Former classmates Justin Beilby, Randall Faull, Guy Maddern and Bill Griggs could never have imagined 33 years ago that they would end up working together on one of the state’s largest and most significant transformations in medical training.
Together, these University of Adelaide graduates are helping to shape the historic move of the Schools of Medicine and Nursing to the new South Australian Health and Biomedical Precinct (SAHBP) in the city’s West End.
After graduating, all four went on to further study and research in different areas, and between them they have earned countless awards and recognition for their work. Today, they hold multiple senior roles in clinical practice as well as at the University.
They also share the desire to create the best possible health care system for South Australia and are passionately pursuing this goal.
Professor Beilby specialised in general practice and health system reform and is still consulting today. He was one of ten commissioners in the National Hospital and Health Reform Commission in 2008-09.
He is also the Executive Dean for the Faculty of Health Sciences, overseeing teaching and research across medicine, medical sciences, nursing, dentistry, health sciences, psychology and public health.
Associate Professor Griggs, inspired through his work as a paramedic throughout his degree, specialised in anaesthesia, intensive care and aviation medicine which led him into trauma, retrieval and disasterï¿½recovery.
He is now the Director of Trauma Services and Senior Consultant at the RAH, Director, Retrieval Coordination for MedSTAR Emergency Medical Retrieval, the South Australian State Controller (Health and Medical) for disasters, and a Group Captain in the Royal Australian Air Force Specialist Reserve (Medical).
Professor Maddern also continued in academia after his first degree before being appointed Chair of Surgery at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
He is currently Director of the Basil Hetzel Research Institute and Director of Surgery at the QEH and the RAH, Head of Surgery and Coordinator of Rural Surgical Services at the University of Adelaide, and Surgical Director, Australian Safety and Efficacy Register of New Interventional Procedures–Surgical, at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.
Professor Faull specialised in nephrological practice with a particular interest in kidney transplantation. He is now Deputy Dean and Director of the Medical Program and is a Senior Consultant in Nephrology at the Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH).
While all took different career paths after graduation, Professor Faull remembers that as students they were all “studious, actively involved in University life and slightly mischievous, but not naughty or notorious.”
When commenting on how the Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) program had changed since 1980, Associate Professor Griggs said: “It was easier then because they hadn’t invented as much medicine.”
Professor Maddern said in 1980 the environment was a lot less regulated with fewer rules, no police checks and less complex bureaucracies. “Students are now more focused on getting academic outcomes and a little less focused on soaking up the student experience.
“It was much more of a group experience; we were thrown in it together and often had long periods of time where we virtually lived in the hospitals during our training, which seems to have changed a lot.”
Professor Faull said there have been positive changes in the way students interact within the course, including how they relate to each other.
“We hardly had anything to do with people in years above or below…apart from playing football or similar, whereas now the students have a lot more interaction between years, not just socially but they actually teach each other and provide a lot of support,” he said.
“Back in our day, the thought that a student would sit on a committee and help decide how the course is run was completely foreign. Now they have much more involvement and can help make changes.”
Professor Faull said the University’s planned new building for the Schools of Medicine and Nursing in the new SAHBP has the potential to be an internationally recognised, true academic precinct and centre for excellence, and will transform healthcare, research and education in South Australia.
“People from all over the world want to go to some institutions…to work or to study because they know they’re great places to be and if we can pull that off, that would be a fantastic outcome,” Professor Faull said.
Professor Maddern said the development gives the University an opportunity to redesign the way it interacts with the Royal Adelaide Hospital and be the principal driver of improvements in healthcare.
“At the moment there is no large hospital in Australia that can claim to be a truly academic hospital, so we have the opportunity to set up the right approaches and the right people to make us unique.”
Professor Beilby said building a new integrated facility is a unique opportunity and he is excited by the vision.
“There will be over 1000 students coming in and out of the building having cups of coffee and conversations about their shared teaching across Medicine and Nursing and they’ll see the new building as their home,” he said.
“And they will bump into the key research leaders who are working there or in SAHMRI, as well as their parents, friends and the community.
“The University of Adelaide will be very much a part of this precinct with our stamp on its research and teaching prowess.”
Story Claire Richardson