saved since Heart of Australia first launched in 2014.

This year we had two special guests positioned inside the room, HEART 4 and HEART 5, showcasing the most cutting-edge innovative technology in our fleet thus far.

While the 2022 Gala was a time for celebration, it was also a call for commitment.

In his opening speech, Heart of Australia Director Dr Rolf Gomes, addressed the room with a key message: Heart of Australia is ready for national expansion.

Having now seen close to 14,000 patients and servicing over 33 communities, Heart of Australia has proven to be a home-grown success story. But the name is Heart of Australia, not Heart of Queensland.

Now it’s time for Heart of Australia to enter a new era – to break borders and help those rural and remote communities all over Australia.

In his remarks Dr Gomes’ acknowledged it was time to answer the call.

“In the last six months alone six communities around the state have enquired about the possibility of services being delivered to their town, and hundreds have already crossed the NSW border to access the truck at Goondiwindi, St George and Stanthorpe,” Dr Gomes said.

“At every speaking event the most commonly asked question is are you planning on servicing other states? Can we do it…yes we can. But we need your support.”

That sentiment of support was shared by keynote speaker, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Minister for Emergency Management Senator the Hon Murray Watt.

In his speech he reaffirmed that the new Federal Government would honour the previous commitment of $17 million in funding to Heart of Australia over the next four years.

“This is not a matter of politics, it doesn’t matter who’s in government, it’s a good idea and we think it’s something that’s worth supporting,” Senator Watt said.

“It’s very clear to all of us who know anything about Heart of Australia, that’s it filling a real gap in our rural and regional communities.”

 

Honouring our patients

This year’s gala also brought focus to the heart and soul of our program: the patients.

We’d like to thank Olivia, John, Maurice and Joyce, and Ellen for allowing us to share their video stories with everyone in the room. John’s story is now available to watch here.

We were honoured to have our patient speaker on the night be someone who has been a professional advocate of Heart of Australia for some time now. Dr Elizabeth Clarkson, who is based at the Theodore Medical Centre in the heart of the Banana Shire, has been in a unique position as both a patient and a referring GP with Heart of Australia.

Having been diagnosed with a heart murmur at just 12 months of age she underwent open heart surgery when she was very young. Though she has since lived a fairly normal life, when she fell pregnant it was recommended she receive more regular monitoring from a cardiologist.

As Theodore has long been a town on the Heart of Australia route, Dr Clarkson didn’t have to take time away from her own patients to go to her own appointments. In fact, she just had to pop out the back of the medical to see Dr Gomes on the truck.

You can watch her full speech from the gala here:

Heart of Australia Above & Beyond Award

Congratulations to lead truck driver Ben Williams for winning the inaugral Above & Beyond Staff Award.

Ben has been driving for Heart of Australia since 2020 and brings 110% to the job each and every day. He ensures clinics are set up on time, trucks are kept in excellent condition, and all of our truck drivers feel supported on a day-to-day basis.

Thank you Ben!

 

A Final Word

We want to say a special thank you to our partners who contributed to the gift bags for the event: Frasers, PACCAR Australia, Telstra, Bayer, Janssen, Abbott, I-Med Radiology and Medtronic.

It is through our partnerships that we are able to deliver the Heart of Australia service to communities in need and for that we are incredibly grateful.

Finally we’d like to say a special thank you to all of our staff who helped make the gala one to remember. The Heart of Australia team pulled together to ensure the evening was a great success and because of their hard work it was undoubtedly one of our best gala’s yet.

Until next year…

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