Before you join the Rural Health Consumer Panel and complete the registration survey, please read carefully the following information, and feel free to discuss it with others if you wish before proceeding. If you have any questions, please contact us using the details provided below.

Researchers: Prof Evelien Spelten, Dr Fiona Dangerfield - Violet Vines Marshman Centre for Rural Health Research, La Trobe Rural Health School (LRHS)

Why do we need a Rural Health Consumer Panel?

People who live in rural and regional Australia have poorer health outcomes than people living in major cities, however they are often not included in decision-making or research about issues that directly affects them. The purpose of the Rural Health Consumer Panel is to enhance our understanding of the health issues affecting rural and regional Australians (e.g., patients, clients, carers, consumers, community members, health professionals). We would like to work with panel members to develop solutions to the challenges they face. We aim to do this by providing panel members with opportunities to participate in a range of research activities.

Who is being asked to participate?

You can join the panel if you are:

    1. Aged 18+years
    2. Live in a rural or regional area (anybody living outside of a major city) and,
    3. Are able to read and write English well enough to complete a survey.

How do I become a panel member and what will I be asked to do?

If you want to join the panel, we will ask you to complete an online registration survey that will take about 10 minutes of your time. You can request a paper copy of the survey by contacting us using the details provided below. The survey includes questions about you (such as your age and your gender) and questions about your general health.

We will also ask for your contact details (name, address, telephone number, email address) so we can contact you over a two-year period to ask you to participate in future panel activities such as surveys, research activities, student education. You will receive information about those activities and can then decide if you want to take part.

What are the benefits?

There may be no direct benefits to you by joining the panel, but the information provided will give us valuable insights into the health and wellbeing issues for rural people which may lead to improved health outcomes.

What are the risks?

We do not envisage any risks to you in completing this survey, however with any research there are (1) risks we know about, (2) risks we don't know about, and (3) risks we don't expect. If you experience something that you are not sure about, please contact us immediately so we can discuss the best way to manage your concerns.

Prof Evelien Spelten (Principal Investigator)

Violet Vines Marshman Centre for Rural Health Research

Phone: (03) 50514071


Known Risks: We have listed the risks we know about below. This will help you decide if you want to be part of the panel.

Participation in the panel is voluntary. As some of the questions relate to health status there is a possibility that people may become upset when recalling information about their health. If this is the case and you need some advice or support you can contact a friend, family member, a trusted health service or call Lifeline on 13 11 14, SANE Australia or Beyond Blue at 1300 22 4636.

What will happen to information about me?

By clicking on the 'I agree to join the panel' button, this tells us you want to become part of the panel.

    • We will be collecting your contact information through questions in the survey.
    • We will be storing your health information in a de-identifiable (anonymous) manner.
    • We will publish information about you in ways that you will not be identified in any type of publication from this study.
    • We will keep your information indefinitely to support the work of the panel.

The storage, transfer and destruction of your data will be undertaken in accordance with the La Trobe University Research Data Management Policy

The personal information you provide will be handled in accordance with applicable privacy laws, any health information collected will be handled in accordance with the Health Records Act 2001 (Vic). You have the right to access and correct your personal information by contacting the research team.

Will I hear about the results of the panel work?

You can find information about the work of the panel on the La Trobe University website and via newsletters that we will be sending to panel participants regularly.

What if I change my mind?

If you no longer want to complete the registration survey, simply close the web browser or do not complete the survey. If you change your mind and do not want to be part of the panel after clicking the 'submit' button, please contact us using the details provided below. If you withdraw from the panel all your personal information held will be destroyed. Your decision to withdraw from the panel will not affect your relationship with La Trobe University and will not affect your healthcare or disadvantage you in any way.

Who can I contact for questions or want more information?

If you would like to speak to us, please use the contact details below:

Prof Evelien Spelten (Principal Investigator)

Violet Vines Marshman Centre for Rural Health Research

Phone: (03) 50514071


What if I have a complaint?

If you have a complaint about any part of the Rural Health Consumer Panel project please contact:

Position: Senior Research Ethics Officer

Phone: +61 3 9479 1443


Ethics Reference No. HEC21359

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