UNE makes big strides in rural health

Published 01 June 2011

stethoscope_smallUNE was a major beneficiary of $4.8 million in Commonwealth funding for a major project to benefit rural health just announced.

The funding, which will be administered by UNE, makes a substantial contribution to a $7 million rural mental health project. It is part of a total of $61.5 million in Collaborative Research Network (CRN) funding announced by the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research Senator the Hon Kim Carr.

The Collaborative Research Network for Mental Health and Wellbeing in Rural Regions will be led by the University of New England, which will work with five partners – Universities of NSW, Sydney, Newcastle, and La Trobe, and Hunter New England Area Health Service – to expand rural health strengths, and feed into the education of thousands of health professionals and better rural mental health services. CRN activities will build links with rural communities and health providers in NSW and Victoria, with a focus on investigating and improving mental health and wellbeing.

UNE Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Annabelle Duncan celebrated the awarding of CRN funding as a win for the University and for rural communities.

“This is a significant recognition of UNE and its partner institutions as having a major research strength in rural health”, Professor Duncan said.

“More importantly, it gives us and our partners a big leg up in delivering better health through research and extension activities. This will mean better health outcomes across a range of areas, and with a particular focus on rural mental health – a public health issue of great significance in our rural communities”.

Studies find that people living in rural regions and remote areas tend to be in poorer health than those in urban areas. There is excessive mortality in rural areas related to mental health disorders, and differences in morbidity rates are linked to access to services and quality of life for those suffering from mental health disorders.

“This funding gives us the capacity to link experts in a range of areas and to build on the collective strengths of a range of institutions through collaboration”, Professor Duncan said. “The whole research and innovation system will benefit”.

For further information contact

Professor Annabelle Duncan 02 6773 5050

David Ayres 0429 556 882