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Rural Research Capacity Building Program

The Rural Research Capacity Building Program, run by the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) has been providing research training and support to rural and remote health workers since 2006. Based around a capacity building framework, this program uses an experiential learning model where trainees learn research techniques by undertaking a research program over 22 months. Workshops, teleconferences and mentoring support the learning process.

Past trainees have covered a diverse range of research areas, including dementia, cancer care, Aboriginal health, nutrition, online education, peri-operative care and population health initiatives. Whilst some graduates have commenced or completed research-related higher degrees, and some have left the workplace to lecture at universities, the majority of graduates continue to apply their new skills in research and evaluation within their rural communities. These graduates become resources within their facilities and workplaces.

Rural Research Capacity Building Program graduates and coordinators at the Rural Health and Research Congress, Armidale, November 2015[/caption]

Some projects lead to larger collaborative studies and there have been a number of projects emerging from the program that have led to practice and policy changes across the State. Some examples are:

  • Cath Bateman evaluated a volunteer program to improve care of patients with dementia. This program has now been rolled out across multiple local health districts with the backing of the Agency for Clinical Innovation
  • Leanne Wright’s exploration of the reasons Aboriginal people do not wait for treatment in emergency departments has led to changes in emergency department design and funding
  • Michael Koenen established the superiority of reflective blankets over cotton blankets in short operative procedures. This research is now underpinning policy and procedure across the country.

Full reports on these projects, and many more, can be found on HETI’s website. Applications for the program’s next intake are expected to be announced in the latter half of 2016. For more information contact: David Schmidt, Rural Research Program Officer, or 02 6492 9104 Kerith Duncanson, Rural Research Program Officer,, 0428 848 264.

Updated 4 years ago