AMRRIC holds workshop for remote community veterinary service providers

Remote Indigenous community veterinary work poses unique opportunities and challenges.  A large focus for AMRRIC is supporting remote community veterinary teams to feel confident and comfortable in delivering culturally appropriate, effective and sustainable veterinary services that ultimately improve animal and community health and wellbeing.  To this end, AMRRIC recently collaborated with Associate Professor Daniel Schull (The University of Queensland) and Professor Liz Tudor (The University of Melbourne/West Arnhem Land Dog Health Program (WALDHeP)) to host a one-day workshop for remote community veterinary service providers. 

The workshop, held at The University of Queensland Gatton campus, was a post-conference event associated with the Vet Ed Down Under Symposium – a conference for veterinary educators from Australia and abroad.  With over 55 attendees, mostly being veterinarians, the workshop was a wonderful opportunity to build networks, share knowledge and learn from peers.  All in attendance were incredibly enthusiastic and highly collegial; despite their experience ranging from no previous remote community experience, to decades of remote community veterinary service delivery, all attendees were willing to share and contribute to the collective wisdom of those in the room. 

Throughout the fast-paced day, the workshop touched on 4 different topics – understanding the need, cultural considerations, clinical logistics and One Health research.  To kick things off, AMRRIC’s Program Manager – Strategic Delivery, Dr Bonny Cumming, presented an overview of the needs and current structures supporting remote Indigenous community veterinary service delivery.  To provide a community-based perspective, Bonny was joined by Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council Animal Management Worker Daniel Weazel and Environmental Health Jackson Cobbo, who shared with the group their experiences of the collaboratively-delivered veterinary program at Cherbourg QLD.  After a brief morning tea, Scott Gorringe – AMRRIC Board Member and Director of Murrimatters Consulting – presented a powerful and thought-provoking keynote presentation on Essential Considerations for Sustainable Engagement with Communities.  Professor Liz Tudor then chaired a panel discussion on Clinical Protocols and Logistics.  Each of the Australian Vet Schools currently delivering remote community veterinary services were represented on the panel, as was former AMRRIC Staff member Dr Jan Allen and AMRRIC partner veterinarian Dr Samantha Phelan from Roper Gulf Regional Council.  While brief, lunch provided attendees the opportunity to network and form new and valuable relationships.  In the final session for the day, through 10 lighting presentations, the group explored existing One Health research, as well as identifying knowledge gaps that once filled, might assist to improve animal, environmental and human health and wellbeing. 

AMRRIC thanks all those who attended the day – especially those who travelled great distances both domestically and internationally in order to attend. We are also extremely grateful to all of the speakers who so willingly participated, sharing their knowledge, experiences and research with the group.  Finally, the workshop would not have happened without the incredible efforts of Associate Professor Daniel Schull and Professor Liz Tudor, who collaborated with AMRRIC to host the event. 

The success of the workshop certainly drove home the benefits of such events; AMRRIC intends to continue to host similar events in the future. If you’re interested in events like this workshop, please subscribe to AMRRIC’s mailing list, and follow us on Facebook. 

Frances Grant
Author: Frances Grant