Why the University of Melbourne partners with world-leading healthcare experts

University academics are collaborating with some of the country’s top industry experts. It's all about bringing students the best access and insights into a growing field.

The healthcare industry is Australia’s largest and fastest growing according to the 2019 Australian Jobs report, and is predicted to grow almost 15 per cent in the next five years. As the sector expands, it’s never been more important to work with the pioneers of the industry.

The University of Melbourne’s partnership courses give students direct access to some of healthcare’s brightest minds at world-leading organisations such as the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), the Starlight Children’s Foundation, and the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre (VCCC) – an alliance of 10 leading research, academic and clinical institutions including Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the Royal Melbourne, Women’s and Children’s Hospitals, and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute.

Experts from these research and clinical institutions have worked with University of Melbourne academics to write a program that provides students with the most up-to-date and useful information possible.

"Students [get] an avenue to progress up their respective career trees," says Dr David Kok, radiation oncologist at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and course convenor on the University of Melbourne's Master of Cancer Sciences – Australia’s first cancer-specific, multidisciplinary program, and only one of two such online programs in the world. "Promotions to more senior roles in cancer care will generally require a masters degree to be competitive these days," he says, and studying alongside leading research and clinical organisations is the best steppingstone.

Teachers have collaborated with over 120 experts at the VCCC to build the content for the Master of Cancer Sciences. "And that won’t stop," says Dr Kok. "Year-on-year these people will be here."

Through webinars and online workshops, Dr Kok says that "[students] can discuss material, ask questions and basically just pick their brains for tidbits about their area of specialty."

Expert educators are vital in healthcare to help fill the industry with equipped and motivated professionals. With the numbers of surgeons struggling to keep up with demand, Australia may face a surgical workforce crisis before 2025. That's why the University of Melbourne has teamed up with RACS and Austin Health to help train tomorrow's medical educators with the Master of Surgical Education. This course throws students into the industry with intensive workshops at the RACS in East Melbourne, giving students ongoing access to the expertise of these leading institutions.

Healthcare professionals from the not-for-profit organisation provide students with both foundational skills and a broad understanding of how art and performance practices, based on positive psychology and total care, can impact the effectiveness of traditional treatments.

By learning from experts who have been helping to improve the lives of seriously ill children and their families since 1988, and are still at the forefront of the field today, graduates will enter the industry with confidence.

"Our goal is to ensure that students would walk away with the cutting-edge knowledge to excel in the field, and to do this in a way that is interesting, innovative and flexible," says Dr Kok.

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