Opportunity for training in agricultural health and medicine

  • Sophie Robertson conducting farmer health and lifestyle assessments for the National Centre for Farmer Health
  • Sophie Robertson conducting farmer health and lifestyle assessments for the National Centre for Farmer Health
  • Class of 2017

Sophie Robertson conducting farmer health and lifestyle assessments for the National Centre for Farmer Health and Class of 2017.
Photos: Samantha Kaspers

Now entering its ninth year, Australia’s only postgraduate agricultural health and medicine unit for professionals servicing farming communities continues to attract participants from across Australia. The internationally recognised course better equips health providers, rural professionals and our farming communities with the knowledge and skills they need to help confront the high morbidity and mortality rates in the agricultural industry. To date, over 150 professionals working in agriculture, medicine, allied health, and nursing from all over Australia have undertaken the unit.

The five-day-intensive Agricultural Health and Medicine unit (HMF701) is offered through Deakin University, School of Medicine and the National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH). The next course will be held on 26 February - 2 March 2018 in Hamilton, Victoria. The presented topics cover a broad range of health, safety and wellbeing issues ranging from mental illness and addiction through to emergency medicine, agrichemicals, zoonotic disease and agricultural trauma.

The National Centre for Farmer Health’s (NCFH), Professor Susan Brumby says:

“We know that a healthy workforce is vital for a productive agricultural industry, but through the work of the NCFH, we have learnt that farming families and their communities face poorer health outcomes than their urban counterparts. Agricultural workers have a high rate of injuries including fatalities and suffer chronic diseases at high rates.” 

With this in mind, and to recognise National Agriculture Day on 21 November 2017, over $15,000 worth of scholarships are being offered to support students studying the Agricultural Health and Medicine unit. These scholarships are now open in three categories; Open/multidisciplinary; Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander; and Veterinary, Psychology or Optometry professionals. Applications close on 10 December 2017. http://www.farmerhealth.org.au/page/education/hmf701-scholarships

Previous scholarship recipient Sophie Robertson, a registered nurse from Newcastle, is completing her Graduate Certificate of Agricultural Health and Medicine and has recently studied HMF701.

“I feel even more confident when interacting with farmers and rural communities around their health and find that these skills have translated into many other areas outside of this. This is because HMF701 gives you an excellent base to look at problems in different ways and engaging clients more effectively,” Sophie said.

“My professional networks have expanded since doing the course. My scope of understanding for what is possible professionally has broadened as to what I can offer to assist communities to be healthy and prosperous.”

HMF701 can be completed as a stand-alone unit, and has been accredited for professional development points in areas of medicine, veterinary science, social work, paramedics and nursing, with selected health professionals eligible to become accredited AgriSafe™ providers. AgriSafe™ is a program focussed on occupational health, wellbeing and safety specifically designed for farm men, women and agricultural workers.

For more information about Agricultural Health and Medicine, contact Dr Jacquie Cotton, Lecturer Rural Health at NCFH on 03 5551 8533 Jacquie.cotton@deakin.edu.au  or visit http://www.farmerhealth.org.au for further information. Course details are also available at http://www.deakin.edu.au

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