2011 Annual Report
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2011 Promotional Flyer
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The Department of General Practice (DGP) was established in 1975 and is one of the largest general practice teaching departments in Australia with over 30 full-time equivalent academic, research and professional staff. It was incorporated into the newly formed School of Primary Health Care within the faculty in 2001.
The Department is involved in three principle areas: teaching in the undergraduate medical curriculum, postgraduate studies and general practice and primary care research.
We teach undergraduate medical students in four of the five years of the undergraduate curriculum. We are involved in teaching clinical skills, health promotion and general practice and primary care. The latter involves small group teaching and clinical placements.
The Department of General Practice is also well known for its contribution to continuing professional development and continuing medical education of established general practitioners. This takes the form of postgraduate award courses (Diploma and Masters in Family Medicine, Graduate Certificate in Medical Acupuncture), as well as annual update courses for general practitioners. Over 1300 doctors have now graduated from Monash's postgraduate award courses in family medicine and more than 4000 GPs have attended refresher courses over the past two decades.
The crucial role played by department staff and a vast number of GP clinical teachers is widely acknowledged as being central to the success of Monash's teaching programs. The department is well known nationally and internationally for its scholarly contribution to general practice education, which includes the development of the consulting skills teaching program and textbooks, including:
- 'General Practice', 'Patient Education' and 'Practice Tips' by Professor John Murtagh AM;
- 'General Practice Psychiatry' edited by Professor Leon Piterman AM;
- 'Women's Health in General Practice', by Professor Danielle Mazza;
- 'Computing and Information Management in General Practice' by A/Professor Peter Schattner
- 'New Frontiers in Medicine: The Body as the Shadow of the Soul' and 'The Essence of Health' by Dr Craig Hassed.
We undertake translational research in the general practice setting, seeking to improve both the quality of care delivered in the general practice setting and to optimise primary care practice and health care systems. Our portfolio of work includes research projects and tenders focussed on several major themes:
- chronic disease prevention and management,
- multidisciplinary care,
- ehealth strategies in primary care,
- guideline development and implementation,
- GP and interprofessional education and professional development and
- practice capacity.
The Department of General Practice is situated in the School of Primary Health Care which comprises academic departments and centres relating to physiotherapy, occupational therapy, paramedics, ageing research, disability services and social work. This structure is unique in Australia and positions us advantageously to undertake multidisciplinary research on chronic disease management.
The Department has strong links with the clinical practice community, particularly general practices divisions such as the Melbourne East GP Network (MEGPN) and the Dandenong-Casey General Practice Association (DCGPA), both proposed Medicare Locals.
Organisationally the school is located within the Faculty of Medicine Nursing and Health Sciences, which comprises schools relating to nursing, midwifery, nutrition and dietetics, public health and rural health. The university also has a Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, one of only two schools of pharmacy in Victoria. We therefore have access to a wide depth and breadth of expertise to draw on in the design and conduct of our research.
As a department within the faculty, recognised for its contribution to internationalisation, the Department of General Practice has been a major contributor to capacity building in the area of academic general practice internationally. This has included training of Masters graduates in Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Fiji, Thailand and Gulf countries including the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Currently around 10 Masters students as well as Malaysian Fellowship students reside on campus in various programs. The department also hosts six international PhD students. A further 30 are enrolled in off-campus degree programs.
With the Monash Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences also responsible for supporting Monash University Malaysia Medical School, staff from the department periodically teaches undergraduates at the Malaysian campus.
In addition the DGP has a formal partnership with the Department of Family Medicine at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada http://www.dfmqueens.ca/welcome/overview.php . This alliance is developing collaborative work in the areas of postgraduate and undergraduate medical training, human resources and recruitment, primary health care research, and health policy. Exchanges of postgraduate trainees and faculty are underway and a variety of projects are proceeding forward.
Monash’s DGP is also actively engaged in a program of work to assist in the training of Chinese general practitioners. Currently we are running a four week program for cohorts of Chinese doctors twice a year to provide them with an orientation to Australian general practice and primary care.