The University of Newcastle's Medical School was established in 1975 as the Faculty of Medicine. Under the steerage of Professor David Maddison, Foundation Dean, it very quickly gained an international reputation for excellence and innovation in teaching and learning. Its problem-based curricula coupled with early clinical experience starting in the first year of the degree program, offered students a new and exciting approach to the study of medicine.
This successful concept was matched by the commitment and dedication of the staff and continues today. Approximately 90 academic, 108 professional and about 600 conjoint academic staff conduct research, teach into or support the medical and health education programs across 45 disciplines within the School.
The annual student intake for the medical program has more than doubled since the first 63 students began in 1978. The Joint Medical Program now takes 170 students each year across the Callaghan and Armidale campuses. Program delivery has been developed and updated over the past 30 years, but the basics still remain and the school continues to provide early clinical experience to support its problem based learning curricula.
A focus on rural medical experience has been in place for many years, and the school now offers its medical program as a partnership with the University of New England, Hunter New England Health and Northern Sydney Central Coast Health. Known as the Joint Medical Program (JMP) it is the first jointly-run medical program in Australia.
The curriculum for this program, based on the established University of Newcastle program, is delivered at both institutions. The special features of the JMP include its focus on medical workforce for rural, remote and regional Australia and the opportunities provided by the geographic coherence between the two Universities and their two major health partners, Hunter New England Health and Central Coast Health.