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Professor Peter O’Mara appointed Chair of NSW Rural Doctors Network

27th November 2023

Following the 2023 RDN Annual General Meeting at Coogee on Friday, Professor Peter O’Mara was confirmed as the new Chair of RDN. Professor O’Mara takes up the position after serving as a Board Appointed RDN Director, and brings a wealth of experience to the role. Professor O’Mara replaces Associate Professor John Kramer OAM, who is stepping down after three years in accordance with RDN’s Articles.

RDN CEO Richard Colbran has welcomed the appointment of Professor O’Mara and expressed his gratitude to the outgoing Chair on behalf of RDN: “It will be a privilege to work with Professor O'Mara following his election as RDN Chair. Peter has vast experience as a rural community General Practitioner and he has also held many significant governance positions within the sector. His insights will be valuable as we work from RDN's 35-year foundation and continue on-the-ground support for communities, health workforce and provider organisations.

“I also offer my sincere thanks to A/Prof John Kramer OAM for his strong leadership and knowledge throughout his tenure as our Chair, guiding us through bushfires, floods, COVID-19 and significant political environments, both federal and state” Mr Colbran said. “He always retains the aim of supporting better health access in rural communities, building the capability and wellbeing of rural health professionals and supporting our staff.”



About Professor O’Mara:

The following profile comes from the 2022/3 RDN Annual Report


Wiradjuri man Professor Peter O’Mara has worked with the Tobwabba Aboriginal Medical Service since 2002 and describes himself as an Aboriginal man who loves being a doctor. He is a Director on the RDN Board, a Professor at Newcastle University and was a member of the Australian Indigenous Doctors’ Association (AIDA) Board for eight years, and President from 2009-12.

“I’d always held a high regard for RDN, as I knew of their respect towards Aboriginal people and the value they place on understanding our customs and beliefs,” says Professor O’Mara.

“I’ve never been on the Board of a non-Aboriginal organisation where I felt so safe and my culture so respected, and whose values aligned so closely with mine. Cultural immersion and cultural respect run deep through the organisation, and they really do value Indigenous knowledge and are always seeking ways to improve and do better.

“RDN understands that things need to happen at the speed of trust, meaning that an Aboriginal community won’t be comfortable working with an organisation until they feel they have been heard. RDN waits to be invited into our communities, and then, and only then, collaborates with us to support our people, in a whole-of-life way. This is so important, as it leads to respect and reciprocity from Aboriginal people towards RDN.

“This includes the strengths of the partnerships with organisations including Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs), Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA) and the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW (AH&MRC) to support Aboriginal health and the Aboriginal health workforce through RDN’s collaborative, community-driven solutions.

“The level of deep engagement between Aboriginal people and RDN is acknowledged by Federal, State and Local Government, enabling RDN to support Aboriginal health at all levels.

“It is heartening to see more Aboriginal people studying towards careers in health. When I was studying, there were few Aboriginal GPs. Today, some 700 Aboriginal doctors have graduated in Australia, including 103 Aboriginal GPs, and I’m even seeing the children of doctors becoming doctors. RDN has played an important role in the increasing number of Aboriginal people accessing education and training in the health sector, including RDN’s cadetships for Indigenous medical students, recruitment support for ACCHSs and other Aboriginal health services, and scholarships and grants to upskill, all available in a culturally safe environment.”

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