A ‘gross disparity’ in the funding of research focused on rural and remote health issues continues, despite the fact that this 30 per cent component of the population has a higher rate of complex chronic disease and dies earlier than urban dwellers. Other challenges include a shortage of medical specialists, and the difficulty of accessing efficient and appropriate health services because of dispersed populations.
In the Australian Rural Health Research Collaboration’s newly released annual report, the Director, Associate Professor Megan Passey said that despite these challenges the ARHRC continues to work in partnership with rural health service providers to undertake rigorous research to generate locally relevant evidence on priority issues.
Dr Passey, who works locally with the University Centre for Rural Health, North Coast added, “The breadth of its research, policy and development work reflects the needs of rural and remote communities to improve critical problems of health, wellbeing and service delivery.
“Key issues addressed by the ARHRC include mental health service delivery, maternity, avoidable hospital admissions, palliative care, farm safety and Aboriginal health.”
The ARHRC is a combination of rurally based academic centres from The University of Sydney and the University of Newcastle working in partnership with NSW Health, Local Health Districts, Primary Health Networks and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Such centres help to grow the intellectual capital and resources of regions, providing leadership, building critical mass in health research and supporting implementation of evidence based practice.
The ARHRC’s 2015 Annual Report is available here.