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Increasing diversity at the cost of decreasing equity? Issues raised by the establishment of Australia’s first religiously affiliated medical school

Ian H Kerridge, Christopher F C Jordens, Wendy L Lipworth and Rachel A X Ankeny
Med J Aust 2005; 183 (1): 28-30.
Published online: 4 July 2005

Medical education in Australia is about to undergo major changes, with the founding of six new medical schools, including the first private medical school and the first religiously affiliated medical school in Australia. The establishment of medical schools at Bond University on the Gold Coast, Queensland, and the University of Notre Dame in Fremantle, Western Australia, are particularly noteworthy developments. A recent article in the Journal claimed the new medical schools will foster diversity and are commited to fill “particular workforce needs”.1 We argue that increasing the range of options for medical education is not an unquestionable good, as it may threaten academic freedom and equity in medical education as well as just provision of health care. This article aims to stimulate awareness, conversation and debate on these issues, not only within the medical community but in the wider Australian community.

  • Ian H Kerridge1
  • Christopher F C Jordens2
  • Wendy L Lipworth3
  • Rachel A X Ankeny4

  • 1 Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine, University of Sydney, NSW.
  • 2 Unit for History and Philosophy of Science, University of Sydney, NSW.

Correspondence: ikerridge@ehlc.net

Acknowledgements: 

This paper was generated from discussions held with colleagues at the Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine and the Unit for History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Sydney, particularly Wendy Hu, Tamra Lysaght, Catherine McGrath, John McPhee, Kathleen Montgomery, Lawrence Schneiderman and Michael Selgelid.

Competing interests:

The Centre for Values, Ethics and the Law in Medicine provided comment to the Australian Medical Council on aspects of the University of Notre Dame of Australia’s proposal for accreditation.

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