Making a difference, together

By understanding the situation our region is facing and partnering with us, you can help make rural health matter.

JCU is dedicated to improving the health of our region through the provision of a fit-for-purpose workforce and through research to discover solutions to significant health issues. We work together with communities and partners to understand the need and effectively deliver on the investment by government to improve health outcomes. It is important that continued and future investments provide training, resources and infrastructure to do this.

Experience rural and regional healthcare

Workforce maldistribution

3.8 doctors per one thousand people in Australia's cities, compared to 2.3 in rural and remote areas1
Nearly 3 in 10 Australians live in regional and remote areas and often have poorer health outcomes compared to people living in metropolitan areas2.
Sources: 1Fig 8.8 OECD Regional Statistics Database 2021 2Australian Bureau of Statistics 2022c

Health inequity and adverse outcomes

The heart of rural Australia is its vibrant, diverse, and authentic communities. But for many of them, there is something vitally important missing.

People who live in regional, rural and remote areas have poorer health than their metropolitan counterparts and suffer from barriers to equitable health care. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in these areas experience even greater health disparities and suffer from the lack of a technically and culturally suitable health workforce.

Redistributing the medical workforce

James Cook University (JCU) is committed to addressing the shortage of health professionals in regional, rural and remote Australia by developing a skilled, fit-for-purpose workforce through the College of Medicine and Dentistry.

The College is delivering work-ready graduates to meet the needs of rural, remote and regional Australia. In addition, we provide training for specialist GPs  in collaboration with Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine. We also collaborate with hospitals and health services to offer integrated career pathways for junior doctors to specialise in our region through the Regional Training Hubs scheme.

Addressing workforce needs

2 thirds of JCU's medical students are from regional, rural and remote communities3
90% of regional, rural and remote Queensland is covered by JCU's health training network
Source: 3JCU Student Management System

An integrated training network

Map of Queensland.

JCU’s network extends across regional, rural and remote Queensland, with hands-on training opportunities for clinical placements in underserved communities.

JCU partners with hospital and health services, primary and allied health care clinics, and Aboriginal Medical Services to ensure students, registrars and specialists across the health disciplines have extensive rural experience in communities that need them most.

Through NQRTH we provide an integrated pathway connecting medical students and junior doctors with opportunities to train as specialists in Cairns, Central West, Mackay, North West, Torres and Cape, and Townsville.

The JCU General Practice program will include 13 regional training offices from the Sunshine Coast to Thursday Island with more than 360 accredited GP training practices.

Pictured left: Explore our training region

JCU making a difference

66% of JCU Medicine students staying in the JCU region after graduating4
758 GP Fellows produced by JCU, with two thirds retained in the JCU training region5
40% of recent health graduates working in outer regional, remote and very remote Queensland are JCU graduates6
Sources: 4AHPRA Data 1 Oct 2021 5JCU Cognos 6QILT Graduate Outcomes Survey, 2016-2020

Discover Our Impact

The evidence is clear: while the initial costs are higher, regionally-based programs are vastly more effective in delivering rural workforce outcomes, and ultimately better health and prosperity for regional communities.

In aligning the training pipeline from regional medical school to a rural GP career, JCU’s unique joined-up training model is making an impact. View our Making Rural Health Matter brochure, factsheets, reports and videos to see the impact we are making.

Helping Close the Gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health

Education and initiatives aimed at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equity are a priority for the College.
By working together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, services and organisations we are producing health professionals who are trained to deliver culturally safe care. We aim to work together to deliver a sustainable workforce across disciplines for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, but also to increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health professionals across the region. Working closely with Aboriginal and Islander Community Controlled Health Services, peak bodies and professional organisations in education, service and research activities is vital for achieving this goal.

Researching a healthier future for the Tropics

JCU extends its commitment to the health of regional, rural and remote communities through a range of locally-relevant, innovative research initiatives. Through centres of excellence, College-led research projects, and institutes, we are discovering solutions to the health issues of most importance to tropical Australia. JCU’s Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM) spans public health, biomolecular, clinical, translational, and health systems research.

Explore our impact

View our Making Rural Health Matter brochure, factsheets, reports and videos

Stepping out in search of adventure

‘With, in and for’ communities

Paediatrics calling

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Our Partners

JCU’s integrated training pipeline from student to specialist is made possible by partner organisations and initiatives that share our commitment to the health of our regional, rural and remote communities.