Rural Health Matters makeover

June 1st, 2015 by helencr

The review of Rural Health Matters over the last couple of months has revealed a fair degree of consensus about what will make the staff newsletter more relevant.


  • Monthly was felt to be more frequent than necessary.
  • Quarterly, while suggested, was felt by others to be too infrequent resulting in either too large a newsletter or out-of-date material.
  • Bi-monthly was agreed to be a good compromise.


Time poverty was a consistent theme. It was suggested that a format that allowed the newsletter to be printed and read away from the computer would make it easier for many staff to read it.

(MUDRIH staff suggested that the school needs a repository of information to which staff can contribute directly and in real-time. It may not be a practical format for the staff newsletter at this stage, but it most surely highlights the direction in which the school’s intranet should be heading.)


It was agreed that the Head of School was the most appropriate source of news about major operational and policy change, and should be the subject of separate communication from the HoS.

While it became clear that there are distinct communities of interest across the school, staff generally wanted to know what other sites were doing and how they are meeting challenges.

Subjects of interest included:

  • Education activities
  • Community engagement
  • Student stories
  • New staff – professional background, their new role, days/hours of work, contact details and a photo.
  • Calendar of events, for example, journal club/research seminars, Ed Tech Inservices

There was much discussion about what sort of research information was sought and whether this should be included in Rural Health Matters or separate research news. Suggestions included:

  • reports on graduate research student presentations
  • conference reports
  • papers published
  • grant opportunities
  • ways of disseminating research

Items on any subject need to be succinct.

Over the next two months, we will be working out the best way to meet the news needs idenfitied by staff and introducing changes. We are always open to suggestions for improvements.

Thank you to sites for allowing Helen to pop into staff meetings to ask about how to make the newsletter more relevant.

Rural health showcased at Darwin conference

June 1st, 2015 by helencr

The 2015 13th National Rural Health Conference was held in Darwin from 24-27 May 2015.  The conference was well attended with approximately 1200 attendees.

SRH presentations

The School of Rural Health was well represented at the conference with many staff and students presenting at the conference:

Keynote addresses

The Opening Address by Senator Fiona Nash, Assistant Federal Minister for Health, announced an overhauled and much fairer GP Rural Incentives Program which means smaller rural communities would be able to more easily attract and retain GPs. Some 450 rural and regional towns will receive greater incentives to attract GPs from 1 July 2015.  An independent expert panel consulted with stakeholders before compiling a report for the Minister, using the new Modified Monash Model to classify rural and regional towns and cities.  Minister Nash acknowledged the work of this expert panel and gave particular acknowledgement to Emeritus Professor John Humphreys for his work as a member of the expert panel and for the Modified Monash Model.

Professor John Wakerman from Flinders NT presented a keynote address on the Monday afternoon entitled “Research excellence, knowledge exchange and policy development”.  This presentation drew on the work of the Centre of Research Excellence in Rural and Remote Primary Health Care to examine the key features of an effective knowledge exchange process.  John discussed the Modified Monash Model and also acknowledged the work of John Humphreys and Matthew McGrail.

John Wakerman talked about research and policy development
Click to view John Wakerman’s presentation.

Dr Carole Reeve, a PhD student of the Centre of Research Excellence in Rural and Remote Primary Health Care (CRE), based at Alice Springs, presented a very interesting and thought provoking opening address on the Sunday evening entitled “The challenge of providing fair care” also referring to the work of the CRE.

carole reeve
Click to view Carole Reeve’s presentation.


The conference was jam-packed with entertainment, information and lots of food.  Importantly, it provided wonderful opportunities for our School of Rural Health staff and students to connect with other researchers and services from across the country who are interested in similar areas.

Although there was little time available to see the sights of Darwin, a few managed to find a little time to wrestle with crocs and enjoy the local cuisine.

Lisa Lavey

Staff farewelled from Sale and welcomed to Bairnsdale

May 29th, 2015 by helencr

We farewell Loy Perryman who commenced with the SRH as a sessional in 2007 then to the Y4C Academic Coordinator for Year 4C at Sale in 2010. Loy will commence Long Service Leave on May 18th, and has tendered her resignation for the end of her leave to join her fiancé and daughter in Canberra. We would like to thank Loy for her input over the last eight years and wish her all the best for the future.

Alda Dunlop Year and 3B Academic Coordinator has tendered her resignation as at 30th June 2015 to spend more time with her family, and again we wish Alda all the best.

We welcome Karen Cox who has joined the administration team as a casual. Karen is based at the Bairnsdale site, and brings with her a wealth of administration and management skills from the finance and media industries. Karen can be contacted or phone  03 5150 3613.

Australia-Germany Joint Research Cooperation Scheme

May 29th, 2015 by helencr

Applications opened on 9 April 2015 for the Australia-Germany Joint Research Cooperation Scheme, a joint initiative of Universities Australia and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The former Go8-DAAD scheme has been replaced by this scheme.

