Professor Jennifer May
Director - Department of Rural Health
University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health
WALKING THE WALK
Having worked as a GP and visiting medical officer in rural and remote Australia for more than 25 years, Dr Jennifer (Jenny) May AM is using her experience to inform policy and coordinate targeted approaches to develop and maintain a sustainable rural health work force.
As Director of the University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health (UONDRH), Jenny oversees the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) Program in North Western NSW, the Tablelands and on the North Coast.
A national program delivered by universities and supported by the Commonwealth, Rural Health uses placements, professional supports, and targeted research with the aim of developing the rural health workforce.
Having worked in every state and territory except South Australia, as well as in remote regions of British Columbia, Jenny has been based in Tamworth since 2004.
Complimentary to her UONDRH position, Jenny maintains an active clinical practice. She is engaged at a local not-for-profit GP practice dedicated to improving rural health options through recruitment and training. She also has visiting rights at the local public and private hospitals.
In 2014, Jenny was awarded an Australia Medal for significant service to community health in rural and regional areas, as a general practitioner, member of professional medical groups, and as an educator.
NURTURING AND RETAINING TALENT
The RHMT program supports education and training with the intent of increasing the size and capacity of the rural health workforce.
From supporting priming experiences in different schools and faculties through to the provision of support to long-term academic placements within the footprint, The UONRDH offers medical, nursing and allied health students multifactorial supports.
Through offering affirmative pathways for students of rural origin, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, the UONDRH aims to nurture and retain local knowledge and talent.
For students from urban areas, the UONDRH also facilitiates clinical placements with university supported accommodation options at six sites -Tamworth, Taree, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Armidale, and Moree.
These placements increase the time urban students spend in rural areas - with the aim of conversion by immersion – and allow students to develop an understanding of the unique challenges and contexts of rural health.
“Cultural awareness, town orientation and community engagement activities are also a major part of what we do,” Jenny says.
“Overall, we want students to get a real sense of the advantages of rural lifestyle and have a taste of the connectedness that is often more evident in rural communities.”
Students involved in the RHMT program are regularly brought together to encourage relationship building across disciplines.
“Interprofessional education is very much our core business because we need everybody working together, building collaborative relationships based on trust,” Jenny says.
Jenny states she herself has been fortunate to have the opportunity to work in different rural areas with dedicated teams of clinicians and educators.
“It's slightly embarrassing to talk about things like the Australian Medal as it's not about me.”
“I was in a situation where I was surrounded by other motivated individuals and we made something happen.”
“To have a multifaceted program that provides such supports necessarily involves motivated individuals and support in a whole lot of different areas.”
For Jenny, the importance of connectivity extends beyond the personal. She has always been a strong advocate for governmental provision of improved technology and communication infrastructure in rural areas as a means of addressing inequity.
ADVOCACY ON STEROIDS
According to Jenny, a sense of community inclusion, and the many other benefits of a rural lifestyle are not the only reason students and practitioners should consider life in rural areas.
“I call it opportunity on steroids,” Jenny says.
“Where they are training pathways and there are career pathways, regional centres provide an opportunity to engage in a broad scope of practice, and do the sorts of things that interest you.”
“I've been able to participate in teaching and mentoring.”
“I've been able to participate in continuing professional development and I have had an opportunity to shape policy to support a sustained Rural Health workforce.”
“I don't know that I would have had those opportunities if I had been working in a metropolitan area.”
Jenny has been an active member of several medical professional advocacy groups, including the National Rural Health Alliance and as NRHA representative on the National Medical Training Advisory Network.
She has been involved in numerous committees and working parties around rural health issues and is on the Commonwealth Government advisory group on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ANACAD).
Her dedication to rural health saw Jenny awarded The Telstra’s Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) Rural Doctor of the Year 2014.
RESPONDING TO CHANGING NEEDS
The UONDRH also has a focus on research to better understand how to enable and support a long-term sustained regional workforce that provides the necessary skills for the community.
“It is essential for us to keep doing the research to assess that we are working in the right areas.”
“One of my own big research questions is have we been training specialists fit for purpose, and to what extent are regional training hubs an opportunity to better marry the scope of practice required in a rural community with the training we provide,” Jenny says.
Whereas an improved regional health workforce has justified the focus of the UONDRH on service delivery, needs of rural communities are fluid.
“As the scope of practice in some of our smaller rural communities is changing, that is impacting on the type of care that is being received, and the type of skills that are required both there and in our regional hubs.”
