The biennial "Are You Remotely Interested?" Mount Isa conference will go ahead this year - but in a new virtual format.
The tenth such conference organised by the James Cook University Centre for Rural and Remote Health has brought health professionals together for nearly two decades but COVID-19 has forced a change of plans for the 2020 edition.
Centre for Rural and Remote Health Professor Sabina Knight said the conference will be held virtually from Mount Isa over one and a half days, Wednesday afternoon September 30 and all day Thursday October 1.
"The theme for this conference is building on the past work in realising remote possibilities and promising practices, and what we have learnt so for from pandemic responses," Prof Knight said.
"We will also be celebrating WHO's International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, 2020."
Originally scheduled for July, Prof Knight said the pandemic meant the conference had to be pushed back to September.
"We knew the latest we could go was the last week in September because if we could go face to face we can't put 120 people in the hall when the temperatures are higher," she said. "And if we couldn't do that, we'd go virtual so virtual it is."
Prof Knight said the format would be easier for participants because they don't have to travel and it would also be more accessible for people who work in very remote locations.
"We can bring more of the Canberra policy people in and across Australia, our like-organisations can come in and we can bring international speakers too," she said.
"For us, we've never done it before so it''s a first time."
Prof Knight said they would run the conference from Mount Isa with technical support from JCU staff in Townsville.
"Once you dial in, it doesn't matter where you are," she said.
Prof Knight said there were time critical things that needed to be discussed.
"Like the evaluation of the rural health multi disciplinary training program which is our funding program and all the recommendations from that," she said.
She said one of the keynote speakers was Prof Emily Flores, Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy, East Tennessee State University.
"She is going to talk about a rural pharmacy program that is incredibly innovative," she said. "Our pharmacy program is going to run as a distributed model with intakes in Mackay, Townsville and Cairns and we want to be on the list."
For the International Year of the Nurse, Dr Roianne West will chair a panel with Dr Lynore Geia, Gidgee Healing CEO Renee Blackman, Prof Isabelle Skinner; Shelley Nowlan, Queensland Chief Nurse and Midwife, NWHHS DON Michelle Garner and others.
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