Medical student support project – enabling our future doctors to thrive

Ms Catherine Fitzgerald1

1The University Of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

There is growing awareness that medical students experience unique and significant stressors throughout their program which have the potential to adversely affect their mental and physical health, as well as their academic progression. International medical students face these challenges and more, as they manage high-stakes registration exams, competitive residency programs and other issues, away from their usual supports. In 2018 the Faculty of Medicine and Student Services worked together to develop the Medical Student Support Strategy in response to student feedback and community concerns regarding doctor’s health and well-being. UQ is home to the largest medical school in Australia, and the Medical Student Support Strategy is a brand-new approach, providing comprehensive support systems and structures to a targeted cohort.  A central component of the Strategy has been the creation of the Medical Student Support Team (MSST), working out of Student Services, but embedded within the Faculty, the first arrangement of its kind at UQ. The MSST has been tasked with providing one-to-one well-being support to medical students, as well as broader preventative and educational support to staff and students within the Faculty to promote positive, widespread cultural and curriculum change.   International students have been the largest cohort to access the MSST, and since becoming operational in 2018 we have seen a marked increase in student satisfaction, as well as increased engagement with support services. This presentation will provide insight into what we have learnt so far, what has worked, and how challenges have been overcome in supporting such a diverse cohort.


Catherine has been a Student Advisor in the Medical Student Support team, UQ Student Services, since its inception in 2018. Prior to this she worked as an International Student Advisor in the same office, and has a background in crisis support and homelessness.

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