Lizzi Shires

UTAS Home Assoc Prof Lizzi Shires

Lizzi Shires

Director, Rural Clinical School

Room 219 , Rural Clinical School, Burnie

+61 3 6430 4568 (phone)

+61 3 6431 5670 (fax)

As Director of the University’s Rural Clinical School on the North West coast of Tasmania, Associate Professor Lizzi Shires has seen first-hand how place-based teaching and learning makes a difference.

“As regional and remote communities across Australia continue to grapple with medical workforce shortages, the importance of place-based teaching and learning to meet the demand has grown considerably,” she said.

“Over the last decade, our research has shown that people who come from rural areas are more likely to go back to rural areas to work after they have finished training.

“The Rural Clinical School has been able to provide high quality medical education in a rural area, for those aspiring to work in the health sector.”

The Rural Clinical School (RCS) is one of 17 schools around Australia, supported by the Commonwealth Government’s Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training Program.

It teaches medical students in the final two years of their Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree, and coordinates rural placements for future doctors who are progressing through years one to three in Hobart.

Another core foundation of the School, and its success, is its community engagement.  Medical students work with local school children to promote health careers and it is an initiative which has been key to the RCS’ growing enrolments.

“We have seen a huge increase in the number of students from the region entering medicine. It’s gone from 5-6% to 25% in the last five years,” Dr Shires said.

“While our student numbers have consistently grown, we also have a significant number of students who stay on as interns in the region.

“We are now continuing this work to establish more post graduate rural training pathways which help support and allow doctors to complete their training rurally.

“We continue to collaborate on research projects including tracking graduates to identify barriers and facilitators for rural health careers, and supporting clinical research which is regionally relevant.”

Training students in rural areas and supporting and developing career pathways in regional centres is what drives Dr Shires.

A rural GP for 30 years and a Public Health Physician for 25 years, Dr Shires is a member of the National Rural Council (RACGP) and a board member of FRAME (Federation of Rural Australian Medical Educators).

Her commitment to promote health careers in regional areas and further support working health professionals led her to developing a primary care educational and research network during her time as Director of Primary Care Education and consultant in Public Health.

“It’s very important to do relevant research with your community. We need more research that is led by the needs of rural people,” Dr Shires said.

The RCS currently has two major community based rurally led research projects in the North West.

The ISLAND Project (Island Study Linking Ageing and Neurodegenerative Disease) is a recent research initiative the School is collaborating on. The pilot will be based in the North West and will investigate how to prevent dementia in rural communities.

The project is aiming to recruit 10,000 community participants aged 50 and over across Tasmania to help shift the risk of dementia by empowering people to self-manage significant modifiable risk factors.

Connecting Care is an action research project in anticipatory care with GPs and the Ulverstone community.

The project aims to gain a greater understanding towards improving care for all patients preventing and reducing the impact of chronic diseases in rural communities. For more details visit

For more information on the ISLAND Project visit

Lizzi is Director of the Rural Clinical School and a part-time rural General Practitioner. Lizzi has extensive experience in community development projects and medical education particularly in primary care. She has written health columns for women's magazines as well as academic journals. While Lizzi enjoys all aspects of General Practice, her particular interest is in Chronic Disease Management.


Lizzi has worked as a General Practitioner for 20 years in England and Australia, with particular interests in chronic disease management, public health, and education. Over the duration of her career in England Lizzi held the positions of Associate Director of General Practice, Director of Primary Care Education in South Essex (Consultant in Public Health), Principal and Assistant in General Practice, Fellow of Essex University (Honorary), Higher Professional Education Patch Director and Associate Dean General Practice, London Deanery.  Having moved to the North West of Tasmania in 2005, Lizzi works part time in a local rural General Practice, works closely with Primary Health Tasmania, most recently as an Editor of the Health Pathways project, and with the Post Graduate Medical Counsel Tasmania (PMCT) and GP Training Tasmania promoting vertical integration of training through primary care. Lizzi is Director of the Rural Clinical School and Associate Head for Community Based Education with particular responsibility for coordinating the Community Based Medical Education (CBME) components of the School of Medicine's rural MBBS at the RCS.

