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2019 Outreach Forum

The 2019 Outreach Forum took place at Sydney’s Darling Harbour over 20 and 21 June. The forum brought together 120 health administrators, health practitioners and other Outreach Program stakeholders from 42 rural and Aboriginal organisations, as well as representatives from the Department of Health, Department of Social Services and other rural workforce agencies. 

The Forum hosted fantastic plenary speakers and tabletop presentations that facilitated discussion around Aboriginal health, innovative Outreach models, community engagement and collaboration, and chronic disease prevention and management. 

Highlights included the eye health panel, facilitated by RDN's RACMA trainee Dr Mirna Hunter, and featuring members of the Aboriginal Eye Health(NSW/ACT) Advisory Group, Colina Waddell from Brien Holden Vision Institute, VOS optometrist and Optometry Australia’s Rural Optometry Group convener Dr Phil Anderton, rurally-based ophthalmologist Dr Peter Hinchcliffe and visiting ophthalmologist and RANZCO representative Dr Michael Hennessey.

RDN was also able to recognise and acknowledge health professionals providing Outreach services for five or more years. 

Thank you to all the speakers and delegates who came along and shared knowledge and stories at the 2019 Outreach Forum. 


Dr Kath Keenan, Elizabeth Radburn, Dr Susan Rutkowski, and Madhu Velagala were amongst those recognised for providing health outreach services for more than five years.   

Dr Mirna Hunter chairing the eye health Panel, 'How optometry and ophthalmology work together in an Outreach setting'.


Dr Millie Ho, Psychogeriatrician, Rosemary Cameron, Psychogeratric CNC, Port Macquarie Community Aged Care Psychogeriatric Team.




2019 presentations

Opening address 

Presented by Richard Colbran, Chief Executive Officer, NSW Rural Doctors Network


Keynote presentation

'Reducing prescription opioid use through better access to pain management services – Rural Health Outreach Fund' 
Presented by Chris Jeacle, Assistant Secretary, Rural Access Branch, Australian Government Department of Health


Forum address 

'Armajun’s journey with Outreach'
Presented by Debbie McCowan, Chief Executive Officer, Armajun Aboriginal Health Service


Outreach Program update

Presented by Sharif Bagnulo, Senior Manager - Outreach Programs, NSW Rural Doctors Network


Afternoon session

'How the determinants of social health impact on patient outcomes'
Presented by Janet Layton, Social Worker, Bullinah Aboriginal Health Service


'Strengthening hospital capacity to deliver accessible services' 
Presented by Nathan Jones, Director of Aboriginal Health, South Western Sydney Local Health District



'Developing spinal services in rural NSW'
Presented by Melissa McCormick, Rural Spinal Cord Injury Senior Representative, Spinal Outreach



'Psychogeriatrics – squalor, elder abuse, dementia and more – adapting our services to cope with complex comorbidities'
Presented by Millie Ho, Psychogeriatrician, Wagga Wagga and Port Macquarie


Eye health panel

'How optometry and ophthalmology work together in an Outreach setting'

  • Dr Phil Anderton, Optometry NSW
  • Colina Waddell Project Manager - Australia - Public Health, BHVI
  • Dr Michael Hennessy, RANZCO
  • Dr Peter Hinchcliffe, rural ophthalmologist.


Table top presentation

'Adaptable smoking cessation strategies for all health workers'
Presented by Associate Professor Renee Bittoun