It was his four years of voluntary work with Médecins Sans Frontières on the Iranian-Afghan border that made Iranian-born doctor Hadi Nojoumian aware of the difficulties in providing high-quality health care to people in rural, remote, and disadvantaged areas. Now, after establishing his career as a cardiologist in Sydney, he has moved to Armidale – drawn by the reputation of the regionally-based Joint Medical Program (JMP), which includes a School of Rural Medicine at the University of New England.
“When I found out about this program I was very excited,” Dr Nojoumian said. “It’s enabling medical students to receive top-class training in a country area – making it more likely that they will go on to practice in the country.”
“At the same time, I found out that there was a need for a cardiology physician in Armidale,” he said. Hence his arrival in Armidale last month as a Senior Lecturer at UNE’s School of Rural Medicine and a Visiting Medical Officer (as cardiologist and physician) at Armidale Hospital for Hunter New England Health – a Local Health District that is also a partner in the JMP. The Joint Medical Program is an expansion of the highly successful University of Newcastle medical program in partnership with the University of New England, Hunter New England Health and Central Coast Health.
Dr Nojoumian has enjoyed working with junior medical staff at Armidale Hospital over the past month, and is looking forward to meeting his UNE students next year. “I’ll be working with fourth and fifth-year medical students training at the hospital,” he said, “and participating in third-year students’ problem-based learning at the University.”
Professor Peter McKeown, Head of UNE’s School of Rural Medicine, said he was proud to be able to add Dr Nojoumian to the growing list of clinical specialists on the staff of UNE. “He brings to the community a very high level of clinical expertise that was not previously available in the New England region,” Professor McKeown said, “and combines that with a commitment to undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. Dr Nojoumian is a key member of the growing UNE specialist medical group providing services to the community.”
Hunter New England Health Chief Executive Michael DiRienzo said the appointment of Dr Nojoumian would further strengthen both Armidale’s specialist medical services and the Joint Medical Program.
“Our commitment to the Joint Medical Program allows us to both enhance medical services at Armidale Hospital and enrich the teaching environment Armidale Hospital provides to doctors in training,” Mr DiRienzo said. “Building strong services in the Armidale community is a priority for Hunter New England Health, so we are pleased our partnership with UNE’s School of Rural Medicine (within the Joint Medical Program) is allowing us to consistently attract high-calibre staff to the region.”
Born and brought up in Iran, where he completed his undergraduate medical training at Mashad University, Dr Nojoumian migrated to Australia in 2000. After working for a year as a lecturer in anatomy at the University of Sydney’s medical school, he moved to Grafton where, over the next two years, he gained experience as a regionally-based GP. For the following seven years he worked at Sydney’s Royal North Shore Hospital, where he completed his cardiology training, and then spent a year at the St George Hospital in Sydney as an Interventional Cardiology Fellow before his move to Armidale.
That move will be complete when his wife and two daughters, aged eleven and seven, travel from Sydney to join him within the next few weeks.
Media contact: Leon Braun (UNE public relations) on (02) 6773 3771.