The UC Irvine School of Medicine has agreed to collaborate with Australia’s University of New England in transforming medical education through the use of technologies supported by that country’s National Broadband Network.

UNE’s School of Rural Medicine will integrate many aspects of UCI’s innovative iMedEd Initiative in developing cutting-edge clinical training and distance-learning programs. The two campuses will also exchange students in this effort.

As part of its iMedEd Initiative, UCI’s School of Medicine is reinventing the traditional curriculum for the 21st century, becoming the first in the nation to build a completely digital, interactive learning environment with the iPad computer platform. Also the first to train students with handheld ultrasound units, the school features state-of-the-art simulation and distance-learning centers.

“Together, we will be working to prepare today’s students to meet the medical needs of tomorrow,” said Dr. Gerald Maguire, UCI’s senior associate dean of medical education. “In addition to formal student exchanges, we will lead the use of medical simulation, bedside ultrasound and mobile devices to enhance medical education and achieve economies of scale.”

A participant in Australia’s National Broadband Network, UNE will incorporate UCI’s iPad-based learning, medical simulation, portable ultrasound and distance-learning technologies. Located in the rural city of Armidale, in northern New South Wales, UNE partners with the University of Newcastle — more than three hours away — in a joint medical education program to improve healthcare in more remote regions of the country.

“This is an exciting collaboration with UCI, as it allows us to use the NBN to support and enhance student learning and, ultimately, provide better medical care for the wider community,” said UNE Vice Chancellor Jim Barber.

Victor Minichiello, pro vice chancellor and dean of the faculty of the professions, added: “It will demonstrate the practical benefits of utilizing the NBN for health education. For example, we can access the NBN’s ability to transfer audio, video and large data sets simultaneously for medical simulation. Our collaboration will make a difference in health education and promote innovation in healthcare.”

UCI’s School of Medicine teaches more than 400 students and trains more than 600 residents and fellows annually at UC Irvine Medical Center and affiliated institutions.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County’s largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4.2 billion. For more UCI news, visit

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