UK (Robert Gordon University) RGU strengthens ties with North America to tackle rural healthcare challenges

Wednesday 02 November 2022

Robert Gordon University (RGU) is hosting the second edition of an international multidisciplinary conference focused on understanding and addressing rural health challenges.

The ‘CONVERGE Rural Healthcare Symposium 2022’ is an interactive opportunity for healthcare professionals to focus on innovative and collaborative efforts to provide better care through education and training initiatives.

This year’s symposium follows a successful inaugural event last autumn in partnership with Augusta University, the University of Georgia in the United States, and the University of Aberdeen. Since its launch, NHS Education for Scotland, an education and training body and a national health board within NHS Scotland, has joined the partnership.

The virtual event, which takes place on 2 and 3 November, will address access to care, experiential practice, and connectivity & emerging opportunities through catalyst talks. These presentations will explore innovative solutions and foster discussions among breakout groups on ways these might be replicated or enhanced while creating opportunities for continued international collaboration.

RGU is already collaborating on four innovative research initiatives that stemmed from last year’s Symposium, each awarded $10,000 grants by Augusta University. The projects, with partners on each side of the Atlantic, are looking into healthcare through the lens of education. The Universities will be presenting their progress at this year’s event.

Dr Sheelagh Martindale, Academic Strategic Lead at RGU and Chair of the CONVERGE Curriculum Committee, said: “RGU fosters a strong research culture that encourages collegiality to address global challenges and create societal benefit.

“The Converge symposium has already proven to be a catalyst for change and innovation as we collaborate on four research projects that will shape the future of health and quality care in our rural and remote communities.

“Throughout this year, we have strengthened our partnership with official visits to Scotland and United States, and we embrace the opportunity to highlight our commitment and build on our achievements.”

Professor Rona Patey, Director of the Institute of Education in Healthcare Medical Science at the University of Aberdeen, said: “The University of Aberdeen is delighted to continue our partnership in this innovative initiative following last year’s successful inaugural event.

“By collaborating across international boundaries, it is hoped that we can work towards transforming our research and ultimately our approach to the delivery of quality care for those in remote and rural settings while also establishing new studying and training opportunities among our partners.”

Dr Neil MacKinnon, Provost & Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at Augusta University, said: “I’m so pleased that our partners at Robert Gordon University are leading the planning of CONVERGE 2022, which will undoubtedly build upon the solid foundation of last year’s inaugural virtual symposium, where so many wonderful connections were made. I’d encourage all with an interest, or even a curiosity, in rural health to participate in this unique learning opportunity.”