Welcome to Year 1 – congratulations on starting medicine at JCU!


Semester 1 Subjects

  • Ecology of Health 1
  • Molecules to Cells
  • Cells to Life
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Skills


Ecology of Health 1

Ecology of Health 1 is focused on the social science and public health aspects of medicine. The concepts of population health, social determinants of health, and how they relate to Indigenous and rural health outcomes are key aspects of the subject. In addition, students are introduced to the multi-disciplinary approach to healthcare that is seen in the clinical setting, with the intention of having students appreciate the teamwork and collaborative side of healthcare provision.


Molecules to Cells

Molecules to Cells seeks to impart on students an appreciation of the finer intracellular metabolic processes that underpin life. The subject commences with studies regarding how cells utilize, store and generate energy are key aspects of the subject. Closer to the end of the subject, the practical applications of molecular biology and the cell life cycle are also studied.


Cells to Life

Cells to Life introduces students to the specifics of cell structure and function, and how this leads to overall tissue structure and function. When dealing with cells, another important aspect of the subject to consider is the histology: microscopic examination of tissues and cells. In the final weeks of the subject, there is some overlap with the cell cycle content of MTC, exemplifying the integrative aspect of the course.



Endocrinology focuses on the common organs involved in endocrine function as well as normal physiology. Students are taken step by step through the actions of the hypothalamus, pituitary, and thyroid glands as well as their regulation. Items of interest include stress response, diabetes mellitus and fluid and electrolyte balance.


Clinical Skills I

Clinical Skills Sessions provide the student (as a “doctor in training”) the opportunity to practice and perfect clinical skills.

Hand Hygiene and Aseptic Technique: This workshop teaches the why, how and when of hand hygiene along with the principles of aseptic technique.

History Taking: Students are taught the structure and process of the doctor patient interview and are required to take a medical history from a volunteer patient.

Communication Skills: This workshop marries the communication skills learnt in Ecology of Health with the history taking format to provide the students with another opportunity to perfect their communication and interviewing skills.


GP Visit (mid year break)

The Year 1 GP Visit is a 9-12 hour clinical placement that occurs in the mid year break. The aim of the GP visits is to introduce the Australian health care system from the perspective of general practice and experience primary health care delivery.



Semester 2 subjects

  • Ecology of Health 2
  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Genetics and Health
  • Musculoskeletal System


Ecology of Health 2

Ecology of Health 2 builds on the foundation of knowledge of social science and public health introduced in EH1. It reinforces supportive attitudes in addressing health inequities, respect and teamwork with other health professionals and an understanding of the way that health is shaped by social, environmental and behavioural factors.


Reproductive Medicine

This module is intended to introduce students to concepts of the origin of humans, human reproduction, human development, fertility management and human ageing. These topics are explored in anatomical and physiological aspects as well as sociological aspects.


Genetics and Health

This module provides an introduction to the principles of genetics, from classical Mendelian genetics to the Human Genome Project. It introduces students to a number of common human diseases, DNA-based diagnostic technologies and emerging gene-based treatments.


Musculoskeletal System 

This module will detail the basic structural, functional, physiological and anatomical aspects of the musculoskeletal system. In particular, muscle contraction physiology is a big area, as well as detailed anatomical studies of the upper and lower limbs, including musculature, bones, blood supply and drainage.


Clinical Skills

Clinical Skills Sessions provide the student (as a “doctor in training”) the opportunity to practise and perfect clinical skills.

Vital Signs: Students will learn how to measure and record vital signs such as respiration, pulse, blood pressure and temperature and will have an appreciation for the essential role understanding normal and abnormal vital signs play in clinical practice.

Musculoskeletal Examination: Students will learn how to conduct a physical examination focusing on the musculoskeletal system using the GALS screen.  Students will describe and identify joints, anatomical planes, anatomical movements, and identify aspects of musculoskeletal function.


Year 1 Health Elective

The Year 1 Health Elective is a mandatory two (2) week elective placement which occurs at the end of the year. The Health Elective is designed to provide an opportunity for students to broaden their general knowledge of any area of health, in particular the allied health fields, or to pursue their interest in a particular subject.


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