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Ochsner and Australia Partner for Long-Term Solution to Physician Shortages
Date:4/30/2009

Collaboration with University of Queensland Medical School in Australia Provides Overseas and New Orleans Education for U.S. Medical Students

NEW ORLEANS, April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- Ochsner Health System (www.ochsner.org) and The University of Queensland Medical School in Brisbane, Australia, proudly announce the opening of the University of Queensland School of Medicine Clinical School at Ochsner, a unique, joint affiliation that will provide U.S. medical students with unprecedented training experience. Additionally, this will work toward alleviating physician shortages in Louisiana and the Gulf South. U.S. medical students will have the opportunity to complete two years of pre-clinical training in Brisbane, Australia and their third- and fourth-year training at Ochsner Health System. Australian medical students will also have the opportunity to spend part of their third and fourth years at Ochsner, benefiting from a variety of medical specialties, research and core rotations.

In January 2009, 16 U.S. medical students traveled to Australia and began two years of their four-year medical training. In addition, Ochsner welcomed current University of Queensland Medical students for fourth year elective and core rotations. The goal is to admit 80 additional U.S. students in 2010 and reach a steady state of 120 admissions in 2011.

"Very few organizations in the world can offer this type of collaboration, whereby U.S. medical students can broaden their medical training and experience the best education opportunities of two different countries," explains Dr. William W. Pinsky, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer at Ochsner Health System. "This is a completely unique opportunity in the United States."

Dr. Pinsky goes on to say, "By focusing our recruiting efforts on medical students in the Southeastern U.S, we believe the long-term benefit will be a reduction in physician shortages in our region; as more students participate in the program they'll choose to remain near their hometowns and practice medicine, thereby, boosting our economy. We'll also have a significant emphasis on primary care in the curriculum as we are in desperate need of primary care physicians in Louisiana."

"This program will be reviewed in the near future for accreditation by the Australian Medical Council," explains Janice Piazza, Vice President of Academics at Ochsner (www.ochsner.org). "Our current activities will demonstrate the quality and scope of training that this unique partnership will provide. Ochsner will continue to provide learning experiences for medical students from both Tulane and LSU programs and only see the new program strengthening the experience for all students who do clinical rotations at an Ochsner facility."

"The University of Queensland School of Medicine Clinical School at Ochsner will provide U.S. medical students with an un-matched educational training and experience in both countries," explains Professor David Wilkinson, Dean of the University of Queensland Medical School in Brisbane. "Students will benefit from the strengths of both systems; the academic resources at Ochsner (www.ochsner.org) combined with Queensland's capacity to create additional medical school spaces."

The University of Queensland Medical School in Brisbane, Australia, is fully accredited by the Australian Medical Council, the official entity that establishes the highest standards possible for Australian medical schools, and is one of Australia's leading medical schools.

In October 2006, Ochsner (www.ochsner.org) grew to become a seven-hospital system, further strengthening its educational opportunities. "Ochsner's training programs have never been stronger or broader and more are available than pre-Katrina, which is a sign of continued growth and commitment to medical education," explains Dr. Pinsky. He goes on to say that Ochsner also has tremendous opportunities for post-training employment.

About Ochsner Health System:

Ochsner (www.ochsner.org) was founded on the principles of academics is an independent, integrated, academic medical center that has trained thousands of physicians for over 65 years. Ochsner operates one of the largest, independently accredited graduate medical education programs in the United States. It offers training to over 200 interns, residents and fellows in 18 Ochsner-sponsored programs, including jointly-sponsored programs with LSU and Tulane Universities. Over 400 medical students do 3rd year core and 4th year elective rotations annually and Ochsner hosts an over 400 allied health students from around the U.S.

The Ochsner Health System is a non-profit, academic, multi-specialty, healthcare delivery system dedicated to patient care, research and education. The system includes seven hospitals and over 35 health centers located throughout Southeast Louisiana. Ochsner employs more than 750 physicians in 90 medical specialties and subspecialties and over 300 clinical research trials annually. Ochsner has been listed as one of the "Best Places to Work" by New Orleans CityBusiness since 2005 and received the Consumer Choice for Healthcare in New Orleans for 13 consecutive years. Ochsner was ranked as "Best" Hospital by U.S. News and World Report in 2007. Ochsner has 11,000 employees system-wide.

About University of Queensland:

The University of Queensland (UQ) (http://www.uq.edu.au/) is one of Australia's premier learning and research institutions. It is the oldest university in Queensland and has produced generations of graduates who have gone on to become leaders in all areas of society and industry. The University is a founding member of the national Group of Eight, an alliance of research-strong "sandstone" universities committed to ensuring that Australia has higher education institutions which are genuinely world class. It belongs also to the global Universitas 21 alliance. This group aims to enhance the quality of university outcomes through international benchmarking and a joint venture e-learning project with The Thomson Corporation.

UQ continues to attract the vast majority of the state's highest academic achievers and is renowned nationally and internationally for the quality of its teaching and research. In 1998-99 it was named Australia's University of the Year and it continues to enjoy the highest overall rating for Queensland universities in the annual Good Universities Guide.


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SOURCE Ochsner Health System
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