Rural health leaders at the heart of #RuralPositive

  • Group of National Rural and Remote Health Awardees

2023 National Rural and Remote Health Awardees

By
Jeremy Mitchell
Group Manager,
Rural Health Pro
Issue
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Those working in the rural health sector have become all too familiar with the term ‘crisis’, which has been widely used to describe the state of play of rural health in the media.

We know there are challenges rural and remote communities face regarding healthcare: government reports, statistics and our lived experiences show us. But the news is not all bad. There are good stories, wonderful stories. Don't get me wrong; it’s crucial to shed light on the gaps and shortcomings. But we must also celebrate and demonstrate that being a rural health professional is a gratifying and fulfilling career.

This situation is a double-edged sword. The more we focus on the challenges facing rural health and use alarming terms like "crisis", the harder it becomes to inspire the next generation of health professionals to consider working in rural and remote areas.

It is crucial to shed light on the gaps and shortcomings but we must also celebrate and demonstrate that being a rural health professional is an enriching and fulfilling career.

With this in mind, it was wonderful to see our sector come together and put the leaders of the rural and remote health community on the national stage at the National Rural and Remote Health Awards on 13 November 2023.

Held on Ngunnawal Country at Parliament House, Canberra, the Awards honoured the exceptional health professionals who have significantly contributed to healthcare in rural and remote communities across Australia.

The nominees were a national representation of the country's dedicated health workforce, with more than 200 nominations across the ten award categories, including nominations from rural and remote areas in every state and territory.

The night brought together finalists, Assistant Minister for Rural and Regional Health The Hon Emma McBride MP, National Rural Health Commissioner Adjunct Professor Ruth Stewart, the Shadow Minister for Health Senator Anne Ruston​, alongside sponsors and partners to recognise excellence in the rural health community.

The Awards were a fantastic way to celebrate the efforts of the remarkable individuals and organisations across 10 award categories.

The Awards originated from the #RuralPositive campaign initiated by the Rural Doctors Network during COVID-19. It aimed to express gratitude for the service and dedication of our rural health professionals in challenging times.

#RuralPositive is about celebrating the people who need recognition but often go unnoticed. The hardworking people and organisations that are reluctant to promote the work they do for our communities. It is an opportunity to pause to say thank you for keeping our rural and remote communities healthy.

The positive message needs to be part of our rural and remote narrative, and it doesn’t start and end with one award ceremony. To ensure a long-term health workforce in rural and remote areas, we all need to celebrate and highlight the benefits of working outside of metro areas. Countless positive stories are waiting to be shared.

So, please join us in celebrating your work while inspiring and motivating the next generation to embrace the fulfilling and rewarding role of a rural health professional. Together, we can make a real difference and encourage future health professionals to understand the benefits and rewards beyond our urban areas.

The 2023 National Rural and Remote Health Award winners are:

  • Rising Star: Shay-Lee Coulson - University of New England, NSW
  • Dedication to Health in a Remote Location: Hoops 4 Health
  • Rural/Remote Aged and Disability Carer of the Year: Janice Dalton - Southern NSW Local Health District, NSW
  • Rural/Remote Health Advocate of the Year: Jasmine Davis
  • Rural/Remote Health Professional of the Year: Dr Corin Miller Djing.gii Gudjaagalali Kids Clinic
  • Rural/Remote Health Innovator of the Year: Royal Flying Doctor Service Electronic Health Record Project Team
  • Rural/Remote Health Employer of the Year: North and West Remote Health Ltd
  • Excellence in Rural/Remote Health Administration: Associate Professor Rex Prabhu Swan Hill District Health
  • Rural/Remote Multidisciplinary Collaboration of the Year: Katherine West Health Board - NT
  • Excellence in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healthcare: Healthy Skin Healthy Heart.
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