Scientific Symposium to stimulate discussion on rural health research

  • Keynote speakers from the symposium

The 9th Rural and Remote Health Scientific Symposium, hosted by the National Rural Health Alliance (the Alliance), is just a few days away. It is guaranteed to offer lively sessions and opportunities – for health research and policy leaders, as well as academics, health professionals, students and others from the sector – to connect research, practice and communities.

The Symposium, to be held on 20 and 21 June 2023 at Hotel Realm Canberra, has an exciting line-up designed for our delegates to learn, mentor, contribute and network.

They will hear from the Hon Emma McBride MP, Assistant Minister for Rural and Regional Health and Assistant Minister for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, who will grace the occasion on the first day. Delegates will hear about the Government’s ambitions for rural health and have the opportunity to engage with the Assistant Minister about the importance of rural health research.

Adjunct Professor Ruth Stewart, National Rural Health Commissioner, will highlight the importance of planning from the grassroots and recentring health care to meet community needs. Professor Stewart has extensive experience in the field of rural health as a rural generalist doctor, an educator and administrator, as well as personal experience from living in rural and remote areas of Victoria and Queensland.

Before the Day 1 concurrent sessions commence, delegates will hear from Dr Kim Houghton, Chief Economist at the Regional Australia Institute, about the economic contribution of rural Australia and why we need healthy communities. Dr Houghton is a great communicator with a deep interest in small business and regional communities.

The themes for concurrent sessions will range from paediatrics, aged care, chronic disease, workforce, cancer and avoiding hospital admission, through to disaster and climate impacts. Delegates will also have the opportunity to participate in workshops enabling a deep dive into an area of interest. There will be a workshop on realising the potential of a consumer panel in rural health research. Another workshop will focus on clinical courage, a feature of rural and remote practice for all disciplines.   

Throughout the Symposium, delegates can view posters in the foyer with topics covering rural healthcare research, education and innovation.

In the second plenary session, on the afternoon of Day 1, delegates can expect to hear inspiring stories from Frank Quinlan, Federation Executive Director of the Royal Flying Doctor Service of Australia. Frank has a long history of working in the not-for-profit sector and is a passionate advocate for disadvantaged Australians and for bringing services to rural and remote Australia.

Delegates will also be treated to insights from physician and cardiologist Dr Arnagretta Hunter, who has a research interest in the health consequences of climate change. Her clinical work focuses on patient-centred care and preventive medicine, with a concern for the social and environmental determinants of health.

Day 2 of the Symposium will kick off with an engaging discussion on the importance of rural and remote health research and funding, with panellists from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, the Health and Medical Research Office, and the University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health.

Concurrent sessions will follow, covering prevention, mental health, telehealth, training, co-design, workforce and research, along with the choice of a workshop on creating opportunities for innovation in rural aged care.

The Symposium will conclude after an enlightening talk by James Blackwell, who is Research Fellow in Indigenous Diplomacy at the Australian National University and a member of the Uluru Dialogue at the University of New South Wales. He is sure to engage the audience with his timely topic – the Uluru Statement and a Voice to Parliament: walking together in a movement for change.

We thank our partners, the Federation of Rural Australian Medical Educators (FRAME), Lowitja Institute and the Australian Rural Health Education Network (AHREN), for once again making this important event possible.

You are not too late to register for the Symposium and be a part of the stimulating conversations on shaping the future of rural health! The full program and speaker details can be found on the Symposium website.

Contact the Alliance on 02 6285 4660 or [email protected] for further details.

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