The Allied Health Rural Generalist Pathway: What is it and why do we need it?


The purpose of this panel discussion is to provide the audience with an overview understanding of the pathway, its position in current rural workforce initiatives and benefits perceived by participant organisations and trainees.

Chair: Cath Maloney 
Chief Executive Officer; SARRAH

Cath has a background in physiotherapy with over 25 years of clinical experience prior to moving into health service management roles. Cath has worked in public sector, private and non-government settings including running her own practice, delivering allied health services across central and southern NSW. Cath completed a Master of Science in Medicine (Pain Management), is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) and the advanced leadership program with Women and Leadership Australia (2019). Over the past 12 years Cath has held leadership and management positions in state and Commonwealth government and with a remote Aboriginal Community-Controlled organisation, and served 6 years on the Board of a rurally-based Primary Health Network. Cath is now the CEO of SARRAH, a role she has held since April 2019.

Ilsa Nielsen 
Principal Workforce Officer; AHPOQ

Ilsa Nielsen is a Principal Workforce Officer in the Allied Health Professions’ Office of Queensland, Department of Health Queensland. This role is based in Cairns and supports workforce policy, planning and development for rural and remote allied health services in Queensland Health. Ilsa is a physiotherapist and has post-graduate qualifications in public health, education, and health economics and policy. Her former appointments include academic and clinical physiotherapy positions.

Gemma Tuxworth
Principal Project Manager; SARRAH

As a physiotherapist Gemma gained 10 years of clinical experience in Perth (WA), London, rural Western Australia and Tasmania before stepping into leadership, management and planning roles. Gemma has worked as Primary Health Manager, delivering allied health services in the Wheatbelt in Western Australia; in clinical planning and project management in Perth and Tasmania; and as a Health Program Manager in Papua New Guinea. Having lived in rural and remote locations, Gemma is familiar with the issues faced by communities trying to access basic services, and is passionate about improving equitable access to health services. Gemma recently completed her Master of International Public Health – and is currently enjoying her role as Project Manager at SARRAH working to improve access to allied health in rural and remote Australia.

Ali Dymmott 
Lecturer/Placement Education Coordinator, OT, PhD; Flinders University

Alison Dymmott is an occupational therapy lecturer, placement education coordinator and researcher at Flinders University. She has extensive experience educating occupational therapy students and supporting both students and clinicians on clinical placements. She works closely with clinical agencies to design clinical placements that are mutually beneficial for all stakeholders.
Alison has worked clinically across rural and metropolitan South Australia in a range of leadership roles including state-wide project management and policy development positions. She has specialist skills in rural generalism, paediatrics, rehabilitation and acute care.
Alison’s research interests are in rural health and workforce as well as clinical education and occupational therapy evidence-based practice. She is currently undertaking her PhD in conjunction with SA Health around allied health workforce strategies.

Hannah Mann 
Director; Kimberley Pharmacy Services (WA)

Hannah Mann founded Kimberley Pharmacy Services in 2009 with a view to addressing the issues facing health services and patients in rural and remote Australia, in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. KPS now has 3 pharmacies, and supplies medications and pharmacy services across the region.  In 2015, as recognition of our community engagement efforts KPS was awarded the national Guild Pharmacy of the Year award. Hannah continues to look for sustainable and innovative approaches to providing equitable access to pharmacy services in a culturally appropriate way.  She lectures in rural and remote practice, aboriginal health and culturally safe pharmacy practice. She is also a member of the Pharmacy Board of Australia as the WA practitioner member

Mandy Colless
Occupational Therapist, Marathon Health (NSW)

Mandy Colless is an Occupational Therapist from Condobolin, NSW who, after graduating from University of Newcastle in 2018, now works for Marathon Health in Dubbo. Mandy provides services to NDIS participants including outreach to Walgett/Lightning Ridge and Bourke/Brewarrina in Rural NSW.
Mandy commenced the AHRG Pathway in 2020 and due for completion at the end of this year.

Hamish Peberdy
Physiotherapist; Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network SA

Hamish Peberdy is a Physiotherapist working in The Riverland Mallee Coorong Local Health Network for SA Health. Hamish is currently undertaking the Level 1 Allied Health Rural Generalist Program. Having returned to the rural region where he grew up, Hamish is motivated to be part of the solution in working towards equitable health care outcomes for consumers living in rural and remote areas.”

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