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Your AMSA Rural Health team!


Jacoba Van Wees

Jacoba grew up in the Gippsland region of rural Victoria. She is a third year postgraduate student at Monash University, and after spending the first two years of her medical degree back in Gippsland, she is spending a year in the big smoke of Melbourne. This is Jacoba’s second year with AMSA Rural, and in her new role of Chair, Jacoba aims to advocate for equal opportunities for those passionate about rural health, for rural communities to receive top quality healthcare, and hopes to encourage other medical students to #gorural. Jacoba’s enthusiasm for rural health stems from her rural upbringing, her experiences as a rural medical student, and a strong belief in equitable healthcare for all. When not studying or in the hospital, Jacoba enjoys spending time with her family pets, hiking, and drinking excessive amounts of coffee. 


Imogen Hines

Imogen hails from Sydney but has recently moved to the beautiful Riverina town of Wagga Wagga in NSW to complete her clinical years. Her passion for rural health stems from her love of the country and her belief that your postcode shouldn't determine your health. Imogen joined AMSA Rural in 2018 because rather than complain, she wanted to be proactively involved in improving the situation and looks forward to building on this in 2019 as the Vice Chair. In her spare time Imogen enjoys riding her track bike, eating cheese and has recently taken up baking

Her vice-chair role involves working with the AMSA national advocacy team on behalf of rural students and the current and future rural workforce, based on AMSA's Rural Health Policies.


Sarah Clark

Sarah is a proud Gunnedah NSW girl, currently in her fifth year of medicine at UNSW’s Rural Clinical School in Wagga Wagga. Sarah’s passion for rural health began in her hometown, where she watched everyone face multiple challenges in receiving healthcare. Moving to Sydney for uni, she realised how much easier it was to access appropriate and exemplary healthcare, and she wanted to make a change! One day she hopes to be a rural general paediatrician and teach medical students like she has been taught in Wagga. Sarah is re-claiming her role as Secretary from 2017 this year, and she hopes to continue to fight for equitable health care no matter where someone lives, while also helping the whole AMSA Rural Health team function smoothly! When she’s not being a medical student, Sarah enjoys walking her dog Benji, running, being VERY social (preferably over caffeine) and watching children’s movies and reciting the lines in the appropriate voices.


Jessica Paynter

Jess hails from a small town called Nyah in North West Victoria and is a Extended Rural Cohort student at Monash University. She joined RHC in 2019 after having a great time as secretary of the RHS18 committee which was held in Albury 2018. She joined the committee because she wanted to continue to advocate for the health needs of rural Australians and work with like-minded peers. She's interested in rural health due to an interest in general medicine (rather than super subspecialised). Having grown up in a rual area she plans to work rurally and is aware of the health challenges faced by rural Australians. Outside of medicine she enjoys a lot of endurance and team sports.

As the treasurer this year she will be working with all members of the RHC team to make sure their projects are well supported.


Brigid King
Events Officer 

Brigid is currently a final year medical student at the University of Queensland's Rural Clinical School Bundaberg. Exploring rural Queensland and meeting passionate doctors and medical students in various rural locations have been some of the highlights of her medical degree. Outside of her study Brigid takes full advantage of living in the beautiful Wide Bay region (and the Queensland weather) and can be found swimming or reading a book on the beach.

With a passion for being involved in inspiring events, as Events Officer this year Brigid hopes to ensure rural health continues to be well represented at AMSA events as well as to broaden AMSA RHC's engagement with external rural health conferences.


Elli Izrailov
Publications Officer

Elli is a third-year postgraduate student originally from Melbourne and currently placed in the fantastic town Traralgon (East Gippsland, Victoria). Elli joined the Rural Health Committee due to a love of volunteering, writing and rural health. His rural heath passion began in his first year of medical school and he looks forward to continuing to learn and develop his passion through networking as a part of the committee.

As the publications officer this year, he hopes to expand the readership of Landscape and Fronteir to the wider medical community to educate metropoitan students about the opportunities of rural health and lifestyle.


Dayna Duncan
Promotions Officer

Dayna is coming into the promotions role having been a co-convenor of the AMSA Rural Health Summit in 2018 and an academic officer for the summit in 2017. Her passion for rural health was sparked by growing up in the farming community of Arno Bay in South Australia, and having spent her third year of medicine in Albury, NSW. 

