About the Community Project of the Year award
The Community Project is an optional quality improvement activity undertaken within a general practice over 6-12 months as part of the Fellowship in Advanced Rural General Practice (FARGP) with the primary purpose to monitor, evaluate or improve the quality of healthcare delivered by the practice. It is a valuable opportunity to get to know the community and improve health outcomes.
The Community Project of the Year Award is presented to a FARGP recipient from the last financial year period that completed an innovative project which directly contributed to healthcare improvement in a rural or remote general practice, and positively impacted the town’s community.
There is no nomination process for this award. The winner is selected from FARGP recipients who have completed a community project as part of their studies over the last financial year period by a selection panel of rural GPs on the RACGP Rural Awards Committee.
The Community of the Year award includes:
- registration to attend the College's annual conference
- presentation of a commemorative trophy at the RACGP Rural annual member event.
The 2020 Community Project of the Year Award was presented to Dr Anna Cunningham from Mount Isa, Queensland.
Dr Anna Cunningham
Dr Anna Cunningham’s project was titled Teachers wellbeing clinic held at St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School.
As a general practitioner working for five years in the community of Mount Isa, a remote regional centre in the far north west of Queensland, Anna recognised a pattern of high presentation rates of teachers in distress, or with physical health complaints related to their mental health, such as exhaustion, fatigue and organically unexplained somatic symptoms, requiring mental health support.
After discussions with local stakeholders, which identified that teachers struggle to access out of school hours health support, she decided to pilot an on-site teacher wellbeing clinic at a local primary school to address any health needs that teachers felt were impacting on their general health, but more specifically their mental health.
The clinic was aimed at early career teachers, particularly if they had not yet accessed local health services. The clinic was run over a six month period, with an initial session introducing the clinic, explaining the availability of local health services, and providing psychoeducation on teacher wellbeing and some strategies to enhance their own overall physical and mental health. Over two school terms, she then held two confidential on-site school clinics for 8 teachers, to help them identify and discuss ways and referral pathways to address any issues they felt were impacting on their function. The clinic appointments resulted in referrals to local psychologists, specialists and allied health practitioners for most of the participants. In between these clinics she provided timely access to GP care and follow up to discuss results and review treatment and correspondence.
The wellbeing outcome was measured using the Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale, and of the 7 teachers that returned to the second clinic, 6 of these identified an improvement in their overall wellbeing scores. Furthermore, the school, recognising the benefits and positive response to the clinic, requested that Anna continue this ongoing, and expand the clinic to capture more of their teaching and support staff. Overall, the clinic was able to engage and provide quality primary care for a small group of professionals who identified that it helped them to address individual goals that contributed to their general wellbeing.
Past award recipients
|2020 Dr Anna Cunningham
2019 Dr Sophia Gordon