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National Rural Health Commissioner seeks engagement with rural health community in online conversation

21st August 2020

Australia’s new National Rural Health Commissioner, Associate Professor Ruth Stewart, is reaching out to health professionals servicing remote and rural communities through an online address on Tuesday 25 August. 

Ruth Stewart_400 x 400 pxThe Commissioner will join NSW Rural Doctors Network (RDN) Chief Executive Officer, Mr Richard Colbran, in the webinar In Conversation hosted in Rural Health Pro’s Digital Venue. The pair will discuss issues affecting rural health practitioners today. 

Associate Professor Stewart said she was looking forward to hearing directly from rural health professionals. 

“I want to understand your concerns and needs and hear what support you require to keep your remote and rural communities healthy,” the Commissioner said in a personal invitation to all members of the rural health workforce.  

Mr Colbran, who has held senior executive roles in health and social services charity organisations for close to 20 years, said RDN and Rural Health Pro were proud to enable the conversation. 

“The Commissioner is committed to open dialogue with rural health professionals and particularly wants to hear how they are navigating the stress of working in communities affected by long-term drought, bushfires and now the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. 

“Now more than ever, it is vital that we connect as a community, and work together to identify how we can best support our health workers and the people they serve. Rural Health Pro was created specifically to encourage this kind of collaboration: to connect and share and learn. We are excited to use this tool to bring our community together.” 

To ensure the discussion truly reflects the priorities of the rural health workforce, and to encourage participation and engagement, the Commissioner is asking for questions and suggestions to be sent through prior to the event. The questions are being collected through Rural Health Pro at the point of registration. 

Associate Professor Stewart lives and works on Thursday Island, off the coast of Far North Queensland, where she has been a Senior Medical Officer with obstetric credentialing. 

Before 2012, she worked for 22 years as a procedural GP in South West Victoria and was on the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine’s (ACRRM) Board from 2002 to 2012 as director for Women in Rural Practice, Victorian Director and as Vice President. 

In Conversation with the National Rural Health Commissioner, Associate Professor Ruth Stewart, will be held on Tuesday 25 August from 7.30-8.30pm.   

Event details 

  • Date: Tuesday 25 August  
  • Time: 7.30-8.30pm 
  • Location: Rural Health Pro Digital Venue 
  • Participants: 
    • National Rural Health Commissioner, Associate Professor Ruth Stewart 
    • Chief Executive Officer, NSW Rural Doctors Network, Mr Richard Colbran 
  • Cost: Free. Register here.  

About Rural Health Pro 

Rural Health Pro was launched in early 2020 to connect health professionals and organisations who care about rural communities and to inspire and support them in their work. A community and content platform, Rural Health Pro acts as a hub for rural health industry professionals and peak bodies to share information, support, career opportunities, training resources, mentor programs, funding opportunities and events. 


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