This scheme will support exchanges for Australian researchers to spend time at partner institutions in Germany and for collaborating German researchers to spend time at Australian universities. The support of early career researchers and junior scholars is a significant focus of this scheme. The scheme is open to Monash researchers in all academic fields involved in a collaborative project with German research partners.

Grants up to AUD12,500 per project per annum are provided to support Monash researchers travelling to Germany. The German collaborating partner must submit a corresponding application, with the same project title, to the DAAD in Germany by the closing date. The funding available per German application is up to EUR 8,000 per project per year. Grants will cover the costs of economy airfares and living expenses. Projects are funded for one or two years commencing in 2016.

This scheme has been advertised in Research Professional. You can also download an application pack. (You will be asked to log in with your Monash email address and authcate password.)

Applications close on Tuesday 30 June 2015 with the Monash Research Office.

MRO will arrange for the applications to be ranked within each research discipline according to the assessment criteria. If you have any queries please contact Dennis Batson ( or 990 51193).

Research student publishes on complementary medicine

May 29th, 2015 by helencr

Graduate research student, Kate Templeman has had two papers published this year in the run up to submitting her PhD thesis in the next few months. Kate’s research focuses on complementary medicine under the supervision of Anske Robinson and Lisa McKenna of the School of Nursing and Midwifery.


Templeman, K., Robinson, A., McKenna, L. (2015) Complementary medicine in medicine: Conceptualising terminology among Australian medical students using a constructivist grounded theory approach, Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 21: 33-41


Terminology around the use of complementary medicines (CM) within medical discourse is ambiguous. Clear collective discourse within the medical context is required. This study reports the findings of a Constructivist Grounded Theory Method study used to explore medical students’ conceptualisation of terminology and associated value components around CMs as evidenced within their discourse community. The results show that terminology surrounding CMs within medicine is politically charged and fraught with value judgements. Terms used to describe CMs were considered, many of which were deemed problematic. Categorisation of specific medicines was also deemed inappropriate in certain contexts. Conceptualisation of CM terminology, categorisation and value implications, discriminated between levels of evidence for CMs and provided insights into the social change of medicine towards emergence of an evidence-based integrative approach. The results show that terminology surrounding CM is a social construct consistent with fluid conceptualisation and operationalisation in different social contexts.

Templeman, K., Robinson, A. McKenna, L., (2015) Student identification of the need for complementary medicine education in Australian medical curricula: A constructivist grounded theory approach. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 23(2): 257-264.



Across the Western world, including Australia, growing popularity of complementary medicines (CMs) mandates their implementation into medical education (ME). Medical students in international contexts have expressed a need to learn about CMs. In Australia, little is known about the student-specific need for CM education. The objective of this paper was to assess the self-reported need for CM education among Australian medical students.


Thirty second-year to final-year medical students participated in semi-structured interviews. A constructivist grounded theory methodological approach was used to generate, construct and analyse data.


Medical school education faculties in Australian universities.


Medical students generally held favourable attitudes toward CMs but had knowledge deficits and did not feel adept at counselling patients about CMs. All students were supportive of CM education in ME, noting its importance in relation to the doctor–patient encounter, specifically with regard to interactions with medical management. As future practitioners, students recognised the need to be able to effectively communicate about CMs and advise patients regarding safe and effective CM use.


Australian medical students expressed interest in, and the need for, CM education in ME regardless of their opinion of it, and were supportive of evidence-based CMs being part of their armamentarium. However, current levels of CM education in medical schools do not adequately enable this. This level of receptivity suggests the need for CM education with firm recommendations and competencies to assist CM education development required. Identifying this need may help medical educators to respond more effectively.

Education Academy launched

April 10th, 2015 by helencr

You may have seen the posters announcing that the Monash Education Academy was coming. It was finally launched on 18 March.

The academy is structured around six themes:

  • Recognising
  • Training
  • Mentoring
  • Showcasing
  • Researching
  • Fostering

Introducing the new academy, Professor Darrell Evans, Vice-Provost (Learning and Teaching) was quite adamant that the Academy is:

  • owned by the faculties as its executive is composed of faculty representatives, and
  • it’s open to anyone who’s interested in teaching – both teaching and support staff.

Three main initiatives to start

These are the academies first three initiatives.

  • The CEED framework (Continuing Education Excellence Development) will replace the Grad Cert (in Academic Practice??) that was compulsory for all new teaching staff. It is not an award course, but composed of modules. This gives the Academy the ability to add, change and delete modules as demand changes. CEED is designed as a continuous professional development framework.
  • BTBL Bytes will be a series of online resources on a range of teaching and learning matters. It’s currently being tested and they are looking for volunteers who’d like to try them out and give feedback.
  • Ten foundation fellows were inducted into the Academy today – Liz Davis from MNHS was among them. An ongoing fellowship program will be developed in future.

