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Fifty leaders in health and medical research from across Australia gathered in Alice Springs on 12-13 November. The purpose of the Spinifex Symposium was to start a connected conversation about a dedicated Rural Health and Medical Research Alliance as an innovative and functional way to improve the health of regional, rural and remote Australians.

The Symposium was very successful. The diverse and committed group from research, teaching and community organisations, together with health service delivery and policy unit representatives worked together over two days to explore opportunities to improve the current and future health outcomes of rural Australians.

The importance of new research approaches was discussed and the value of having a connected collaborative network who could develop, share and connect new knowledge and practice.

The group reached consensus on the two overarching priorities for Rural Health and Medical Research, and the three cross cutting themes that research should also address.

The meeting also generated a collective statement of purpose and intent, the ‘Spinifex Statement:’

People living in rural, regional and remote locations deserve better health.

We will be rigorous, and use creative and non-traditional research approaches to improve health outcomes for these Australians.

Our strength is in our rural roots, our will to collaborate and make change happen.

Spinifex, where it grows in the desert and near the coast, is a symbol of resilience. It can withstand storms, winds and king tides. It has deep roots, it resists drought and stabilises the earth.

Watch our members talk about the Spinifex Symposium.