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Bond University appoints medical education expert as Dean of Medicine

November 20, 2017

Bond University has appointed Professor Kirsty Forrest to take up the leadership role of Dean of Medicine for its Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine in 2018.

Professor Forrest - who is currently Deputy Head of Medicine at Bond and a consultant anaesthetist at Gold Coast University Hospital - has been involved in medical educational research for 15 years and is co-author and editor of a number of best-selling medical education textbooks.

Professor Forrest holds a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery from Edinburgh University and a Masters in Medical and Dental Education from Sheffield University. Prior to joining Bond University, she was Director of Medical Education and Associate Dean, Learning and Teaching at Macquarie University.

It was Bond’s boutique learning environment and absolute focus on its students that initially attracted Professor Forrest to the private, Gold-Coast based University.

“I believe, without a doubt, that Bond’s focus on student experience and pastoral care produces better medical practitioners,” she said.

“My priority as Dean of Medicine will be to ensure that we continue to lead the country in our student-centred approach to education. Our emphasis on student wellbeing is a major point of difference compared to other medical programs.”

Professor Forrest plans to extend the pastoral care and support services in place for Bond’s medical students to include counselling, resilience-building and individualised learning plans. She will also look to introduce new testing and selection processes for future students and will explore new placement opportunities in the burgeoning private healthcare sector.

Professor Forrest is also a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Educators. Through her research and publications, she will continue to focus on setting new benchmarks in medical education.

“As a medical student, particularly a post graduate student, I was frustrated that so many of the medical texts I had to read were illegible. My books are written from a learner perspective, with a view to creating better educators; the result is teachers who actually facilitate learning and ensure they are understood,” she said.

“Bond University and its Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine has bold plans for growth, expansion and innovation in the pipeline, which I relish the opportunity to contribute to.

“This growth will lead to a greater integration of clinical research and teaching, which in turn will deliver outstanding educational and translational outcomes for our students and graduates.

Bond University’s Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine, Professor Helen Chenery said Professor Forrest is ideally suited to lead the medical program’s future development.

“Kirsty’s qualifications and experience, in addition to her emotional intelligence, clarity of vision, clear communication, and holistic, student-centric approach will ensure our graduates are job-ready and well-equipped to become 21st century medical professionals.”

Professor Chenery also acknowledges, and pays tribute to, the work and dedication of out-going Dean of Medicine Professor Peter Jones.

“Kirsty is inheriting a Medical program that is in great shape thanks to the leadership of Professor Jones”, she said.

Professor Jones, who has been leading the Medical program as Head of School and then Dean of Medicine since 2011, will take up the position of Professor of Paediatric Medicine at Bond University at the beginning of 2018.

In Professor Jones’ new role, he will continue to focus on maintaining and growing the important work that has been done, under his leadership, through the Kirakira Clinical School in the Solomon Islands.

Professor Jones said he was incredibly proud of the Faculty’s capstone medical program in Kirakira.

“What started as a placement program for medical students in 2013, has grown into a multidisciplinary, inter-faculty program involving over 200 students – spanning medicine, physiotherapy, nutrition/dietetics and sustainability,” he said.

“Clinical programs like Kirakira instil a sense of social responsibility and accountability in our students, which makes them more well-rounded as practitioners, and people.”

Professor Jones will also continue his work as a clinical supervisor in Bond’s medical program and as a General Paediatrician at the Gold Coast University Hospital.