New award helps medical students develop skills in parkinson’s disease care

A new award has been established to support students from the ANU Medical School to gain first-hand experience working with patients living with Parkinson’s disease. 

The Parkinson’s ACT Inc Award will be available each year to third year medical students at ANU. Valued at $1200, the award will allow a student with a special interest in the diagnosis and management of Parkinson’s disease to undertake an elective placement at a centre of excellence, either in Australia or abroad.

For a number of years, members of the Canberra community living with Parkinson’s disease have volunteered their time at the ANU Medical School to help teach second year medical students what it is like to live with Parkinson’s disease. “I noticed a tremendous amount of good will between the two organisations and wanted to capitalise on that,” said Dr George Webb from Parkinson’s ACT, who contacted the Medical School with an offer to fund an annual student prize to support the development of clinical skills in Parkinson’s disease care. 

“It is a win: win outcome for everyone,” explained Dr Webb. “Many Parkinson’s patients go through a stressful period before they get diagnosed. I saw two doctors in Canberra, one said I did have Parkinson’s disease, the other said I didn’t. It was only when I went to a third doctor in Sydney that my Parkinson's diagnosis was confirmed.  Improving clinical skills and helping students gain experience with Parkinson’s disease will help to streamline the process and alleviate that stress. And perhaps as a result of winning this award one of the recipients will be inspired to practice as a neurologist in Canberra.”

At a ceremony at The ANU Canberra Hospital campus, Professor Nicholas Glasgow, Dean of the Medical School, accepted a $6000 cheque from Michael Dwyer, President of Parkinson’s ACT Inc - enough to cover five years of the award.

“We are fortunate indeed to be so strongly and tangibly supported by Parkinson’s ACT,” said Professor Glasgow. “Our students will be enriched through the support this award will provide and I hope this investment will lead to downstream benefits in research, applications into clinical practice and medicine practiced with genuine care and compassion for the patient.”

The award has been enthusiastically welcomed by the ANU Medical School and will be offered for the first time in 2013.   For more information contact Ms Suzanne McKenzie, Executive Officer, Canberra Clinical School at 62443361 or via suzanne.mckenzie@anu.edu.au

Updated:  27 April 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, JCMRF/Page Contact:  Executive Officer, JCMRF