Rural Health Care Services Research

Research Overview

This program of work investigates a range of chronic health issues impacting rural Victorians, with the overarching aim of identifying ways to reduce the burden of chronic ill health on rural communities. Many chronic diseases are more prevalent in rural areas than metropolitan areas, due in part to increased rates of risk factors, poor health behaviours and increased population age. In addition, access to healthcare for chronic disease management, particularly specialist care, can be restricted in rural areas compared with metropolitan areas.

Some of the projects being undertaken by this research group investigate differences in the prevalence and management of chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity, chronic kidney disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease between rural and metropolitan Victoria.

Our group has recently completed the Crossroads II project which assessed health, disease and access to health care in the Goulburn Valley. Crossroads II was a large-scale study funded by the NHMRC in partnership with local health services and local government organisations.

Other projects explore the 'Patient Journey' experienced by a person as they incorporate a diagnosis of a chronic condition into their lives. Another project focusses on access to a range of health services in rural Victoria, which may be restricted by a range of factors including geographical distance, cost, waiting time or degree of 'fit' between the service and the consumer.


Dr. Kristen Glenister, Research Fellow

Professor Lisa Bourke Director University Department of Rural Health

Professor Julian Wright Professor of Medicine; Head, Department of Rural Health; Director of Medical Student Education

Carol Reid Research Coordinator - RHAN - Numurkah

Rowan O'Hagan RHAN Coordinator - Wangaratta

Nadine Glanville RHAN Coordinator - Echuca

Ryan McGrath RHAN Coordinator - Goulburn Valley Health


The following projects were undertaken in partnership with local health services through the Department’s Rural Health Academic Network; a team of researchers based in small health services working to support education and build research, undertaking a range of evaluations, service development projects and supporting the rural health workforce in research and professional development.

  • Northeast Health Wangaratta, Albury Wodonga Health, Numurkah District Health, Murray Primary Health Network Projects that aim to improve care for people living with COPD, heart failure and type 2 diabetes in regional areas.
  • Albury Wodonga Health Strictly Come Dancing with Parkinson's – a mixed methods study to identify and address mechanisms required to effectively deliver and sustain an evidence-based dance class to persons with Parkinson's Disease in regional and rural areas. Albury Wodonga Health is also a key partner in the Healthy Brain Ageing in Chronic Lung Disease study exploring the management of lung disease in the context of cognitive change.
  • Bendigo Health: Key partner in projects to improve care in end stage chronic disease
  • Melbourne Health: Projects aimed at management of COPD as well as palliative care in chronic disease
  • Goulburn Valley Health An evaluation of the model of care implemented at Goulburn Valley Health Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (GVH CAMHS)


This research has been supported by

  • The Australian Government Department of Health's Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training Program.
  • National Health and Medical Research Council
  • Murray Primary Health Network

Research Publications


Mathew, S., Fitts, M. S., Liddle, Z., Bourke, L., Campbell, N., Murakami-Gold, L., . . . Wakerman, J. (2023). Telehealth in remote Australia: a supplementary tool or an alternative model of care replacing face-to-face consultations?. BMC Health Serv Res, 23(1), 341. doi:

McGrath, R. L., Shephard, S., Berrick, A., Parnell, T., Verdon, S., & Pope, R. (2023). On "Physical Therapy and Mental Health: A Scoping Review." Heywood SE, Connaughton J, Kinsella R, Black S, Bicchi N, Setchell J. Phys Ther. 2022;102:pzac102. PHYSICAL THERAPY, 103(2), 2 pages. doi:

McGrath, R. L., Verdon, S., Parnell, T. & Pope, R. (2023). Australian physiotherapists' perceived frequency of contact with clients experiencing distress: A cross-sectional survey. Physiother Theory Pract, pp. 1-17. doi:

Moran, A., Enderby, P., & Nancarrow, S. (2023). Secondary analysis of older people’s rehabilitation care and service needs. doi:


Disler, R., Henwood, B., Luckett, T., Pascoe, A., Donesky, D., Irving, L., . . . Smallwood, N. (2022). Knowledge and Attitudes of Allied Health Professionals Towards End-Of-Life and Advance Care Planning Discussions With People With COPD: A Cross-Sectional Survey Study.. Am J Hosp Palliat Care, 10499091221134777. doi:

Disler, R., Pascoe, A., Anderson, H., Piejko, E., Asaid, A., & Disler, P. (2022). A new model for general practice-led, regional, community-based, memory clinics.. BMC Prim Care, 23(1), 242. doi:

Kemp, W., Clayton-Chubb, D., Majeed, A., Glenister, K. M., Magliano, D. J., Lubel, J., Roberts, S. K. (2022). Impact of renaming NAFLD to MAFLD in an Australian regional cohort: Results from a prospective population-based study. JOURNAL OF GASTROENTEROLOGY AND HEPATOLOGY, pp. 9-. doi:

Beks, H., King, O., Clapham, R., Alston, L., Glenister, K., McKinstry, C., Quilliam, C., Wellwood, I., Williams, C., Wong Shee, A.  (2022). Community Health Programs Delivered Through Information and Communications Technology in High-Income Countries: Scoping Review. JOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH, 24(3), 18 pages. doi:

