Lesley Barclay to lead National Rural Health Alliance

30 September 2011

At its 20th AGM yesterday, members of the National Rural Health Alliance elected as its new Chair Lesley Barclay, Professor and Director of Sydney University’s Lismore-based University Centre of Rural Health. The Alliance is the peak body for rural health, comprised of 32 national organisations whose shared objective is to improve health outcomes for the more than seven million people in rural and remote Australia.
Lesley Barclay said she was honoured to take on the role. “I look forward to a busy and productive year for rural health and am delighted to have the support of such a strong membership, Council and staff team.”
Lesley began her career as a midwife and is now a health system reformer and maternity services researcher whose projects have improved services for women in remote and urban Australia, as well as internationally. On Council of the Alliance she represents the Australian Rural Health Education Network. She succeeds Dr Jenny May, Tamworth-based doctor and academic who this week completed three years as Alliance Chairperson.

At the organisation’s Annual Dinner last night, Executive Director, Gordon Gregory, thanked Dr May for her excellent leadership over three years.

“Jenny's work as our Chairperson has been characterised by openness, fairness and the need to amplify the quiet voices; and she has exercised real leadership in her representation of the Alliance in a range of settings,” Mr Gregory said.

Dr Kathy Kirkpatrick was re-elected Deputy Chairperson of the Alliance. Kathy is a general practitioner in Dalby and is Chair of the National Rural Faculty of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

Heather Wieland from Gladstone was elected Secretary. Heather is National President of the Country Women’s Association of Australia. Nicole O’Reilly, an occupational therapist and Senior Manager Service Development within the Aged and Disability Program of the Northern Territory Department of Health, was elected Treasurer.

Other members of the new Board are optometrist Phil Anderton from Manilla; remote area nurse Sophie Heathcote from Dubbo; physiotherapist Rob Curry from Darwin; and rural GP Tim Kelly from Crystal Brook in South Australia.

The 34 Members of Council have been in Parliament House discussing priority actions for improving rural and remote health.

Media Enquiries: 

Gordon Gregory, Executive Director 02 6285 4660