Changing landscapes, Changing Lives: Time for the Allied Health Rural Generalists Pathway

Julie Hulcombe1

1Chief Allied Health Officer, Queensland Health


The concept of an Allied Health (AH) rural generalist is not new, but has not been well described nor has there been a formal program associated with AH rural generalism.  There are continuing challenges in attraction and retention of staff in rural and remote locations, and a maldistribution of workforce with a concentration in metropolitan areas.  The time is right to change landscapes, change lives in rural services, communities and support for rural and remote clinicians by implementing the Allied Health Rural Generalists Pathway (AHRGP).

This presentation will outline

  • why the AH rural and remote generalist program should be implemented,
  • how the program was developed,
  • what is an AH rural generalist (and what it isn’t),
  • the components of the program and the implementation to date,
  • a road map for what has to happen next to make the program sustainable.

The landscape is changing which may further support implementation of the AHRGP. This includes the appointment of the Rural Health Commissioner, improved technology, expansion of the University Departments of Rural Health to include Allied Health support and the primary health networks and other commissioning agencies.   Partnerships between the commonwealth government, across the jurisdictional public sector, non-government agencies, community controlled services, the private sector, SARRAH, workforce agencies and education providers are critical to success.


Julie Hulcombe is the Chief Allied Health Officer, Department of Health, Queensland.   Julie is an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD). She has had an extensive career with Qld Health working in clinical Dietetics at both regional and tertiary hospitals and management roles in Dietetics, Allied Health and Health Planning. Julie is an Adjunct Associate Professor with QUT. She is a past President of the Dietetic Association of Australia (DAA), and has been the Chair of the DAA Dietetic Credentialing Council and the National Allied Health Advisors Committee.  In her present position Julie has led initiatives in workforce models of care, clinical education and research.

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