Providing a Kick Start to Rural Health through Student Led Services

Mr Alex Lalovic1, Dr Sandra Hamilton1, Mrs Kathryn Fitzgerald1

1WA Centre For Rural Health, Geraldton, Australia


Kick Start is an 8-week program for individuals 18-65 years of age residing in a rural setting and diagnosed with chronic or mental health conditions. It is an interprofessional student teaching clinic within a service-learning model, delivered by exercise physiology (EP) and physiotherapy students, and other disciplines as appropriate. Kick Start aims to improve clients’ quality of life and extend and improve students’ clinical skills and rural experience.
Students are responsible for undertaking a thorough case history, objective assessment, program design and delivery. A process and outcomes program evaluation is being undertaken. Outcome measures include student learning experience on rural placement and client measures including body composition analysis, 6-minute walk test, 30-second sit to stand test, waist-to-hip ratio and quality of life (SF12).
A process evaluation elicited several adaptions including change of the SF36 Health Survey to the SF12, use of the electronic medical record management system, Communicare with specific Kick Start clinical items, improvement of referral processes including extension of recruitment to retirement village residents, a Kick Start specific end of placement student survey, clarification of goal setting questions and inclusion of inter-professional disciplines other than of EP and Physiotherapy students when appropriate. Evaluation of outcome measures is ongoing.
Kick start provides rural clients with the opportunity to access and benefit from services and facilities they are otherwise unable to access and students a rich hands on supervised rural learning experience with a variety of complex cases.


Alex graduated Murdoch University with a Bachelor of Science (Exercise Physiology) and a First-Class Honours in 2013. After working in private practice for four years, he took the position of Associate Lecturer & Clinic Supervisor at the WA Centre for Rural Health with the University of Western Australia. His role includes the supervision of exercise physiology students on rural placement within a service-learning model.

His clinical exercise physiology interests include cardiac and metabolic rehabilitation, mental health and musculoskeletal rehabilitation.

Alex’s Honours research was in sports science, examining the link between visual anticipatory skill and timing of weight shift transfer to initiate bat swing between an expert batter (Major League Baseball experience) and near-expert batters (from the Australian Baseball League).

Alex’s other interests include marketing and business development as well as being active in sport, playing and coaching in soccer and futsal.

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