Dean of Medicine and Head of School, Professor David Wilkinson
Dean of Medicine and Head of School, Professor David Wilkinson
19 July 2010

In an Australian first, The University of Queensland’s School of Medicine has launched a new Medical Student Leadership Program, designed to provide formal leadership training to an elite group of students enrolled in its medical degree.

“In the health system, doctors are expected to take on a variety of leadership roles," the Dean of Medicine and Head of School, Professor David Wilkinson said.

"This could be managing a multi-disciplinary team to whole departments; however they very often do not have formal leadership qualifications – which we want to rectify.”

The program is a joint partnership between UQ’s School of Medicine and School of Business and will focus on high level skills in areas such as leadership, change management, innovation and strategy.

The innovative program has been embraced by Queensland Health with Director of Queensland Medical Education and Training Associate Professor Victoria Brazil who said the program provided key knowledge.

“Medical leaders need to understand how to navigate modern healthcare organisations to achieve the best for their patients”, she said.

The School of Medicine has offered 10 medical students a full scholarship into the program, which they hope to increase to 25 in the coming years.

“The applicants to the program were an exemplary group of students – they told of their desire to change the current health system locally and to make a difference to global health,” Professor Wilkinson said.

There is a refugee from Zimbabwe, an engineer interested in conquering space, an engineering entrepreneur, a former human rights lawyer and a geneticist among the 10 students who will make up the first cohort.

“One quality which all of the students have is intangible humbleness and a desire to change the world," Professor Wilkinson said.

"These students’ stories are extremely interesting and uplifting and they will make great leaders.”

Media: Brian Mallon, School of Medicine Marketing and Communications Officer 040 362 1109