Professor John Wakerman is the Associate Dean, Flinders Northern Territory. He is a Public Health Medicine specialist and general practitioner, with a background in remote primary health care services as a medical practitioner, senior manager, educator and is one of Australia's leading rural and remote health researchers. He has a strong interest in utilising evidence for advocacy related to rural and remote health policy and practice. He has held previous positions as the Inaugural Director of the Centre for Remote Health, a Joint Centre of Flinders University and Charles Darwin University, Chief Investigator of the Centre for Research Excellence in Rural and Remote Primary Health Care Research, and is a past Chair of the National Rural Health Alliance.
John appears with support from South Link Education Trust
Rural and remote health research collaboration in Australia
Limited access to effective, sustainable and responsive health services, and resultant sub-optimal health outcomes relative to metropolitan areas are features of many rural and remote regions around the world. In Australia we now have an enviable rural and remote academic infrastructure focused on developing and maintaining an effective rural health workforce. Rural health researchers in Australia have sought not only to describe the nature and extent of these inequalities, but also to collaboratively develop evidence-based policy and practice responses. Nevertheless, rural health research effort is hampered by lack of critical mass within a highly competitive research grants system. This paper describes the context of rural health research in Australia and some of the lessons learned from the last decade of collaborative remote and rural health research efforts.