Career summary


  • MBBS, Charling Cross Medical School, London, UK. 1986
  • Diploma in Obstetrics & Gynaecology, UK. 1988
  • Family Planning Certificate, UK. 1988
  • Diploma in Child Health, UK. 1989
  • Diploma in Public Health, Cambridge, UK. 1995
  • Diploma in Teaching and Learning, UK 2001


Professional practice

  • Member of Royal College of General Practitioners
  • Membership Faculty of Public Health
  • Chair of the UTAS School of Medicine Year 4/5 committee
  • Head of Discipline, Rural Health

Administrative expertise

Through the many leadership roles Lizzi has held she has extensive administration experience.


Primary Care, Chronic Disease Management, Community Based Medical Education, Curriculum design, Assessment

Teaching expertise

Lizzi has extensive teaching experience in medicine. In England Lizzi had senior leadership roles responsible for strategic planning and implementation of multidisciplinary primary care education across districts encompassing hundreds of GPs and nurses, training trainers, quality assurance and supporting poorly performing practitioners.

Lizzi is currently responsible for academic and organisational leadership of the Rural Clinical School based on the North West Coast of Tasmania, as well as clinical teaching, curriculum development and participation in School of Medicine working groups.

Teaching responsibility

View more on Professor Lizzi Shires in WARP


Earlier in her career Lizzi conducted community-based research projects in England, as well as in chronic disease management and teaching.

Having settled in the regional and rural North West Tasmania, Lizzi is passionate about rural medical education and delivery of health systems in rural areas. Lizzi has undertaken research into clinical teaching and learning, local health service delivery, and on rural workforce outcomes resulting from rural training activity through the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training (RHMT) programme.

Research Themes

Lizzi's research aligns to two of the University's research themes: Better Health; and Creativity, Culture and Society. Her research interests include chronic disease management in primary care, medical education, and health workforce and health service delivery in the rural context.


Lizzi was a member of the Essex Primary Care Research Network (EPCRN) to support Primary Care researchers. This was a collaborative project with the Universities, General Practice, Health Trusts, Public Health and Education Departments. We provided small grants, educational support and paid research expertise to develop researchers in Primary Care.

In North West Tasmania Lizzi maintains strong relationships with local GP Practices, primary and secondary schools, community groups and other local stakeholders.

Current projects

Lizzi's current projects include a cohort study of internship locations among international medical graduates from the University of Tasmania, a prevalence study of asthma in children aged 6-8 years old in North West Tasmania, and Low Acuity presentations to local emergency departments.

Fields of Research

  • Health services and systems (420399)
  • Medicine, nursing and health curriculum and pedagogy (390110)
  • Health and community services (420305)
  • Paramedicine (320219)
  • Community child health (420601)
  • Aged health care (420301)
  • Primary health care (420319)
  • Education assessment and evaluation (390402)
  • Other education (399999)
  • Health care administration (420306)
  • Medical biochemistry - amino acids and metabolites (320501)
  • Nephrology and urology (320214)
  • Educational administration, management and leadership (390403)
  • Teacher education and professional development of educators (390307)

Research Objectives

  • Rural and remote area health (200508)
  • Assessment, development and evaluation of curriculum (160301)
  • Learner and learning (160199)
  • Evaluation of health and support services (200299)
  • Other education and training (169999)
  • Evaluation of health outcomes (200202)
  • Health policy evaluation (200205)
  • Teacher and instructor development (160303)
  • Behaviour and health (200401)
  • Health inequalities (200204)
  • Diagnosis of human diseases and conditions (200101)
  • Expanding knowledge in the biomedical and clinical sciences (280103)
  • Clinical health (200199)
  • Health related to ageing (200502)
  • Expanding knowledge in the health sciences (280112)
  • Social structure and health (200207)
  • Neonatal and child health (200506)


Lizzi's most recent publications are focussed on progressing the rural health agenda: health service evaluation and the rural health workforce, with an emphasis on improving health outcomes for people living in rural areas. Ongoing themes include the health services in rural areas and the Rural Clinical School's role in providing a medical workforce for rural and regional Australia.

