Meet the new Chair of Friends of the Alliance

Monday, 7 August 2017
Friends Chair Chris Moorhouse

Following the recent election of a new Advisory Committee for Friends of the Alliance, the Committee has elected Chris Moorhouse as its Chair.  Chris now will become a Member of Council of the National Rural Health Alliance, in which capacity he will represent the views of Friends nationally.

Chris has been directly involved in rural health since the early 1990s and has a wealth of experience and passion for improving the health of people in rural and remote Australia.  He is pleased to invite any of you who is not already a member of Friends of the Alliance to join him in supporting the work of the National Rural Health Alliance.

A word from Chris:

Context

Since its establishment in 1991, the National Rural Health Alliance has remained true to its founding principles of inclusivity and broad representation.  That is one factor contributing to its longstanding effectiveness in fulfilling its mandate to improve the health of people who live in the bush.  The very existence of Friends of the Alliance as a voice for health consumers and other grassroots organisations, is one example of that democratic principle of participative governance.  They are the kind of principles and processes that I believe should underpin and shape the work of Friends of the Alliance.  They are among the reasons I first became involved with the Alliance, and why I am now pleased to be accepting the opportunity, and the challenge and the responsibility of chairing its Friends of the Alliance Advisory Committee.

Processes

All members of Friends are encouraged to have their say and to contribute their views to the NRHA's work.  You might want to identify a new issue for the NRHA's consideration or contribute a view to work already in train.  You can do this by contacting the NRHA directly (nrha@ruralhealth.org.au), by getting in touch with me, or by contacting one of the two reps from your jurisdiction on the Advisory Committee.

You can find details about the State and Territory reps on the Committee here.

The next meeting of the Friends Advisory Committee will be by teleconference on 25 August 2017. Among other things, I will be guided in my contributions to the NRHA Council by the views from members of that Committee.

About Chris

Having grown up on sheep and cattle stations in the Riverina and the Flinders Ranges, and having family and close associates in rural and remote areas throughout Australia, I retain a strong interest in the bush.  As a part-time farmer I have, at various times, bred fat lambs, red deer, Angus beef cattle and had an almond, hazelnut and chestnut orchard. 

I have lived and worked in rural SA, rural Victoria and rural Tasmania, and have had work responsibilities in every State and Territory. This gives me extensive practical knowledge of the realities of life in Australia's rural and remote communities. I also worked in Canada and the USA for three years before moving to Tasmania fifteen years go. 

My diverse career in the public and private sectors included roles in nursing, health policy, accreditation and regulatory processes, university teaching, administration and research, and more recently, rural community service development, including community mental health and disability services.

As I adapt to retirement, and identify new ways to contribute to rural and community life, one of the many things I am particularly enjoying is renewing earlier acquaintances, getting to know new organisations, places and people, and going bush to revisit old stamping grounds and discover new ones.  

Perspectives and Priorities

Having been associated with the Alliance since its earliest days, I am pleased now, as I enter retirement from full time work, to have formalised my long term status as a Friend of the Alliance, become one of Tasmania’s two elected representatives, and recently been elected as Chair of the Friends of the Alliance Advisory Committee for the two year term from July 2017. In that capacity I will continue my longstanding commitment to advancing inter-disciplinary and cross-sectoral collaboration. As ex officio representative on the Council of the Alliance, I look forward to serving as an effective conduit for issues and forward planning, and fairly and robustly representing to Council the agreed positions, preferences and directions of Friends to the Alliance.

There is value in diversity of perspective, and in drawing people together around a shared commitment to adding value to rural and remote health services. The 14th National Rural Health Conference in Cairns did just that, and I was pleased to have caught up with some Friends of the Alliance there. I also look forward to meeting some of our readers and friends at the 9th Australian Rural & Remote Mental Health Symposium in Albury, 11-13 October. Please make yourself known.

Acknowledgements

I acknowledge the work and contributions of former Chair Robyn Williams and look forward to her guidance as I learn my way into working with the diverse and geographically dispersed Friends membership. Having worked previously with Leanne Coleman, I look forward to again benefitting from her skills and insights as we navigate the bush tracks to keep things moving without getting bogged down.  I take this opportunity to acknowledge the proactive support and active encouragement of Gordon Gregory throughout the life of Friends of the Alliance.  I look forward to working with David Butt, the new Advisory Committee and Members of Council as the Alliance addresses new challenges and opportunities, and as Friends of the Alliance finds its path to an effective contribution through and beyond the Strategic Review process.

Issues

Issues likely to be high on the agenda for Friends of the Alliance and its Advisory Committee will include: contributing to the Strategic Planning process for the Alliance; consulting with the (soon to be appointed) National Rural Health Commissioner; and contributing to planning for the 2019 National Rural Health Conference in Tasmania.

I look forward to hearing your ideas, perceptions, aspirations, concerns and priorities for how Friends of the Alliance should represent the interests of its members. If you have not already done so, why not become a Member of Friends of the Alliance and add your voice, your issue and your perspective to its deliberations and actions toward better rural health?

Chris Moorhouse
Chair, Friends of the Alliance