From the Executive Officer’s Desk: August 2020

As we brace again, going into stage 4 restrictions, our health and community sectors continue to amaze and shine in protecting the health and safety of our community. While we are shocked and saddened by the tenacity of the virus and its wide ranging impacts on people in our State, many of our partners are delivering newly established social connection initiatives supporting isolated residents, and others are sharing good practice learnings across organisations. Regional colleagues at the Department of Health and Human Services are lending a hand supporting Central or in crisis areas, and local governments are reorientating to response and recovery, and starting to consider how to best plan and position their Municipal Public health and Wellbeing Plans to support community resilience.

The IEPCP is keen to support building the capacity of partners to lead through uncertainty and develop sophisticated skills to work in such complexity. We are thrilled to announce our upcoming Leadership for Systems Change course- a comprehensive professional development program targeting Coordinators and Managers across the wider partnership, to collaborate and learn together. This unique and contemporary course brings together Complexity theory, Systems Thinking, Design Thinking, and Storytelling narratives for change, with the practicalities of Leadership, Influence and applying Deliberative engagement. Take a look at the program flyer for more information. We encourage interested partners to register quickly as numbers will be strictly limited in this one-off, exciting opportunity in our region.

We are also delighted to let you know that we have become a member of the EveryAGE Counts National Coalition to end Ageism. We are now a proud member of this diverse and growing coalition of organisations and individuals committed to achieving this important shift in the way we understand and experience growing older. By joining the coalition, we are expressing our commitment to tackling Elder Abuse and promoting Healthy Ageing. The IEPCP has pledged that:
“We stand for a world without ageism where all people of all ages are valued and respected and their contributions are acknowledged. I/we commit to speak out and take action to ensure older people can participate on equal terms with others in all aspects of life.”
The IEPCP are also pleased to present a resource developed by our Active Healthy Ageing Coordinator, Sharon Porteous: Identify and Challenge Ageism during Covid19. COVID-19 has exposed ageism in many forms. This document highlights the impact of COVID-19 on ageism and provides guidance for local governments and other organisations on framing and responding to ageism at this time.

In addition, we have also proudly added our support to GenVic’s submission to the Federal Government Inquiry into family, domestic and sexual violence, and look forward to the recommendations for action.

In other advocacy, the IEPCP along with more than 4,000 community leaders, doctors, researchers and families and 180 organisations, signed an open letter calling on Australian & New Zealand Minister involved in the Forum on Food Regulation to support clear, visible health warning labels on alcohol products — and we were successful! Australia will soon have a mandatory, visible and effective health warning on alcohol products.

The IEPCP is also extremely proud of our Research and Evaluation Coordinator, Sophie Allen and her work on the Together For Equality and Respect (TFER) Interim Evaluation Report 2017-2019, and the accompanying Recommendations specific to settings and working with diverse groups in EMR. These are significant reports detailing the extensive work throughout the region in the prevention of violence against women. These reports are now with the designer and are due to be released shortly.

In local capacity building activity, we were excited to host the regional EMR Health Planner Network this month, with a special focus on Climate Change – welcoming guests: Ellie Blackwood (Policy Officer Climate Change Adaptation) Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning; Dianna McDonald (Social Research Lead) Sustainability Victoria, and Grace Reilly (Project Officer) Climate and Health, Environmental Health Policy and Risk Management, DHHS. In a highly engaged session we explored the Victorian government framework for adaptation, and Local Governments requirements to respond. The latest research shows that while Victorians rate their knowledge of climate change impacts as low, the 15-24 year age group most recognised the health impacts, with understanding of the relationship between climate science and health also high amongst health professionals. Check out the presentations on our website  for some compelling statistics.

The IEPCP was also delighted to host our second session ‘Influencing Food Policy and Health Planning’, engaging participants around partnerships across sectors to support Healthy Eating and the built environment. We were privileged to hear from AHPA Director and Manager of Health Promotion at Peninsula Health, who introduced a webinar on their successful cross-sectoral initiative partnering with Monash University: The Community Plate.

We were also pleased to offer an interactive and fun workshop for local Health Promotion Managers and Practitioners to improve their skills in developing infographics, skilfully led by Julia Bilton, Manager Health Promotion at Carrington Health; and two sessions on Blog writing for health, facilitated by consultants Zockmelon, to support the sector get their important messages across – particularly valuable in our currently highly digitized environment.

Blog writing workshop participants






With some inspiring good news during these challenging times, it’s great to see the new National Agreement on Closing the Gap being released and positively reviewed by Aboriginal organisations across Australia including the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO). In other significant milestones, it is wonderful to note that the historic First Peoples Assembly of Victoria met Monday for the first time to commence planning Treaty negotiations – with Victoria being the first State to begin these proceedings. A momentous occasion and we wish them every success.

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.

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