Volume 8 Number 4
April 9 - May 13 2012
The City of Melbourne and our University have hosted a school of medicine since 1862.
Created fewer than thirty years after the settlement itself, the now-Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences (MDHS) grew with Melbourne – and Australia’s - need for medical professionals.
Today, MDHS graduates more than 250 medical practitioners each year, having expanded significantly since its first decade of teaching, which saw 23 students become some of Melbourne’s first home-grown doctors.
The largest faculty at the University, MDHS has also become a national and international centre of teaching, learning and research excellence.
And as the faculty grew, so too did its roots in other Melbourne institutions.
Just two years after the school’s inception, it signed an agreement with Melbourne Hospital which allowed students to undertake their clinical training there; this agreement continues today with the Royal Melbourne Hospital, just across the road from MDHS’ Parkville building.
The first decade of the 1900s saw the further development of these links, with formal ties with the Royal Children’s Hospital and clinical schools at St Vincent’s and the Alfred Hospital.
Since then, the development of the Shepparton School of Rural Health has furthered our ties with the community and furthered the links between teaching and clinical work.
Such ties to the community also extend to the research work past and present occurring at the faculty and in the many research institutions located near the University in Parkville.
Among them is the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Research in Pathology and Medicine (WEHI). A joint venture between the University and the Royal Melbourne Hospital, WEHI offers postgraduate training as the Department of Medical Biology of the University and has a scientific and support staff of more than 600 and a research expenditure of around $70 million.
The University also has several of its own research institutes, including the Howard Florey Institute, established in 1971. The Institute is a partner - along with the University and the Mental Health Research Institute - in the Melbourne Brain Centre, which opened last year to focus neurosciences research in one location.
The University has educated several of Australia’s Nobel Laureates including Sir Frank Macfarlane Burnet, John Carew Eccles and, most recently, Peter Doherty, who is a Laureate Professor working in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology.
Professor Doherty’s name will grace a building which is part of MDHS’ future - the $210 million Peter Doherty Institute will see biomedical scientists, public health specialists and educators from eight partner institutes work together in one building, focussing on infectious diseases and immunity.
As we celebrate MDHS’ past, we look to a future of continued collaborative learning and research for the faculty, which will see its ties with the Melbourne medical community broaden and deepen.