From the Executive Officer’s Desk: July 2018

As I reflect on the activity over the month of June, I am again reminded of the diversity of areas the IEPCP both leads and provides input to, over our eight strategic Health and Wellbeing Priorities: Preventing Violence Against Women/Gender Equity; Healthy Eating; Alcohol Harm minimisation; Co-design/Community engagement; Healthy Ageing; Social Inclusion/Mental health; and building capacity through Health Literacy and The Well (portal).

The Metropolitan Partnerships met again – the Inner South East, covering Boroondara from our catchment, met at McKinnon High school, and I was able to contribute at the table workshops on two key priorities of Community Health and Wellbeing, and Social Connectedness. The East Metro Partnership met at Boronia Secondary College, and covers our three other catchment local government areas of Manningham, Whitehorse and Monash, as well as the Outer East catchment. I contributed to two of their priorities – Integrated Health and Social Services, and Social Inclusion. The PCP is in a unique position to represent detail of these priority issues as experienced by partners and their respective communities, and share local trends to support planning by government.

I was also excited to be a part of working alongside the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to consider how Healthy Eating might be explored from a Liveability perspective, and to workshop an analysis of the system impacting alcohol distribution, consumption, culture, and health harm in the East region – to identify leverage points for prevention locally.

I met with partners across the region at the EMHSCA Alliance, where the Strategic Sub Committee I had supported wound up, making way for a new structure that is responding to the extensive changes happening in the mental health/alcohol and drug sectors including NDIS. In addition, I was pleased to have the opportunity to participate in a workshop provided by the Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (EMPHN) targeting MH & AOD services on Collaborative Relationships and Successful Commissioning – an excellent workshop encouraging partnering for collective effort.

At a Statewide level, the VCOSS conference provided the opportunity to hear about the social policy platforms of the State Government, Coalition and Greens; and I have been able to contribute at Vic PCP – the peak body for PCPs across Victoria – to the development of a communications strategy to share with government the work we are doing to support partners to improve health and wellbeing.

At an organisational level, we are delighted to have entered into a contract with Health Futures Australia, (Directed by Shelley Bowen, formerly having led Healthy Together Victoria on behalf of the State government) in partnership with the Outer East PCP to scope a Prevention Platform targeting Obesity Prevention, with funding provided by DHHS. We are also delighted to announce that we have received funding from DHHS for twelve months to deliver the Active and Healthy Ageing Adviser role, that will work with partners across the region to improve the health and wellbeing of older people, and address ageism. We had the pleasure of announcing that Sharon Porteous (our Access and inclusion Coordinator) will be seconded to the role, at our successful Healthy Ageing forum held at the Whitehorse Centre. The forum was attended by 65 organisational representatives from across the region, to hear from key speakers from Melbourne University, the National Ageing Research Institute, the Victorian Active Ageing Partnership, COTA Vic, DHHS, Monash Council, Uniting Age Well, and Eastern Volunteers, and contribute to workshops to explore practising from a prevention perspective (with excellent facilitation from consultant Catherine Simcox). It was great to finish the financial year on such a high, and we look forward to building on the work to date.

We acknowledge the Wurundjeri people and other peoples of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of the land on which our work in the community takes place. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.