IMMERSION: Students Natalie McGovern, Patrick Gordon, May Ajibade, Aquilline Chinyani and Professor Scott Kitchener at the Sheep Sale.
IMMERSION: Students Natalie McGovern, Patrick Gordon, May Ajibade, Aquilline Chinyani and Professor Scott Kitchener at the Sheep Sale. Sean Teuma

Rural health in focus during student visit to Warwick

THE Warwick Sheep Sale had a handful of curious visitors last week, with four visitors from the Griffith University immersing themselves in the Warwick way of life.

Professor Scott Kitchener said the week was a chance for the students to engage in real-world experience.

"The students are on the Masters of Public Health Program doing the Rural Population Health course at the Warwick University Hospital campus of Griffith School of Medicine," Prof Kitchener said.

"They have very much enjoyed the immersion in rural life."

Prof Kitchener said the chance to combine practical and classroom interactions served as beneficial for students.

"Students really appreciated the opportunity for immersion in some of the health issues," he said.

"They appreciated going to the yards, seeing larger animals being handled and the proximity to the animals.

"We also looked at quad bike safety on farms, as well as visiting farms.

"With the campus at Warwick, we combined discussion. Students had pre-readings, tutorials to discuss issues, before the chance to visit these actual rural issues in person, before discussing again.

"This allows for resilient learning, and we will definitely continue into the future."

This marks the first time the group has come to the region. "We've had medical students coming up since 2010, and this year expanded to masters of public health students coming up during down time," he said.

"We thought we could use the campus a bit more, and there are no masters of public health opportunities to study in the Darling Downs.

"We decided to try and help that, with a study of public health at postgraduate level in the Darling Downs."

Prof Kitchener said the importance of raising awareness of rural health was a significant factor in the visit to the area.

"Public health is essentially the study and work of dealing with the health of populations as opposed to just individuals," he said.

"Rural populations have distinct health disadvantages. There are health disparities metropolitan cities and rural areas of the Darling Downs.

"One way to deal is to train more people, and give them an understanding of rural public health awareness.

"Griffith is fairly serious about that, and has invested a lot of resources in the Darling Downs."

Student Aquilline Chinyani said coming to the Sheep Sale was a chance to get outdoors and gain valuable knowledge.

"It was an amazing experience, and I didn't expect it to be so interactive," Miss Chinyani said.

"We wouldn't be able to get this in class."

Fellow students echoed these sentiments, commenting on the friendly nature of the Rose City, the involvement of the community and Warwick not being as remote as was originally thought.



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