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This postgraduate unit is the first to be offered by the National Centre for Farmer Health, a collaboration between the Deakin School of Medicine and the Western District Health Service in Hamilton, Western Victoria. It was developed to be undertaken either as an elective by postgraduate diploma and masters-level students in Public Health, Health Promotion and Nursing through HMNBS at Deakin or as a stand-alone professional development unit designed to appeal to rural health and non-health professionals working with agricultural communities. It has been accredited by the Australian Association of Social Workers and a number of other organisations the Royal College of Nursing Australia, the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and the Australian Veterinary Association.
HMF701 ran for the first time as a 5-day intensive from 22 February to 26 February, 2010, with 22 students from around Australia. The unit attracted a diverse group of nurses, veterinarians, social workers, public health students, health promotions students and rural professionals—the majority of whom were not currently enrolled in a postgraduate course. Course evaluations were extremely positive with the diverse cross section of students and experience adding to the learnings.
15 experts presented over the 5 days. These presentations and various site visits included the Hamilton Livestock Exchange; a progressive mixed enterprise farm; Rural Ambulance Victoria; and State Emergency Services, highlighting the wide range of health, well-being and safety problems encountered by rural and remote populations. Topics covered by the program ranged from cancer, diabetes, agricultural chemicals and mental health through to musculo skeletal injury, respiratory health and respiratory fit testing, rural emergency medicine and trauma. The 22 participants completed further group activities and assessments online.
Two further postgraduate level units are currently under development by the National Centre for Farmer Health and in 2011, the National Centre for Farmer Health in conjunction with the Deakin School of Medicine aims to offer a Graduate Certificate of Agricultural Health and Medicine, the first of its kind in Australia.
Further information can be obtained from:
Clinical Associate Professor Susan Brumby
03 5551 8533