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, inclusive 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 generation of health practitioners to be innovative and inclusive.


Deputy Chair

Mrs Christine Howard

Director, Three Rivers Department of Rural Health, Wagga Wagga NSW  (Charles Sturt University)

B.Soc.Sc., Dip.App.Sc., Mid. MAICD

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 Pamela Harvey

BAppSci(Physio) MEd PhD FHEA

Rural Nursing and Allied Health Lead, Monash Rural Health, VIC 

Dr Harvey is a physiotherapist with broad clinical and academic experiences in rural and regional areas. She has taught across physiotherapy and medical education; and has research interests in graduate attributes and end-of-life care in rural areas.



Associate Professor Leanne Brown

BHSc (N&D) GradCertPaed N&D GradCertSports Nutr PhD AdvAPD

Academic Lead, Teaching and Learning, University of Newcastle, Department of Rural Health, Tamworth  NSW

Associate Professor Brown is an Advanced Accredited Practising Dietitian with more than 20 years in the dietetics profession. After working as a clinical dietitian in metropolitan areas, Leanne made tracks back to the country, relocating to Tamworth in 2003 and moving into an academic role with the UoN DRH program.



Professor Robyn Aitken

RN Cert Anaes. & RR  B.Ed.St. M.Ed.St.  PhD

Deputy Dean, Rural and Remote Health SA & NT

Prof Aitken is a nurse with record of achievement in the health service and university sectors, influencing nursing, midwifery and healthcare more broadly across a range of roles and responsibilities nationally and internationally. Her leadership, teaching and research spans acute care, primary health care and public and population health. She has expertise in remote and Indigenous health care delivery, teaching and research, health care in low resource settings, health workforce design and innovation and health professional regulation.




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 H1), MPsych (Clinical), MAPS, FCCLP, GAICD

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.


Dr Rosemarie Newitt

PhD, BSpExSc (Hons) GDipExPhys(Clin) GCertEd(Tertiary Teaching)

Academic Lead, Allied Health, Majarlin Kimberley Centre for Remote Health, Broome WA

Dr Newitt has extensive knowledge and experience with translational frameworks for planning, implementation and evaluation of evidence-based interventions in complex settings. She is an advocate for teaching, clinical research and evidence-based practice.

Dr Newitt has led allied health teams in regional, rural and remote health settings in Queensland. During her roles in health management she experienced the challenges and costs associated with recruitment and retention of health professionals in rural and remote areas.

Dr Newitt has a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise Science, a Graduate Diploma in Clinical Exercise Physiology and a Graduate Certificate in Education Tertiary Teaching from James Cook University.


Professor Timothy Skinner


Professor La Trobe University

Professor University of Copenhagen

Director, La Trobe University UDRH

Prof Skinner trained as a health psychologist in the UK and moved to Australia in 2007, and to rural/remote Australia in 2008. Most of his research and service delivery work is focused on the prevention and management of diabetes, the role of sleep in health inequities, and enhancing effective communication between health professionals and people with chronic disease.



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.