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ANU Medical School can be viewed as a descendant of the University of Sydney’s Canberra Clinical School. Prior to its inception in 1993, students from University of Sydney, University of NSW and University of Queensland had been coming to Canberra to complete placements at Woden Valley Hospital for several years.
Under the guidance of Professor Paul Gatenby, the Canberra Clinical School developed a strong teaching program to the point of conducting the entire final year of University of Sydney’s five year undergraduate medical degree.
When the University of Sydney introduced a four year graduate program in 1996, the school became responsible for training 20 students in the entire years three and four curriculum and parts of years one and two.
During this time, the school also took the first steps toward its current reputation for cutting-edge medical research, establishing laboratories, a tissue and organ museum and an animal house at The Canberra Hospital.
By 2000, the school had become so successful the then Minister for Health, Michael Wooldridge, deemed that ANU should establish a stand-alone medical school. The current ANU Medical School was formed in 2002 with the appointment of Professor Gatenby as Foundation Dean and funding from the Department of Health & Ageing.
Building on the University of Sydney's curriculum, the school increased the importance of rural and Indigenous health, ethics and law, the social aspects of medicine and medical science. The first 80 students of the Bachelor of Medicine / Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) graduated in 2007.