Medical Education

The Foundation’s Medical Education program provides many opportunities for medical students, post-graduate and PhD students, registrars and health professionals.

The program aims to support experience and training for those already providing, or those aiming to provide, health services in remote and rural areas of Australia and in countries outside Australia with a clear need for medical specialist assistance.

James Cook University Specialist Elective (Clinical Placements) Program

This part of the Medical Education Program offers medical students at James Cook University (JCU) in Queensland the opportunity to spend their sixth year final term elective with a number of Canberra’s top medical specialists. This provides insight and experience in environments including operating theatres, laboratories and consulting rooms that would otherwise be difficult to access.

edprogram2Specialties covered include Orthopaedics, ENT, Urology, Obstetrics, Gynaecology, Ophthalmology, Anaesthetics, Intensive Care, Plastic Surgery, Vascular Surgery, General Surgery, Paediatrics, IVF & Fertility, Radiology and Pathology.  Students are also given an introduction to medico-legal issues and have the opportunity to attend classes in anatomy.

The JCU Medical School circulates a call for applications for the program early each calendar year. Indigenous medical students are particularly encouraged to apply.  Three or four students are selected each year.

The Foundation pays for each student’s return airfare between Townsville (or the other JCU Campus locations) and Canberra, shared accommodation (with the other participating students) and a shared car for the two month duration of the program.

The value of these benefits for each student is approximately $6,000, but the experience is priceless.

For interested JCU students:

 James Cook University School of Medicine and DentistryJames Cook University

James Cook University offers a six  year undergraduate degree in medicine and surgery (MBBS). The course is full time and is based in Townsville for the first four years. Years 5 and 6 are devoted entirely to clinical practice and the majority of students are required to relocate to other JCU School of Medicine teaching sites in Cairns, Mackay and Darwin for the entire two years.

The School of Medicine takes a community-oriented approach to medical education, emphasising active learning in the region’s health and community service system. Over the six year program, students undertake at least one four-week placement and two eight-week placements in rural settings across northern Queensland in urban, rural and Indigenous community settings.  At the end of the program, graduates are uniquely qualified in the fields of rural, remote and Indigenous heath and tropical medicine.

anu_logo_320John Curtin School of Medical Research

The John James Foundation sponsors a research scholarship at the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University in Canberra, which provides financial assistance over a three year period to the selected student.  The Foundation has also supported other student activities and research at the John Curtin School of Medical Research.

ANU Health Law Prize 2012ANU Medical School

The Foundation provides a scholarship for an Indigenous medical student at the ANU Medical School.  The scholarship was first awarded in 2012 and now has its first graduate, Sean Barrett (pictured, left). In 2017 the second scholarship was awarded to science graduate Stephanie Pollard. The scholarship provides $18,000 a year and means students can focus on studying rather than having to work to support themselves at the same time.

Front page image: The Foundation’s 2017 ANU Indigenous Medical Student Scholarship recipient Stephanie Pollard with Chairman Prof Paul Smith (left) and Director A/Prof David Hardman.

Tony Ayers Prize for Excellence in Research in Translational Medicine

Introduced in 2014, the $5,000 Tony Ayers Prize is awarded annually to a researcher at ANU’s College of Medicine, Biology and Environment. It  recognises a scientist who has made a significant contribution to translational research, moving from ‘bench to bedside’ to transform science breakthroughs into clinical application. The award is named in honour of longtime John James Hospital and Foundation Board Member Mr Tony Ayers AC who died in April 2016. The winner is also invited to present a public lecture at the award ceremony.


The 2016 Tony Ayers prize was awarded to Professor Robyn Lucas, Director, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population, Research School of Population Health, for her work on the relationship between sun exposure, vitamin D and multiple sclerosis. Prof Lucas’s work focuses on clinical trials to test the effects of sun exposure or vitamin D supplements on the prevention of multiple sclerosis in high risk populations.

Prof Lucas presented a free public lecture about her work on 31 October 2016.  For more about Prof Lucas and her research into MS click here.


In 2015 the Tony Ayers Prize was awarded to Dr Anselm Enders for his work in researching primary human immunodeficiencies, a diverse group of diseases caused by mutations in more than 200 different genes. While each disease is relatively rare, collectively the diseases affect up to 1 in 5,000 people and because of their chronic nature can have a significant effect on individuals, families and the health system as a whole.


The inaugural winner in 2014 was Dr Anneke Blackburn, an expert in the use of an inexpensive, non-toxic drug known as DCA as a cancer therapy. Dr Blackburn’s pre-clinical studies on the effect of DCA on breast cancer was extended to include work on colon cancer, prostate cancer, sarcomas and multiple myeloma and resulted in the first clinical trial of the drug with multiple myeloma patients in Australia at The Canberra Hospital in 2014.

Dr Blackburn’s research is investigating how metabolism controls the ability of cancer cells to grow, spread and resist cell death. The results will be used to target cancer cells with DCA, with the potential to offer additional treatment options for people with recurrent cancer.


 ANU Health Law Prize

2012 Health Law prize

Joint winner of the 2012 Health Law Prize Kai Ito with Foundation Chairman Professor Paul Smith. The other winner was Kathleen McVay.

Starting in 2002, the Foundation sponsored a prize for the Bachelor of Laws student at ANU who achieved the best result in that year in the Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights course offered by the College of Law.


2013 – Gavin Wendt

2012 – Isabel Roper
2011 – Kai Ito and Kathleen McVay
2010 – Rebecca Aspbury
2009 – Philippa Webb
2008 – Megan Chalmers
2007 – Timothy Vines
2006 – Daniel Crowe
2005 – Danielle Noble
2004 – Bronwyn Sharp, Peter Le Mesurier and Melanie Mulquiney
2003 – Amelia Buchanan
2002 – Emma Therese Lawrence, Paul Greenwood and Dean Stretton

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