(l-r) Prof Ross Bailie, Susan Parker-Pavlovic, Emma Walke, Dr Veronica Matthews, A/Prof Megan Passey, Kerryn Harkin, David Edwards

The Northern Rivers based University Centre for Rural Health (UCRH) will share in federal government funding totalling $2.5 million as part of the latest funding round of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

The funding, announced in early September, was awarded to The Centre of Research Excellence in Strengthening Systems for Indigenous Health Care Equity (CRE-STRIDE), a new phase of ongoing collaborative work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander primary health care that goes back to the early 2000s. 

Over this time, the collaboration has grown to a network of more than 360 people, including health practitioners, researchers and policymakers, who have led research in applying quality improvement processes to strengthen delivery of comprehensive, integrated primary health care. 

The funding will enable the collective to extend the application of quality improvement beyond clinical care to address multifactorial determinants of health and empower communities to guide health care improvements. 

Dr Veronica Matthews and UCRH Academic Lead for Indigenous Health, Emma Walke are two of ten Indigenous Investigators from across the country who are involved in leading CRE-STRIDE. 

“A key element… is its strong Indigenous leadership placing the strengths, needs and aspirations of Indigenous people at the centre of research and health systems improvement. It is a great achievement for the UCRH to lead the CRE in conjunction with a number of other universities,” they said

UCRH Director Professor Ross Bailie said the Lismore-based CRE was pioneering rural and Indigenous health approaches: “The Indigenous leadership is a first for theUniversity of Sydney’s CREs… based in a regional town, this is also a great boost for rural health research generally as we live and work with rural communities.”