Welcome from the Director

Professor Jenny MayWelcome students, researchers and health professional colleagues to the University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health.

The Department is dedicated to fostering rural health and wellbeing through community engagement, student learning and innovative research. We proudly support students and staff at the frontline of the healthcare system, providing high-quality clinical training in medicine, nursing, nutrition and dietetics, physiotherapy, medical radiation science, occupational therapy, pharmacy, speech pathology and other disciplines. We support student placements within a large NSW geographical footprint, with teaching facilities in Tamworth, Taree, Armidale, Moree, Port Macquarie and Coffs Harbour.

Alongside clinical training, we want students to experience the pluses of rural life, in magnificent rural centres, and consider the excellent career and lifestyle opportunities that are available outside of metropolitan areas. It’s our hope that more students will discover the benefits of living and working in our NSW rural communities, where they can invest in the future of healthcare for diverse populations.

The Department also supports postgraduate experiences, with opportunities for healthcare professionals to undertake continuing professional development, and new graduate support through our NewNet program running in Tamworth and Taree. Our Regional Training Hub is increasing training options for a variety of medical disciplines and supporting career paths for rural clinicians.

Our growing research expertise is reflected in our strategic research directions, which focus on rural workforce, education, Indigenous health and clinical evidence. We care deeply about the health challenges that impact rural communities—and we are seeking solutions. Building career paths for rural researchers, supporting research higher degrees and fostering codesign in projects that seek to improve health in rural communities are the ways in which we seek to add value in the communities we live and work. Additionally, our community engagement projects aim to not only provide health education and services, but also aspiration to disadvantaged communities, along with firsthand exposure to students and staff regarding key community issues.

The Department is funded through the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Program. The program shares our dedication to facilitating student placements and learning, enhancing the health of local communities by conducting community projects, identifying and supporting medical officers in their chosen training, and research into rural health issues. Our motto is “gain, train and retain” with a drive to ensure we are building a workforce with the skills and capacity.

With the support of a diverse and energetic academic and clinical network, we are well placed to provide high-quality student teaching and learning experiences, excellence in research output, sustainable medical workforce and partnerships aimed at building strong and healthy communities.

If you are a health or medicine student, I highly encourage you to consider doing a rural placement with us, with support from our committed academics and clinical partners. It’s an invaluable experience that will set you well for your future health career.


Professor Jenny May
University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health