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November 2019

Group of 4 doctors jpeg
Echuca doctors Emily Harrison, Cameron Taverna, Freya Hildebrand and Jesse Zanker.

Returning locals boost Echuca medical ranks

Echuca Regional Health’s senior doctor ranks have been bolstered by locals who have gone off for further education then returned.

‘It is wonderful to have these doctors returning home to practise medicine,’ said ERH Chief Executive Officer Nick Bush.

‘It is a great group of young professionals who are very dedicated and committed to the local community.’

Dr Freya Hildebrand grew up in Leitchville, attended St Joseph’s College Echuca, and is now a general and respiratory physician.

Dr Emily Harrison grew up in Echuca and is a rural generalist working in emergency medicine.

Dr Jesse Zanker is from Echuca and now a geriatrician providing specialist services.

Dr Cameron Taverna, also from Echuca, is a general practitioner anaesthetist at ERH.

‘I had some really positive experiences during my training with exposure to a range of skilled mentors and supervisors,’ Dr Taverna said.

‘They had been doing the job long before there was a ‘generalist’ identity around the role and that inspired me to see it was possible to develop a high-level skill set in a diverse range of skills.

‘The country is a good fit for me – I’m a country person and I like living and working here in Echuca.’

Executive director of medical services Glenn Howlett said ERH was working with rural generalist and other specialist doctors to expand training opportunities in Echuca.

‘This will support the healthcare needs of the community into the future,’ Dr Howlett said.

Mr Bush said he hoped local students would consider medicine at the University of Melbourne.

‘We have gained approval for 15 positions in the University of Melbourne medicine course to be for rural students only.

‘Students who complete the bio-medicine course at La Trobe University Bendigo will gain direct entry into the University of Melbourne medical course.’

Mr Bush said the evidence was clear the likelihood of doctors practising in a rural community was significantly enhanced if they were of rural origin.