South West Health Research Forum

SOUTH WEST HEALTH RESEARCH FORUM

South West Health Research Collaborative Update

Regional and Rural Health Research Activity Update E-Bulletin – March 2021

In a first for the South West, research leaders, health practitioners, local government and consumers joined collective forces at the South West Health Research Forum to share their knowledge of current rural and regional health research activity and, identify opportunities to grow health research in the region.

Attended by over 90 delegates, the forum provided an excellent opportunity to share ideas, network and identify the barriers and enablers for health research in regional and rural communities.

A key theme to emerge from the forum discussion was the importance of engaging with consumers. The Consumer and Community Involvement (CCI) Program, established by the Western Australian Health Translation Network in 1998, supports consumers, community members and researchers to work in partnership to make decisions about health research priorities, policy and practice. The program is recognised nationally as a good practice model for facilitating partnerships with consumers and community members.

Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to the discussions on the day. Some of the key themes to emerge from the day were;

  • Rurality has a significant impact on individual and community health.
  • There is a need to strengthen community engagement and involvement in research.
  • There is a need for data to support funding requests.
  • Future research needs to address the social determinants of health.
  • There is a need to develop innovative models to address existing service gaps.

Mental health came through as a key theme across several of the discussion groups including Paediatrics, Aboriginal Health and Chronic Disease.

The forum highlighted that there is significant momentum to form a collective rural and regional research community in the southern regions of WA.

To do this, the collaborative will work to address the existing challenges of funding, sharing of data and breaking down silos to maximise research opportunities in the region.

The Road Ahead…

To progress the work of the South West Health Research Collaborative, the Chair from each of the discussion groups will meet for a three-hour workshop on the 19 March 2021 at ECU South West. This will be an opportunity to;

  • Condense and collapse each discussion group
  • Identify the gaps, needs and regional context for each group
  • Develop an engagement and advocacy strategy with key consumers and communities in each focus area.
  • Identify 12 specific inquiry / research projects.
  • Develop recommendations for resourcing and implementing projects.
  • Develop a strategy for the ongoing sustainability of the South West Health Research Collaborative.

We look forward to sharing an update with you in April 2021.