11 December 2008

Outgoing President of the Australian Medical Students Association and imminent UQ graduate Michael Bonning is certainly not void of ambition.

The 24-year-old Paddington local, who receives his Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery degree at a ceremony on December 12, hopes to lead a career which will combine research, practice and even a stint in the defence force.

“I have a commission as an officer with the Royal Australian Navy to work as a medical officer with them in a few years,” he said.

“I am also applying for further study overseas in the field of health economics and public health.

“In the long run I think I’d like to have a clinical specialty in the field of critical care – whether that be anaesthetics, emergency medicine, intensive care medicine I am not yet sure – but definitely also keep a keen interest in medical education and the changing face of medical practice.”

After completing a Bachelor of Applied Science in Biochemistry and Honours in Microbiology at the Queensland University of Technology, Mr Bonning enrolled in UQ’s graduate medical program.

In addition to meeting the demands of a hectic study schedule, he was actively involved with several medical representative bodies.

Becoming a Federal Director of the Australian Medical Association, a Director of the national depression initiative, beyondblue, previously chairing the Ashintosh Trust, a charity which promotes good health habits in children, and winning the Dr Magdalene Brodie Memorial Prize for an essay in Pediatrics, all feature on Mr Bonning’s list of achievements.

However, it is his role as President of the Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) about which he speaks most passionately.

“Being AMSA President is the best thing I have done – it has been absolutely wonderful and involved the greatest group of committed individuals that I've ever worked with,” he said.

“We've done a lot on ensuring that the quality of medical education is maintained in light of increasing student numbers around the country – the flow on effects, and advocacy, have been around ensuring sufficient intern and junior doctor training positions.

“Incorporated in all this is trying to ensure that international students are treated similarly to domestic students in terms of employment prospects and training –we have advocated strongly on them getting better access to internships and also on the 10-year moratorium on provider numbers.

“We have also developed policy on shared clinical placements to help facilitate the best educational experiences for students and are working with the AMC and medical schools on this.”

AMSA is the peak representative body for medical students in Australia and aims to ensure that all levels of government, as well as other relevant stakeholders in the medical education arena, hear their concerns.

On December 14 the Queensland team will hand over the reins to medical students from NSW, who have been elected as AMSA’s 2009 national executive.

Mr Bonning will undertake a 12-month internship at the Royal Brisbane Hospital before tackling his other career aspirations.

• Three ceremonies for the graduating students from UQ’s Faculty of Health Sciences will be held on December 12 at the St Lucia Campus.

• The 11am ceremony will see students from Schools of Dentistry; Human Movement Studies; Pharmacy; and Population Health conferred their degrees. Dr Russell Howard, a Board Member of UQ’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience and CEO of Maxygen, a US-based company pioneering vaccines for malaria, will receive an Honorary Doctorate at this ceremony, in addition to being the guest speaker.

• Students from the School of Medicine, including Michael Bonning, will receive their degrees at the 2pm ceremony. The guest speaker, Professor Richard Larkins, is Vice-Chancellor of Monash University and has had a distinguished career in medicine, scientific research and academic management.

• Dr Jeff Pittam, former Head of UQ’s English department and active member of the Australia Aphasia Association will address the students from the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, who graduate at the 6pm ceremony. Aphasia is a language difficulty caused by damage to the brain.

Media: Michael Bonning (0408 748 388) or Penny Robinson at UQ Communications (07 3365 9723)

UQ is making its graduation ceremonies available online with live streaming for the first time.

The service is being offered to allow friends and family of graduating students who cannot attend the ceremonies an opportunity to view the proceedings live from any internet connected computer around the world.

Go to the following link and when prompted type in the word guest in the user name field and click OK.

There is no need to enter a password. Once you have entered the site, click on the eye icon in the top right-hand corner and you will be asked to select your streaming settings, following which the video stream will be played live.


For a full list of graduation ceremonies and times please visit http://www.uq.edu.au/graduations/