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ARHEN – Update, Structure and Strategic direction – Janine Ramsay, National Director
Janine thanked Amanda and the Frame Policy group for the invitation to address the meeting.

 ARHEN Structure

  • The old hands in the organization are emphatic – the pronunciation is ‘ARHEN’ – not ‘AAHEN’ or ‘AHREN’
  • ARHEN was established to link and support the UDRHs not long after the UDRH program was established in the late 1990s.
  • It was incorporated in November 2001, and formally launched in 2002
  • At times ARHEN has had direct Commonwealth funding, the membership has always supported it through fees
  • However from the 1st July, the organisation will be funded by its membership
  • ARHEN National Office – shortly to be 1.6FTE staff – is based in Canberra and engages with key stakeholders and provides policy and secretariat support to the organisation
  • As a public company limited by guarantee, ARHEN needs to meet certain ASIC requirements such as in relation to registration of its membership, financial audits and a company secretary
  • There are currently 11 members with one UDRH in the process of transitioning into two. They are in all States and the NT
  • ALL UDRHs are represented on the Board, but not always by the UDRH director.
  • A constitution underpins the Board’s operation and it meets at least 4 times per year – 2 x f2f meetings including a regional meeting plus 2 teleconferences

ARHEN Strategic Direction

  • In terms of ARHEN’s strategic direction, it is business as usual
  • Changing political and policy landscapes over the past few years have led to the emergence of a new era in relation to RCSs and UDRHs
  • Directors see that the organisation will have a role in supporting the 3 new UDRHs when they roll out next year
  • ARHEN is committed to working with FRAME into the future
  • Functional reality is that already the membership of the 2 organisations have crossover in various parts of Australia, and this is strengthened through RHMTP


  • ARHEN and FRAME working together is not new
  • What form should working together take
  • ARHEN/FRAME past joint activities include:
    • The publication in 2006 of the photojournal Opportunities as Vast as the Landscape. This aimed to highlight the diversity, rewards and opportunities available to health professionals in country Australia
    • Joint involvement in the RRH e-journal when ARHEN had administrative responsibility for a time
  • Recently the new ARHEN executive met the FRAME policy group in the context of the new RHMTP
  • ARHEN Board in its March meeting this year, highlighted the importance of ARHEN and FRAME working together. Options cavcassed included:
    • Joint scheduling of ARHEN and FRAME meetings on a regular basis
    • Sharing events such as a ‘think tank’ on health workforce issues
    • A joint ARHEN and FRAME rural research stream at the next National Rural Health Conference in 2017
    • Exploring the possibility of a new ARHEN network dedicated to medical education issues
  • As the Government’s investment in supporting high quality multidisciplinary rural health training is continuing, it will be vital for both networks to liaise closely and work together.