The Australian Rural Health Education Network or ARHEN is the national peak body for Australia’s University Departments of Rural Health (UDRHs) in every State and the NT. There are now 16 UDRHs around Australia.
ARHEN provides leadership and advice through a national voice on:
ARHEN aims to work collaboratively with its many stakeholders on multidisciplinary rural and remote health workforce matters.
ARHEN also supports six UDRH staff networks which report to the Board. These are Service Learning, Executive Officers, Mental Health Academics, Rural Pharmacists Support, Student Placement Coordination and the Aboriginal Staff Alliance. Each works to their own Terms of Reference and meets regularly, often by videoconference, to provide members opportunities to inform policy development, share information, promote programs and projects and offer support and mentorship.
UDRHs were first established more than 20 years ago – they are diverse, complementary and form the most significant rural health academic consolidation in Australia.
A key UDRH activity is support for clinical placements in rural and remote locations for health science students from universities across Australia. Well-supported rural and remote placements such as those offered by UDRHs have been shown to encourage students to return to these locations to work professionally after graduation.
UDRHs focus on expanding and enhancing the rural and remote health workforce through multidisciplinary education and training, research,
professional support and service development. They form the only rurally based academic units that work with all health disciplines at both
undergraduate and postgraduate levels and with the existing workforce, comitted to ensuring the health workforce needs of rural and remote areas are addressed by national strategies.