The National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH) is a team of professionals from health, agriculture, behavioural science, communications and project management with proven capacity to deliver education/training, health and wellbeing service, applied research and community engagement. Based in rural Victoria, the NCFH is a partnership between the Western District Health Service and Deakin University. The Centre’s translational, outcome-driven research focuses on making a difference to farmers, farming families and rural communities. The team focus on prevention and early identification of risk factors and have an enviable reputation for developing timely, appropriate, effective and popular interventions to support farmer health, wellbeing and safety.
The Centre’s work is captured under five pillars:
1. Education and Training – Teach and learn from the rural community
2. Research and Innovation – Facilitate research that makes a difference to farmers’ lives
3. Reputation and Reach – Recognised for excellence, nationally and internationally
4. Business Development – Maximise our endeavours to provide value
5. Governance – Committed to working with stakeholders to grow NCFH
Education and Training
Education is one of the primary aims of the National Centre for Farmer Health (NCFH). It is of key importance to improving the health, wellbeing and safety of farm men, women and children.
Graduate Certificate in Agricultural Health and Medicine
The Graduate Certificate of Agricultural Health and Medicine (GCAHM)—offered through Deakin University—delivers specialist knowledge and skills to students currently employed, or wishing to gain employment, in rural and remote health-related professions. This course aims to provide necessary tools and knowledge to improve the social, physical and mental health of agricultural workforces across Australia. NCFH, in partnership with Deakin University, offers two postgraduate units:
• HMF701 (Agricultural Health and Medicine) and
• HMF702 (Healthy and Sustainable Agricultural Communities)
The training is suitable for rural professionals (e.g. farmers, veterinarians, agronomists), health (including allied health) professionals, health care administrators and policy makers. Both units are focussed on greatly enhancing knowledge of the physical and mental health, safety and overall wellbeing challenges that rural and remote communities face. HMF701and HMF702 can be completed independently or as core units of the Graduate Certificate. Learn more about GCAHM here.
Gear Up for Ag Health and SafetyTM
Gear Up for AgTM engages secondary school students in a practical, fun and interactive way to provide evidence-based education that promotes health, wellbeing and safety. The program builds students’ knowledge of farm hazards and understanding of the importance of safe practices to positively influence farm safety behaviours.
The Centre provides a range of professional development opportunities, including the popular Rural Health and Stress training workshops for service providers and trusted advisers working with people from farming communities—providing them with understanding, skills and referral pathways to support farmers during challenging times.
Research and Innovation
NCFH focuses on areas where research can make a difference in understanding and preventing risks to health, wellbeing and safety among farm men and women, agricultural workers and their families. An important objective of the NCFH is to further investigate the identified health issues from earlier research and develop programs that positively impact the lives of Australian farmers. Learn more about our research here.
Reputation and Reach
NCFH engages with farming populations through direct services and via a range of online formats.
Health and Lifestyle Assessments
Health & Lifestyle Assessments (HLAs) were developed to promote the importance of health, wellbeing and safety in various settings to our farming men, women and agricultural workers across Australia. We have been attending agricultural field days, education workshops and farmer gatherings since 2009 and have delivered over 4000 HLAs to date. Twenty minute assessments conducted by trained agrihealth professionals include a take home ‘personal health passport’ along with recommendations and relevant education and resources to help farmers take follow-up action. Learn more about HLAs here.
AgriSafe™ provides a unique opportunity to receive a free comprehensive health check from trained agricultural health clinicians. AgriSafeTM assists farmers to:
• Understand their current health status and how to improve it.
• Learn how to keep themselves, their family and their workers safe.
• Identify on-farm risks and hazards.
• Obtain suitable personal protective equipment for their farm tasks.
Learn more about AgriSafe™ here.
Farmer Health website
The primary aim of the Farmer Health website is to facilitate the transfer of knowledge to targeted groups of farmers, rural professionals, academics and students. Our website offers a range of resources and tools that farmers and other groups can utilise to deepen their understanding of health, wellbeing and safety. By using these resources, individuals can gain knowledge and be empowered to take action to improve their health, wellbeing and safety. Visit our website here.
NCFH works closely with community, government, other researchers, health care providers and agricultural organisations to ensure maximum benefit for farming populations. Learn more about our partnerships here.
The work of the NCFH is led by the NCFH Board and informed by an Advisory Group comprising representation from farmers (including young farmers), government (agriculture and health), special interest stakeholders (e.g. WorkSafe Victoria), Western District Health Service and Deakin University. Learn more about our governance here.