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PROF Lisa Bourke


  • Inclusion
  • Rural Community Development
  • Rural Health
  • Rural Young People



  • Lisa Bourke holds a Masters from Utah State University and a PhD from Penn State University in Rural Sociology.  She has researched rural communities in Australia and the U.S. for almost 25 years.  Since joining the University of Melbourne in 2000, her research interests have focused on rural health and the wellbeing of young people living in rural communities.  She uses multiple research paradigms and methods to undertake rural research in sociological, public health and multidisciplinary ways. 

    With colleagues from Monash University, Flinders University and University of South Australia, Lisa has led the development of a conceptual framework of rural and remote health in Australia to understand the factors influencing rural health. This provides an understanding of how macro and local level processes together shape rural health outcomes.  Lisa also uses Ken Wilkinson's 'community interactional theory' of rural communities and his focus on strong and weak ties to explain social relations in rural communities.  Lisa's projects have included studies of community-driven health services, the needs of specific groups of health consumers and relationships among young people living in small towns.  Her current projects focus on utilisation of the conceptual framework she developed for rural and remote health, the role of power in rural and remote health and sexual health among young rural residents.






Member of

  • National Rural Health Alliance. Victorian Member 2000 -


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information

  • Lisa has attracted a range of consultancies with rural health services where she has undertaken research projects in partnership with these services to provide critical information that aids these services in addressing key rural health problems.    


Education and training

  • BSW, Monash University 2009
  • PhD, Pennsylvania State University 1995
  • MSc, Utah State University 1991
  • BSc, University of Western Washington 1988



Available for supervision

  • N

Supervision Statement

  • I have supervised a range of students in rural sociology and rural health at the honours, Masters and PhD levels.  Some of my students have undertaken research into rural young people, including topics around relationships, health behaviours and future aspirations.  Other students have focused on rural health, including topics relating to practice issues, the outcomes of particular health initiatives, and access and other issues facing particular groups of rural consumers.  I enjoy supervising students and encouraging students to develop their own ways of thinking about their particular topic.  I believe students learn from feedback and they gain a solid understanding of research methods from 'doing' research, so I like to provide opportunities to be involved in research and critically review research methods.  I welcome students who are interested in developing understanding of rural health or exploring topics around rural young people, rural health consumers and/or rural communities.