David Lyle has certainly made his mark since arriving in Broken Hill 27 years ago, setting up the Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health (BHUDRH), while retirement beckons he continues to help students with their research and is committed to the community he’s embraced.
Over the years he has influenced doctors, nurses, allied health workers and numerous others to achieve greater things in their academic careers as well as return to work in Broken Hill.
He and his colleague set up the BHUDRH as well as academic centres in Bourke and Dareton.
Professor Lyle said, “The BHUDRH was the first to do student learning programs in Allied Health within primary schools.”
The programs allow for the school students to become familiar with the workers, making it easier to treat them.
Prof Lyle has also overseen the introduction of long stay medical and allied health programs where students from Wollongong, Sydney and Adelaide come to work in Broken Hill for 12 months.
This has been recently extended to include a long stay nursing program.
BHUDRH was also the first to establish the federal Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) program offering health students the opportunity to train in rural and remote communities via a network of training facilities.
The program aims to improve the recruitment and retention of medical, nursing, dental and allied health professionals in rural and remote Australia.
There is growing evidence that health students who undertake extended training in a rural area, and those from a rural background, are more likely to take up rural practice upon graduation.
Prof Lyle said, “This has seen an increase in students coming back to work in the Far West, especially social workers.
“The reason the BHUDRH has been able to achieve so much is due to building a strong academic team including locals.”
Prof Lyle explained this enabled the BHUDRH to respond to health issues through research and development, especially the childrens’ blood lead levels issue in Broken Hill, as well as palliative care and mental health.
“The BHUDRH have helped train the next generation to work in the Far West and advocate for strategic planning, develop skills, academic ability, capacity building and make a contribution to the health in the far west,” he said.
Prof Lyle also helped respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, taking on the role as the Public Health Controller.
“I would also like to pay tribute to the support of I have had over the years from health service partners including the Far West LHD, RFDS and Maari Ma in Broken Hill, and others across the far west region,” he added.
He is still working a couple of days a week at the BHUDRH, helping students with their research, he is on the South East Sector RFDS board and is slowly getting used to the idea of retiring by taking things easier these days.
“Broken Hill is a fabulous outback environment and once you appreciate it you never tire of it.
“I joined the soccer club, the bike club, we sent the kids to school here and you become a part of the community. It’s been a privilege to spend time here and be a part of the community,” he said.
Thank you, Professor David Lyle, for coming to work in Broken Hill and good luck with all your future endeavours.