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Campus News : October 2010
Campus News is produced by the Media Unit. Editorial Nick Hartgerink Bernie Goldie Kate Mcllwain Layout Artist Paul Martens Photographers Sean Maguire Mark Newsham Telephone +61 2 4221 5942 Facsimile +61 2 4221 3128 Email email@example.com Web media.uow.edu.au Address University of Wollongong NSW 2522 Australia CRICOS Provider No: 001202E ISSN 0312-2018 12 Campus News October 2010 University of Wollongong www.uow.edu.au Med students build bridge to Vanuatu Agroup of University of Wollongong medical students is planning to build a long-term relationship between the Graduate School of Medicine (GSM) and a small island community in Vanuatu. The students have started the Tanna Island Hospital Relief project to purchase medical supplies for the hospital, after six students spent a fortnight on the island earlier this year as part of UOW's Health Over Wealth collective. Students Ben Hill, Aubrey Litvack, Ewan Stewart, Caydee Pollack, Rhys Harding and Hailey Laury spent their time assisting the island's lone doctor with mass vaccinations, pre and post-natal care and education for the island's health workers. Tanna is one of Vanuatu's poorer islands, where people generally live a subsistence lifestyle with few amenities. It has a small hospital staffed on six-month rotation by a doctor from Canada, and smaller medical outposts staffed by islanders with very little training. The island has no paved roads and a single ambulance (which has difficulty operating on the dirt roads after heavy rain). By coincidence first-year medical students Ben and Aubrey are also from Canada, but their connection with Tanna Island came through Ben's father who is working there as a volunteer on an aid project. Ben said the two weeks on the remote island had been "eye-opening" because of the lack of modern medical facilities and knowledge, but also inspirational as the students had experienced "the core of what medicine is all about -- being there for the people". He said the community had embraced the students, inviting them into their homes and showering them with traditional food and kava, and urging them to visit again. The students returned to UOW determined to help the islanders. "We want this to be a long-term project, one that will be continued by future students long after we have graduated," said Aubrey. "Our first visit was a lot about our own experience, but we want to go back next year to really cement relations and make sure that the community will benefit from a continued effort." Ben and Aubrey said the group hoped to raise $15,000 for medical supplies and projects such as translating information about the appropriate use of medicines and drugs into the local Pidgin language, called Bislama. This would hopefully overcome problems such as prescribing antibiotics in doses that are too small to have any effect, while heightening the risk of patients developing resistance to infection. For information on the group's fund-raising events or to make a donation, visit the Tanna Island Hospital Relief Fund facebook site or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com Volunteers help men 'check it' University of Wollongong student volunteers played a major role in the success of the inaugural Check It Illawarra men's health event at the WIN Entertainment Centre in August. Around 120 medical, nursing, exercise science and medical and health science students worked as volunteer clinical assistants at the event, providing free health assessments for almost 1000 men. It is now set to become an annual event, with students already volunteering to be involved in 2011. Check It was organised by Healthier Illawarra Men (HIM) - a committee of business, community, medical and UOW representatives formed to promote greater awareness of health issues among the region's male population. The event was run under the auspices of the Illawarra Division of General Practice, with sponsorship support led by health fund ahm, UOW and the South Eastern Sydney and Illawarra Area Health Service. The students conducted a series of tests on each "patient", including taking blood for cholesterol and blood sugar readings, taking blood pressure, and measuring height and weight for a Body Mass Index (BMI) assessment. People with high readings were advised to consult their doctor, while those with dangerously high readings were encouraged to speak to a doctor on duty at the event. UOW Pro Vice-Chancellor (Health) Professor Don Iverson and GSM Foundation Dean Professor John Hogg were members of the HIM committee with Kay Kent and Sue Liersch from the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences . Professor Iverson said the event had been a great success from a public health perspective, while also providing invaluable training for the students. Professor Hogg said it was a "fantastic exercise" for the students to deal with so many patients across a wide range of ages and demographics. "You could see them growing in confidence as the afternoon wore on. It was a great learning experience for them," he said. HIM committee chairman Mark McDonald paid tribute to the students' contribution, declaring the event could not have been possible without their input. "They were absolutely brilliant," he said. UOW Vice Principal (Administration) Chris Grange was one of the first men checked. He said UOW had been delighted to be involved with Check It, as sponsors and supporters and through the students' involvement. "This is exactly the kind of event that is consistent with the University's commitment to improving medical infrastructure and services in the Illawarra, through our medical school and our medical and health research programs," Mr Grange said. "It is also terrific training for our students to have the experience of meeting and interacting with so many people." NH Medical and Health Science students Karishma Bhandary and Nicholas Corr check UOW Vice-Principal (Administration) Chris Grange's blood pressure at Check It. Tanna Island children take delight in giving UOW medical student Ben Hill a taste of his own medicine, during a visit by students to the island in Vanuatu in July.