As 118 of Australia’s top rural health researchers gather in Canberra today for a major Symposium, a new report reveals just how short of funds they are.
Rural health research attracted just 1.1% of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding from 2000 to 2014.
“That’s despite a third of Australia living outside of cities”, said lead author Lesley Barclay.
“People living in rural and remote Australia have poorer health outcomes and less access to health services than their urban counterparts. Our article demonstrates that rural health research is critically underfunded,” Professor Barclay said.
Professor Barclay will join 250 rural health delegates from around Australia at a two day Scientific Symposium at Canberra’s Hyatt Hotel, featuring Rural Health Minister, Bridget McKenzie.
The Symposium marks 20 years since the first university department of rural health was established in Broken Hill, NSW.
“Interest in rural health research is growing because there are so many issues to be addressed,” said Mark Diamond, CEO of the National Rural Health Alliance.
“Rural people have higher mortality rates, higher rates of chronic disease, a higher incidence of smoking related illnesses and higher rates of suicide. But there’s simply not enough funding to tackle that sobering reality,” he said.
The Alliance is running the 6th Rural and Remote Health Scientific Symposium which begins this morning. It is the largest gathering of rural health researchers in the Alliance’s 25 year history.
National Rural Health Commissioner, Professor Paul Worley
Chair of Ninti One Limited, Professor Tom Calma AO
Melbourne University Laureate Professor Hugh Taylor
*The article, Rural and remote health research: Does the investment match the need? features in the upcoming April issue of the Australian Journal of Rural Health
Di Martin, Communications, National Rural Health Alliance
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