Northern Community Health Screening Program Launches

May 13 / 109

Students helping at the Community Health Screening Program.
Students helping at the Community Health Screening Program.

Third year medical students from the University’s Northern Clinical School took part in a Community Health Screening Program that addressed the health needs of Melbourne’s northern suburbs residents last month

Thirty-six students helped with the health screens under the supervision of Associate Professor Hamish Ewing, Director of Medical Education (Clinical Dean), and Dr Leonie Griffiths, Deputy Director of Medical Education (Clinical Sub Dean) Northern Clinical School.

The program aimed to help improve community health and wellbeing, increase community awareness of preventative health measures and increase the number of referrals to health professionals in the area.

The results will now be compared with national data and used to inform the development of further public health initiatives for the region.

Associate Professor Hamish Ewing said the opportunity to participate in the Program was received with great enthusiasm by students at the Northern Clinical School.

“The MD students were able to promote health and experience the inherent rewards of volunteerism while enriching their personal education and deepening their connection to the community in which they study,” he said.

“It is likely further community health research opportunities will be available to the students when data analysis and health outcomes are reviewed from the program.”

The Northern Melbourne Regional Development Australia Committee (NMRDAC) and Centrelink provide free and confidential health screening to residents who find it hard to access healthcare for a range of reasons, including financial, language and cultural barriers. 

NMRDAC Senior Manager, Mr Tony Coppola, said the northern Melbourne region had a higher than average incidence of cardiovascular and other related preventable disease, particularly among the disadvantaged and some migrant groups.

“Many people who are in the workforce are provided with the opportunity of a health check, but this is not so for people who are unemployed or in casual employment. We recognise the importance of health to a person’s ability to fully participate in work and community life,” he said.

“Similarly, unemployment can lead to poor health due to depression or lack of resources.”

One of the students involved in the program said the program was a challenging but enriching experience.

“[It] allowed a community that often wouldn't otherwise see a medical professional, get some advice about their health and I felt like I made a real difference in some people's lives.”

The program was a partnership between the University of Melbourne, preventionXpress, Institute for Breathing and Sleep (IBAS), Austin Hospital, Northern Clinical School, Northern Hospital and Centrelink.

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