Monash Rural Health research

A major focus of Monash Rural Health is to undertake evidence-based research to inform government policy and programs. This is particularly in the areas of rural health workforce and sustainable health service provision, medical education, social determinants of health and rural community development.

Monash Rural Health maintains strong research collaborations with state, territory and Commonwealth governments, rural clinical and regional medical schools, university departments of rural health, and a broad range of health service providers, professional organisations and community stakeholder groups. Since 2014, Monash Rural Health has developed several areas of rural health research priority. These are encapsulated in four collaborative areas of research:

Quality rural health care and health systems

This collaboration is responsible for the growth of research within rural and remote health care services and communities. Two major areas of research are the evaluation of the impact of rural and remote primary health care services on access and equity of health systems, and development of models of care for critical health issues.

Sustainable rural health workforce development

This research collaboration is largely focused on integrating research and monitoring of rural health workforce training outcomes across Monash Rural Health. This includes our two major rural workforce training programs, both the longer-term medical program as well as the new nursing and allied health program. Monash Rural Health is committed to producing high-quality evidence of the workforce outcomes resulting from these training activities, evaluating what program characteristics are conducive with increased rural uptake. Notably, our medical workforce tracking activity has already developed systems to enable data linkage with key datasets. Evaluation of workforce outcomes of other activities, such as short-term rural vacation school programs, will be ongoing. Through external competitive grants Monash Rural Health also supports international leaders of rural medical workforce research within the MABEL project, producing the highest quality national-level evidence of rural supply and distribution, including recruitment, retention and policy development and evaluation

Innovative rural learning and teaching models and methods

Established in 2015, this research collaboration is responsible for progressing MRH educational research projects, and focuses on three major imperatives:

  1. research and program evaluation projects to consolidate current health professional education innovations and learning outcomes
  2. new research projects in emerging priority areas such as rural interprofessional collaborative practice and implementation of the Monash MD program and
  3. development of health professions education research networks across MRH's sites, within the Monash Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, and externally.

Population health

This collaboration embraces a population approach to health, aiming to improve the health of rural Australians as a whole. We do this through the development of services and interventions that are novel, innovative and accessible to people in rural and remote areas. Our largest research project is the Hazelwood Health Study (research into the impact of the 2014 Hazelwood mine fire) however we have a broad range of experienced researchers who are experts in the areas of mental health, Indigenous health, substance use, implementation science and demography. We have multiple close links and partnerships within Monash and with other Australian Universities and researchers along with several important international collaborations.