What is HMF701?

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Core unit: Agricultural Health & Medicine (Feb – May)

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HMF701 Agricultural Heath and Medicine is a 5-day intensive study unit offered by the School of Medicine at Deakin University and the National Centre for Farmer Health.  It aims to develop the next generation of rural and agricultural health leaders to improve the health, safety and wellbeing of rural and remote Australians. HMF701 has been developed to appeal to a wide variety of graduate level students and professionals from nursing, medicine, health, agricultural science, agribusiness, social work, veterinary and environmental science backgrounds.

In 2020, HMF701 starts with a 5-day intensive, beginning 24th February 2020

Who will benefit from HMF701?

Rural professionals, health professionals, paramedics, 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 unit. Upon successful completion of this unit, graduates with a relevant health degree will be eligible to become an AgriSafe™ provider.

Why study agricultural health and medicine?

  • Learn about the poor health on the ‘other side of the fence’
  • Study the impact of workforce health and wellbeing on agribusiness, agricultural production and sustainability
  • Help to improve the health outcomes of farming men, women and children.


What past students have to say

Rosi Bear, RN – Northern District Health Service VIC—HMF701 Student 2019

Nurses are vital to the community. A career in nursing can be challenging, while also rewarding as it involves helping sick individuals become healthy again. Developing our knowledge, skills & experience over time means we can work in many and varied environments. This also allows us to have the opportunity to work flexible hours.
Each nurse’s journey is unique. A caring & empathetic nature is common and nursing soon becomes part of your being.
It is caring for people when they are vulnerable and involves educating individuals to achieve health & wellbeing, empowering them to have control of their personal journey.
I was in the first intake of University trained nurses at Warrnambool Institute of advanced Education which later became Deakin University. I studied for 18 months, qualified as a State Enrolled Nurse – now known as Registered Nurse Division 2. I then deferred and commenced my practical nursing career at Hamilton Base Hospital on Fitzpatrick wing, a surgical ward.
At 21 I travelled to the UK, I enjoyed agency nursing in London and worked as a Nanny out in the country – the families I worked with valued & were comforted with my nursing qualification & knowledge.
Returning to Australia in 1991, I worked as an agency nurse in many hospitals & nursing homes around Melbourne. This grew and embedded my medical & pharmacology knowledge. During this time, I developed sound nursing and communication skills. Here I learnt to work as a team member and adapt quickly to changing environments & circumstances. I soon returned to Deakin University where I completed my Bachelor of Nursing and registered as a Division 1 Nurse. My graduate year was at Wimmera Base Hospital in Horsham. This was a wonderful 12 months with rotations & experience in Surgical, Theatre, A&E and Renal Dialysis.
A country girl, I met and married a country boy. I was welcomed into a family farming business in Northern Victoria but I have always wished to continue nursing; it is part of my being & my identity.
I am a partner in our sheep grazing business and unlike many, we have had a smooth succession to our generation. Whilst I don’t work actively in the business; however, I do work actively on the business. As a nurse we have policies written in relation to health & safety for individuals and various workplace practices & procedure, e.g. If forecast over 38oC then inside between 11-3pm. Wearing PPE when using Chemicals, tools, implements or machinery etc.
When our children were small I had a yearning to work in Community Nursing. An opportunity opened and I was welcomed into District / Domiciliary nursing at our local hospital. I was now developing my knowledge of Community Support Services to clients needing support whilst living at home. In community health, I now work with people from different cultural backgrounds, often with disadvantaged and marginalised people.
In partnership with the local community, I work to prevent illness and promote health across the lifespan by identifying barriers to healthy lifestyles and general wellness. I work with families and communities to empower individuals accessing care to change unhealthy lifestyles and provide post-acute care to people in their homes.
It is important to be able to assume responsibility and a leadership role, take initiative in emergencies, have strong communication skills, work autonomously and as part of a team, maintain patience and discretion when providing health care.
In community health we provide an interpretative bridge between the acute sector and community services. We embrace a social model of health to advocate and give a voice to the community accessing health care. In a system which is often complex and hard to navigate, we as community health nurses are able to simplify the health systems, referral pathways and access to care.
I work in an interdisciplinary team which can include, but is not limited to, mental health nurses, podiatrists, general practitioners, psychologists, women’s health nurses, Aboriginal health workers, allied health and hospital services. As a nurse my skills have also been valued in case management roles with Aged care and disability services…. such a diverse journey a nurse can have.
Nursing, an interest in health and farming life is my being. Not actively working in our agricultural family farming business, I wanted to  use my breadth of knowledge and skills  built over the last 25 years to educate & empower our farmers about their health.
Then I found the National Centre For Farmer Health (NCFH). Our local community had been suffering a lot of adversity with drought, political water war-fare leading to reduced or no irrigation water allocation, poor commodity prices in some sectors and associated mental health issues to many families. This ripple effect has affected many businesses within our community as they rely on the agricultural sector.
I applied for & completed the unit HMF701 Agricultural Health & Medicine through Deakin University in partnership with NCFH.  Also very fortunate to have a supportive employer, Northern District Community Health who could recognise the need to be able to offer this specific agricultural health service to our community. I studied Agricultural Health & Medicine with the intent to becoming an AgriSafe™ Clinician in my local area in Northern Victoria. I now feel comforted that I can use my extended nursing knowledge to contribute & support our agricultural and farming sector.
I now look forward to delivering the Primary Prevention and health awareness program to our agricultural community. If health is compromised it can affect your family and business.
By educating our farmers they can improve their health, wellbeing and safety to be able to get the most out of their life and fulfill their farming business’s potential. Health is a person’s number 1 asset.
May my journey continue with my passion for health and farming….

