University of South Australia
Research Field: Behavioural medicine, psychological science
One third of Australians live outside major metropolitan centres, and these rural communities experience worse health outcomes to urban city-dwellers. Farmers are also known to be at a higher risk of suicide. The reasons behind these big differences in health outcomes are not well understood.
Dr Fennell’s research aims to discover why these differences exist (identifying different lifestyles, beliefs, or barriers to accessing appropriate help), as well as developing strategies to help improve health and mental well-being in rural communities. Dr Fennell’s research strategies include the development of online peer support programs for rural cancer survivors who can’t access face-to-face cancer support groups, and an online self-help program to help improve farmers’ well-being and ability to cope with difficult situations beyond their control, such as drought or commodity prices.
Kate is a passionate and articulate communicator dedicated to improving health and science literacy, particularly in rural communities. Her website www.countrycancersupport.com.au provides information and help to rural cancer patients and carers, and has over 13,000 visitors annually.
Dr Fennell was awarded her PhD from the University of Adelaide in 2013, and is currently a Research Fellow at the Sansom Institute for Health Research at the University of South Australia.