Attract, Connect, Stay Project


Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH) has successfully secured $140,179 in funding for the Attract, Connect, Stay (ACS) Project through the Enhancing Country Health Outcomes (ECHO) grant program was managed by the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR). This 2-year project aimed to improve health outcomes for people in small rural communities (pop. less than 10,000) in NSW and Victoria. The full Press Release published when the project was announced is attached here.

ACS is an evidence-based, place-informed rural health workforce solution. It is underpinned by 10 years of rural health workforce research and brought to life through translation of this evidence modelled on an existing, proven program operating in Marathon, Ontario Canada. The Marathon model mobilises the gifts, knowledge, and practical skills of residents, community groups and local organisations to better attract and retain health workforce professionals through the establishment of a locally funded, locally recruited and locally managed Health Workforce Recruiter Connector (HWRC) position.

The implementation and oversight of the project was led by Dr. Cath Cosgrave (Cath Cosgrave Consulting / The University of New England) alongside Dr. Christina Malatzky (Queensland University of Technology), Dr. Susan Waller (Monash University) & Dr. Rosalie Boyce (Barwon Health and South West Healthcare / Rosalie Boyce Consulting) and was administered by Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health (SARRAH).

Based on a synthesis of all information gathered, it was concluded that the ACS project fully achieved three of five of its goals and partially achieved the remaining two. ACS enabled real-time development and piloting of an evidence-informed Blueprint in co-design with a single rural community in Australia.

The evaluation report describes the success and impacts of the ACS project and solution and the key mechanisms that contributed to these.

Research Team
  • Dr Cath Cosgrave
    Dr Cath Cosgrave is a leader in rural health workforce research. She is currently spearheading a new research agenda investigating the role belonging and place attachment play in attracting and retaining health professionals to work and live in rural places. In 2018, she was awarded the prestigious Churchill Fellowship to investigate community-led health workforce development approaches in Canada to support the personal and social needs of newcomer health workers and their families. She believes that effective solutions must be place-based and has extensive experience working in partnership with health and community services/groups to develop person/community-centred, strength-based solutions using co-design approaches.
  • Dr Christina Malatzky
    Dr Christina Malatzky is a feminist sociologist and qualitative academic in the School of Public Health and Social Work at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and a Chief Investigator in QUT’s Centre for Justice. Her research investigates social and power relations in the fields of rural health, and gender and health. She is part of a leading research team developing new understanding of the social and place-based dimensions of rural health workforce retention. She is Co-Convenor of the Rural Issues thematic group of Australia’s national peak Association for Sociologists, The Australian Sociological Association, and Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
  • Dr Rosalie Boyce
    Dr Rosalie Boyce is an experienced health services researcher with an international reputation in the workforce, leadership and interprofessional education; particularly in regard to the allied health professions. Rural born and bred, Rosalie has been awarded more than $10M in research funding over her career much of it with a focus on building stronger rural and regional health services and teams. One of Rosalie's current roles includes working part-time with Victoria's Barwon Health and South West Health in a capacity-building position as an Allied Health Research & Translation Fellow.
  • Dr. Susan Waller
    Susan is an adjunct Senior Research Fellow with Monash Rural Health. Formally, a Senior Lecturer and Rural Nursing and Allied Health Lead at the Monash Rural Health- University Department of Rural Health (MRH-UDRH). Susan is passionate about allied health workforce practice development and research, and is active in multiple interprofessional education and practice networks and has contributed nationally and internationally to dissemination of education and practice research in this area.
Please direct interviews and media enquiries to Catherine Maloney
Chief Executive Officer
Services for Australian Rural and Remote Allied Health
[email protected]