2-3 September, Old Parliament House, Canberra

Program and Proceedings

Day 1 Day 2

Program - Day 1

Supporting local health service providers, community groups and early-career researchers – in collaboration with leaders of rural and remote health research, data agencies, and research and service funders – to undertake systematic research and evaluation of frontline rural health services.

8.30 am


8.50 am

Welcome to Country
Matilda House, Ngambri-Ngunnawal Elder

9.00 am

Official opening
Senator Fiona Nash, Assistant Minister for Health

9.15 am

Overview of day:
Ruth Kearon, Facilitator

9.25 am

Keynote Address: Research and innovation in rural and remote health services
David Hansen, CEO, Australian e-Health Research Centre

9.50 am

Panel session: Clarifying the research questions

  • Trish McKenzie, Isolated Children's Parents' Association and Chair, Cunnamulla Community Advisory Network
  • Lyndon Seys, CEO, Alpine Health Multi-Purpose Service
  • Karen Harvey, Regional Manager (Queensland and SA), Frontier Services

Facilitated discussion

10.30 am

Morning tea

11.00 am

The rural health research interests of Government

  • Samantha Palmer, Head, Indigenous and Rural Health Division, Department of Health 
  • Timothy Dyke, Executive Director, Strategic Policy Group, NHMRC

The research needs of the private health insurance sector
Michael Armitage, CEO, Private Healthcare Australia

What is fundable? - Questions

11.40 am

Workshop: Key elements and characteristics of a valuable research proposal (one potential or one that you know was actually undertaken).

Characteristics to consider might include: a clear, practical research question; its importance well justified (existing evidence, gap analysis); relevant to potential funders (meets funding criteria/categories); funding sought is justified (not operational or staff); clear how its success will be measured; sustainability or transferability beyond the funding; and more.  

12.30 pm

Drawing the session together:
Key points from table groups

1.00 pm


1.30 pm

Constructing a research project
Robyn Aitken, A/Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Northern Territory, and Professorial Fellow, Charles Darwin University

1.55 pm

Preparing for workshops: Facilitator outlines the tasks

2.00 pm

Workshops: Planning and conducting a good research project
Facilitated group discussions at tables of 'right methods', ethics and informed consent, facilities and personnel, planning to share findings, preparing for evaluation.

2.50 pm

Drawing the session together:
Facilitator, group facilitators and whole of room

3.20 pm

Afternoon tea

3.40-5.00 pm


3.40 pm

Returning Home to Community from Custodial Care. Not just a pilot!
Tonya Grant, Indigenous Advisor and Program Manager on behalf of Joanne Bourne, Program Coordinator, Closing the Gap, Townsville-Mackay Medicare Local

4.00 pm

Panel session and debate: Disseminating results to different audiences 

4.40 pm

Discussion of the whole day: What are the key ways in which the non-traditional rural and remote health research sector and effort can be enhanced/expanded?

5.00 pm



for 7.30pm

Symposium dinner, Dining Room, Old Parliament House

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Program - Day 2

Maximising the use of national, regional and local health data sets for shaping and evaluating frontline rural/remote health services and policy. Strengthening the relationship between rural and remote health researchers/service providers and national health data agencies (eg ABS, AIHW, Medicare, AHPRA, NHPA).

8.00 am

Informal meetings between researchers and data agencies – over coffee

9.00 am

Keynote address: Demonstrated value of national data sets for policy
David Butt, CEO, Commissioner, National Mental Health Commission

9.20 am

National data sets

  • Availability and use of the Australian Health Survey, ABS census data and
    other health data (including new biomarkers)
    Louise Gates, Director, Health Section, Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data and rural/remote research
    Lisa McGlynn, Senior Executive, Health Group, AIHW
  • Medicare data and rural/remote research
    Chris Carlile, Medicare Finance and Listing Branch, Department of Health

Facilitated discussion

10.20 am

Data linkage

  • AIHW data linkage work
    Phil Anderson, Head, Data Linkage Group, AIHW

Facilitated discussion

10.50 am

Morning tea

11.15 am

Cardiovascular health and social determinants in rural populations
Martin Laverty, CEO, Royal Flying Doctor Service

11.40 am

Health workforce data and planning

  • Multidisciplinary data for health workforce planning
    Steve Graham and Lisa Wardlaw-Kelly, Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
  • Planning with health workforce data
    Maureen McCarty, Director, Workforce Data Analysis Section, Department of Health

Facilitated discussion

12.20 pm

Handling some of the challenges with data analysis in rural and remote areas

  • Getting access to reliable small area data
    John Glover, Public Health Information Development Unit, University of Adelaide
  • Regional data and Medicare Local variation
    Tricia Linehan and Melanie Taylor, National Health Performance Authority
  • Linking big and small data sets for geo-spatial mapping and analysis
    Ian McRae, Head, GRAPHC, APHCRI

Facilitated discussion

1.00 pm


2.00-3.40 PM


2.00 pm

Identifying some of the elements of a two-year plan from the morning discussion

2.10 pm

Workshop: What are the elements of a two-year plan. To enhance the non-traditional rural/remote health research effort, and to add value to the use of national data sets and the relationship between data agencies, researchers, the public and the policy makers:

  • What needs to be agreed and by whom?
  • What needs to be newly provided? Who needs to do what?
  • What incentives might be provided or disincentives removed?

3.10 pm

Elements of the action plan: who will lead?
(The beginnings of a communiqué will be considered.)

3.40 pm

Closing address
Stephen Jones MP, Shadow Assistant Minister for Health

3.50 pm

Concluding comments and evaluation

4.00 pm


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