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Research Projects

Climate-change and health professional education

Project Summary

As the climate warms, weather-related disasters will increase and the potential for health students to be impacted by such disasters while on placement should not be underestimated. Understanding health students’ needs during and following weather-related disasters is crucial for developing appropriate support systems and preparing the future health workforce. This program of work examines the experiences of health students confronted with such disasters, and their impacts on students’ mental health and placements.

Our Investigators

  • Dr Jodie Bailie
  • Dr Christine Ahern
  • Professor Ross Bailie
  • Dr Joe Duncan


  • Associate Professor Karen Scott, University of Sydney



Noteworthy insights?

The rural Northern Rivers region in New South Wales, while flood prone, experienced two catastrophic floods in February and March 2022. Among those impacted in the region were 43 medical students undertaking a full year rural placement facilitated through the University Centre for Rural Health. Educational support systems were impacted, with almost one in five UCRH staff members losing their homes or being affected by substantial property damage, and clinical educators having to prioritise their clinical practice over teaching. Medical students’ mental health and their associated feelings of being terrified, helpless and hopeless during the flooding events were reported. However, despite the stresses, students exhibited high levels of prosocial behaviour and volunteered post-disaster in a variety of roles.

What do we hope to achieve when this project is complete?

Our findings will help to identify entry points for interventions to minimise placement disruption resulting from disasters and maximise learning and professional growth related to students’ experience.