“What we have seen is an increased requirement for specialists in a regional centres.”
To address this issue, the UONDRH’s role has recently been extended through funding for a Regional Training Hub Program.
“Leveraging on the existing clinicians who teach into the program, we are pushing the boundaries of how we can support postgraduate training within the footprint,” Jennifer says.
“I'm very motivated to support the building of regional training hubs, because I feel that that is part of the pipeline where there is enormous potential to continue the growth of a sustainable and supported rural health work force.”
Professor Jennifer May AM is Director of the University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health (UoNDRH). Jenny’s role encompasses oversight of undergraduate teaching activities, research and evaluation in medicine and allied health disciplines across the University of Newcastle rural footprint. The UoNDRH also supports postgraduate training and retention of the rural workforce. Her research interests include new models of general practice in rural and remote areas, and primary health care integration. Her area of PHD study was related to regional centre medical workforce including both specialists and GPs. She works at Peel Health Care, a not-for-profit general practice in Tamworth, NSW. She holds fellowships of both the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Australian College of Rural and Remote medicine. Jenny is also the Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA) representative on the National Rural Health Alliance. She has been involved in numerous committees and working parties around rural health issues and is on the Commonwealth Government advisory group on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ANACAD). Jenny has lived and worked in the New England area since 1984 with a five year sojourn in remote Western Australia’s Pilbara and a year’s work in a remote Indigenous community in British Columbia, Canada in 2004 and 2015. She was named Telstra RDAA Rural Doctor of the Year in November 2014.
Research interests are in the fields of rural health workforce in particular regional medical workforce with PHD study in a project entitled "Rural and Urban a study of regional medical workforce". Projects on occupational violence in rural areas, rural and regional workforce and interprofessional education are in train.
Undergraduate teaching of Years 4/5 with emphasis on interactional skills, palliative care and primary care. Writing and teaching interprofessional learning modules, specifically Diabetes and COPD. Basic life support for GPs and practice staff also conducted on a monthly basis. Post Graduate teaching for GP registrars and supervisors in evidence based medicine and cervical screening, and palliative care
Immediate past Chair of the National Rural Health Alliance
Chair Steering Group Working Safe in rural and remote Australia (Funded by the Department of Health)
Ministerial appointee to the National Dental Advisory Council and the National Advisory Council on Alcohol and other Drugs
NRHA representative on the National Medical training Advisory Network
Member ACI GP Advisory Group
Chair of the Female Doctors Group (RDAA)
Member Primary Care Committee Australian Commission on Quality and Safety in Health care
Member of both FRAME (RCS) and AHREN (UDRH) organisations
- Doctor of Philosophy, Monash University
- Rural Workforce
- General Practice
Fields of Research
|111799||Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified||60|
|110399||Clinical Sciences not elsewhere classified||20|
|160599||Policy and Administration not elsewhere classified||20|
|Title||Organisation / Department|
|Director - Department of Rural Health||University of Newcastle
University of Newcastle Department of Rural Health
|Dates||Title||Organisation / Department|
|19/12/2014 - 15/04/2016||
The Australian advisory council on Alcohol and other drugs reports to the Minister for Health providing academic,clinical advice on current drug issues
|Australian National Advisory council on Alcohol and other Drugs
|15/08/2008 - 19/08/2011||
Chair National Rural Health Alliance
As Chair of the National Rural Health Alliance Jenny represented over 30 member bodies -consumer,provider and professional all with the same goal of Equivalent health by 2020
|National Rural Health Alliance
|Dates||Title||Organisation / Department|
|14/03/2012 - 15/03/2016||
Chair Female Doctors Group Rural Doctors Assoication
Chair Female Doctors Association representing rural doctors in practice,industrial and community matters
|Rural Doctors Association
|15/01/2000 - 15/04/2016||
Examiner for RACGP
Jenny acts as an RACGP Examiner examining for the Fellowship Examination and providing support ,supervision and teaching for registrars during their training
|Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.
