From the Executive Officer’s Desk: February 2021

Happy New Year to all of our partners – I hope you enjoyed a relaxing break after such a challenging year. I’m returning with hope and optimism that across Victoria we will be on a recovery journey, highly prioritising health & wellbeing and the natural & urban environment, with adequate support to those most impacted.

Building partner capacity

It was so satisfying to finish the year on such a high, delivering on several of our initiatives in December, particularly supporting partner workforce capacity building. After leading a partnership of tertiary education and health & community sector representatives to respond to international student wellbeing and immediate needs arising from the pandemic restrictions, our work culminated in a successful forum with 138 people attending. The forum explored the issues and experiences of students, agency responses, and ongoing needs and possibilities; with inspiring and moving speakers sharing perspectives and practice initiatives. We also formally launched our Social Inclusion Framework, developed to support health promotion practitioners, local government officers and community development workers to make systemic change to the drivers of poor mental health arising from social exclusion. We were extremely proud to have Patricia Faulkner OA, former Chair of the Australian Social Inclusion Board, to speak about the issue from a policy perspective, and were so incredibly thrilled that she gave her endorsement to the work we have done. In other activity, the IEPCP’s Leadership for Systems Change course came to a close after 8 sessions spanning three months, facilitated by the highly regarded duo of Geoff Brown and Chad Foulkes. It was such a privilege to participate with so many exceptional leaders exploring a range of contemporary topics and sharing skills and knowledge – I look forward to emerging partnerships developing from the relationships that were strengthened over the time among the 30 participants.

Partner activity

It was terrific to participate in a Together For Equality and Respect (TFER) leadership event hosted by Women’s Health East, with an outstanding speaker line up – the Hon Gabrielle Williams, State Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Prevention of Family Violence, and Minister for Women, discussed the government’s commitment to the Gender Quality Act, and the need for leaders championing prevention; Dr Wei Leng Kwok, spoke about collective impact and the importance of long term commitment to bring about structural change; and Mark Chenery from Common Cause Australia, presented the approach of values based messaging to shift attitudes and create cultural change. WHE also launched the commendable strategy, A Strategy for Equality: Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health in Melbourne’s East 2020 – 2025, that the IEPCP was pleased to support the development of.

In other partner news, Access Health and Community CEO Harry Majewski is retiring from his role in May. I’d like to take the opportunity to highlight the wonderful work of Access HC under Harry’s stewardship, and to thank him for his support to us and our partner organisations, particularly the Inner East Integrated Health Promotion partnership, and wish him well in his future endeavours.

We also bade farewell to Kate Jeffery following conclusion of her contract with the IEPCP in December, and Bonnie Coogan who has moved into a health promotion role in local government.

We look forward to announcing a new Prevention Coordinator very soon, and to planning for a busy few months in the prevention space.

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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