The National Rural Health Alliance (the Alliance) is the peak national body for organisation committed to improving the health and wellbeing of the 7 million people living in rural and remote Australia. We are comprised of 38 member organisations that cover thousnads of individuals – many of them front line health service providers as well as a large number of consumers. In addition, organisational members of our member bodies number in the hundreds which gives the Alliance a broad and authentic view of the interests of the people of rural and remote Australia.
Our scope and reach covers peak bodies including consumer groups (such as the Country Women’s Association of Australia and the Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association), the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health sector, health professional organisations (representing doctors, nurses and midwives, allied health professionals, dentists, pharmacists, optometrists, paramedics, health students, and health service managers) and service providers (such as the Royal Flying Doctor Service).
We work with stakeholders to improve health and wellbeing by developing well-targeted, cost-effective, evidence-based solutions. The Alliance is a rich source of credible information and expertise, and stands ready to work with relevant stakeholders on responses to current and emerging rural and remote health issues.
The Alliance hosts the ‘Friends of the Alliance’ – a pivotal network of people and organisations with an interest in rural health who support the work of the Alliance and provide valuable grassroots connections. Friends plays a vital role in keeping the Alliance connected and informed at a local level and is valuable in helping us remain a strong, representative voice for rural and remote people. Friends brings together people who can harness the knowledge, capacity, influence and geographic reach of rural and remote Australia and can help identify innovative solutions to rural and remote challenges.
We host the biennial National Rural Health Conference – the pre-eminent rural health conference in Australia – which brings together people from all walks of life with a commitment to improving the health and wellbeing of people in rural and remote areas. The conference, which is held every two years, spans four days and attracts more than 1,000 delegates. It is an important opportunity for people to network, raise issues and ideas, and guide the Alliance in prioritising its policy work.
The Alliance produces a range of communication materials, including Fact sheets and infographics, media releases, its flagship magazine Partyline – which has more than 8,000 subscribers – and a monthly email newsletter, The BushWire. Our website receives more than 150,000 visits a year. We are also active on social media through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Our significant and diverse reach allows us to disseminate rural health information to a broad audience and promptly gather that audience’s views on the rural health issues of the day.
We manage the Australian Journal of Rural Health, a highly credible source of research information, policy articles and reflections related to rural health. In 2015 there were around 148,000 full article downloads from the Journal. It is an important publication for researchers and practitioners, and for policy makers in their design and implementation of policies and programs.
Since the year 2000, we have managed the Rural Australia Medical Undergraduate Scholarship (RAMUS) scheme for the Australian Department of Health. At its peak, RAMUS supported 587 students from a rural background to study medicine. Managing the program has given the Alliance unique insights into aspects of the rural health workforce ‘pipeline’, and means that it is well-placed to advise on the development of health workforce initiatives.
For more information on the National Rural Health Alliance visit ruralhealth.org.au