In what is a healthy sign for medical services, Cowra’s own Dr Teena Downton has received the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) Rural Registrar of the Year Award for 2017.
Dr Downton is one of two rural GP Registrars to receive the award this year, the other being Dr Michelle Hannan who is working as a doctor with the Royal Flying Doctor Service in Mount Isa.
She received the award at a gala dinner for the Rural Medicine Australia 2017 conference, held in Melbourne.
“It is really humbling to be recognised with this award, and to be sharing it with Dr Michelle Hannan who is certainly a deserving recipient,” Dr Downton said.
Dr Downton studied Medicine at the University of Wollongong, and also holds a Diploma of Child Health from the University of Sydney and an advanced qualification in Obstetrics (DRANZCOG Advanced).
“I actually stumbled upon rural health a little by accident during my undergraduate years. Keen to make friends and a fan of the free campus BBQ, I joined my University’s Rural Health Club,” Dr Downton said.
“As I progressed through my medical degree, I said ‘yes’ to the many amazing rural opportunities that came my way, and very soon realised that rural health was where I wanted to be. It seemed unfair to me for someone’s health outcomes to be determined by where they live.”
As a medical student, she completed numerous rural placements including in Broken Hill and Katherine in the Northern Territory.
Following graduation, she completed her first years as a junior doctor at Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital. She then undertook advanced training in Obstetrics and was a Rural Generalist Trainee in Orange.
Dr Downton firmly sees her future career as being a doctor in a country community, providing obstetric services to her community and working in both primary care and the local hospital. She is also keen to continue encouraging her peers and others to consider rural medicine as a career path.
“While elements of rural practice can certainly be challenging, I absolutely love my job. I find it a real privilege to work and train in rural generalist medicine, and to care for patients across the lifespan. I wouldn't see myself doing anything else.
“Every day in rural practice is full of rewarding moments… there are always reasons why I feel truly privileged to be doing what I’m doing.”