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Our Rural Talent Development Awards were established in 2019 as a pilot with Monash University. These awards go towards assisting medical students, with outstanding career vision in rural general practice, to continue their career goals. We have now established awards with the four universities which train medical students within our footprint.

  • Monash University
  • Deakin University
  • University of Melbourne
  • University of New South Wales

The awards were disrupted during 2020 with some university rotations affected by COVID-19 lock-downs.

Award winners 2021

Risdon Weatherall – University of Melbourne

Risdon grew up in north east Victoria and enjoyed a fantastic rural lifestyle, which he missed when he moved to the city. His mother was a local GP obstetrician and he recognises the huge contribution she made to the community and the respect and love she received in return.

“Rural GP and rural generalist pathways are so exciting to me as they give the opportunity to provide grass-roots medicine in a truly wonderful part of the world…and to any med students considering a placement in rural Australia, go for it – you’ll have a great time,” he said.

Risdon’s medical student placement in Wangaratta and Bright further cemented his interest in rural medicine, highlighting the importance of a Rural GP to a healthy and thriving community and the real connection they have with their patients.

Molly Cookson – University of Melbourne

Congratulations to final-year medical student Molly Cookson, the recipient of one of our rural talent development awards for 2021. Molly is from a farming family and appreciates the difficulty of attracting GPs to rural settings.

“In the future, I want to prevent this and be part of the solution. I aim to train as a rural generalist, which will allow me to service the community, both as a GP and in the hospital setting,” she said.

Molly would like to complete an advanced skill in emergency health or obstetrics, due to the importance of these skills to rural communities. Well done Molly, we can tell you’re on your way to becoming a key part of the community as a rural GP.

Miriam Brownstein – Deakin University

Final-year Deakin medical student Miriam Brownstein has a remarkable story of how she developed her passion for rural general practice.

“Growing up here [in Timboon] really ignited my passion for medicine itself and also rural medicine…So, the GPs [here} were actually my parents, my mum was a GP obstetrician and my dad was a GP anaethetist and they ran the hospital…they were delivering babies, performing caesarians and minor surgeries…which meant that my community didn’t have to travel far to receive quality healthcare,” she said.

Miriam’s first-hand insight into the essential contribution of the town’s two GPs truly reflects what rural general practice means to a community.

Emma Sutton – Deakin University

Emma is thrilled that winning one of our rural talent development awards will assist her financially in being able to pursue a rural placement.

“For me the drive to become a rural generalist comes from a few places…I’ve always been the type of student that has fallen in love with every single specialty that I’ve come into contact with…They say rural generalists wear a lot of hats and that this trait in wanting to do it all is encouraged…I want to practice cradle to grave medicine…and be a permanent fixture in a rural town being able to provide the continuity of care that all Australians deserve,” she said.

Emma has a deep passion for rural Victoria and has always wanted to become a doctor to help those who are most underserved in the community.

Award winners 2020

Sachin PhakeyUniversity of Melbourne.

Thank you to MCCC and to the University of Melbourne for presenting me the Rural Talent Development award. I am very grateful to be the recipient. The award allowed me to purchase medical equipment and a medical textbook, which I would not have considered without the award. I continue to use these very useful materials. In the future, I look forward to contributing to the care of Australia’s rural communities, both as a doctor and as a fellow community member. Thank you once again to MCCC and the University of Melbourne for recognising my interest and passion for regional medicine, particularly following my placements in Bairnsdale, East Gippsland.

Timothy O’Hare – University of Melbourne.

Award statement to come.

Note: No other university awards were completed during this year due to COVID impacts.

Inaugural award winners 2019

Georgia Smith and Madeleine Tickle – Monash University.

Watch Georgia’s acceptance speech.

See Georgia’s story.

See Madeleine’s story.

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