Research impact in rural health

As 2023 draws to a close, the La Trobe Rural Health School reflects on the impact its academics have made in rural health

“Impact is often measured by the number of citations and publications, but when you’re working in communities, impact is really about what difference you make to people’s lives,” Associate Professor Sean MacDermott, Director, John Richards Centre for Rural Ageing Research.

As 2023 draws to a close, we reflect on the impact we have made in rural health.

We are proud that six projects led by La Trobe Rural Health School staff were assessed for impact and recognised in La Trobe’s Research Impact for Sustainable Development Report 2022, aligned to United Nations sustainable development goals.

Congratulations to:

  • Professor Irene Blackberry and Dr Tshepo Rasekaba whose partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service led to every rural shire in Victoria gaining access to a specialist telehealth service, providing more than 3,000 consultations each year.
  • Associate Professor Leesa Hooker for leading three game-changing projects on the prevention of sexual violence. She developed the Theory of Change model on primary prevention, which informed the Australian Government’s National Action Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children. Leesa was part of a collaborative research team with Monash and RMIT which developed award-winning toolkits to improve women’s safety on public transport. Finally, Leesa’s research in Timor-Leste led to a new national curriculum for health providers to address gender-based violence on a national scale.
  • Associate Professor Sean MacDermott for his leadership of a suicide prevention model at Mildura Base Hospital that has reduced suicide re-presentations and been adopted as a model in other regional hospitals.
  • Dr Yangama Jokwiro, a senior nursing lecturer at our Shepparton campus, who developed a professional learning app to build the capability of African healthcare workers. The app has supported approximately 32,000 users to complete more than 1 million learning activities over three years.

Watch our video case studies on 2023 research impact: Our research, La Trobe Rural Health School, La Trobe University