She hopes that in her role as promotions officer in 2019 that she can help to share the work of the AMSA Rural Health team through our social media channels, and raise awareness in the student population about rual health issues and opportunities.


Danial Mahon
Rural Health Summit Convenor

Dan moved from a small country town in WA to study medicine at JCU in Far North QLD. He is currently in his fourth year in Cairns and is excited to pursue a career working rurally. As Co-Convenor of AMSA’s Rural Health Summit, Dan is looking forward to welcoming similar minded students to tropical Cairns in September for a weekend of networking, engaging academic sessions and unique social events. Dan and Keegan have a fantastic RHS team and work collaboratively with the Rural Health team to further AMSA’s Rural Health agenda.

As a convenor, Daniel oversees the logistics, socials, publications & promotions portfolios.


Keegan Coomer
Rural Health Summit Convenor

Keegan grew up in the outer suburbs of Brisbane but now lives in Townsville, North Queensland. He is in his 5th year of medicine at James Cook University and has been involved in rural healthcare as a student since his first year in 2015. Travelling to rural and remote towns in NSW and QLD for placement inspired him to become more invested in the health of rural Australians and to experience everything rural life has to offer. Keegan applied for the RHS19 Co-Convenor position with the aim to highlight the benefits and opportunities that living and working in Tropical North Queensland can present, and to inspire all medical students across the country to consider North Queensland for future practice! In his spare time, Keegan enjoys camping, aerial photography and fitness. 

As a convenor, Keegan oversees the academics, sponsorship and treasury portfolios.


Shannon Gao
Member Without Portfolio

Shannon is in her fourth year of study at Monash University. Growing up in the big bustling town of Sydney, she never truly felt a connection to her community until she understood her first year-long placement in the tiny town of Mildura - a place that accepted and welcomed her without hesitation. Witnessing firsthand the healthcare disparities between rural and metropolitan hospitals, and the issues prevalent in rural communities that arise due to a lack of resources, her passion for rural health has increased exponentially. Shannon is currently based in Bendigo, and in her free time enjoys cooking, baking and a good coffee.

As an MWP, Shannon hopes to advocate and promote the benefits of practicing rural medicine and raise awareness about the unique challenges in rural healthcare. Her specific project at the moment is creating an education module for medical students.


Andrew Baker
Member Without Portfolio

Andrew hails from the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, and is in 5th year at The University of Adelaide. He has a passion for rural medicine, particularly for improving access to specialist care for Australians outside metropolitan centres. Growing up in a town with rapidly increasing access to specialist care showed Andrew how much this benefitted the community, and made him want to make a difference in this area. Andrew is a keen cyclist, which allows him to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and get into the calmer surrounds of the Adelaide Hills. Music is his other passion, playing in various jazz groups in Adelaide and back home in rural New South Wales.


Katie Blunt
Member Without Portfolio

Katie is a final year medical student at Monash University and member of the Extended Rural Cohort. Despite growing up in metropolitan Melbourne and in California, her two years of clinical placement in north-western Victoria has instilled in her a love of rural lifestyle and a passion for rural health. She aspires to harness the 'power of privilege' that she feels is inherent in our future roles as health practitioners to improve the health outcomes of patients in rural settings. She also hopes to develop the understanding of her metropolitan-based colleagues about the career and lifestyle opportunities available in rural Australia. She also has a budding interest in Women's Health. Outside of medicine, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, exercising and reading and works part-time as a pool lifeguard.

As an MWP, Katie is working currently in a rural health educational module in collaboration with health professionals, other members of the AMSA Rural and wider AMSA team.


Illie Hewitt
Member Without Portfolio

Illie is from  Parkes, in Central West NSW and her interest in rural medicine stems from growing up in a rural area and seeing first hand the inequalities that exist for family and friends in central NSW. Illie's role on the committee in 2019 is member without portfolio, and she is pursuing a project in advocacy in maternal health. She is particularly interested in the issues surrounding closure of rural maternity departments and centralisation of services leaving our rural and regional women at a massive disadvantage hundreds of kilometres from essential services.