Chapter (2 outputs)
Journal article (22 outputs)
May J, Brown LJ, Burrows J, 'In-Place Training: Optimizing Rural Health Workforce Outcomes through Rural-Based Education in Australia', Education Sciences, 8 1-9 (2018) [C1]
May J, Walker J, McGrail M, Rolley F, 'It's more than money: Policy options to secure medical specialist workforce for regional centres', Australian Health Review, 41 698-706 (2017) [C1]
© 2017 AHHA. Objectives: Regional centres and their rural hinterlands support significant populations of non-metropolitan Australians. Despite their importance in the settlement h... [more]
© 2017 AHHA. Objectives: Regional centres and their rural hinterlands support significant populations of non-metropolitan Australians. Despite their importance in the settlement hierarchy and the key medical services provided from these centres, little research has focused on their issues of workforce supply and long-term service requirements. In addition, they are a critical component of the recent growth of 'regional' hub-and-spoke specialist models of service delivery. Methods: The present study interviewed 62 resident specialists in four regional centres, seeking to explore recruitment and retention factors important to their location decision making. The findings were used to develop a framework of possible evidence-informed policies. Results: This article identifies key professional, social and locational factors, several of which are modifiable and amenable to policy redesign, including work variety, workplace culture, sense of community and spousal employment; these factors that can be targeted through initiatives in selection, training and incentives. Conclusions: Commonwealth, state and local governments in collaboration with communities and specialist colleges can work synergistically, with a multiplicity of interdigitating strategies, to ensure a positive approach to the maintenance of a critical mass of long-term rural specialists.
May JA, 'Walking a mile in their shoes: reflections on being an international medical graduate', MEDICAL JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIA, 207 190-+ (2017)
Hudson JN, May JA, 'What influences doctors to work in rural locations?', Med J Aust, 202 5 (2015) [C3]
May JA, 'Clinical service integration: a stocktake of the Australian experience', Future Hospital Journal, 2 142-146 (2015) [C1]
Hudson JN, May JA, 'What influences doctors to work in rural locations? Student background and clinical education act synergistically', MEDICAL JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIA, 202 5-6 (2015)
May J, Carey TA, Curry R, 'Social determinants of health: Whose responsibility?', AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF RURAL HEALTH, 21 139-140 (2013) [C3]
Gaw A, Doherty SR, Hungerford P, May JA, 'When death is imminent: Documenting end-of-life decisions', Australian Family Physician, 41 614-617 (2012) [C1]
Magin PJ, May J, McElduff P, Goode SM, Adams J, Cotter GL, 'Occupational violence in general practice: A whole-of-practice problem. Results of a cross-sectional study', Australian Health Review, 35 75-80 (2011) [C1]
Rees M, May JA, Rae KM, 'Is it me? Or is there something in the water? Client decision making in nursing', Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 28 67-73 (2011) [C1]
Dennis S, May JA, Perkins D, Zwar N, Sibbald B, Hasan I, 'What evidence is there to support skill mix changes between GPs, pharmacists and practice nurses in the care of elderly people living in the community?', Australian and New Zealand Health Policy, 6 1-7 (2009) [C1]
May JA, Cooper RJ, Magin PJ, Critchley A, 'Integrated models or mayhem? Lessons learnt from three integrated primary health care entities in regional New South Wales', Australian Health Review, 32 595-604 (2008) [C1]
Grotowski M, May JA, 'HPV vaccine catch up schedule: An opportunity for chlamydia screening', Australian Family Physician, 37 529-530 (2008) [C2]
May JA, 'HPV vaccination: A paradigm shift in public health', Australian Family Physician, 36 106-111 (2007) [C1]
May JA, 'Rural remote and metropolitan area 3: The forgotten RRMA', Australian Journal of Rural Health, 15 216-217 (2007) [C1]
|2007||May JA, Jones PD, Cooper RJ, Morrissey MJ, Kershaw G, 'GP perceptions of workforce shortage in a rural setting', Rural and Remote Health, 7 1-6 (2007) [C1]|
|2006||Hayes P, May JA, Martin T, 'Dementia - an epidemic that has arrived', Rural Pharmacy, 25 796-798 (2006) [C3]|
