Professor secures grant for international health network


Professor Dean Carson (left) with Dr Peter Berggren from the Centre for Rural Medicine, Anna Berggren, and Professor Roger Strasser.

An international research partnership that involves Charles Darwin University’s Northern Institute has won a $450,000 grant to investigate health workforce issues in remote parts of Sweden.

Northern Institute Senior Research Fellow, Professor Dean Carson said the three-year program, which included partners from Canada and Sweden, would bring novel perspectives to long standing problems.

“The partnership will provide Swedish policymakers with an opportunity to observe approaches to rural health issues that have taken place in Australia and Canada over the past two decades,” Professor Carson said.

“They are particularly interested in solutions relating to the recruitment and retention of health professionals, and the design of primary care services in northern Sweden.

“Underscoring the project is the need to improve health outcomes in Sweden’s rural areas.”

The partners are the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, established to train doctors for work in rural Ontario, and the Centre for Rural Medicine, established to find ways to improve health outcomes in Sweden’s north.

With more than 20 years’ experience researching health workforce issues in rural and remote Australia, Professor Carson is well credentialed to coordinate the project. He has already spent a year as a Visiting Fellow with the Centre for Rural Medicine, based in Storuman, an isolated village in Sweden’s Lapland province.

“The Northern Institute’s role will be to develop a research agenda based around the key issues, to advance projects that monitor economic and demographic change in rural and remote areas, and examine the role of Indigenous people in the health sector,” he said.

“I’ll spend considerable time with the Canadian and Swedish partners to conduct research, recruit research students and support academic and clinical staff in developing their research profiles.

“We are looking forward to ensuring that even small communities have access to the information and research they need to address common problems in workforce retention and service delivery.”

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