HMF701 unit details

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HMF701 Agricultural Health and Medicine is offered by the School of Medicine at Deakin University. 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.
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. Further compounding this unhealthy ‘life on the land’ is an ageing workforce required to work harder for longer in a time of climate instability, increasing corporatisation, global food insecurity and ever tightening financial pressures.
This 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.

Who can study this unit?

HMF701 Agricultural Health and Medicine is a single unit (non award study) that can be taken alone or as an elective in a number of Deakin’s postgraduate courses. This five-day intensive unit has been developed to appeal to multidisciplinary graduate-level students and professionals from:

  • Nursing
  • Paramedics
  • Medicine
  • Health
  • Agricultural science
  • Agribusiness
  • Social work
  • Veterinary science
  • Environmental science

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 unit.
Upon successful completion of the unit, graduates with a relevant health degree will be eligible to become an AgriSafe provider.

Why study this unit?

Without doubt, the most important aspect of a productive agricultural industry is a healthy workforce. Through this unit you will learn about the poor health on the ‘other side of the fence’ 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.

Career opportunities and professional accreditation

This unit opens possibilities in a variety of exciting career paths by providing students with a strong foundation in agricultural health, safety and wellbeing. It is accredited to offer continuing education and professional development points through a number of professional colleges and associations, including:

  • Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine
  • Royal College of Nursing Australia
  • Australian Association of Social Workers
  • Australian Veterinary Association
  • Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

HMF701 Agricultural Health and Medicine an be taken as an elective unit (worth 1 credit point) towards a postgraduate qualification at Deakin University, and is a core unit of the Graduate Certificate of Agricultural Health and Medicine. The unit is also a requirement for recognition as a health provider by AgriSafe Australia.

Unit information

Offered through the National Centre for Farmer Health and Deakin University’s School of Medicine in Trimester 1 in each year, this unit is delivered as a five-day intensive program in the last week of February  at Western District Health Service, Hamilton, Western Victoria. Assessment and tutoring will be completed off campus using Deakin Studies Online over the remainder of the trimester. Student places in this unit are strictly limited to 25.

Topics include

The five-day intensive curriculum will cover the following topics:

  • agricultural medicine conditions and co-morbidities
  • high risk remote populations and chronic disease
  • agricultural respiratory health
  • occupational health assessments
  • vision and hearing injuries
  • common cancers in agriculture
  • traumatic agricultural injury
  • remote emergency medicine
  • addiction, suicide and mental illness in rural Australia
  • pesticide and veterinary chemical hazards
  • musculoskeletal health and ageing
  • zoonotic diseases.

A better understanding of these agricultural health, safety and
wellbeing issues will help improve the health outcomes of
farming men, women, children and agricultural workers.

What you will get out of it

At the end of this unit you will be able to:

  • describe the clinical factors contributing to poor physical and mental health outcomes in the agricultural workforce
  • comment on the social, economical and health service constraints experienced in farming communities and how these influence physical and mental health
  • discuss the occupational health and safety risks associated with agricultural communities
  • consider rural health, safety and wellbeing interventions including health promotion, primary care models and the Hamilton Charter for Farmer Health
  • critically evaluate the agricultural health and medicine literature
  • use online communication technologies to investigate and address agricultural and rural health problems
  • develop skills to implement this new knowledge in your current or future professional life.


This unit has no prerequisites. It is available to all postgraduate-level students or interested professionals from agricultural, education, policy or health backgrounds.

Unit fees

HMF701 Agricultural Health and Medicine is a full-fee unit offered through the School of
Medicine at Deakin University. For more information on tuition fees, visit the Deakin website.

Further information

Applications for this unit can be made through Deakin University’s online application portal or via mail through the Unit Chair.

If you would like further information about this unit or the application process contact:
Unit Chair
Professor Susan Brumby
Phone (03) 5551 8533
PO Box 283
Hamilton, Victoria, 3300
Jacquie Cotton
Phone (03) 5551 8533
HMF701 Ag Health and Medicine 2011 HMF701 Agricultural Health and Medicine Flyer-2018