Griffith partners in Medicine  

Carissa and Michael Holland

Living and studying together is par for the course for Griffith Medicine students  Michael and Carissa Holland.

The newly-wed couple from the Gold Coast, are both in their third year of a  Doctor of Medicine at Griffith  and are passionate about their chosen profession.

Currently on a year-long placement at the Kingaroy Hospital in the Darling Downs as part of the rural Longlook program, the couple are used to running into each other during rotations.

“We bump into each other fairly regularly,” says Michael, 26. “The great thing about doing a rural placement is that you get lots of real hands-on experience with our own assigned patients and thinking of our own management and treatment plans. You don’t always get that working as a student doctor in the more metropolitan hospitals.

“Here we have the fortune to be one-on-one with our supervisors and undertake lots of patient interaction which is great.”

Work in a rural community

“I’ve relished the experience of working in a rural community,” says Carissa, 23. “I am very passionate about mental health and interested in a career in psychiatry. Working in Kingaroy has deepened my awareness of the many factors influencing mental health within a rural setting.”

Having met in the first year of their respective undergraduate programs, Michael says they have a great working relationship, as well as being a happy couple.

“Coming to Griffith to study Medicine is a fantastic opportunity for Carissa and I. Our ways of thinking about and studying medicine differ, but complement each other. We have different strengths which allow us to support one another through the challenges we face.”

Both Michael and Carissa also continue to work as prosectors for the Griffith University Body Donation Program.  A prosector is a person with the special task of preparing anatomical specimens for demonstration.

The Griffith University Body Donation Program is run by the University’s School of Anatomy and accepts human body donations for the purposes of anatomical research and education.

“Anatomy forms the basis of medicine. Our patients are real people, therefore it makes sense to experience the texture and tactile sensation of real body tissue through our learning”, says Carissa

“This is a unique program at Griffith that many other university medical schools do not have and the students have the utmost respect for the body donations that are made,” says Michael.

“Donating your body to a program such as this is the ultimate selfless act and it is humbling to be working and studying within the program,” says Carissa.

Head of the School of Anatomy, Professor Mark  Forwood says the program supports the education of health students in disciplines such as medicine, medical science, pharmacy, physiotherapy, exercise science, dentistry and oral health.

Body donations vitally important

“Body donations from the local community are vitally important so our health students can receive practical training in human anatomy,” he says.

“The generosity of body donors, our state-of the-art anatomy facilities, and committed teachers ensure our students receive the very best preparation for their chosen careers.”

Professor Forwood adds that although not everyone will be suitable to be a body donor at the time of their death – maybe as a result of unsuitable body mass or evidence of previous infectious illness – they should not ever feel that they are unworthy of being a donor.

“We are always extremely appreciative of all enquiries to donate to the program however there are certain guidelines which need to be met in order to meet requirements for teaching and research purposes.”

Over 1400 Griffith University first year students use the facility every year.

For more information about Griffith’s Body Donation program: 07 5678 7700 or email   sch-anatomy@griffith.edu.au

Griffith University Body Donation Program donors will be remembered at its 10th annual memorial service at the Gold Coast Arts Centre, starting at 6pm on Thursday July 19.

WHEN: July 19 from 6pm. WHERE: Paradise Show Room, Home of the Arts, 135 Bundall Road, Surfers Paradise. For attendance, please contact on above number in the first instance.