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Canadian doctors visit NSW for rural-health knowledge exchange


24th July 2023
Australia has strong historical and cultural ties with Canada, as well as a shared-experience of dispersed population living over vast distances, and an evolving journey of indigenous reconciliation. These connections and similarities all combine to present a rich opportunity for information exchange.

RDN was very pleased this month to host visits by kindred spirits from Canada, in the form of Ray Markham, Executive Director of the Rural Coordination Centre of British Columbia (RCCBC), John Pawlovich (University of British Columbia, RCCBC), James Card (Joint Standing Committee on Rural Issues), Kim Brooks (VP Regional Operations, First Nations Health Authority), John Mah (VP Health Benefits & Services, First Nations Health Authority) and Kendall Ho (Digital Emergency Medicine Lead, University of British Columbia). 

Shared experience

358468013_255505623888951_1531163119434585595_nAustralia has strong historical and cultural ties with Canada, as well as a shared-experience of dispersed population living over vast distances, and an evolving journey of indigenous reconciliation. These connections and similarities all combine to present a rich opportunity for information exchange. 

“The RCCBC is strikingly similar to RDN in terms of size, spread, mission and approaches,” noted RDN’s Knowledge Mobilisation Director, Yann Guisard. “I predict that an ongoing relationship with our Canadian partners will yield new knowledge and contribute to advances in how we work in the future”, he said.  

Knowledge exchange

Dr Markham toured western NSW towns including Bathurst, Orange, Dubbo, Coonamble and Coonabarabran with RDN staff and Mr Guisard, before gathering at RDN’s St Leonards office with his Canadian colleagues, and representatives of NSW Health and the DoHAC.  

Australian solutions to the ‘tyranny of distance’, such as the workings of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, proved of great interest to the visiting Canadians, while the Canadian experience of employing fast internet using low orbital technology (Starlink) to support telehealth proved a fruitful learning discussion for Australian participants.  

Podcast coming soon

During his visit, Dr Markham sat down for an interview with RDN’s Jeremy Mitchell, which will feature soon on RDN’s Health Interpreter podcast series – a ‘must listen’ for all those with a keen interest in rural and remote health service delivery.   

Pictured is Dr Markham’s visit to the Coonamble Aboriginal Health Service (CAHS), where he was honoured with a smoking ceremony ahead of a question-and-answer session about the workings of the CAHS. Our thanks go out to all our Canadian visitors and to our western NSW hosts for making this visit a great success. 

                         Coonamble AHS

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