Board and college council

Board members

Associate Professor Ruth Stewart

President: Associate Professor Ruth Stewart


Location: Thursday Island, QLD

Dr Ruth Stewart is 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. Ruth is Vice Chair of the Torres and Cape York Hospital and Health Service.

Before moving to Queensland in 2012 Ruth and her husband Dr Anthony Brown worked for twenty-two years as procedural GPs in Camperdown in South West Victoria. Ruth was on the ACRRM Board from 2002 to 2012 as director for Women in Rural Practice, Victorian Director and as Vice President. She is currently Chair of the ACRRM Education Council. 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 Ruth 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.

Dr Michael Beckoff Dr Michael Beckoff

MBBS, FACRRM, FAICD, Assoc Dip Agric (Dist)

Location: Aldgate, SA

Dr Mike Beckoff is a Rural Procedural General Practitioner at the Bridge Clinic in South Australia and also performs a lot of private locums. He is involved in the South Australian Health Performance Council, South Australian Health Clinical Senate, Country Health South Australia Local Health Network, Clinical Advisor (Mental Health), General Practice South Australian Board Treasurer and Murray Mallee General Practice Network Board Chair.

The spectrum of his medical expertise encompasses surgery (including obstetrics); rural emergency medicine; clinical governance, safety and quality; health planning strategy, planning and policy; mental health, sexual therapy, company director and board chair.

He represents rural general practice on the GP role on the NPS Medicines Line Advisory Group. He was nominated for the role by the College.

Dr Suzanne Harrison

Dr Suzanne Harrison

DA, FACRRM, MSP Medicine (UNSW, 2006), Grad Certificate Health Professional Education (Monash Uni, 2010)

Location: Echuca, VIC

Dr Sue Harrison graduated from the University of Melbourne in 1981 and has been a rural GP in Echuca since 1984, VMO with anaesthetics. and emergency medicine.

Part-time Medical educator for Melbourne University ERC program, and supervisor of junior medical staff at Echuca hospital for the last 6 years. Supervisor of registrars in private practice. Interest in vertical integration of training and inter-disciplinary training, to make best use of resources in rural areas.

Currently president of Rural Doctors Association of Victoria, RDAA Board member, and Board member of Rural Workforce Agency of Victoria.

Enjoy living on our vineyard just outside of Echuca, travel and my family- currently expecting our first grandchild in the New Year.

Dr Ewen McPhee Dr Ewen McPhee


Location: Emerald, QLD

Dr Ewen McPhee is a Rural Family Doctor and GP Obstetrician, resident in Emerald Central Queensland since 1989.

Dr McPhee is a Fellow of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and has had recent involvement in government health policy through membership of the Primary Health Care Advisory Group and the eHealth Implementation Taskforce.

Dr McPhee is the current President of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia.

Dr Daniel HallidayDr Daniel Halliday


Location: Stanthorpe, QLD

Dr Dan Halliday is a Senior Medical Officer - Rural Generalist based at Stanthorpe Hospital, Queensland, with special interest in obstetrics.

Dan has maintained ongoing advocacy and representative roles supporting rural doctors and their communities. Dan is a Past-President of Rural Doctors Association of Queensland (RDAQ) and has held other executive positions on the management committee of RDAQ and is a past Director of Queensland Rural Medical Education (QRME). He is a current Rural Generalist Member on the Statewide Rural and Remote Clinical Network for Queensland Health, and has been appointed onto the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service Clinical Council.

He is acutely aware of the decline in health provision in small communities. From his obstetrics perspective, he sees this decline starkly illustrated by the closure of many rural birthing units. He has also experienced the machinations of a large health system in both crisis and recovery.

Dan joined the College in 2006 and was the 100th registrar to train for Fellowship, which he gained in 2009. From then until now a Pre-vanguard Rural Generalist Trainee, now a Fellow, he has seen the gradual recognition that a national rural generalist program is the future for sustainable, equitable rural and remote health services. He believes that, with the development of the rural generalist pathway, we are now starting to generate genuine and widespread interest in rural medicine and begin the stabilisation of rural medical facilities across Australia.

Dan's deliberations and decision on the College Board will be informed by formal governance qualifications - Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors - which he gained in 2012.

