Paramedics leader joins La Trobe

The first ever paramedic professor anywhere in Australia has been appointed to lead La Trobe University’s development in paramedicine.

Peter-OMeara_bush-stdDr Peter O’Meara has joined the University’s Bendigo campus as Professor in Rural and Regional Paramedicine to head up the new paramedics course at La Trobe Rural Health School (LRHS).

‘Professor O’Meara is the first person in Australia who has actually worked as a paramedic and then been recognised as a professor in paramedicine for his unique combination of research and experiential expertise’ said Professor Jane Farmer, head of LRHS.

‘We are very fortunate to have someone of Professor O’Meara’s calibre to help build our reputation as a vibrant and innovative provider of rural health education,’ said Professor Farmer.

Professor O’Meara has 24 years of experience with the Australian ambulance service as a paramedic up until 1997 when he joined academia, where he has remained up to the present time.

In 2002, Professor O’Meara successfully attained his doctorate after completing a thesis on models of ambulance service delivery for rural Victoria.

‘Professor O’Meara has an excellent combination of practical and research skills to bring to his role and we are delighted to welcome him to La Trobe and to Bendigo’ Professor Farmer said.

Amongst his professional affiliations, Professor O’Meara is President of the Australian and New Zealand Council of Heads of Schools of paramedic Studies. He has numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters published on the development and organisation of paramedicine.

In the five years to 2010, Professor O’Meara delivered 24 conference presentations in Australia, New Zealand, the USA, Canada and Scotland, many of them as an esteemed keynote speaker.

Professor O’Meara is currently researching the management of volunteer ambulance staff in smaller regional towns across Australia. He is also conducting a joint study with Coventry University in England on research governance in ambulance services.

Professor O’Meara said he is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities of developing a paramedicine course that meets the needs of rural communities.

‘Rural paramedic practice is very different from that in metropolitan areas and it’s vital that we deliver education that provides appropriate training and education to meet the particular needs of rural communities’ said Professor O’Meara.

No stranger to rural life, Professor O’Meara grew up on a farm in Shepparton and attended high school in the town. After some time away from the region, Professor O’Meara is pleased to return country life in Bendigo, where he will be closer to his children and family.

Professor O’Meara is an active bush walker and plays competitive table tennis.


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