New rural research blog created by Dual Fellow Dr Rory Miller

Member news
23 October 2018

 Dr Rory Miller with his family

Dr Rory Miller is a Fellow of the College and the Division of Rural Hospital Medicine (the Division). As such, you may not be surprised to hear that he’s a strong advocate of rural health issues, but you may not know that he’s just created a new rural research blog where interested parties can learn, share and discuss newly published research relevant to this scope of medicine. 

Leaning on Fence Posts is a free, open-access web page. It has no paid adverts, Rory established this of his on volition and is funding it himself. He hopes the blog, which will publish research reviews every other month, will be of interest to colleagues from the Rural GP Chapter and the Division. We asked him how he got the idea and what he hopes to achieve:


Q: What inspired you to start the research blog?

There is nothing in this space currently in New Zealand. There are research review reports that cover many other topics/specialities including general practice, but nothing that addresses the rural context. Rural academia in New Zealand is in its infancy and we thought this was a way to disseminate this information. Ownership lies with the newly established Rural Section within the University of Otago, but any research that is relevant to rural NZ is welcome!

Q: What value do you hope it will offer to rural researchers and medical practitioners?

It offers a way to showcase research that is relevant to rural New Zealand from all health disciplines, put it into the public space for people to digest, and allow people to use in their practice.

Comments and opinion are welcomed on individual articles, as discussion may help clarify or consolidate any practice points, or open up collaboration and further research. We hope clinicians will use it to get up-to-date, rurally relevant, research to inform their practice.


Rory with his young family

Q: You recently became a Dual Fellow. What do you enjoy the most about working in general practice and rural hospital medicine?

They are complementary and in a lot of ways there is very little difference between the two - you are a rural doctor. You operate at both ends of an acute and chronic-care spectrum, which many/most rural doctors do.

The best thing is being embedded in the community - that includes the rural health professionals, and more importantly, the community that is served by the health facility - whether that is a general practice or hospital. Professionally the interactions with this community [Rory works in Whangamata] and the varied, generalist nature of the presentations, coupled by the resource challenges (equipment, geography, and financial), make the job enjoyable, challenging and interesting. 

Q: Do you have any advice for someone considering becoming a GP or RHM specialist?

My advice would be, think broadly and take your time training. Don’t settle and become just a (single organ doctor) specialist.

Q: What do you like to do in your spare time?

Spare time? Mostly I spend time at the beach with my partner Jess (a rural GP in Whangamata), two rat-bag children (Hamish and Charlie), our dog (Flash), and (very) occasionally I put on my running shoes or ride my bike!


To visit Rory’s new blog platform, visit Leaning on Fence Posts.