Dan considers that he has been fortunate to be surrounded by passionate rural general practitioners and advocates in a range of forums. He is fully appreciative of the role that family plays in the support of colleagues practicing medicine, and readily acknowledges the support of his wife Cathy and their children Grace, William and Georgia.

Dr Michelle Hannan
Location: Broken Hill, NSW

Dr Michelle Hannan became a FACRRM in 2017 with an AST in Emergency Medicine. 

Michelle is also a board member of the Rural Doctors Association of Tasmania.

Michelle grew up in Goondiwindi, Queensland, first on a farm and later moved into town. She completed medicine through UNSW in Sydney and was able to spend the last 3 years of the degree at the Rural Clinical School in Wagga Wagga with a group of friends who had also chosen to go. Michelle continued with her internship and residency there and was able to start a Masters in Viticulture and Winemaking.

Michelle moved to Tasmania six years ago and bought a farm & vineyard. She has been doing a mix of full time and part time work in both GP and emergency, fitting life in around running the farm and making wine.

Michelle is interested in increasing the profile of the FACRRM in Tasmania, pushing for the development of a true Rural Generalist Pathway in Tasmania with suitable employment options for Fellows, and increasing the support available to ACRRM registrars in areas where the College is less well known.

College Council members

Dr Eve MerfieldDr Eve Merfield


Location: Southport, TAS

Dr Eve Merfield is a Rural GP working in Dover, Tasmania. After training at Sheffield Medical School in England she moved to Australia in 1991 and originally trained in Emergency Medicine in various Queensland hospitals, and worked as a FACEM in Tasmania for several years, before turning to Rural General Practice.

She has since worked in rural NSW and Tasmania. She spent 1 year at Casey Station, Antarctica and 2 years on Macquarie Island before settling near Dover.

She retains an interest in Rural Emergency Medicine and other interests include improving access to services for rural patients.

Dr Rod MartinDr Rod Martin


Location: Armidale, NSW

Rod is a Rural Generalist in Armidale NSW and for a month a year in Theodore QLD, with responsibilities in general practice, emergency, anaesthetics and obstetrics. He teaches and supervises medical students, registrars and consultants in a number of training courses and curricula. His current roles with ACRRM include the Vocational Training committee, assessment as an ECT visitor/examiner and STAMPS examination and instructing in ACRRM’s ALS and Advanced Emergency Medicine courses and specialised preparation of Independent Pathway candidates for assessment. 

Dr James RicciardoneDr James Ricciardone


Location: Various

Dr Ricciardone is a rural generalist training in the Northern Territory and all over Australia. He has previously worked in both Alice Springs and Katherine Hospital and has experience as a remote doctor in various Indigenous communities in Central Australia.

Dr Bruce ThorpeDr Bruce Thorpe


Location: Bendigo, VIC

Bruce was raised and educated in Bendigo and practices there at Bendigo Community Health Services. His hospital training was at Ballarat Hospital during which time he did many rural locums including in the Kimberley Region of WA. In 1995 he wintered at Mawson station in Antarctica before returning to the Kimberley - first in Derby (procedural in Obstetrics and Surgery) then Fitzroy Crossing. In 2006 Bruce returned to Bendigo.

He has been involved in education from the Kimberley days as a supervisor and since returning to Bendigo as a medical educator with Beyond Medical Education in a role which specifically supports College registrars across their Vic and NSW areas of operation.

Dr Justin AzzopardiDr Justin Azzopardi


Location: Redlands, Qld

Dr Justin Azzopardi is a rural generalist intern currently based at Redlands Hospital, Queensland. Originally from Kurrimine Beach in rural North Queensland he moved to the city to study at James Cook University. He aims to continue to build upon ACRRM's commitment to advocating for not only effective rural medical training, but also an overall improvement of the health and wellbeing of Australians in rural and remote areas.

As a council member, he hopes to invest time promoting a range of initiatives that aim to ensure that medical students and junior doctors who have a strong commitment to rural training and the rural workforce have clear pathways to follow toward rural practice. Junior medical officers and medical students are an integral part of any college. If you have an interest in rural and remote medicine please join our Future Generalist facebook page or email us at to get involved.

