Students from La Trobe University’s oral health program in Bendigo will complete their final placement in Mildura, as part of a push to better prepare them for work in rural communities.

Five final-year students completing a Bachelor of Oral Health have been on placement in Mildura for the past two weeks, with another eight to arrive over the next month.

From 2022 up to 30 students will be based in Mildura for a few weeks during the final year of their degree.

Head of Dentistry and Oral Health at La Trobe University, Associate Professor Rachel Martin, said the work placement arrangement is a win for the University, local community, and rural Australia in general.

“Like many rural Australian cities, Mildura is in need of highly skilled oral health therapists, which is why we are giving our students a rich and varied experience there,” Prof. Martin said.

“When many of them graduate and head to rural and regional communities to work, they will have a deep understanding of the needs of culturally diverse rural communities.”

Oral health graduates are in high demand in dental practice, but also settings such as community health centres, hospitals, aged care and Aboriginal health services.

La Trobe students have been practising their health promotion skills in Mildura-based organisations such as the Christie Centre, Sunraysia Community Health Services and Chaffey Aged Care.

Student Amira Badaway says she chose to study oral health science because she loves working with people and has a passion for healthcare in a hands-on setting.