Student involvement

Dr Nicholas Monk (Assoc. Prof and Director IATL at Warwick University also spoke). Monash and Warwick have been collaborating on this venture as well as others. One point raised by Nicholas is how to involve students in such an academy. Darrell Evans picked up on this and said that Monash still had to work out how it involves students in the work of the Academy. One suggestion is to draw HDR students into its activities as they will become the next generation of teachers. But there needs to be other involvement.

Ideas and input

The last part of the launch was a discussion at each table about ideas for the academy. Angela Carbone was sitting on my table, so we got a very thorough run-down on the PATS (Peer Assisted Teaching Scheme). This will be closely involved with the mentoring aspect of the academy. She also mentioned her involvement with MERG (Monash Education Research Group) as education research is one of the Academy’s “themes”.

They are looking for ideas and input to shape the direction of the Academy: you can email them to

A question that came up in relation to SRH is “how do you motivate/encourage busy clinicians to take part in some of this?”

Where to next?

There will be another session on 5 May for people who couldn’t go to the launch, but are interested. (See home page for details.)
If you’d like to make comments, submit ideas, volunteer to test BTBL Bytes, volunteer to take part in the pilot of CEED which will start in semester two, email them:

Students ignite interest in global health

April 8th, 2015 by helencr
The 2015 Ignite calendar kicked off with a moonlight cinema.

The 2015 Ignite calendar kicked off with a moonlight cinema.

Harvard economist Jeffrey Sachs is well known for being the man-on-a-mission to end extreme poverty. He often points out that if every American donated the equivalent of one cup of coffee ($2.50), that the proceeds would fully fund the global prevention of malaria.

Based on the colossal amount of coffee i’ve seen medical students consume, I think we’re an excellent group to get that ball rolling. Or for those who are fine with their HECS debt rivalling the amount of money they owe their barista… ”

Ignite is Monash University’s non-profit global health group. The organisation was established by medical students in 2004 and now consists of multiple sub-committees including a passionate Gippsland division. With the aim of fostering passions in global health and providing avenues for practical involvement, the Gippsland committee is planning its biggest year yet.

It was kicked off with a picturesque outdoor cinema that more than 40 students from 5 sites attended. The event was a huge success which allowed students to meet like-minded individuals from various year groups while also raising funds for future initiatives. The committee is already well underway with the planning of a global clinician lecture series, book club and online article writing competition.

Committee positions are still available for Ignite Gippsland and the group would always love to hear any ideas or suggestions you have.

Zach O’Brien
Committee Chair

Facebook page:

Download software you need

February 6th, 2015 by helencr

Monash has licences for a range of software that you can install yourself without needing authorisation. From browsers to Adobe Acrobat (full version) to Cisco Unified Video Advantage (which gives you a one-on-one video phone call with other users) to MS Project – it’s all here for your use.

The My Software catalogue is available from the Start button on your computer on all sites except Mildura. If you’re in Mildura you’ll need to log a job with Service Desk Online to have it installed the next time a technician visits.

IWD webinar provides tools for change

February 6th, 2015 by helencr

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Make It Happen’. To mark the occasion, the School of Rural Health is hosting a webinar looking at advocacy as a tool for change.

This will be a practical session, giving you tangible strategies to use in making your own passion happen.

When: Wednesday 4 March 11.30am – 12.00 noon
Where: Via Zoom
Register here to take part

MUDRIH PhD student graduates

February 4th, 2015 by helencr
Darryl Maybery, Anne Grant and Andrea Reupert at Anne's graduation.

Darryl Maybery, Anne Grant and Andrea Reupert at Anne's graduation.

Congratulations go to Anne Grant, an SRH PhD student from Ireland, who recently graduated at the ceremonies held in Clayton, December 2014.

Anne’s thesis was titled: ‘Registered psychiatric nurses’ practice with parents who have mental illness, their children and families, within general adult mental health services in Ireland.’

Anne conducted a mixed methods study to investigate registered Irish Psychiatric Nurses’ (RPN) perceptions of their family focused practice (FFP) with parents, who have mental illness, their children and families, in adult mental health services. Findings suggest that RPNs in Study One were generally not family focused, and higher scorers were those practising within community settings. The most important predictors of FFP were skill and knowledge, practice setting and confidence around parenting and children generally. Study Two suggested that high scoring RPNs’ FFP comprised various family focused activities, principles and processes. The findings have enhanced understanding of RPNs’ FFP both in Ireland and internationally.

Anne’s co-supervisors were Associate Professor Darryl Maybery from MUDRIH, Associate Professor Andrea Reupert from the Faculty of Education and Dr Melinda Goodyear, also from MUDRIH.