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 of Projects

Dr Lara Bishop is the Director of Projects at the RFDS of Australia. She joined the RFDS in 2015. Lara has been the lead author on several RFDS policy reports and has contributed to various academic papers that have presented evidence regarding the health disparities impacting rural and remote Australians serviced by the RFDS. She provides oversight and management of national RFDS projects, including, for example, projects on stroke, mental health, hearing, end of life planning, and telehealth. Lara 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 an Honorary Associate Professor in the National Centre for Epidemiology & Population Health at the Australian National University and a member of the Clinical Advisory Committee for OzHelp.

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 and Research

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.