Glenister, K., Archbold, T., Moran, A., Kidd, D., Wilson, S., & Disler, R. (2022). Understanding potentially avoidable hospitalisations in a rural Australian setting from the perspectives of patients and health professionals: a qualitative study and logic model. Integrated Healthcare Journal, 4(1), e000124. doi:

Glenister, K., Bolitho, L., Bourke, L., & Simmons, D. (2022). Prevalence of atrial fibrillation in a regional Victoria setting, findings from the crossroads studies (2001-2003 and 2016-2018). AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF RURAL HEALTH, 10 pages. doi:

Glenister, K., Witherspoon, S., & Crouch, A. (2022). A qualitative descriptive study of a novel nurse-led skin cancer screening model in rural Australia.. BMC Health Serv Res, 22(1), 1019. doi:

Hannah, S., Agho, K. E., Piya, M. K., Glenister, K., Bourke, L., Osuagwu, U. L., & Simmons, D. (2022). Trends and Factors Associated with Obesity Prevalence in Rural Australian Adults-Comparative Analysis of the Crossroads Studies in Victoria over 15 Years. NUTRIENTS, 14(21), 16 pages. doi:

Lawson E. and Glenister K. The Interaction between Locus of Control and Obesity-A Review. Journal of Community Medicine and Health Research. 2022.

McGill, N., Weller-Newton, J., & Lees, C. (2022). A new survey tool for evaluating pandemic preparedness in health services. BMC HEALTH SERVICES RESEARCH, 22(1), 12 pages. doi:

Castle, M., O’Hagan, R., Anderberg, E., Harrington, H., Wangman, A. and Dhakal, L. (2022) About face: regional allied health professional adaptation during the COVID-19 pandemic, Australian Journal of Primary Health 2022 Apr;28(2):110-116. doi:

Shee, A. W., Quilliam, C., Corboy, D., Glenister, K., McKinstry, C., Beauchamp, A., Mc Namara, K. (2022). What shapes research and research capacity building in rural health services? Context matters. AUSTRALIAN JOURNAL OF RURAL HEALTH, 30(3), 410-421. doi:

Elbourne, H., Soo, W. K., O'Reilly, V., Moran, A., & Steer, C. B. (2022). Exercise as a supportive care strategy in men with prostate cancer receiving androgen deprivation therapy at a regional cancer centre: a survey of patients and clinicians.. Support Care Cancer, 30(2), 1379-1389. doi:

Thompson J, McClure R, Scott N, Hellard M, Abeysuriya R, Vidanaarachchi R, Thwaites J, Lazarus JV, Lavis J, Michie S, Bullen C, Prokopenko M, Chang SL, Cliff OM, Zachreson C, Blakely A, Wilson T, Ouakrim DA, Sundararajan V. A framework for considering the utility of models when facing tough decisions in public health: a guideline for policy-makers. Health Res Policy Syst. 2022 Oct 8;20(1):107. doi:

Hulme, A., & Thompson, J., et al. (2022). "The need for a complex systems approach in rural health research." BMJ open 12(10): e064646. doi:


Claire Quilliam, Lisa Bourke (2021). Perceptions of work-integrated learning in rural health and human services under the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Australia. International Journal of Work-Integrated Learning, 22(2).


Claire Quilliam, Lisa Bourke (2020/12). Rural Victorian service provider responses to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Australian Journal of Social Issues, 55(4), 439-455.


Glenister K, Bourke L, Terry D, Simmons D. Chronic ill health in a regional Victoria setting: A 13‐year comparison. Aust. J. Rural Health. 2019;00:1–8.

Disler, R. T., Spiliopoulos, N., Inglis, S. C., Currow, D. C., & Davidson, P. M. (2018). Cognitive screening in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: patient’s perspectives. Disability and rehabilitation, 1-7.

Glenister K, Disler R, Hulme-Chambers A, Macharia D, Wright J. (2019) The mosaic of general practice bulk billing in regional Victoria. Australian Journal of General Practice 48 (1-2), 77-78

Malatzky, C., & Glenister, K. (2019). Talking about overweight and obesity in rural Australian general practice. Health and Social Care in the Community, 27(3), 599-608. doi:

Janjua, S., Threapleton, C. J. D., Prigmore, S., & Disler, R. T. (2019). Digital interventions for the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 2019(1). doi:

Terry, D. R., Nguyen, H., Kim, J. A., & Islam, M. R. (2019). Factors contributing to COPD hospitalisations from 2010 to 2015: Variation among rural and metropolitan Australians. Clinical Respiratory Journal, 13(5), 306-313. doi:


Disler, R. T., Spiliopoulos, N., Inglis, S. C., Currow, D. C., & Davidson, P. M. (2018). Cognitive screening in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: patient’s perspectives. Disability and rehabilitation, 1-7.

Janjua, S., Threapleton, C. J., Prigmore, S., & Disler, R. T. (2018). Telehealthcare for remote monitoring and consultations for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (11).

