The University of Newcastle
Department of Rural Health
Department of Rural Health

Healthy Communities

Healthy Rural Communities

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Rural Indigenous health care and community engagement

Health outcomes and access to health care for indigenous Australians is an important focus. The Gomeroi gaaynggal Indigenous Mothers and Babies Program is an excellent example of research supported by community engagement. This is a collaborative project with the University of Newcastle's Mothers and Babies Research Centre, led by Professor Roger Smith, headed locally by Dr Kym Rae. The strength of the project is in the use and support of an arts health approach underpinned by a participatory action framework while investigating the developmental causes of renal disease among the Aboriginal population.

Publications include:

Rae K, Weatherall L, Blackwell C, Pringle K, Smith R, Lumbers E. Long conversations: Gomeroi gaaynggal tackles renal disease in the Indigenous community. Australasian Epidemiologist. 2014 May;21(1): 44-48.;dn=332850582191092;res=IELNZC

Rae K. Breathing Deeply: Culture of Health and Wellbeing Conference, Bristol, 24-27 June 2013. Journal of Applied Arts & Health Volume 5 Number 1 ISSN 2040-2457

Rae K, Weatherall L, Hollebone K, Apen K, McLean M, Blackwell C, Eades S, Boulton J, Lumbers E, Smith R. Developing research in partnership with Aboriginal communities – strategies for improving recruitment and retention. Rural and Remote Health 2013; 13:2255. Available at:

Rae K, Weatherall L, Naden M, Slater P, Smith R. Gomeroi gaaynggal – Moving Forward. Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal 2011; 35(6): 28-29.

Rae K. Wearing someone else's shoes. Medical Humanities 2010; 36(1): 40-42

Fuery P, Smith R, Rae K, Burgess R, Fuery K.  Morality, duty and the arts in health: A project on Aboriginal underage pregnancy. Arts and  Health 2009;  1(1):36-47

Rae K, Smith R, Weatherall L, McKay P.  The birth of Gomeroi gaaynggal. Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal  2009; 33(6): 9-11

Disease prevention and early intervention in rural communities

Prevention plays an important role in primary health care. Health behaviours that require health interventions are often the result of lifestyle activities, such as smoking, lack of physical activity and a diet high in fat and salt. Research in this area also focuses on falls prevention for elderly Aboriginal Australians and obesity prevention messages in the community. This is an emerging area of research.

Rural health services research and consumer perspectives 

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Health services research is concerned with the delivery of health care, the outcomes of the provision of care and consumer perspectives about access to health care services. The importance of consumer perspectives is demonstrated in projects such as the investigation of access to the needle syringe program and the use of advanced care planning.

Publications include:

Fisher K, Hussain R. Informal talk: shaping understandings of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in Rural Australia. Rural and Remote Health 2013; 13:2253. Available at:

Smith T. A long way from home: Access to cancer care for rural. Australian Radiography 2012; 18(1): 38-42.

May J, Grotowski M.  HPV vaccine catch up schedule: An opportunity for chlamydia screening.  Australian Family Physician 2008; 37(7): 529-530

Fisher K, Hussain R, Jamieson M, Minichiello V.  Syphilis and disadvantage in rural communities. International Journal of STD & AIDS. Letter to the editor, March 2008; 19(3): 215.

For all enquiries on the above areas of research, please contact:


Dr Karin Fisher
Research Academic

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