Emeritus Professor Paul Worley was appointed as Australia’s first National Rural Health Commissioner on 11 November 2017.
Professor Worley has had a distinguished career in rural health, both as a practitioner and an academic. He studied medicine at the University of Adelaide, graduating in 1984 and has worked as a Rural Generalist in rural South Australia; first at Lameroo, and then in Clare, Barmera and currently at Yankalilla. He lives in South Australia with his wife, and has seven children (including three children in-law) and five grandchildren.
From 2007 - 2017 he was Dean of Medicine at Flinders University in South Australia, where he established Rural Clinical Schools and University Departments of Rural Health in both South Australia and the Northern Territory and guided the conceptualisation and development of the Northern Territory Medical Program with a clear focus on recruiting and supporting Indigenous students and staff. While at Flinders University, Professor Worley developed and nurtured programs which are now recognised globally as models for the establishment of rural medical, nursing and allied health education.
Professor Worley has long been a leading figure internationally in the rural health and medical education sectors, has held senior positions in the Rural Doctors Association of South Australia and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, was instrumental in establishing rural Divisions of General Practice across South Australia, has served as a Board Director for the Adelaide PHN and for AGPT Regional Training Organisations in the Northern Territory and South Australia, is Editor in Chief of the international journal, Rural and Remote Health, and is an elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.
As National Rural Health Commissioner, Professor Worley is passionate about quality, equity and fairness for all, especially the underserved. Australia’s rural and remote communities and the health professionals who serve them, deserve an evidence-based, sustainable, cost-effective and well supported rural health system, designed by rural clinicians, grown in rural regions, and serving all who live across our vast land. We must have the right health professionals delivering the right care, in the right place at the right time.