2016, Prof. Gert van der Laan, Chair International Commission on Occupational Health Scientific Committee Rural Health

“This is a well-organized multidisciplinary blended learning course in Agricultural Health and Medicine”  

HMF701 2020 Intensive week highlights

HMF701 2020 Photos - view gallery

HMF701 2019 Intensive Week Highlights

HMF701 2019 Photos - view gallery

A healthy workforce is essential for a productive agricultural industry

HMF701 Agricultural Health and Medicine will increase your understanding of clinical, physical and mental health factors that result in higher rates of injury, illness and death in rural and remote communities. This information will help professionals who want to improve:

  • Improve agricultural production and sustainability
  • Enhance understanding of health research, policy and literacy in rural and remote communities
  • Gain an understanding of what is required for effective health provision in Agricultural communities

1. Stand alone course

HMF701 can be completed as a stand alone course and has been accredited for continuing education and professional development points from the following organisations:

AgriSafe network             Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine                  AASW              Australia Veterinary Association

GP Registrars: new 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 (GCAHM). Students will be granted two credit points of Credit for Prior Learning into GCAHM on completion of the Australian General Practice Training program. Registrars that complete HMF701 and HMF702 will be able to be awarded the GCAHM 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

2. Deakin University elective

HMF701 is also a Deakin University elective which provides credit towards a number of postgraduate qualifications  in:

  • Public Health
  • Health Promotion
  • Health and Human Services Management
  • Nursing
  • Graduate Certificate of Agricultural Health and Medicine

For more information on the course and topics covered view HMF701 unit details.
HMF701 Ag Health and Medicine 2011 HMF701 Agricultural Health and Medicine Flyer-2019


A limited number of scholarships opportunities are available for applicants who enrol in the Graduate Certificate of Agricultural Health and Medicine H522.
Click the button below to read more about the scholarships available for students studying HMF701. Scholarships are now CLOSED. 
HMF701 Scholarships – NOW CLOSED  
Further information
For more information on this unit, the topics covered or on the application process, please contact:
Course Director
Professor Susan Brumby
Email, Phone (03) 5551 8533, PO Box 283 Hamilton, Victoria, 3300
Unit Chair
Jacquie Cotton
Email, Phone (03) 5551 8533