USQ has entered into a collaboration agreement with the University of California, Riverside’s (UC Riverside) School of Medicine, USA, to explore opportunities to use technology to enhance communities in both countries. The two universities hope to use innovative technological initiatives to support and encourage development in regional communities.

The agreement will build on existing work by USQ’s Professor Stephen Winn and UC Riverside’s Dr Gerald Maguire (Associate Dean of Graduate Medical Education) surrounding the use of technology to make up a shortfall in healthcare and educational opportunities in regional communities, compared to their metropolitan counterparts.

Professor Winn travelled to California for the signing the week of 1 November, where he met with UC Riverside leaders including Provost/Executive Vice-Chancellor Cynthia K. Larive, Vice Provost of International Affairs Kelechi Kalu and School of Medicine Dean Deborah Deas.

As part of the memorandum of cooperation, USQ and UC Riverside will share ideas, participate in research and academic collaborations, and exchange faculty members, research fellows and students.

“It centres on the concept of schools as communities, working with schools and teachers to affect positive changes in children and supporting parents, particularly when it comes to health and well-being,” said Professor Winn.

“We’re using technology like synchronised video conferencing as a point of connection – to bring our shared expertise to those who need it.”

Professor Winn said they will continue to develop and enhance videoconferencing connections between California and Queensland that will focus education and health issues.

“Schools in towns such as Quilpie or Kingaroy would have the opportunity to receive world-leading expertise on topics such as well-being, resilience, neuroscience, diet, functional foods and teacher, student, parent and carer engagement linking to schools as ‘communities’ for positive affect,” he said.

“Likewise, USQ’s work in fields such as Maker Space, online learning and engagement, and functional foods can be transmitted to inland Californian communities – we have a great deal of knowledge to share.”

Dean of UC Riverside School of Medicine Dr Deborah Deas said she was very excited by the international collaboration, the first of its kind for the School.

“The exchange of ideas certainly will give us that platform for offering diverse opinions and diverse ways of doing things,” she said.

“We know diversity is certainly a tool for excellence, and we look forward to getting this collaboration started.”

Read more about Geraldine McKenzie here.