The new director of the Greater Green Triangle University Department of Rural Health (GGT UDRH), Professor Peter Harvey, is following his passion for improving the health of rural communities.
Professor Harvey, who takes up his role this week, describes his position as a long-held ambition and says he plans to continue the UDRH’s existing work on chronic disease management and community capacity building.
He also hopes to introduce a continuing research emphasis on Aboriginal health issues and a new research emphasis on the health consequences of gambling in rural communities.
The GGT UDRH is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and is a partnership between Flinders and Deakin Universities.
“I like the idea of building community capacity and trying to ensure rural communities aren’t disadvantaged by isolation or not being able to get access to medical practitioners and health providers,” Professor Harvey said.
“I grew up on a cattle property and lived most of my life in the country. That’s where I prefer to live.”
From 1996 to 2004 Professor Harvey led a number of research projects, including the rural component of the South Australian Council of Australian Governments Coordinated Care Trial and the Sharing Health Care SA chronic disease self-management demonstration project run through the University of South Australia and the Spencer Gulf Rural Health School.
Between 2003 and 2008, he was a chief investigator with a project that led to a range of successful chronic illness management and self-management initiatives in Aboriginal health services.
More recently he has served as Director of the Flinders University Centre for Gambling Research and Manager of the Statewide Gambling Therapy Service where he also continued his involvement in chronic condition management and self-management research programs.
“The GGT UDRH has excellent programs in addressing cardiovascular disease, diabetes and mental health issues affecting rural communities and in building capacity in rural communities through supporting students. We have the capacity to develop integrated strategies that can work for a range of chronic conditions,” he said.