Associate Professor Ruth Stewart was appointed as Australia’s new National Rural Health Commissioner in July 2020.
Associate Professor Stewart has had a distinguished career in rural health, both as a practitioner and an academic. She most recently has been working as an Associate Professor of Rural Medicine, Director of Rural Clinical Training and Support at James Cook University. She lives and works on Thursday Island as a Senior Medical Officer with obstetric credentialing. She has also recently been working as Vice Chair of the Torres and Cape York Hospital and Health Service.
Before 2012, Associate Professor Stewart worked for 22 years as a procedural GP in South West Victoria and was on the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine’s (ACRRM) Board from 2002 to 2012 as director for Women in Rural Practice, Victorian Director and as Vice President.
She has represented ACRRM on many committees including the Consultative Committee on the Diploma of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and the Nurse Practitioner Advisory Group to the Department of Health and Ageing and as an executive member of the Expert Advisory Committee for the National Evidence Based Antenatal Care Guidelines.
In December 2013, Dr Stewart was granted a PhD from Flinders University for her thesis on a rural maternity managed clinical network. Her research interests include rural maternity services, rural health and rural medical education.