Rural health research will continue to demonstrate a strong potential with proper nurturing, sound leadership and community support. The Inaugural Rural and Remote Health Scientific Symposium held in Brisbane assembled some of the world’s leading experts in rural health – marking a big step forward for rural research in Australia.
The papers from the Symposium are presented in a special issue of the Australian Journal of Rural Health. Published by Wiley-Blackwell, this collection spotlights the current developments and potential of rural health research in Australia.
“The symposium sheds some light on how the broader question of assessing research impact can be approached. The basic conundrum for policy makers, whether state or national, is to develop programs capable of working in diverse settings with reasonable degrees of equity, efficiency and predictability. It is in this context that a robust rural health sector can come into on its own”, said Bob Wells, Director of Policy and Planning, Health at ANU College of Medicine & Health Sciences.
The paper, “The impact of rurality on health practices and services- summary paper to the inaugural rural and remote health scientific symposium” by Gordon Gregory, provides a brief overview of the papers by Craig Veitch, John Beard and Max Kamien – which deal respectively with the environmental, socio-economic and political descriptors of rurality. This summary paper goes beyond discussing those descriptors to evaluating their meaning in the context of health practice and service delivery.
The article by Professor John Wakerman titled “Innovative rural and remote primary health care models – what do we know and what are research priorities?” examines the literature pertaining to innovative primary health care models in rural and remote areas to identify areas of future research activity. It identifies the need for more rigorous health services evaluation information – including examination of optimal financing systems, appropriate community participation mechanisms, improved health information systems and relevant performance indicators.
Another article entitled “The influence of socioeconomic and cultural factors on rural health” by Beard et al is a discussion paper that provides a framework for investigating the influence of socioeconomic and cultural factors on rural health and suggests rural specific mechanisms that may mediate these effects.
Other articles featured in this special rural health care issue include:
• Phillips, Andrew, “Health status differentials across rural and remote Australia”;
• Beard, John, “The influence of socioeconomic and cultural factors on rural health”;
• Veitch, Craig, “The impact of rurality on environmental determinants and hazards”;
• Wakerman, John, “Innovative rural and remote primary health care models – what do we know and what are the research priorities?”;
• Dunbar, James, “Integration and Coordination of Care”;
• Humphreys, John, “Key considerations in delivering appropriate and accessible health care for rural and remote populations – Discussant overview”;
• Kilpatrick, Sue, “Multi-level rural community engagement in health”;
• Schofield, Deborah, “Multidisciplinary Care: Professional management of complex care”;
• Gregory, Gordon, “The impact of rurality on health practices and services - Summary Paper to the Inaugural rural and remote health scientific symposium”;
• Farmer, Jane, “Evaluating the outcomes of rural health policy”;
• Pong, Raymond, “Rural-Urban Disparities in Health: How Does Canada Fare and How Does Canada Compare with Australia?”.
These papers are published in the February 2009 issue of Australian Journal of Rural Health (Vol.17, Issue 1).
Media wishing to receive a PDF or schedule media interviews with the authors should contact Alina Boey, Senior Manager, Corporate Communications by email or phone.
About Australian Journal of Rural Health
The Australian Journal of Rural Health is a multidisciplinary refereed journal, and since its inception in 1993 has contributed to the accumulation of knowledge of rural health in Australia. The Journal aims to establish a national and international reputation for the quality of its scholarly discourse and value to rural health professionals. In 1999 the Australian Journal of Rural Health became the official journal of the National Rural Health Alliance, which is the peak body for rural and remote health organizations in Australia. As well as its readers in Australia, the Journal is taken by subscribers in Canada, Japan, USA and the United Kingdom. Readership includes general practitioners, nurses, allied health professionals, pharmacists, health administrators, universities, rural health units and libraries.
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