Darling Downs set to welcome three medical students from Japan

16 Feb 2024

Toowoomba and the Darling Downs are set to welcome three visiting medical students from Japan through a brand-new exchange program at The University of Queensland.

The visiting students are arriving from Kobe University and will spend four weeks embedding themselves in Queensland.

Kobe students

Kobe students with Riitaa

The trip will involve the future doctors spending time at general practices, hospitals in Toowoomba, Warwick and Roma as well as a tour with the Flying Specialist Services.

Honorary Associate Professor Dr George Tucker OAM from The University of Queensland Rural Clinical School said the exchange program will greatly benefit both universities, the exchange students and the Darling Downs community.

“The students will be based in Linsday Street Medical, GPs on Curzon and Ochre Medical Wyalla Plaza.

“The students will gain invaluable insight while working alongside rural doctors in Australia and the diverse patients that present in these practices.

“Although the Japanese primary health care system is different from the Australian one, there are common problems that present in both like maldistribution of workforce and difficulty accessing care.”

Visiting students will be guided through by Dr Hiro Haga, who works as a Rural Generalist Surgeon and Endoscopist working around the Darling Downs.

Kobe students

“I studied engineering and came to Australia on exchange in 1999-2000…fast forward to today and now I’m practising in Toowoomba, Warwick, Kingaroy and Roma,” Dr Haga said.

“Maybe these students will be inspired to make the move as well…and we know that more doctors are needed in the regions.”

Hyogo Prefectural Rural bond Kobe University student, Jumpei said he was excited to be the first Kobe University medical students involved in the program.

“I am looking forward to learning from this placement and seeing how things work here in Australia,” he said.

Fellow student Mao said she was keen to make the most of the placement.

“This is great opportunity for us and I want to maximise the opportunity while also trying my best to lend a hand to the doctors who are hosting us.”

Mai echoed those thoughts as well.

“I am excited to learn about Australia and the Darling-Downs community alongside the medical workforce here in Queensland”

The University of Queensland will also send students to Kobe University as part of the exchange agreement later in the year.