Disler, R. T., Inglis, S. C., Newton, P., Currow, D. C., Macdonald, P. S., Glanville, A. R., . . . Davidson, P. M. (2018). Older Patients' Perspectives of Online Health Approaches in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Telemedicine and E-Health, 7 pages. doi:10.1089/tmj.2018.0098

Glenister KM, Bourke L, Bolitho L, Wright S, Roberts S, Kemp W, Rhode L, Bhat R, Tremper S, Magliano DJ, Morgan M, Marino R, Adam W, Simmons D. (2018) Longitudinal study of health, disease and access to care in rural Victoria: the Crossroads-II study: methods. BMC Public Health 2018 18:670.

Malatzky, C., Terry, D., Bourke, L., Glenister, K., & Ervin, K. (2018). Competing food consumption discourses and proper gendered behaviour among over 50s: are you really what you eat?. Journal of Research for Consumers, (32), 1-31. Retrieved from

Malatzky, C., & Glenister, K. (2018). Talking about overweight and obesity in rural Australian general practice. Health and Social Care in the Community. doi:10.1111/hsc.12672

Glenister, K., Opie, C. A., & Wright, J. (2018). Preferred language regarding overweight and obesity in general practice: a survey of predominantly rural Australian adults. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 24(5), 391-397. doi:10.1071/PY18023

Wright, J., Glenister, K. M., Thwaites, R., & Terry, D. (2018). The importance of adequate referrals for chronic kidney disease. Aust J Gen Pract, 47(1-2), 58-62. Retrieved from


Luckett, T., Phillips, J., Johnson, M., Garcia, M., Bhattarai, P., Carrieri-Kohlman, V., Hutchinson, A., Disler, R.T., Currow, D., Agar, M. and Ivynian, S., 2017. Insights from Australians with respiratory disease living in the community with experience of self-managing through an emergency department ‘near miss’ for breathlessness: a strengths-based qualitative study. BMJ open7(12), p.e017536.

Smith, T. A., Disler, R. T., Jenkins, C. R., Ingham, J. M., & Davidson, P. M. (2017). Perspectives on advance care planning among patients recently requiring non-invasive ventilation for acute respiratory failure: a qualitative study using thematic analysis. Palliative medicine31(6), 566-574.

Haines, Helen M., Cynthia Opie, David Pierce and Lisa Bourke (2017). Notwithstanding High Prevalence of Overweight and Obesity, Smoking Remains the Most Important Factor in Poor Self-rated Health and Hospital Use in an Australian Regional Community. AIMS Public Health, 4(4): 402-417.

Opie, C. A., Haines, H. M., Ervin, K. E., Glenister, K., & Pierce, D. (2017). Why Australia needs to define obesity as a chronic condition. BMC Public Health, 17, 4 pages. doi:10.1186/s12889-017-4434-1

Smith, T.A., R.T. Disler, C.R. Jenkins, J.M. Ingham and P.M. Davidson (2017) Perspectives on advance care planning among patients recently requiring non-invasive ventilation for acute respiratory failure: A qualitative study using thematic analysis. Palliative Medicine, 31(6), 566-574. doi:10.1177/0269216316670286.

Crouch, A., Ervin, K., Glenister, K., Terry, D., & Bourke, L. (2017). Heterogeneity of Rural Consumer Perceptions of Health Service Access Across Four Regions of Victoria. Journal of Rural Social Sciences, 32(2), 125-145.

Glenister, K. M., Malatzky, C. A. R., & Wright, J. (2017). Barriers to effective conversations regarding overweight and obesity in regional Victoria. Australian Family Physician, 46(10), 769-773. Retrieved from

Caygill, R., Peardon, M., Waite, C., & Wright, J. (2017). Comparing a longitudinal integrated clerkship with traditional hospital-based rotations in a rural setting. Medical Teacher, 39(5), 520-526. doi:10.1080/0142159X.2017.1297893

Caygill, R., Peardon, M., Waite, C., McIntyre, I., Bradley, D., & Wright, J. (2017). Attitudes towards peer review of teaching in medical education. Focus on health professional education - A multidisciplinary journal, 18(2), 47-60. doi:10.11157/fohpe.v18i2.224


Ranson, N. E., Terry, D. R., Glenister, K., Adam, B. R., & Wright, J. (2016). Integrated and consumer-directed care: a necessary paradigm shift for rural chronic ill health. Australian Journal of Primary Health, 22(3), 176-180. doi:10.1071/PY15056


Ervin K, Pallant J, Terry DR, Bourke L, Pierce D, Glenister K. A Descriptive Study of Health, Lifestyle and Sociodemographic Characteristics and their Relationship to Known Dementia Risk Factors in Rural Victorian Communities. AIMS Medical Science. 2015 2(3):246.

Terry DR, Glenister K, Kilmartin J, Kilmartin G, Sands R, Fowler F, Wright J. Glycaemic Control among Rural Health Consumers: A Retrospective Study of a Diabetes Center. Advances in Diabetes and Metabolism. 2015 3(2), 11-15.

Research Projects

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Research Fellow Dr. Kristen Glenister

Department / Centre

Rural Health

Unit / Centre

Rural Health Care Services Research

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