LongYARDD to improve health of farmers

A female shearer at work
Farming can be hard on the body and requires more specialist medical services

Improving the health of rural Australians is a challenge relished by Griffith Health and Queensland Rural Medical Education (QRME).

In order to better understand the needs of rural people Griffith and QRME has used a summer scholarship to implement a pilot project in the form of Long YARDD: a longitudinal yearly review of diagnoses and disease.

Linking with local services

Griffith University Medicine student June Brundell spent the summer designing and implementing a study into the baseline health of the rural people presenting to the Clifton Co-Op Medical Practice.

Clifton is located on the Darling Downs, about 50km north of Warwick.

The study will track the reasons for presenting at the clinic and the occurrence of chronic disease, as well as basic health measures such as blood pressure, haemoglobin and cholesterol levels.

“We’re essentially setting up a baseline of the health and clinical needs of agricultural workers in the area,” said Ms Brundell.

“Getting the best health services to the bush will always be a bit of a struggle so we need to be sure we’re targeting the right areas with the right services.

“Beyond the baseline, the study will follow a cohort of agricultural workers over a number of years to record basic health markers and treatments.”

Planning better services

Using this research it is hoped Clifton will be able to better implement more effective programs by allocating resources more accurately.

Once successfully implemented in the Clifton practice the methodology could be rolled out to other practices in rural Queensland.

The study will also provide researchers with strong longitudinal data to enable further research and better health service delivery for more rural Australian’s.