How about we work together to shape Australia’s rural research priorities and agenda?

  • Research priorities for rural health

Consistent with its theme of Better together!, the 15th National Rural Health Conference in Hobart on 24-27 March 2019 includes a unique opportunity for delegates to work together and help the National Rural Health Alliance shape and advocate for a specific rural research agenda.

As part of the Conference program, on Monday 25 March, 11am to 12.35pm, a workshop on Research priorities for rural health will be facilitated and led by Kim Snowball, former Director General of Health in Western Australia and CEO of WA Country Health Service.

The workshop aims to provide conference delegates with an opportunity to understand better what’s happening in the $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) and to work together to form a future national rural health research agenda.

Alliance CEO Mark Diamond said, “The Alliance has been involved in advocating to the newly established $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund to ensure the Fund benefits the seven million people living and working in rural Australia.”

“From our perspective one of the key issues in establishing better health outcomes and better service delivery is to have good evidence and research to inform policy and funding decisions by governments. We need you, our rural colleagues and friends, to help us form a clear research agenda for us to use in our future engagement with governments and the MRFF”, he said.

“We are delighted that Kim Snowball has agreed to facilitate the workshop.”  

Kim will be supported by the Assistant Secretary, Office of Health and Medical Research Health Economics and Research Division, Department of Health, Ms Erica Kneipp and Dr Heather St John, Director, Medical Research Future Fund, University of Melbourne.

“Between them, they will provide the context for establishing the right relationship with the MRFF and the universities and institutes that are leading some of the most significant national research projects”, Mark said.

Kim said, “I’m very keen to make sure that Conference delegates are well informed about the MRFF by the senior-most officials, and can have a say, in not only the future research priorities that will most benefit rural communities, but also on how some of the major research work can better connect, engage and translate into benefits for rural Australians.”

“The workshop will be structured to involve people from a wide range of backgrounds and interests. Researchers, clinicians and community members are all welcome to contribute from their perspectives on how they think research can improve health outcomes and reduce health risks into the future”, he said.

“We need to be sure the country’s best researchers are focused on the biggest health challenges facing rural Australians and on how their research is relevant to and can be translated into rural and remote settings. This needs to happen whether it is a specific rural focused research from a centre based in a rural, regional or remote area or a large scale metropolitan based research project”, Kim said.

“The Medical Research Future Fund is an incredibly large government investment into health and medical research and we want to make sure rural Australians see a benefit” he said.

Kim Snowball, Erica Kneipp and Heather St John will lead a workshop on Research priorities for rural health at the 15th National Rural Health Conference.


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