Total publications


Journal Article

(13 outputs)
2021Malau-Aduli B, Hays RB, D'Souza K, Smith AM, Jones K, et al., 'Examiners' decision-making processes in observation-based clinical examinations', Medical Education, 55 pp. 344-353. ISSN 0308-0110 (2021) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/medu.14357 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 5

Co-authors: Turner RC


2020Allen P, May J, Pegram R, Shires L, ''It's mostly about the job' - putting the lens on specialist rural retention', Rural and Remote Health, 20, (1) ISSN 1445-6354 (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.22605/RRH5299 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 12Web of Science - 12

Co-authors: Allen P; Pegram R


2020Andrewartha J, Allen P, Hemmings L, Dodds B, Shires L, 'Escape to the country: lessons from interviews with rural general practice interns', Australian Journal of General Practice, 49, (9) pp. 606-611. ISSN 2208-794X (2020) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.31128/AJGP-03-20-5274 [eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Andrewartha J; Allen P; Hemmings L; Dodds B


2019Cheek C, Hays R, Allen P, Walker G, Shires L, 'Building a medical workforce in Tasmania: a profile of medical student intake', Australian Journal of Rural Health, 27, (1) pp. 28-33. ISSN 1038-5282 (2019) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/ajr.12445 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 3

Co-authors: Cheek C; Hays R; Allen P; Walker G


2018Davis K, Doole EL, Cheek C, Shires L, 'How medical students learn in primary care', The Clinical Teacher, 15 pp. 1-5. ISSN 1743-4971 (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/tct.12961 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 5Web of Science - 5

Co-authors: Doole EL; Cheek C


2018Heal C, D'Souza K, Banks J, Malau-Aduli BS, Turner R, et al., 'A snapshot of current Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) practice at Australian medical schools', Medical Teacher pp. 1-7. ISSN 0142-159X (2018) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1080/0142159X.2018.1487547 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 9Web of Science - 6

Co-authors: Turner R


2017Cheek C, Hays R, Allen P, Walker G, Shires L, 'Building a local medical workforce in Tasmania: where are international fee-paying medical graduates likely to work?', Rural and Remote Health, 17 Article 4292. ISSN 1445-6354 (2017) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.22605/RRH4292 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 4Web of Science - 5

Co-authors: Cheek C; Hays R; Allen P; Walker G


2016Cheek C, Allen P, Shires L, Parry D, Ruigrok M, 'Low-acuity presentations to regional emergency departments: What is the issue?', Emergency medicine Australasia, 28, (2) pp. 145-152. ISSN 1742-6731 (2016) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/1742-6723.12526 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 11Web of Science - 11

Co-authors: Cheek C; Allen P


2015Allen P, Cheek C, Foster S, Ruigrok M, Wilson D, et al., 'Low acuity and general practice-type presentations to emergency departments: A rural perspective', Emergency Medicine Australasia, 27, (2) pp. 113-118. ISSN 1742-6723 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1111/1742-6723.12366 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 20Web of Science - 20

Co-authors: Allen P; Cheek C; Foster S; Wilson D


2015Shires L, Allen P, Cheek C, Wilson D, 'Regional universities and rural clinical schools contribute to rural medical workforce, a cohort study of 2002 to 2013 graduates', Rural and Remote Health, 15, (3) Article 3219. ISSN 1445-6354 (2015) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.22605/RRH3174 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 3Web of Science - 20

Co-authors: Allen P; Cheek C; Wilson D


1994Coonar AS, Nayeem N, Bonell CP, Shires SE, 'Adult asthma assessment in an accident & emergency department', Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 87, (6) pp. 330. ISSN 0141-0768 (1994) [Refereed Article]

PMID: 8046703 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 4


1991Nayeem N, Shires SE, 'The lost ballpoint pen', Injury: British Journal of Accident Surgery, 22, (2) pp. 148. ISSN 0020-1383 (1991) [Contribution to Refereed Journal]

DOI: 10.1016/0020-1383(91)90078-s [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Web of Science - 1


1990Nayeem N, Shires SE, Porter JE, 'Cost of a roller skating rink to the local accident and emergency department', British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2, (4) pp. 240-242. ISSN 0306-3674 (1990) [Refereed Article]

DOI: 10.1136/bjsm.24.4.240 [eCite] [Details]

Citations: Scopus - 6


Conference Publication

(12 outputs)
2018Davis K, Doole EL, Cheek C, Prior S, Shires L, 'Medical student perceptions of GP placements', ANZAHPE 2018 Proceedings, 1-4 July 2018, Hobart, Australia, pp. 234. (2018) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Doole EL; Cheek C; Prior S


2018Harrison C, Day R, Dwyer K, Joyce D, Lucas C, et al., 'Prescribing Skills Assessment - initial results from an Australian cross-institutional pilot', ANZAHPE 2018 Proceedings, 1-4 July 2018, Hobart, Australia, pp. 18. (2018) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]


