Interplast sends a team of plastic and reconstructive surgeons, anaesthetists, nurses and allied health professionals to provide free reconstructive surgery and medical training to communities in need.
The Avant and Interplast Student Placement Program each year gives one medical student an opportunity of a lifetime to experience the important work the volunteer team do to rebuild lives.
The lucky recipient will have a chance to travel with the Interplast team to observe their essential work and also immerse themselves in a different culture, and see what’s possible in healthcare.
One prize will be awarded for a trip to an Asia-Pacific destination (as confirmed by Interplast). Flights, accommodation, meals and insurance will be provided by Avant*.
Applications for the 2019 Avant and Interplast Student Placement Program are now open.
To be eligible to apply for this student placement, you must be:
- A current member of Avant over 18 years of age, with a current Avant Student Indemnity Insurance policy at the time of the prize draw; and
- An Australian and New Zealand citizen or permanent resident of Australia who is based in Australia.
- Student Placement Program applications open: 26 August 2019
- Student Placement Program applications close: 25 October 2019
- Winners announced: 29 November 2019
- The competition is free to enter.
- Complete and submit the entry form available online.
- Late entries will not be considered.
- Only one entry is permitted per Avant member.
Avant and Interplast – helping rebuild lives
Interplast is a not-for-profit organisation working to improve the quality of life for people with a disability resulting from congenital or acquired medical conditions such as; cleft lip and palate or burn scar contractures. They focus on providing free surgical treatment for patients, who would otherwise not be able to afford these services.
Through the Avant and Interplast Student Placement Program, Avant recognises the critical work of Interplast in changing not only the lives of their patients, but the medical students who take part in the program.
Learn more about Interplast.
Charlie Jeong | 2018 recipient
A severed hand, shark bite, burns and cleft palates, these are just some of the injuries and congenital conditions that Charlie Jeong witnessed first-hand during his time with the Interplast volunteer surgical team.
Charlie, a medical student from the University of Newcastle was the lucky recipient of the 2018 Avant and Interplast Student Placement program. In March 2019 he travelled to Fiji to observe the life changing work of the Interplast team.
This is Charlie’s diary of his experiences.
Julie Graham | 2017 recipient
2017 program recipient, Julie Graham from James Cook University, Queensland, describes in her diary her inspiring experience in Tonga.
Wednesday 21 February 2018
The long-awaited day has arrived! My excitement for this opportunity has been steadily building for weeks and I’m eager to meet the Interplast surgical team I’ll be working with during my placement.
After category four Cyclone Gita tore through Tonga the week before, I was anxious about whether the trip would go ahead as planned— thankfully though I’m told we have the “all clear” to head over.
I’m warmly welcomed by the team (two plastic surgeons, two anaesthetists, two nurses and one physiotherapist) at Sydney Airport.
We board our five-hour flight and arrive at our accommodation at 2am in the morning. We’re pleasantly surprised to see that power has already been restored post-cyclone and promptly head to sleep knowing we have quite a day ahead of us.
Read more about Julie’s experience of a lifetime.
Nicole Batten | 2016 recipient
Thanks to this trip, I now have a sought-after elective plastic surgery placement at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. I'm so grateful for the entree Interplast has given me into global surgery.
Morgan Haines | 2015 recipient
Medical student, Morgan Haines, won our 2015 Avant and Interplast Student Placement Program. She travelled to Labasa Hospital in Fiji, where she worked with an Interplast team of two plastic surgeons, two anaesthetists and two nurses.
On day one, the team got straight to work. After meeting local medical staff and Ministry of Health representatives, Morgan and the team set up theatres. The immersive experience included ward rounds, observing the many patients requiring plastic and reconstructive surgery. They also conducted a pre-op clinic for around 60 outpatients that otherwise could not be seen by Fiji’s sole plastic surgeon.
Morgan witnessed the vast difference in conditions between Australian and Fijian hospitals – along with the incredible work of the Interplast team:
- Pathology results that in Australia would be reported in a matter of hours, take six weeks in Fiji.
- The Interplast team performed 34 surgeries in one day!
- No air-conditioning in the wards and only partitions dividing beds made infection control a challenge in the tropical heat.
Morgan’s experience had a profound effect on her, as she says:
“I’ll never forget the awe and excitement I feel when the Fijian baby’s lip comes together so neatly in the first cleft lip repair I have witnessed. I’m amazed that the trajectory of this child’s life has changed so dramatically – problems eating, speaking and socialising have been virtually eliminated in a two-hour procedure. And almost as heartwarming is watching the parents meet their child post-operation… it’s so special.”
Morgan has since gone on to pursue plastic surgery at Royal Melbourne Hospital.
*Location may change at Interplast’s discretion. Exact dates to be confirmed and may be subject to change. Applicants must be a current member of Avant who is over 18 and have a current Avant Student Indemnity Policy at the time of the prize draw. The promoter of the competition is Avant Mutual Group Limited (Avant) (ABN 58 123 154 898) of Level 6, Tower 3 Darling Park, 201 Sussex Street, Sydney NSW 2000. Interplast is Interplast Australia and New Zealand (ACN 006 155 193).
If you would like to find out more about the Avant and Interplast Student Placement Program, fill out and submit this form. We will respond to your enquiry as soon as possible.