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2017-11-01: Working towards healthier farms – GippsDairy Newsletter – How Now Gippy Cow

Now entering its ninth year, Australia’s only postgraduate agricultural health and medicine unit for professionals servicing farming communities continues to attract participants from across Australia.

Designed to confront 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.

To date, 150 professionals working in agriculture, medicine, allied health and nursing from all over Australia have undertaken the course. The National Centre for Farmer Health’s (NCFH), Dr Susan Brumby said that a healthy workforce is vital for a productive agricultural industry, but 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 a high rate of injuries including fatalities and suffer chronic diseases at high rates,” she said.

“A growing number of agricultural and health professionals are addressing the health disparities in our agricultural and rural populations and making a real difference to the lives of farmers and their families and employees.”

Moira Tulloch, a Registered Nurse and Clinical Manager from Briagolong received a GippsDairy scholarship in 2017 which helped her manage rural patients better.

“The knowledge I have gained has become an integral part of my [rural] nursing practice,” she said.

“It was a great experience learning from other rural professionals from both Australia and overseas.”

This was also the case for 2017 GippsDairy scholarship recipient, dairy farmer and registered nurse, Kathryn Croatto.

“I now try to include as much health information into my consultations, I am more aware of patient occupations and potential hazards,” she said.

GippsDairy regional manager Allan Cameron said GippsDairy saw the scholarships as a practical way to improve health outcomes for the dairy community.

“The scholarships put knowledge in the hands of local health professionals who then take that into the wider community,” he said.

“Each scholarship recipient adds to the store of information on health issues for farmers, which is already making a difference to the way health professionals are approaching patients from farms.”

Round Two Scholarships are now open for the exciting 5-day-intensive Agricultural Health and Medicine unit (HMF701), being offered through Deakin University and the National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH) in Hamilton, western Victoria, from February 26th to March 2nd 2018. The presented topics cover a broad range of agricultural health, safety and wellbeing issues ranging from mental illness and addiction through to emergency medicine, agrichemicals and agricultural trauma. The course has also been accredited for professional development points in areas of medicine, veterinary science, social work and nursing. Applications for Gippsland health and agricultural professionals are now open and close 5th December 2017.

The HMF701 unit can be completed as a stand-alone course, and has been accredited for professional development points through selected colleges and associations, with some health professionals eligible to become AgriSafe™ providers.

For more information about Agricultural Health and Medicine and how you can get involved, contact Dr Jacquie Cotton, Lecturer Rural Health at NCFH on 03 5551 8533 or Salle Clynes, Gipps Dairy on 03 5624 3900 visit http://www.farmerhealth.org.au for further information.

Course details are also available at http://www.deakin.edu.au

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