Professor Lisa Bourke

Director, UDRH, Department of Rural Health, The University of Melbourne, Shepparton VIC.

Prof Bourke is a rural sociologist and social worker who has worked in rural health for several decades. Her research focuses on rural health, rural communities, inlcusive rural health care and the wellbeing of rural, remote and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. She is committed to empowering and giving voice to marginalised health consumers and educating the next generatin of health practicioners to be innovative and inclusive.


Deputy Chair

Mrs Christine Howard

Director, Three Rivers Department of Rural Health, Wagga Wagga NSW

Christine has 30 years’ experience in rural health, with a background in nursing, midwifery and occupational rehabilitation before moving to executive management at the Riverina Division of General Practice in 2010.  This organisation became the Murrumbidgee Primary Health Network covering 124,00 sq kms in south west NSW.

In her role as Director of Three Rivers UDRH, Christine is focused on expanding the number of allied health, nursing, midwifery and dentistry students living, studying and working in rural Australia.



Professor David Lyle

Head, Broken Hill UDRH, University of Sydney, NSW

Prof Lyle is a public health physician who has worked in senior positions in the NSW public health system and university sector since 1990. He has a track record of achievement in teaching, research and health services development.


Associate Professor Martin Jones

RN MSc D’Proff
Director, UDRH, University of South Australia, Whyalla, SA

Assoc Prof Jones has worked in the UK National Health Service, having pursued a career in mental health. He has specialist experience leading and developing services for people with serious mental illness.


Associate Professor Vincent Versace

BSc (Hons, H1) PhD
Director, Deakin Rural Health, Warrnambool Campus, Deakin University, VIC

Assoc Prof Versace is committed to reducing rural health disparities. Collaborating widely with academic institutions, NGOs and government departments, he seeks to contribute to high quality research through the robust application of biostatistics and spatial methods.



Professor Sabina Knight

Director, Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health, QLD

Prof Knight has an extensive background in remote and Indigenous primary health care, public health and education. She is a recognised leader in nursing, rural and remote health and education and health system reform.


Professor Sandra Thompson

BSc(Med)(Hons) MB BS (Hons) PhD MPH FAFPHM Grad Dip Health Management
Director, Western Australian Centre for Rural Health, Geraldton, WA

Prof Thompson has worked in the health industry for over 20 years in a variety of roles – as a medical practitioner, laboratory based researcher, public health researcher and epidemiologist, manager and public health practitioner.


Associate Professor Tony Barnett

Director, Centre for Rural Health, University of Tasmania, Launceston, TAS

Assoc Prof Barnett trained as a nurse in South Australia and has worked in a number of hospitals in both South Australia and Victoria. He has previously held senior academic positions at both Monash and Deakin Universities.


Dr Susan Waller

BPhty MPhty Phd
Rural Nursing and Allied Health Lead, Monash Rural Health, Moe, Vic

Dr Waller is a physiotherapist with an academic interest in interprofessional education and practice. Her clinical experience has mostly been in paediatric disability and she was previously senior physiotherapist at a major disability service provider and an academic coordinator at the Rural Clinical School, Toowoomba. Susan has worked as a physiotherapist in rural locations in Queensland, WA, Victoria and Saudi Arabia. She is passionate about values based healthcare and collaboration in education and research.


Professor Jennifer May AM

Director, University of Newcastle, Department of Rural Health, NSW

Prof  May’s career has been focused on rural and remote health, with research interests in new models of general practice, primary health care integration and retention of the health workforce. She has lived and worked in the New England area of NSW since 1984 with a five year sojourn in the remote WA Pilbara region and two stints in rural British Columbia, Canada. She is a practicing GP and has an abiding interest in rural health policy. She is the RDAA representative on the NRHA (having been Chair 2008-2011) and is currently on the Australian National Advisory Committee on Alcohol and Other Drugs (ANACAD). She was named Telstra RDAA rural doctor of the year in 2014 and awarded an AM in recognition of her services to medicine, community health and education in 2016.


Dr Leesa Walker

Discipline Head Rural and Remote Health (SA), Flinders University

Dr Leesa Walker is a rural GP in Hamilton, Victoria and Discipline Head, Rural and Remote Health, SA, for Flinders University.  She is also academic coordinator of the Parallel Rural Community Curriculum, an internationally recognised longitudinal integrated clerkship where penultimate year medical students learn from rural doctors based in general practice. Her academic interests include wellbeing of students and clinicians, community engaged medical education, progress testing and medical school selection processes.


Professor Ross Bailie

Director, University Centre for Rural Health, North Coast, Lismore, NSW

Prof Bailie is a public health physician who has worked as a GP and a public health academic in New Zealand, South Africa and Australia. He has a strong record of applied health and health services and systems research, particularly in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander communities.


Associate Professor Geoff Argus

Bsc (Hons), MPsych (Clinical), MAPS, FCCLP
Director, Southern Queensland Rural Health

Assoc Prof Argus is a Clinical Psychologist and has worked extensively across the public, private and community health sectors in senior clinical and management roles. He is passionate about evidence based mental health service delivery in regional and rural communities, with a particular interest in the social determinants of health as they relate to chronic physical and mental health conditions.


Associate Professor Lindy Swain

BPharm PhD
Director, Majarlin Kimberley Centre for Remote Health, Broome, WA

Associate Professor Swain is a pharmacist by profession and has an extensive background as a clinical academic. She was previously Sydney University’s Allied Health Academic Lead at the Centre for Rural Health, Lismore and has a particular interest in improving medication management for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Her work has been influential in shaping the strategies of the Pharmaceutical Society of Australia on Aboriginal and rural health. Assoc Prof Swain was the Society’s Pharmacist of the Year in 2014 for her work in Aboriginal health.


Associate Professor Carol McKinstry


Acting Director, La Trobe University UDRH

Following a career as an occupational therapist and senior manager in clinical risk and quality improvement, Carol crossed over to academia while completing her PhD in 2005.  As well as her role at La Trobe UDRH and Head of the Rural Department of Allied Health, Carol teaches into the occupational therapy courses at Bendigo campus and is involved in coordinating project based and service learning placement subjects. Her research is primarily focused on developing an allied health workforce for rural and regional communities.  Carol is currently Vice President of Occupational Therapy Australia, chair of a local health service and sits on a number of community boards.


Associate Professor Narelle Campbell

PhD MEd BAppSc(SpPath)

Academic Lead, Centre for Remote Health, NT

Assoc Prof Campbell leads a team of medical, allied health and nursing academics and administrators to deliver medical education, workforce development and capacity building for health professional student placements.  A speech pathologist by background, Narelle has held a series of academic roles for more than 15 years. Her PhD was a large Australia-wide project investigating the personality and motivation traits of remote allied health professionals. Her current research interests include the workforce profile and retention of primary healthcare staff in Aboriginal community controlled services, the feasibility of student-led provision of allied health services in remote Australian (Indigenous) regions and a tracking study of workforce location outcomes for students who have undertaken rural/remote placements.