Every second year the National Rural Health Conference is held in one of Australia's regional centres and brings together current and future leaders of the nation's rural and remote health sector.
The Conference's purpose is to facilitate the exchange of information from across this huge and disparate nation, to hear about the latest developments in rural and remote health, and to network with new and old friends.
Organisers of the Conference, the NRHA, encourage people at the Conference to consider what actions by governments and others would help improve things on the ground. The Conference is seen as one of the means by which knowledge transfer can be effected: from those experiencing and operating services to the politicians and policy makers who set the context for local action.
The Conference is strongly interdisciplinary and multisectoral, and attracts health professionals of all disciplines, as well as rural/remote health consumers, students, researchers, academics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, government officials, parliamentarians and the media.
The program traditionally has a strong focus on the social determinants of health and wellbeing, and on health service delivery models that work well in more remote areas. Sessions will be arranged around key issues, not around specific professions. For instance, rather than separate streams of activity for nurses or managers or medical practitioners, Conference content might relate to such things as mental health and wellbeing, preventing avoidable hospitalisation, or the role of IT in health service delivery.
The Conference has the capacity to help set the agenda for governments and professional bodies, including through agreement on some priority recommendations for action. By this means the Conference assists with the fundamental task of reducing the differential between city and country health.