Faces of Tamworth: Dr Jenny May

RESULTS ARE IN: Dr Jenny May (right) with two of her many past students Joanna Noakes and Stephanie Smith. Photo: Gareth Gardner 250717GGA004
RESULTS ARE IN: Dr Jenny May (right) with two of her many past students Joanna Noakes and Stephanie Smith. Photo: Gareth Gardner 250717GGA004

Stories of shortfalls in the local medical ranks are all too common in regional NSW. There’s always some specialty practice we’re missing out on and the cries from the community duly mount. However, one of our local GPs has bucked that trend for Tamworth and has made it her life’s work to see more doctors retained in the bush. Here we look back to when Tamworth GP Jenny May was named rural doctor of the year.

TAMWORTH’S Dr Jenny May is at the top of her field in the country and was described as a “rare gem”.

Dr May is the 2014 Telstra Rural Doctors Association of Australia Rural Doctor of the Year.

She was recognised for her contribution to rural health on a local, regional and national level at Rural Medicine Australia 2014, the conference of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine in Sydney.

Dr May has worked as a GP for nearly 25 years, while teaching, researching and taking on leadership roles within the rural medical community.

 Dr May said she was honoured to receive the award, and accepted it on behalf of all the advocacy and leadership groups she was fortunate enough to be a part of.

“Rural medicine has offered me and my family the most wonderful opportunities and we are grateful to have been able to be part of the fabric of a number of rural communities over the course of our working lives,” she said.

Dr May said her husband, Dr Peter May, brought her to Tamworth after they graduated medical school and they have since lived and worked in rural Canada, remote parts of Western Australia and Alice Springs.

“It has been great to be able to inspire the next generation of medical students with all of the positive aspects of working in rural medicine, and it is wonderful to become such an integral part of the community as a rural doctor. My advocacy work has been an incredibly rewarding part of my career, and I am honoured to have been able to be a part of, and contribute to, a number of great organisations,” Dr May said.


New RDAA president Dr Dennis Pashen said Dr May was not only an outstanding clinician, but was enormously respected by her colleagues for her contribution to rural health education and advocacy.

“Jenny has always been passionate about rural health, and has worked hard on all levels to gain the best outcome for the health of rural communities,” Dr Pashen said.

Dr May is currently clinical dean of the University of Newcastle’s Department of Rural Health and responsible for supporting 32 medical students studying at the Rural Clinical School in Tamworth while completing her PhD studying the recruitment and retention issues affecting regional centres for both specialists and GPs.

“Dr May combines a deep passion for clinical work and her patients, alongside a drive to improve the health of all rural Australians through her advocacy work,” Dr Pashen said. 

“Jenny May is a rare gem, and we are honoured to have her in the ranks of rural doctors, and thrilled to be able to recognise her contribution with this award.”

How you can nominate someone for The Northern Daily Leader's Faces of Tamworth campaign