About Research

The University Centre for Rural Health (UCRH) conducts a vibrant research program focusing on the health care needs of rural populations around Australia while building research leadership and research capacity within the Northern Rivers region.


We seek to engage with policy makers, managers and clinicians in order to enhance the relevance of our research and the application of the findings in community settings.


The work of UCRH researchers has gained a national and international reputation, with funding support received on a regular basis from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australian Research Council (ARC) and a range of other Government agencies and support bodies.


The following priority areas have been identified through consultative processes by UCRH as health research priorities for our region. These priorities will evolve over time in response to emerging community health needs.


Three high level priorities have been identified:


  1. Health systems and service research: health workforce, models of care, team-based approaches to care, quality of care, system and process development, effectiveness, efficiency and coordination of care.
  2. Population health and equity: understanding and influencing the determinants of population health.
  3. Medical and allied health education and workforce development: inter-professional learning and engagement with the community to support the delivery of training to students, service learning models and curriculum design.


UCRH conducts translational research that is implemented both to improve health outcomes for rural communities and to influence health policy and practices in these key areas:

  • Health services
    • Healthy start to life
    • Chronic disease and co-morbidity
    • Healthy ageing and care for an ageing population
  • Mental health and social and emotional wellbeing
    • Alcohol and other drugs
  • Social and environmental health
  • Health workforce and education


UCRH also hosts the Centre for Research Excellence: Strengthening Systems for Indigenous Health Care Equity (CRE-STRIDE).


Underpinning UCRH research projects is the knowledge that, in general, the health status of the nation’s Aboriginal peoples and rural communities is below that of their urban and/or non-Aboriginal counterparts.


There are many reasons for this, including poorer access to health services, greater socioeconomic disadvantage, and higher rates of adverse lifestyle behaviours. Our programs of research address these issues in ways designed to help improve the health and wellbeing of rural residents and Aboriginal communities.


To help enhance research capacity within the NSW Northern Rivers we supervise postgraduate research students and provide methodological support to rural practitioners undertaking research.


UCRH Researchers 2022

Dr Larisa Barnes

Ms Frances Barraclough

Professor Ross Bailie

Dr Jodie Bailie 

Emeritus Professor Lesley Barclay

Professor James Bennett-Levy

Ms Danielle Cameron

Dr Amal Chakraborty

Dr Natalie Edmiston

Mr David Edwards

Professor Vicki Flood

Dr Ed Jegasothy

Ms Emma Walke

Dr Alison Laycock

Dr Jo Longman

Dr Veronica Matthews

Associate Professor Geoff Morgan

Professor Megan Passey

Dr Kazi Rahman

Ms Natalie Roxburgh

Dr Judy Singer

Dr Marcelle Townsend-Cross

Ms Kris Vine

Ms Emma Walke


Centre for Research Excellence: Strengthening Systems for Indigenous Health Care Equity more information

Health services more information

Mental health and wellbeingmore information

Social and environmental healthmore information

Health workforce and education… more information