Focus: Partnerships with Regional Communities

Debra Jones is Director, Primary Health Care, Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health, University of Sydney. She has a Master of Indigenous Health, a Grad Dip Aged Services Management, and a B Health Science (Ger).

Deb has worked in rural and remote health service delivery for over 20 years. A registered nurse by background, Deb is a strong advocate for multidisciplinary practice in rural and remote settings and addressing the unmet health needs confronted by rural and remote populations. Deb has a keen interest in the areas of primary health care, Indigenous health and health workforce development. These areas of interest have resulted in the development of a comprehensive Health Career Pipeline for rural and remote residents aspiring to health careers and urban based students with an interest in rural and remote practice.

The delivery of structured education and development of tailored programs has promoted placements that reflect the principles of primary health care across nursing, medicine, and allied health. The School Health Hub-Student Run Clinic Program is an initiative that integrates multidisciplinary student placements with direct service provision in primary and central schools within western NSW. This model enhances learning experiences, service delivery and workforce development.

The approaches to these programs are driven by ‘community first’ concepts and shared governance models across schools, health, academia and community. A high level of social activation has been critical in establishing new models of fieldwork placement for health students in non-traditional locations. The student-run clinic model is currently being adapted and piloted across the aged care and disability sectors in Broken Hill.

Deb commenced her PhD in 2011.