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2017-01-18: Seeds sown for new crop of agri-health professionals – Stock & Land

Australia’s only postgraduate agricultural health and medicine unit for professionals servicing farming communities is attracting participants from across Australia and overseas.

Designed to tackle the high morbidity and mortality rates in the agricultural industry, the internationally recognised course better equips health providers, rural professionals and our farming communities with the knowledge and skills they need to help turn things around.

The National Centre for Farmer Health’s (NCFH), Dr Susan Brumby said a healthy workforce was vital for a productive agricultural industry.

Through the work of the NCFH, we have learnt that farming families and their communities face poorer health outcomes than their urban counterparts.

Agricultural workers have higher rates of injuries including fatalities and suffer chronic diseases at high rates.”

“A growing number of agricultural and health professionals are required to address the health disparities and make a real difference to the lives of our agricultural and rural populations,” Dr Brumby said.

This was the case for 2015 scholarship recipient Louisa Ferrier, an agricultural project manager, Birchip Cropping Group, in northern Victoria.

“Studying with people from a range of backgrounds has strengthened my understanding of what makes a farmer tick,” she said.

“A healthy farmer will make better decisions. This course offers relevant information that I now apply to enhance my field of work.”

Dr Felix Ho, a medical intern and former paramedic in Darwin, agreed.

“You’re not just focussing on the medical conditions, but the range of factors that impact on these conditions in an agricultural context – the family, community and economic aspects,” he said.

International occupational physician, and the founder of the Netherlands Centre for Occupational Diseases, Professor Gert van der Laan, observed the 2016 course in action in Hamilton in Victoria.

“This is a well-organized multidisciplinary blended learning course in agricultural health and medicine,” he said.

“I would like to see courses like HMF701 Agricultural Health and Medicine worldwide to further develop occupational health.”

Limited places are available for an exciting five-day intensive Agricultural Health and Medicine unit (HMF701), offered through Deakin University and the National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH) in Hamilton from February 27 to March 3.

Read more: 2017-01-18: Seeds sown for new crop of agri-health professionals – Stock & Land