New alliance to transform health care delivery in country WA

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WA Country Health Service (WACHS) and Curtin University have joined forces to transform the way healthcare is delivered for people living in rural, remote and regional Western Australia.

The WACHS-Curtin University Research and Innovation Alliance will work to ensure better health outcomes for regional and remote communities – guided by leading research and innovation and more targeted training for the next generation of country health workers.

In a move to further cement this new relationship with Curtin, the WACHS Research and Innovation team will relocate next year to be on site at the University’s new Exchange precinct – Curtin’s first dedicated industry-connected innovation site.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne said the co-location is a key aspect of the partnership, which aims to positively impact health outcomes for those living in regional and remote areas, with a particular focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“The WACHS-Curtin Alliance is built on the premise that no one should be disadvantaged based on where they live,” Professor Hayne said.

“A key focus will also be developing training for country health frontline employees, to ensure their skillset is tailored to meet the specific needs of the communities they serve.

“The alliance will also foster innovative research to deliver tangible health outcomes for a wide range of conditions, whether that be advancements in prevention, treatment or cure.”

WACHS Chief Executive Jeff Moffet said the co-location of the two organisations was an exciting initiative and a first for WACHS.

“Being based on site with Curtin researchers and students will not only provide valuable academic support for our WACHS team and their projects but will allow a two-way learning culture which will benefit both WACHS and Curtin – staff and students,” Mr Moffet said.

“By working alongside our Curtin colleagues, we will have easy access to data analytics capability and innovative new technologies including virtual reality and 3D imaging – tools that will help facilitate the research we are doing to address the unique healthcare needs of regional Western Australians.”

Important research under the new Alliance is already well underway. This includes a key project to help better identify and manage chronic kidney disease – a condition that affects people living in rural and remote areas at almost twice the rate of city dwellers – and Indigenous Australians at more than four times the rate.

The Alliance is also working to quickly upskill frontline workers who deliver telehealth services noting how demand significantly increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information about this collaboration, please visit here.