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JCU joins celebration of 100 years of tropical medicine



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Celebrating 100 years of tropical medicine

A special event was held in Townsville to celebrate the centenary of the official opening of Australian Institute of Tropical Medicine (AITM).

On June 28, 1913, the AITM was officially opened. This was Australia’s first independent medical research complex. The building, a Queensland Heritage Register-listed place, still exists adjacent to the old Townsville General Hospital.

The AITM was the forerunner to the newly formed Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine (AITHM), to be built at James Cook University.

The AITM was established with Dr Anton Breinl as its inaugural Director. Research undertaken by Dr Breinl and his staff of the original AITM covered Northern Australia and Papua New Guinea.

Tropical diseases such as Dengue, malaria, filariasis and hookworm were prevalent throughout much of this region, and the AITM conducted ground-breaking research in tropical medicine and population health.

Queensland Minister for Science, Information Technology, Innovation and the Arts, the Honourable Ian Walker, attended the special centenary ceremony at the Museum of Tropical Queensland.

Ian WronskiProfessor Ian Wronski, Head of JCU’s Faculty of Medicine, Health and Molecular Sciences, said the decision to form the AITM all those years ago was crucial.

“The AITM started the tradition of the very important research into tropical diseases that has carried on ever since. It is research that continues to be vital to this day,” he said.

Distinguished guests include JCU Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Sandra Harding, Emeritus Professor Rick Speare, former Director of the Anton Breinl Centre, Emeritus Professor John Pearn, Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Queensland and Medical Historian on Tropical Medicine.


James Cook University offers courses in Medicine, Health and Veterinary Sciences that reflect the commitment to the wellbeing of rural, remote, tropical and Indigenous communities.

JCU’s health courses are designed by experienced, professional staff to make a difference to the unique health issues facing northern Australia and the tropics. But graduates go further than that – pursuing career goals all over the world.

JCU’s  Bachelor of Medicine / Bachelor of Surgery is a six-year, full time undergraduate degree in medicine and surgery. It is the only full medical course in northern Australia.

JCU is still accepting applications to the JCU medical school for the February 2014 intake.  Application deadline is August 31st.

For more information the JCU’s Medical School or Australian Medical Schools in Australia contact KOM Consultants.