Research & Policy Unit team

Royal Flying Doctor Service Research and Policy is conducted by a small team located in Canberra. All team members can be contacted on 02 6269 5500

Dr Lara Bishop - Director Research & Projects

Dr Lara Bishop has a PhD in psychology and degrees in applied science and arts. Her doctoral dissertation explored the mental health literacy of Australian print media journalists and compared this to the mental health literacy of a sample of the Australian general public. Lara is the lead author for several RFDS discussion papers that present evidence regarding the health disparities impacting remote and rural Australians serviced by the RFDS. She also manages various projects for the RFDS around telehealth, end-of-life care planning and mental health literacy. Lara is a visiting fellow at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, where she is involved in research investigating the health literacy of parents of 0–2 year olds, as part of the right@home randomised controlled trial of sustained nurse home visiting, being conducted in Victoria and Tasmania.

Lauren Gale - Director, Programs & Policy

Lauren oversees the work of the Flying Doctor's Research and Policy Unit. She has an honours degree in Government, International Relations and Social Policy and a Master of Public Policy. Her honours thesis assessed ongoing rural health workforce shortages and government interventions seeking to remedy this. Prior to commencing with the Flying Doctor, Lauren was a Policy Adviser in the Department Of Prime Minister & Cabinet, working across areas including rural health, Indigenous health, mental health, public health, hospital and health system financing as well as disaster recovery.

Dr Fergus Gardiner - Director of Public Health

Fergus Gardiner is a PhD (medicine) trained epidemiologist. He has been the lead author on research projects, involving emergency and military medicine, pathology, and obstetrics and gynecology. His current work focuses on rural and remote aeromedical retrievals, including those for digestive and liver disorders, substance use disorders, end-stage renal failure, and cancer. Prior to commencing with the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Fergus served in the Australian Defense Force as a Paratrooper before retraining and seeking employment in large teaching hospitals and the Department of Health in Canberra. Fergus is a visiting academic at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health and The Australian National University Medical School.