|Show 19 more journal articles|
Conference (33 outputs)
|2017||May JA, 'Lightning speed in which direction? Artificial intelligence, technology and rural communities', Cairns (2017)|
Potter J, Collins C, Byles J, Brown LJ, 'Diet Quality, Cancer Risk and Mortality in Adults: A Systematic Review of Epidemiological Studies', Hobart (2015) [E3]
|2015||May JA, 'Scope of practice in rural Australia - horses for courses? Or a one-horse race?', People Places Possibilities - 13th National Rural Health Conference, Darwin (2015) [E3]|
Fisher KA, Croker A, Smith T, May J, 'Grappling with a shared understanding of 'interprofessional learning': "I know what i mean... but what do we mean"', ANZAHPE-AMEA 2015 Conference, Newcastle (2015) [E3]
|2015||Taylor MA, May J, 'Rural emergency care using place based simulation', ANZAHPE-AMEA 2015 Conference, Newcastle (2015) [E3]|
Fisher KA, Croker A, May J, Smith T, 'Are we on the same page yet?": Using photo-elicitation for shared understandings within an interpretive research team', N/A, Sydney (2014) [E3]
Croker AL, Fisher K, Smith A, May J, 'Of vacuums and scaffolds: Interprofessional learning on a rural clinical placement', The 2013 Practice-Based Education Summit http://csusap.csu.edu.au/~areport/documents/pbe_summit_2013/Handbook.pdf, Sydney, NSW, Australia (2013) [E3]
|2013||May JA, Marsden C, Kurti L, Holloway L, 'Keys to retention: the importance of ¿Working safe in rural and remote Australia¿', 12th National Rural Health Conference Handbook, Adelaide (2013) [E3]|
|2013||May JA, Marsden C, Kurti L, Holloway L, 'An exploration of violence experienced by professionals from three sectors delivering key services in rural and remote workplaces', Proceedings of the 12th National Rural Health Conference, Adelaide (2013) [E1]|
Croker AL, May J, Fisher K, Smith A, 'A Moving Feast of Opportunities: How do Students in Rural Areas Learn to Work with other Professions?', Handbook & Program of ANZAHPE 2013 - Professional Development of Health Professional Educators, Melbourne (2013) [E3]
Croker A, Smith AN, Fisher KA, May JA, 'Exploring interprofessional education - Seeing the whole elephant', Symposium Program. Interprofessional Education for Quality Use of Medicines, Newcastle Beach, NSW (2012) [E3]
Goode SM, Magin PJ, Pond CD, May JA, Marshall M, Zwar N, et al., 'Practice-based research networks (PBRNs): A comparison of different models', 2010 Primary Health Care Research Conference: Program & Abstracts, Darwin, NT (2010) [E3]
Rees M, May JA, Rae KM, 'Storming the barricades. Improving rural client outcomes by addressing client decision making barriers', 2010 Primary Health Care Research Conference: Program & Abstracts, Darwin, NT (2010) [E3]
Smith AN, Brown LJ, May JA, Wakely LT, Greaves J, Wolfgang R, et al., 'Interprofessional learning modules: Making undergraduate IPE clinically relevant', All Together Better Health 5 Conference. Program, Sydney, NSW (2010) [E3]
May JA, Magin PJ, 'Occupational violence: A study of the general practice team', 2009 General Practice and Primary Health Care Research Conference: Abstracts and Presentations, Melbourne, VIC (2009) [E3]
Lusumbami P, Rae KM, May JA, 'Smoking in pregnant indigenous women and smoking cessation interventions: A literature review', 2009 General Practice and Primary Health Care Research Conference: Abstracts and Presentations, Adelaide, SA (2009) [E3]
|2009||May JA, 'Integration: It sounds good but what does it mean? Trials and tribulations of a general practice taking on a multidisciplinary focus and employing allied health clinicians', 3rd Rural Health Research Colloquium: Building a Healthier Future Through Research: Program and Abstract Book, Ballina, NSW (2009) [E3]|
|2009||May JA, 'Skill mix in the rural primary health care workforce: Can it be systematised?', Rural Health: The Place to Be: 10th National Rural Health Conference, Cairns, QLD (2009) [E3]|
|2009||Rees M, May JA, 'We've got the ingredients but what's the recipe? Challenges in teamwork for nurse practitioners in a rural area', Rural Health: The Place to Be: 10th National Rural Health Conference, Cairns, QLD (2009) [E3]|
|2008||Dennis S, Zwar N, Griffiths R, Perkins D, May JA, Hasan I, Sibbald B, 'Optimising skill-mix in the primary health care workforce for the care of older Australians', 2008 General Practice & Primary Health Care Research Conference: Program & Abstracts, Hobart, TAS (2008) [E3]|
