National Rural Health Conference program

  • 15th National Rural Health Conference speakers

The Program for the 15th National Rural Health Conference in nipaluna/Hobart on 24-27 March 2019 will be published on the Conference website shortly and early bird registration is available until 31 December.

Better Together! is the theme of the Conference and the program highlights how we can work better together to improve the health and wellbeing of the seven million people of rural, regional and remote Australia.

This four-day event will provide learning and networking opportunities for public and private healthcare professionals, health consumer advocates and carers, students and researchers, and interested people from health-related sectors such as education, transport and housing in rural, regional and remote areas.

Opening session
Isabelle Skinner, Chief Executive Officer of the International Council of Nurses and an experienced Australian remote area nurse, will update those at the Conference on the capacity of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals to lead to healthy people in a healthy world.  Isabelle will be joined in the session by Kelvin Kong, Australia’s first Aboriginal Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons; and James Buchan from the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre.

Day two: The current situation
Day two of the Conference will provide an up-to-the-minute snapshot of key aspects of the current health of people in rural and remote Australia.  Delegates will hear an update from 2018 Northern Territory Australian of the Year, Bo Remenyi, on rheumatic heart disease; Lorimer Mosely from the University of South Australia about his work managing pain in rural and remote areas; James Ward from the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute on infectious disease and Aboriginal health in remote communities; Luis Salvador-Carulla from the Centre for Mental Health Research at the Australian National University, on mapping service availability and capacity in rural mental health; and Jeff Ayton, Chief Medical Officer from the Australian Antarctic Division.

Day three: Determinants of health
Day three will cover the social, economic, community and ecological determinants of health, giving a unique understanding of how the determinants of health impact on people in rural Australia.

Keynote speakers will include: Fran Baum, Professor of Public Health at Flinders University; Saul Eslake, economist and Vice-Chancellor's Fellow, University of Tasmania; Sir Harry Burns, Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland; Peter Sainsbury, Past President of the Public Health Association of Australia and of the Climate and Health Alliance; and a consumer perspective from Anne Cahill Lambert.

Day four:  Future success
The final day of the Conference will focus on practical steps forward for rural health outcomes and services.  There will be case studies of 'the best buys' in rural health services, and exploration of how, in the future, rural health systems may be redesigned for greater success and cost-effectiveness.  In hi address to the closing session Professor Paul Worley, National Rural Health Commissioner, will no doubt help to ensure that the policy prescriptions considered and agreed by Conference delegates are politically and economically practical.

The Sharing Shed


One of the highlights of the National Rural Health Conference is the development of a set of policy recommendations to help guide the rural health policy agenda for the following two years.


Delegates will be able to make recommendations through the Sharing Shed, an online portal where they can suggest new ideas, comment on proposals already made and vote for their favourite options. The Recommendations Committee, led by Jenny May, Tamworth GP and former National Rural Health Alliance Chair, will review recommendations in the Sharing Shed and present the final priority recommendations to the Health Minister on the final day.

Don't miss this opportunity to have your say on how well-informed and practical proposals for improving the health and wellbeing of country people and the communities in which they live..

Pre-Conference events
Five Pre-Conference events are currently scheduled for Sunday, 24 March 2019:

  • Determinants of health: all sectors can contribute to better health and wellbeing and the social cohesion of rural and remote communities, with Robert Stable, Fran Baum, Sir Harry Burns, Donna Ah Chee;
  • Preventing and managing chronic pain locally: Pain Revolution, with Lorimer Mosely;
  • Chronic Disease Support Program, The Benchmarque Group;
  • Prescribing, dispensing, and supporting medicines use with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, presented by the Centre for Remote Health; and
  • Singing and song writing workshop with Josh Arnold.

Everything you need to know can be found on the Conference website.    

Early bird registration closes 31 December 2018.

Further information: Leanne Coleman, Manager, Programs and Events, National Rural Health Alliance, (02) 6285 4660 or [email protected]

Sponsorship and exhibition options are still available.



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