The regional health system is underperforming and severely strained, but a well-funded initiative is hoping to shift the tides.
More than 50 academic and government experts met this week at Charles Sturt University's Rural and Regional Health Research Institute, in Orange.
The 'rural health forum' aims to identify causes for poor health outcomes, and formulate an evidence-based response.
"[We are] bringing together the best minds in health research to ... address disparities in lower socio-economic communities," a statement said.
The institute's Executive director, Professor Allen Ross, said attracting skilled practitioners to the region remains a significant challenge:
"Even though more funds are being put into that, the number of ... graduates are just not going to rural areas.
"A lot of these problems are very complex and will take time to sort out, but we're willing to invest time to do it."
About $36m has been secured by the CSU institute, comprising $18m from the government and a similar university investment.
The institute will initially focus efforts on low-income areas of Orange and Dubbo, before moving to Coonamble, Walgett, and Berrima.
Professor Ross added: "We're working in true partnership with [these] communities, and they will actually set the agenda."
Flaws in regional health came to a head last month, when a Sydney Morning Herald investigation reported at least five potentially-preventable deaths.
Professor Julian Grant, Associate Dean Research at CSU's Faculty of Science and Health, attended the CSU forum said:
"The forum is a fantastic opportunity for researchers to ... come together and serve the needs of the rural health community."
Asked if she was optimistic about the future of regional health services in NSW, Grant said: "I'm very optimistic."
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.