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STAREE reaches the regions

The major focus of 2017 for STAREE thus far has been the expansion of the trial to regional and rural areas within Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland. This expansion aims to build clinical research capacity in these areas and provide opportunities for regional and rural residents to participate in clinical trials.

Often clinical research trials are not conducted in regional or rural areas so STAREE will offer older residents to hear more about this health trial. While the concept of “healthy ageing” has achieved prominence on the public health and policy agenda, “rural healthy ageing” has received much less attention (Davis 2008). People living in rural and regional areas face numerous additional challenges in maintaining good health and independence in their older age, and older people are more likely to live in rural areas where health disadvantages are well recognised.

In Victoria, Clinical Trial Centres have been established by the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine in Ballarat, Bendigo, Geelong, Traralgon and Mildura. In Tasmania, clinical research hubs in Launceston and Burnie and underway. Queensland is one of the most recent states to join STAREE and will have the state central hub based in Brisbane with reach to the regional south coast.

Supporting and developing STAREE regional clinical trial centres will not only strengthen connections between regional health professionals and the research sector, and provide local employment and skills training, but will also encourage participation and interest by healthy older persons living in regional and rural areas in this major, community based, clinical research program.

Reference: Davis S and Bartlett H. Healthy ageing in rural Australia: Issues and challenges. Australasian Journal on Ageing, Vol 27 No 2 June 2008, 56–60.

Pictured from left: Rhys Gunner, Angela McKechnie and Talia Nichols, Tasmanian based STAREE Clinical Trial Officers.