Each year generous Hobart families with newborn babies open their doors to University of Tasmania medical students, as part of the Kids and Families Program.

A unique and important part of training for students, the School of Medicine program has run for more than a decade and involved more than 1,000 families and 1,200 medical students.

The program connects students with families who have just had, or are about to have a baby, through a series of home visits.

Program coordinator Dr Brigid McKenna said the program gave students the chance to witness the development of a child and learn about the family’s journey, challenges and experiences.

Some of these students have never held a baby,

“Over the two years the students see tremendous changes in the development of that little person.”

The Rodman family, who took part in the program.

To keep running, the program requires around 40 new volunteer families a year.

Individual students are matched with a family who they then visit seven times over a two-year period.

Dr McKenna said the experience had received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the families involved.

She said the program was about giving students a family’s perspective, which would benefit them greatly in their future medical careers.

It is about seeing things from the family’s perspective – what it is like to have a new baby in the home, what it is like visiting the doctor with a small baby/child, what families see as positive qualities in a doctor.

Students follow the progress of a child over a 2-year period. They do this through at home visits to a family, along with a series of online tutorials and seminars.

The Kids and Families Program is an important part of the training of medical students (trainee doctors) at the Faculty of Health School of Medicine. It introduces students to normal childhood and the importance of the family. It is the first long-term professional relationship that medical students have.

For further information on how to get involved click here.

Or interested in a career in Health Sciences and Community Care or  Medicine?