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The benefits of an academic post

22 August 2017

Dr Phoebe Holdenson Kimura, a GP in the Atherton Tablelands with interests in rural health, mental health and women’s health, undertook an academic post as part of her general practice training, and encourages registrars with an interest in research and teaching to consider doing the same.

Dr Holdenson Kimura completed GP training in the Tablelands region, with placements at Mareeba Medical Clinic, the Alice Street Medical Centre in Atherton, and the Mareeba Hospital.

“I chose to become a GP as I was attracted to the diversity of clinical exposure and the opportunity to forge an ongoing engagement with patients and families,” she said.

As part of her GP training, Dr Holdenson Kimura undertook an academic post, which is a training term in which registrars develop academic skills the completion of a research project, in addition to teaching and project work in the area of general practice.

An academic post usually takes 12 months to complete on a part-time basis, alongside a registrar’s general practice training, and helps build a foundation towards becoming a general practice academic or medical educator.

“I was attracted to the Australian General Practice Training academic post as it allowed me to dip into teaching and research with support and guidance. I wanted to explore whether I was suited to teaching and research as I looked ahead at the rest of my career.

“The opportunity to travel to Canberra and learn from some of the best GP researchers really attracted me to the academic post also.”

As part of her academic post, Dr Holdenson Kimura designed and conducted a study looking at the perceived barriers to accessing secondary and tertiary healthcare for patients living on the Atherton Tablelands.

“The focus of the research was interviewing practicing GPs and GP registrars, and the findings were fascinating.”

Dr Holdenson Kimura also developed teaching resources for James Cook University (JCU) medical students, as part of the teaching element of her academic post.

“I received monthly supervision of my teaching with a senior Medical Educator. We reflected on feedback from students, and discussed innovative ways to deliver medical student teaching.”

Dr Holdenson Kimura says she found the academic post to be extremely worthwhile.

“I would definitely recommend doing an academic post to other JCU registrars, it is a well-supported way to explore research and teaching within the GP context. The flexibility and independence it offered really means that you can pursue your own areas of academic interest, which is a unique opportunity.”

JCU's General Practice Training program Deputy Director Associate Professor Carole Reeve says an academic post can be a very useful opportunity for GP registrars interested in research.

“The everyday practice of GPs is based on evidence. GPs need to be able to filter, critically appraise, interpret and apply information. An academic post is a useful way to hone these critical thinking abilities, further develop research skills, and to learn more about teaching,” said Associate Professor Reeve.

JCU registrars on academic posts have completed research in areas including rheumatic heart disease, access to health care services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, rural workforce and access to health care, and have attended conferences to present their research.

“Some of our GMT academic post registrar’s attended the World Organisation of Family Doctors 2017 international conference earlier this year. GMT had six abstracts accepted at the conference and it was a wonderful opportunity for our registrars to gain experience presenting their research at an international forum,” said Associate Professor Reeve.

Dr Holdenson Kimura recently completed a Masters of Public Health with the University of New South Wales, and plans to continue using the skills she during her academic post by continuing to teach medical students and GP registrars. She is currently on maternity leave from her position at the Alice Street Medical Centre.

“I plan to work overseas in a developing world context in the next few years, and will be looking for opportunities to teach and perhaps undertake some research in that context.”

Dr Phoebe Holdenson Kimura completed her general practice training in January 2017, and is now a Fellow of the Australian College of General Practitioners.

Find out more about undertaking an academic post with JCU.

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