Dean’s appointment helps shape the future of general practice



As the University of Melbourne’s first female dean, Professor Jane Gunn’s vision is to further link academic research with general practice.

As Dean of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne, every decision Prof Gunn makes is rooted in her personal experiences as a general practitioner and researcher.

A future where more general practitioners are supported to combine research with their clinical practice.

This is what Professor Jane Gunn is considering.

After being appointed Acting Dean of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne in February this year, Professor Gunn was officially confirmed in office on October 19 as a result of a “global search”.

She is proud to be the University of Melbourne’s first female dean.

“The role of the dean is to lead, bring together people and ideas, and work with colleagues from across the university to provide the best opportunities for our students,” said Professor Gunn. gp news.

“We care about the education they receive and that they are exposed to a range of experiences; it could be research, clinical work, or work with industry. ‘

The combination of academic and clinical work is what Professor Gunn sees as essential to improving Australia’s healthcare system.

“Primary care research requires research funding commensurate with the important role it plays in delivering health care to our communities,” she said.

“As a cornerstone of healthcare and a gateway to a healthier future for our community, [primary care] has shown how central it is over the past two years, flexibly adapting to the challenges presented by COVID-19.

“I would like to see a more equitable system. I would like to see a future where general practice is a career destination that attracts our most talented graduates, those who are able to embrace the uncertainty and complexity of general practice and thrive.

In her role as Dean, Professor Gunn supports the faculty’s six separate schools, working closely with her colleagues on strategic themes for the next 5-10 years. The Melbourne Biomedical Precinct, the largest biomedical precinct in the Southern Hemisphere, also has a number of faculty partners reporting to the Dean.

“I believe in collaboration and innovation – and in teaching our people to be collaborative and innovative,” said Professor Gunn.

“So, for me, learning is the key to understanding and collaboration is the key to progress. “

Much of his research has reinforced Professor Gunn’s academic achievements in connection with general practice.

She was the first person to earn a doctorate in general medicine at the University of Melbourne, and in January 2021 her mental health care research was recognized as one of National Health and Medical Research’s Top 10 Projects. Council (NHMRC). currently underway in Australia.

For three years she was appointed to the NHMRC Council – a role to which she brings her experience as a general practitioner and academic.

And in her new role as Dean, Professor Gunn hopes to continue to connect with and champion general medicine.

“General medicine is the starting point of the human element of medicine,” she said.

“Academic research in general medicine is essential to the development of a better healthcare system, and high-quality research with partners can lead to transformational change and better outcomes for our patients.

“Every decision I make as a dean is grounded in my own personal experiences as a clinician and researcher. “

Universities have a role to play in achieving a more equitable health system, according to Professor Gunn, including seizing the opportunity to lead health care in rural and regional settings.

A partnership with La Trobe University and the Government of the State of Victoria to provide end-to-end training in Shepparton is one such project.

“The Rural Medical Pathway will also help make this possible,” said Professor Gunn.

“Coming from a rural background myself, I have an idea of ​​what these students are feeling and what to expect. I also recognize the desire to stay connected to your own community.

Professor Gunn grew up in the regional Victorian town of Sale. An interest in and admiration for the city’s local general practitioner prompted her to move to study in Melbourne, at a time when women made up less than 45% of Melbourne’s medical students.

But despite his many high profile accomplishments, Professor Gunn said much of his success dates back to the local level.

“My work as a general practitioner has been an important cornerstone of my profession,” she said.

‘I saw the area [of general practice] to expand [and] I am committed to advancing patient-centered care and research in general medicine.

“An exemplary general practitioner is responsive, adaptive, open to the outside world and committed to his profession and his community. “

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