2018Hemmings L, Allen P, Shires L, Andrewartha J, 'Evaluation of intern training in rural primary care settings in Tasmania', ANZAHPE 2018 Proceedings, 1-4 July 2018, Hobart, Australia, pp. 251. (2018) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Hemmings L; Allen P; Andrewartha J


2018Randhawa S, Cheek C, Shires L, Allen P, 'The prevalence of sexual harassment and bullying amongst general practice registrars at a regional training centre in 2017', ANZAHPE 2018 Proceedings, 1-4 July 2018, Hobart, Australia, pp. 162. (2018) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Randhawa S; Cheek C; Allen P

2018Shires L, Harrison C, Gan S, Spooner A, Whereat S, et al., 'What should a final year OSCE mark sheet look like?', ANZAHPE 2018 Proceedings, 1-4 July 2018, Hobart, Australia, pp. 6. (2018) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]


2017Heal C, D'Souza K, Turner R, Shires L, Malau-Aduli B, 'A snapshot of OSCE practices at Australian Medical Schools', AMEE 2017, 26-30 August 2017, Helsinki (2017) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Turner R

2017Shires E, Presser J, FitzGerald K, Warnecke E, Radford JC, et al., ''They liven the place up!' Tasmanian rural general practice medical student placements', 14th National Rural Health Conference, 26-29 April 2017, Cairns, Australia (2017) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Presser J; FitzGerald K; Warnecke E; Radford JC; O'Brien J; Harvey R; Lowe KL; Blazely LM; Campbell D; Hays RB

2017Sudhakaran A, Davis Katherine, Selvarajan S, Buckner E, Chintapalli N, et al., 'Polypharmacy at a registered aged care facility', Papers from the RACGP #GP17 Conference 2017, 26-28 October 2017, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1. (2017) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Selvarajan S; Cheek CG; Ramsay R; Allen P

2016Shires L, Turner R, 'Video training to reduce cross campus variability in OSCE stations', Proceedings of 17th Ottawa Conference, 19-23 March 2016, Perth, Australia (2016) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Turner R

2015Shires L, 'Recruiting the next generation of rural doctoers should start in schools', GP15 Conference Program, 21-23 September, Melbourne Convention Centre, Australia, pp. 6. (2015) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

2015Wilson D, Allen P, Cheek C, Shires L, Foster S, et al., 'Are rural Emergency Departments supplementing General Practice', Program of the 2015 International conference on health system innovation, 18-20 March, Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, pp. 1. (2015) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Wilson D; Allen P; Cheek C; Foster S; Ruigrok M

2011Radford JC, Warnecke E, Shires SE, Meumann F, Presser J, et al., 'GPMagic - measuring and growing inherent capacity (for learning and teaching in Tasmanian General Practice)', RACGP Annual Scientific Convention: GP11, 6-8 Oct, Hobart (2011) [Conference Extract]

[eCite] [Details]

Co-authors: Radford JC; Warnecke E; Meumann F; Nelson MR

Grants & Funding

Funding Summary

Number of grants


Total funding



Deed for Multi-Project Funding for the operation of various projects under the Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training Program 2016-2018 (2016 - 2021)$17,114,258
Research component of this program will support research into rural health workforce development (including recruitment and retention strategies); rural training strategies; innovative rural service delivery models to enable the provision of health services to meet community needs; and improving the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Department of Health (Cth) ($17,114,258)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Barnett AP; Shires SE
2016 - 2021
What perinatal risk factors are associated with impaired lung function in children at the age of 6 to 8 years? (2016)$14,601
The aim of the study is to determine perinatal risk factors that are associated with impaired lung function in early childhood years (6 to 8 years).
Clifford Craig Foundation ($14,601)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Weber HC; Shires SE; Walters EH; Dharmage SC
Evaluating Care Outcomes of the Burnie Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre (ECO-ASELCC) (2014)$61,997
Assist ASELCC to define two research projects - one individual Burnie ASELCC project, and one collaborative project, based on the data collected within the Child and Family Outcomes Strategy (CFOS) database.
Burnie City Council ($61,997)
Contract Research
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Shires SE; Cheek CG; Allen PL; Stephens MJ
The prevalence of asthma in 6 to 8 year old children in rural Tasmania (2013)$31,804
This study aims to determine the prevalence of asthma in children in North West Tasmania. It will assist in identifying risk factors and informing appropriate provision of health services.
Clifford Craig Foundation ($31,804)
Administered By
University of Tasmania
Research Team
Weber HC; Wilson D; Shires SE; Cheek CG