SARRAH, established in 1995, is a grassroots’ organisation advocating on behalf of rural and remote Australian communities in order for them to have access to allied health services which support equitable and sustainable health and well-being.
SARRAH is also nationally recognised as the peak body representing rural and remote allied health professionals (AHPs) working in the public and private sector. SARRAH develops and provides services for AHPs to confidently and competently carry out their professional duties in providing a range of clinical and health education services to people who reside in these settings.
SARRAH’s representation comes from a range of allied health professions including but not limited to: Audiology, Dietetics, Exercise Physiology, Occupational Therapy, Optometry, Oral Health, Pharmacy, Physiotherapy, Podiatry, Psychology, Social Work and Speech Pathology. AHPs are critical for the management of their clients’ health needs, particularly in relation to chronic disease and complex care needs.
SARRAH recognise AHP’s as tertiary qualified health professionals who apply their clinical skills to diagnose, assess, treat, manage and prevent illness and injury.
SARRAH maintains that every Australian should have access to equitable health services wherever they live and that allied health professional services are basic and fundamental to the well-being of all Australians.
SARRAH’s Main Achievements since 1995
In the 21st year of SARRAH, 2016, it was decided time to take stock and consider what the organisation has achieved over the years. 10 prominent members - past presidents and other significant contributors - were interviewed for their perspectives. Their interviews highlighted that SARRAH has:
- Created and facilitated important networks for rural and remote Allied Health Professionals across the country
SARRAH has always been about networking, bringing people together with common cause to try to improve health services for rural and remote Australians.
- Provided a strong voice to represent the issues of rural and remote allied health practice
SARRAH has given us an effective seat at the table so, as rural and remote AHPs, we are no longer ‘out of sight, out of mind.
- Nurtured the development of rural and remote allied health leadership
SARRAH has been very actively engaged at the political level. We’re now well known in Canberra by politicians of all political persuasions and by senior bureaucrats.
- Provided important forums for rural and remote Allied health practitioners, including the biennial conferences and summits
The SARRAH conferences have been pivotal in bringing people together to share information, debrief, and empower one another to take chances and advocate.
- Managed and promoted the rural Allied Health Scholarships Program
The rural allied health scholarships have been huge for SARRAH in terms of providing a valued program and for the SARRAH brand.
- Produced useful resources for rural/remote practitioners
The SARRAH web resource, Transition to Rural Practice, was noted as being a particularly useful tool for AHPs new to rural and/or remote health care roles.
- Supported innovative allied health projects in the field
Two projects cited as being recipients of pivotal support from SARRAH have been the Indigenous Diabetic Foot project and the North-west Queensland Allied Health project.