We drive real change in rural health through collaborative research across the state
We aim for real possibilities of better health outcomes, translating findings back into best practice care.
We engage diverse rural, remote and Aboriginal communities with the health issues that they feel are most important.
We foster collaborations with expert groups including the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services and other Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations.
We combine traditional research degree approaches with an ‘apprenticeship’ style program that allows people without the usual academic background to develop skills and follow a range of pathways to reach their capacity.
Together, we’re building a rurally-based, broadly skilled health researcher workforce focused on teamwork and mentorship.
RCSWA research takes a life course approach to improving the health outcomes of our communities. Our research spans from pre-birth through to end of life care and healthy aging. We take a family-centred and community approach to our research while incorporating the concepts of developmental origins of health and disease to improve health service delivery and health outcomes. Professor Julia Marley
Senior Principal Research Fellow RCSWA
3 reasons why research with RCSWA could be right for you
Our particular skills are in engaging diverse rural, remote and Aboriginal communities with the health issues that they feel are most important, translating findings back into best practice care, and in building a rurally-based, broadly skilled health researcher workforce. We value our strengths in research across diverse cultures, life stages and diseases. We have a strong focus on:
- Rurally relevant health services research and development of innovative service delivery and health promotion models that meet community needs
- Health issues that directly impact on rural people and improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- Evaluating health programs and services and supporting improvement in care.
Our research operates within a community-based participatory research approach, which brings together community and academic worlds, as well as Indigenous and Western research methodologies. Stakeholder engagement is a key factor in our success. Including end-users (community members as well as health service staff) as core members of our research team facilitates rapid translation of research findings into changes at a community level, service level and in policy. Examples of changes to policy and practice include:
- Simplifying Screening for Type 2 Diabetes: based on evidence from the “Kimberley HbA1c Study”, regional Kimberley and Australian Diabetes Society screening guidelines were updated in 2015.
- Implementing the Kimberley Mum’s Mood Scale: the tool is available as a fillable form in medical record software (MMEx and Communicare) that is used by over 260 Australian clinics.
We promote a culture of collegiality and mentorship within our School. We foster up-skilling in research of all interested medical coordinators, and collaborations between early researchers or students and those with more established careers. The School has four research hubs at Broome, Bunbury, Kalgoorlie and Albany. These hubs support smaller sites with their research in different surrounding regions.
We foster collaborations with other groups with relevant expertise, with the expectation that our skills and community relationships will support feasible and meaningful research. Our regional partners include:
- WA Country Health Service
- Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Service (KAMS) and Kimberley Aboriginal Health Research Alliance
- Lishman Health Foundation
How to get involved
Research Steering Committee
The Research Steering Committee supports students, established researchers and medical professionals who want to engage in research projects focused on rural medicine.
Our research philosophy and approach focuses on health issues that are relevant to rural and remote locations, especially questions that cannot readily be explored in a city context and that provide some real possibilities of outcomes within our communities.
The Committee assesses all requests for collaboration and reviews the Doctor of Medicine projects proposed by RCSWA students. If you have a passion for rural research or simply want to find out more, we’d love to hear from you.
Student research projects
UWA Scholarly Activity Research Stream students commence an appropriately designed research project in an area of interest, under the supervision of an RCSWA academic staff member. There are three research units that focus on learning to conduct high quality research aimed at improving health outcomes, clinical audits or systematic reviews that addresses important gaps in clinical knowledge. Students will be able to demonstrate the acquisition of basic skills and training necessary for research in their chosen field.
There may be opportunities for other interested students to be involved in research. Please contact the Scholarly Activities Rural Research Coordinator for more information.