Dr Sarah ChalmersDr Sarah Chalmers


Location: Nhulunbuy, NT

Sarah is a remote GP who has been based in East Arnhem Land for the past 12 years. This has included working in the hospital, the town based General Practice and AMS, and in various remote indigenous communities and Homelands. She is a Senior Lecturer in Remote Medicine with Flinders University's NT Medical Program and manages the campus in Nhulunbuy. She supervises medical students and GP Registrars, and is currently a Supervision Liaison Officer with NTGPE.

Her career interests include remote practice, occupational medicine, sports medicine and medical education.

Dr Andrew Miller Dr Andrew Miller


Location: Eden Hills SA

Brought up in country South Australia, Dr Andrew Miller graduated from Flinders University in 1985 has been working for Rural Doctors Workforce Agency since 2011.

For many years Andrew worked predominately in emergency medicine in Adelaide before leaving city life in 2010. In this time, Andrew has been able too gain a great understanding about his surrounding communities and their particular relationships with, and concerns about their medical services. Andrew's experience and ongoing work throughout rural South Australia has afforded him a broad oversight of Rural general practice rather than an intimate knowledge of a particular community. This, combined with his continuing opportunities to meet with Rural GPs around South Australia has been an advantage in effectively representing South Australia on the College Council.

Dr Francois Pretorius Francois Pretorius


Location: Barcaldine, QLD

Dr Pretorius is a Rural Generalist with AST’s in Emergency Medicine and Obstetrics.  He is Director of Medical Services at Barcaldine and Blackall Hospitals in Central West Queensland.  Dr Pretorius is also State Rural Lead for Telehealth in Queensland.  He is passionate about Rural Medicine and has spent 23 years in Rural and Remote Practice in his native South Africa and in Australia. 

Dr Viney Joshi


Loaction: Carnarvon, WA

Dr Viney Joshi is a rural generalist and worked predominantly in rural medicine in Queensland. Dr Joshi is currently working in a Medical Administration role in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia, based at Carnarvon. His background was in Intensive care and Anaesthesia before coming to Australia. Dr Joshi has a strong interest in rural medicine and has had a long association with ACRRM.

Ex Officio members

Immediate Past President: Professor Lucie Walters


Location: Mount Gambier, SA

Professor Lucie Walters was appointed Academic Director on the College Board in December 2009.  Lucie is currently Professor in Rural Medical Education at Flinders University and also works as a GP Obstetrician at Mount Gambier Hospital.  Lucie’s key areas of interest are community based medical education, rural health, social determinants of health and women’s health with her key expertise being in rural medical education development, curriculum design and course delivery in undergraduate and post graduate areas.

Censor in Chief: Associate Professor David Campbell


Location: Lakes Entrance, VIC

He has served for many years on the College Board, first as the Victorian Director, then Vice President, then President. He has practised as a rural doctor in Lakes Entrance, Victoria since 1983 and is a foundation member and Fellow of the College. He is currently Director of the East Gippsland Regional Clinical School and Associate Professor, Rural Community-Based Medical Education, with Monash University.  He is a member of the Committee of Management of Rural Doctors’ Association of Victoria. Dr Campbell is a Director of Gippsland Education and Training for General Practice, and has recently joined the Board of “Southern GP Training” in Victoria. He has special interests in medical education and emergency medicine, and is an instructor with Advanced Paediatric Life Support Australia, as well as principal author and instructor with the “Rural Emergency Skills Training” Course in Australia.

Ms Marita Cowie

Chief Executive Officer, Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine

BA (Psych), BBus (Com), MEd (T&D)

Location: Brisbane, QLD

Marita Cowie was appointed Company Secretary of the College in 1998. She is also the foundation Chief Executive Officer of the College. Marita has more than 15 years experience in medical education, training and company administration.

Board meeting dates 2018

The Board meets bi-monthly face to face.

The College Council four times per year – twice by teleconference and twice face to face.

Board meetings Date
Adelaide Saturday 24 February
Brisbane Saturday 21 April
Sydney Saturday 23 June
Melbourne Saturday 25 August
Darwin Tuesday 23 October
Perth/Hobart Saturday 15 December