What is Agricultural Health and Medicine?

The Graduate Certificate of Agricultural Health and Medicine (GCertAgHealthMed) is a first in Australia. Delivered through Deakin University, the course 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 you with the necessary skills and knowledge to improve the social, physical and mental health of agricultural workforces and farming women, men and children across Australia.

The dynamic course material shifts focus with the changing nature of challenges faced by rural and remote agricultural communities. The interdisciplinary and real-time nature of the GCertAgHealthMed will highlight what is needed to improve the determinants of health in farming communities both in Australia and abroad. You will learn about the interplay between diverse topics that span environmental, social, physical and mental health in addition to community stressors that impact on the wellbeing of rural and remote communities.

Frequently asked questions

Who can study this course?

The Graduate Certificate of Agricultural Health and Medicine has been developed to appeal to a wide variety of graduate-level students and professionals from nursing, paramedics, medicine, health, agricultural science, agribusiness, social work, veterinary and environmental science backgrounds. Rural professionals, health professionals, health care administrators and policy makers would greatly enhance their knowledge of the physical and mental health issues facing today’s rural and remote communities by undertaking this course.  Upon successful completion of the course, graduates with a relevant health degree will be eligible to become an AgriSafe™ provider.

Why study this course?

Agricultural workforces in Australia and abroad experience excessive work-related mortality, are burdened with high rates of physical and mental disease, have limited access to health services and low health literacy.  This results in poor health outcomes for diseases and illnesses that are readily manageable in urban settings.  The GCertAgHealthMed highlights the ways in which the physical and mental health of rural and remote workforces can be improved.  This course also highlights how health, safety and wellbeing are essential for productivity in primary industries and agribusiness.  The GCertAgHealthMed expands upon the individual determinants of health to explore issues of climate change, agricultural practices, remote community sustainability and other social determinants of health in farming communities.  Undertaking the GCertAgHealthMed will be beneficial to students wishing to undertake further study as well as health and rural professionals looking to update their knowledge and improve health provision, research, safety, policy and literacy in rural and remote communities or to improve agricultural production and sustainability.

What will you get out of it?

Following successful completion of the Graduate Certificate of Agricultural Health and Medicine you will have:

  • developed the knowledge and skills required to recognise risks and improve the health, safety and wellbeing of rural and remote Australians.
  • an improved understanding of the physical and mental health issues encountered by agricultural men, women and children.
  • raised your awareness of the environmental, climatic, economic and social influences that result in higher rates of morbidity and mortality in rural and remote Australia.
  • the ability to use online communication technologies to investigate and address agricultural and rural health problems.
  • the ability to discuss climate change and how it impacts both health and productivity.
  • an understanding of the requirements for  successful health policies to improve  services and safety interventions in rural communities.
Career opportunities and professional accreditation
The Graduate Certificate of Agricultural Health and Medicine (GCertAgHealthMed) opens a variety of exciting career paths by providing students with a strong foundation in agricultural health, safety, wellbeing and sustainability.  After successful completion of this course you will have the academic, practical and research skills to work in a range of career paths spanning health service provision, rural research, health management, health promotion, agricultural productivity, sustainability and rural policy.  The GCertAgHealthMed provides an important opportunity to those who are currently, or plan to be, rural and remote professionals in the fields of Medicine, Nursing, Paramedics,  Health, Health Management, Rural Policy, OH&S and Agriculture.
The course is recognised by AgriSafe™ Australia and enables clinically trained graduates to become an AgriSafe™ practitioner.  The course is accredited to offer continuing education and professional development points through a number of professional colleges and associations, including the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, the Royal College of Nursing Australia, the Australian Association of Social Workers, the Australian Veterinary Association, and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.  
Course duration and location
The Graduate Certificate of Agricultural Health and Medicine consists of four credit points of study taken over one year of full-time study, or part-time equivalent. It is offered in a combination of on-campus and online mode. Students will be required to attend a five-day intensive in Hamilton during Trimester 1 to complete HMF01 Agricultural Health and Medicine.
Course outline

Applications for the Graduate Certificate of Agricultural Health and Medicine are open year-round, with intakes commencing in February, July, and November each year. Students are encouraged to undertake core units in Trimesters 1 and 2, with opportunities to undertake two additional elective units in any Trimester.
The Graduate Certificate of Agricultural Health and Medicine consists of four credit points of study made up of:
Two core units:
  • HMF701 Agricultural Health and Medicine: delivered as a five day intensive in Hamilton during Trimester 1
  • HMF702 Healthy and Sustainable Agricultural Communities: a wholly online unit delivered in Trimester 2.
  • PLUS
    Two credit points made up from either the ‘Research stream’ or ‘Coursework stream’:
    Research stream: a two-credit-point research project:

    OR

    Coursework stream: two single credit point elective units from the following list:

    Alternatively you may choose 700-level units not listed above provided they are relevant to the field of agricultural health and medicine and you have attained written approval from the course chair.

