History and mission


The College of Medicine and Dentistry was established in Townsville, Queensland, in 2000. It was the first medical school in Australia to be entirely regionally located, and the only Australian medical school located in the tropics. The uniqueness of the location was supported by a distinctive approach that is entirely focussed on meeting the priority needs of the region, in particular delivering research and a workforce for the regional north. Our graduates have particular aptitude for service in rural and remote locations, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and in tropical medicine.

Medical educators from the then Royal Australian College of General Practitioners North Queensland vocational training program (who were also key staff in the then Northern Clinical School for the University of Queensland) became founding members in the establishment of the then School, now College.  The six-year medical program was built on a strong backbone of community teaching practices and small rural hospitals. The six year undergraduate medical program promotes generalist medical education and social accountability toward producing an appropriately trained workforce for northern Australia. This mandate is aligned with the strategic intent of JCU “to create a brighter future for life in the tropics world-wide through graduates and discoveries that make a difference.”

The College has grown to meet the demand for health professionals skilled in a range of disciplines. Dentistry was added to the College’s suite of courses from 2009. In 2014, Pharmacy became part of the College. In addition to the three headline programs, the College has the only Physician Assistant training program in Australia, which graduated its first cohort in 2014.

In 2016, the College secured the Australian Government’s contract to deliver general practitioner postgraduate vocational training across north western Queensland, establishing JCU's GP Training Program. The program provides training towards Fellowship of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) and the Fellowship of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM).

Organisational structure

Organisational Chart


We aim to promote health & strengthen healthcare for communities of tropical Australia and beyond through socially accountable health professional education, discoveries, partnerships, advocacy & leadership.

We see a future where people of the tropics, our wider region, rural & remote communities & Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders can be confident of good health and access to quality healthcare for themselves, their families & future generations