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2015-09-03 Five Days to Save Farmers Lives

Five days to save farmers lives

Agricultural Health & Medicine course attracts rural professionals

Now entering its seventh 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 course better equips health providers, rural professionals and our farming communities with the knowledge and skills they need to help turn things around.

This was the case for 2013 scholarship recipient Lee-Ann Monks, an agricultural scientist and communications consultant from Bli Bli, QLD: “The course gave me an insight into the things that influence farmer health and its impact on the farm business. I now have a better understanding of the people I work with and a broader set of skills to help them.” Felix Ho, a paramedic in Darwin, NT and 2014 scholarship recipient agrees: “You’re not just looking at the medical conditions, but the range of factors that impact on these conditions in an agricultural context – the family, community and economic aspects.”

Scholarships are now open for the Deakin University’s exciting 5-day-intensive Agricultural Health and Medicine unit (HMF701), being offered through the National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH) in Hamilton, western Victoria, from February 22nd to February 26th 2016. 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.

“We know 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.” Dr Brumby said.

Scholarship applications are open until 25th October 2015, with one of the scholarships reserved for a person engaged in agriculture and/or a member of a farming family. 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. To date 120 people from all over Australia have undertaken the course.

Contact Dr Vanessa Vaughan, Lecturer Rural Health at NCFH on 03 5551 8533 or visit http://www.farmerhealth.org.au/page/education/what-is-hmf701 for further information.