After nearly 10 years of back and forth, hoping, dreaming and fighting for it, construction began this month on the School of Rural Medicine at Charles Sturt University Orange campus.
For the school's Dean of Rural Medicine Professor Lesley Forster, it's an exciting time.
"We can do this," she said.
Prof Forster is in charge of bringing together the medical school, having moved to Orange from Sydney for the role late in 2019, and she said it was "an honour" to be the one to put it into practice.
"I started with a complete blank slate, an awful lot of people have done an awful lot of work to get this year. People have believed in it for 10 years and fought for it. To be given the trust to make the dream a reality is an honour but it's also exciting," she said.
Prof Forster has funnelled all her energy into trying to get it off the ground to help bring more doctors to regional Australia, which she said is already facing a huge shortage of medical professionals outside major centres.
I want to see those kids walking in the door for the first time.Professor Lesley Forster
"There are a number of doctors in small towns who are the one doctor in town, on call 24/7, they're tired but they can't even leave to take a holiday," she said.
"They feel so strongly associated with their community that they don't go. They might like to retire but don't feel like they can.
"Rural communities are in dire straits and I'm sure you're aware there's a total imbalance between the need for healthcare and the availability for healthcare."
Helping replace doctors who may be looking towards retirement or bringing doctors to places which haven't had them for a long time is what's driving Prof Forster, and training students from the bush is her aim for when the doors open in 2021.
Bringing those doctors to regional areas will take time - the better part of a decade - but she knows it'll be a long, slow burn.
"All the research shows if you get kids who come from the bush and train them early they're the most likely who will stay there," she said.
It's this passion which has brought her to Orange after a job as Dean of Rural Medicine at UNSW, in a similar role which aimed to bring doctors to the bush.
She's thrown herself into her work so much she hasn't had time to explore the region, although she admits she's slowly started discovering restaurants and cafes - although will pass on two of the things Orange is famous for in coffee and wine.
"In fact I don't drink coffee or alcohol any more. I'm the most boring person in the world, my husband thinks," she said laughing.
"I've sworn off them and actually feel so much better for it."
The early impression of Orange was of a "beautiful" town, but the heat, dust and smoke through December haven't enticed her into exploring as much as she would have liked, but she, her husband and their three dogs have found themselves at home.
While exploring the region is on her list for 2020, there's a big checklist to tick off through the year at the CSU site including finding staff, overseeing the construction of the building, beginning admissions and more - her eyes are set on February 2021.
"I want to see those kids walking in the door for the first time," Prof Forster said.
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