Get them while they are young! A Student Health Academy Promoting Careers for Rural High School Students

Mrs Kathryn Fitzgerald1, Ms Jodi Ullrich1

1WA Centre For Rural Health, Geraldton, Australia


The Student Health Academy (SHA) is a strategy to assist in a long term approach to ensuring a strong future rural health workforce by providing high school students with information and experiential learning about health careers. Based on the principles of the rural health pipeline, the WA Centre for Rural Health (WACRH) has delivered an immersive 2-day program to over 250 rural high school students in year 10 who have shown an interest in a health career. It is designed to include all key professions and allied health professions are integral to this. Academy members interact with local health professionals and students on clinical placement with WACRH and the program includes simulated learning with a focus with participants completing eight skills sessions from our suite of twenty-six. While the feedback from the six school partners and the participants is positive, in 2018/19, the SHA program has been expanded to provide a greater long term relationship with the high school students and schools, with a student health cadets program commencing from year 7. The aim of this is to focus on key student groups, and to develop a 6 year relationship with high school students in the Academy Program along the pipeline commencing with health literacy in the cadets program (year 7-9), careers information and learning in year 10, and support with academic choices and directions in years 11 and 12. This presentation will outline the development of the SHA so far and the development of the expanded program.


Kathryn Fitzgerald has worked in rural and remote areas as an Allied Health professional in clinical practice, in policy and program development and in health professions’ education for over 30 years, and has been involved with SARRAH since the organisation’s early days. She currently works as the Clinical Education Manager for the WA Centre for Rural Health based in the Midwest of Western Australia.

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