    Unit details

    For details of the units mentioned above please visit https://www.deakin.edu.au/students/university-handbook.  

    Credit for Prior Learning
    The University aims to provide students with as much credit as possible for approved prior study or informal learning which exceeds the normal entrance requirements for the course and is within the constraints of the course regulations. In the case of graduate certificates, a minimum of two credit points within this course must be completed at Deakin University. Credit for prior learning will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Health – Student and Academic Services for more information on Credit for Prior Learning and how to apply.  The GCertAgHealthMed Course Chair can also be contacted on (03) 5551 8533 for further information.
    Students who have completed the Graduate Certificate of Agricultural Health and Medicine will be eligible to apply for Credit for Prior Learning in a number of courses including: the Master of Public Health, Graduate Diploma of Health Promotion, Master of Health Promotion, and Master of Health and Human Services Management.

    GP Registrars

    Deakin University formally recognises the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) fellowships as credit for prior learning for GP registrars enrolled in the Graduate Certificate of Agricultural Health and Medicine (GCertAgHealthMed). Students will be granted two credit points of Credit for Prior Learning into GCertAgHealthMed on completion of the Australian General Practice Training program.

    Registrars that complete HMF701 and HMF702 will be able to be awarded the GCertAgHealthMed on award of a fellowship.

    Further information is now available on the University’s Credit for Prior Learning database and can be accessed from website: http://www.deakin.edu.au/courses/entry-pathways/credit-for-prior-learning

    Admission requirements

    Applicants must satisfactorily have completed an appropriate undergraduate qualification from a recognised agricultural, health, medical or allied health course.  Alternatively, candidates who demonstrate to the Course Chair that they have applicable professional experience in the areas of health and/or agriculture will be assessed for eligibility on an individual basis.  

    Core units

    The Graduate Certificate of Agricultural Health and Medicine consists of four credit points of study made up of two core units:

    • HMF701 Agricultural Health and Medicine: delivered as a five day intensive in Hamilton during Trimester 1 (Feb – Jun)*
    • HMF702 Healthy and Sustainable Agricultural Communities: a wholly online unit delivered in Trimester 2. (Jul – Oct)

    Agricultural Health and Medicine (HMF701)

    HMF701 is Agricultural Health and Medicine is offered by Deakin’s School of Medicine and the National Centre for Farmer Health in Trimester 1. This unit aims to develop the next generation of rural and agricultural health leaders to improve the health, wellbeing and safety and wellbeing of rural and remote Australians.

    It is well documented that agricultural workers, their families and communities face poorer health outcomes than their urban counterparts, experiencing higher incidences of injury, illness and work-related fatalities than most other industries.

    The unit addresses the underlying causes of injury and illness in agriculture and highlights the importance of healthy farming families and communities for the productivity and sustainability of the industry. You will learn about the poor health in agricultural areas and its impact on agribusiness, agricultural production and sustainability, and help to improve the health outcomes of farming men, women and children. You will increase your understanding of the social, environmental, physical and mental health factors that result in higher rates of injury illness and death in rural and remote communities.

    This information will be beneficial to professionals looking to improve agricultural production and sustainability or to improve health provision, research, policy and literacy in rural and remote communities. *This unit can be studied as a stand-alone single unit of study. It is only offered once per year in Trimester 1 as a five day intensive.

    Healthy and Sustainable Agricultural Communities (HMF702)

    HMF702 Healthy and Sustainable Agricultural Communities is a twelve-week online unit offered by Deakin’s School of Medicine and the National Centre for Farmer Health in Trimester 2. You will gain understanding of on the environmental, social and community stressors that influence the wellbeing of today’s rural and remote communities. The unit will highlight the importance of improving the physical and mental health of rural and remote workforces to the productivity of primary industries and agribusiness and you will gain the skills and knowledge to positively influence the physical, mental and social health of high-risk rural populations.

    Further Information

    For more information on this unit, the topics covered or on the application process, please contact:

    Professor Susan Brumby
    Course Director
    (03) 5551 8533
    Dr Jacquie Cotton
    Unit Chair
    (03) 5551 8533