Apr 17
Strong partnership drives health research innovation in the bush

​In a first for Western NSW, Scott McLachlan, Chief Executive of Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) and Associate Professor Catherine Hawke, Chair of the Western NSW Health Research Network (WHRN) will celebrate and formalise the signing of a three-year partnership agreement that will drive innovation in health research. The agreement will be signed on Tuesday, 17 April at 1:30pm at The University of Sydney, School of Rural Health Bloomfield Campus in Orange.

Mr McLachlan said the agreement will encourage collaboration for research and innovations in Western NSW. 

“Given our footprint across such a large part of rural and remote NSW, access to world-class health research is a big challenge. The Local Health District strongly supports the partnership we have developed with WHRN to ensure a more coordinated and focused approach to health research that provides real benefits for people in our region," Mr McLachlan said.

“Our organisation strives to provide world-class health care to people in Western NSW every day. But for us to achieve this we know that a strong health research culture needs to be valued and supported."

“High quality research can provide important information about so many things our staff see in the wards and community health centres across our District, such as chronic disease trends and risk factors, outcomes of programs, or for cancer patients to access clinical trials. I am really keen to see WHRN leading the way over the next three years to drive and grow the quality of research projects in partnership with our clinicians and doctors so that together we can work towards a healthier future."

“This is such an exciting time for the Western NSW Health Research Network," Associate Professor Catherine Hawke said.

“We have always worked closely with the Local Health District, but this agreement will formalise the sharing of research expertise, the support of local researchers to enable relevant local research as well as the strengthening of WHRN as a peak body for health research in Western NSW."

“Each year WHRN hosts a conference bringing together professionals in all areas of health and showcasing the innovative and high quality health research being undertaken in Western NSW," Associate Professor Hawke said.

“We are delighted that the Local Health District has again agreed to sponsor the conference which will take place in August and is an important networking and development opportunity."

Dr Jannine Bailey, Senior Academic at Western Sydney University's Bathurst Rural Clinical School, one of the member organisations believes WHRN has an important part to play in supporting local health research.

“The projects carried out by WHRN provide insight into local health issues impacting upon the community and provide the opportunity to grow our own in terms of local health researchers. WHRN members are actively supporting and mentoring several local clinicians who are new to the research space," Dr Bailey said.

WRHN was set up in 2014 in response to a need for stronger academic collaborations to improve health research capacity across the Western Region. WHRN is now the peak body for health research across Western NSW and is a collaboration between four universities, Local Health Districts, primary health service providers, NGOs and ACCHOs (Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations).