7th Rural Health and Research Congress

September 5th – 7th 2018

The seventh Rural Health and Research Congress was held in Tamworth at the beginning of September 2018. This year’s theme, “Beyond Distance and Diagnosis” was explored by an inspiring line-up of speakers. The three-day program provided participants the chance to hear a range of presentations, thought provoking discussions, attend workshops and networking opportunities at the Tamworth Town Hall.

The Congress Dinner was held on the Thursday evening at the Town Hall and provided the opportunity to announce the establishment of the NSW Rural Health Research Alliance. Paul Corben from the MNCLHD, gave a short presentation about rural health research and the role of the Alliance. Mid North Coast Local Health District hosts the Alliance.

The Translational Research Awards were also presented at the dinner. This award was open to HETI Research Capacity Building Program graduates. The award provides the recipient with $4000 to further enhance translation of their research findings into practice in the NSW rural health system. The winners were:

  • Catherine Foley – Drug and Alcohol Psychologist MNCLHD, for her research on: Collaborating on a Model of Care: The North Coast Mental Health Rehabilitation Unit and the Coffs Harbour Drug and Alcohol Service.
  • Richard Ball – Health Promotion MNCLHD for his research on: Food for Kids – Mid North Coast Parents of babies and young children sharing nutrition and child feeding information: A peer educator model.


An important part of the Congress each year is showcasing excellent work and innovative research projects in rural NSW. This year the winners were:

Poster Presentations:

  • People’s Choice Poster
    Poster Number 32: Journey to Eden: living well in multipurpose service
    Lynn Forsyth, Nurse Manager, Dorrigo MPS MNCLHD and Fiona Flynn, CNS Dorrigo MPS MNCLHD  
  • Judges’ Choice Poster
    Poster Number 1: Yarning about quitting: upskilling health professionals to support women to quit smoking 
    Gabrielle Barrett, Karen Lloyd, Pamela Keed and Linda Bootle, Aboriginal Maternal Infant Health Service, Western NSW LHD

Oral Presentations:

The ACI Rural Health Innovation Awards for Concurrent Presentation was won by:

  • Grow our own: sustainable midwifery in rural and remote areas
    Tammy O’Conner, Clinical Midwifery Consultant, Western NSW LHD and Alison Loudon, District Manager, Midwifery and Childrens’ Strategies, Western NSW LHD.


The congress delegates raised a total $1,169.10 for “R U Aware We Care” Foundation to assist struggling farmers in the New England and Northwest Region.