|2008||May JA, Dennis S, Zwar N, Hasan I, Perkins D, Griffiths R, Sibbald B, 'Skill mix innovation in the primary health care workers: Can this be systematised?', 2008 General Practice & Primary Health Care Research Conference: Program & Abstracts, Hobart, TAS (2008) [E3]|
May JA, Magin PJ, 'Occupational violence in Australian general practice: Its not just about the doctor', Wonca Asia Pacific Regional Conference combined with the RACGP Annual Scientific Convention: Abstract Guide, Melbourne, VIC (2008) [E3]
|2008||May JA, Dennis S, Zwar N, Hasan I, Perkins D, Griffiths R, Sibbald B, 'Skill mix change for older Australians: Can general practice meet the challenge?', Wonca Asia Pacific Regional Conference combined with the RACGP Annual Scientific Convention: Abstract Guide, Melbourne, VIC (2008) [E3]|
|2007||May JA, Barac B, 'Who can do CPR? A team approach to CPR in rural general practice', 2007 General Practice & Primary Health Care Research Conference. Program & Abstracts, Sydney (2007) [E3]|
|2007||Jones PD, May JA, 'Common themes of successful health service models in rural Australia', 2007 Rural Health Research Colloquium. Official Program, Tamworth, NSW (2007) [E3]|
|2007||May JA, 'Profiling the GP workforce in a rural Australian town', 2007 Rural Health Research Colloquium. Official Program, Tamworth, NSW (2007) [E3]|
|2007||Kent S, May JA, Guppy MP, 'Obstetric care in rural Australia: The evidence is right under our noses - but what direction are we heading?', 9th National Rural Health Conference. Abstracts, Albury, NSW (2007) [E3]|
|2007||May JA, Bonomo A, 'Trials and tribulations of practice nurses: Can team-based care become practice?', 9th National Rural Health Conference. Abstracts, Albury, NSW (2007) [E3]|
|2006||May JA, 'Making a Rural Research Project Happen', NSW PHC Research Stream at the 8th Annual Vital Links Forum 2006, Sydney (2006) [E3]|
|2006||May JA, Morrissey MJ, Cooper RJ, Kershaw G, 'Supporting the Rural GP Workforce: Impact of a Managed Practice', Proceedings of the GP & PHC Research Conference, Perth (2006) [E3]|
|2006||May JA, Cooper RJ, Morrissey MJ, Kershaw G, 'The General Practice profile of a rural town in Australia', Proceedings of the GP & PHC Research Conference, Perth (2006) [E3]|
|2006||May JA, Bonomo A, 'Trials and tribulations of Practice Nurses: Can Team Based Care become practice?', Proceedings of the GP & PHC Research Conference, Perth (2006) [E3]|
|Show 30 more conferences|
Grants and Funding
|Number of grants||4|
Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.
20181 grants / $114,185
The development and implementation of a GP-specific Certificate in Clinical Teaching and Supervision$114,185
Funding body: Valley to Coast Charitable Trust
|Funding body||Valley to Coast Charitable Trust|
|Project Team||Mrs Kerry Peek, Professor Brian Jolly, Doctor Cathy Regan, Professor Dimity Pond, Professor Jennifer May, Doctor Miriam Grotowski, Ms Natalie Dodd|
|Type Of Funding||C3112 - Aust Not for profit|
20171 grants / $9,834
Feasibility and engagement strategies for a cardiovascular disease prevention program targeting a high need, low health literacy rural community.$9,834
Funding body: University of Newcastle
|Funding body||University of Newcastle|
|Project Team||Doctor Tracy Schumacher, Doctor Leanne Brown, Professor Jennifer May, Professor Clare Collins, Professor Andrew Boyle|
|Scheme||Linkage Pilot Research Grant|
|Type Of Funding||Internal|
20091 grants / $21,000
APHCRI Travelling Fellowship$21,000
Funding body: APHCRI
|Type Of Funding||Other Public Sector - Commonwealth|
20071 grants / $9,087
Occupational violence in general practice: a cross-sectional study of GPs and general practice staff$9,087
Funding body: Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)
|Funding body||Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP)|
|Project Team||Professor Jennifer May, Conjoint Professor Parker Magin|
|Scheme||Family Medical Care, Education and Research Grant|
|Type Of Funding||Contract - Aust Non Government|
Number of supervisions
Total current UON EFTSL
|Commenced||Level of Study||Research Title||Program||Supervisor Type|
|2018||PhD||Factors Involved in Translating Nutrition Knowledge to a High Risk Rural Population for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease||PhD (Medicine), Faculty of Health and Medicine, The University of Newcastle||Co-Supervisor|
February 22, 2017
November 3, 2014