From the Executive Officer’s Desk: July 2019

June 2019 proved to be a month crammed with conferences, forums and new learnings in Prevention. It is always great to reinforce the potential of the work in the absence of abundant resources.

The IEPCP, as a member of the Eastern Elder Abuse Network, supported an EMR World Elder Abuse Awareness Day forum led by our partner Eastern Community Legal Service. Keynote speaker Associate Professor Briony Dow, Director of the National Ageing Research Institute (NARI) presented on stopping Elder Abuse and the emerging evidence base. This was followed by a panel of regional representatives discussing Elder Abuse from their perspectives, including our partner Relationships Australia discussing a primary prevention focus of building and strengthening relationships in blended families, before they are faced with more acute decision making in relation to their elder family member’s needs. The forum then launched the regional shared social marketing messages developed for WEAAD 2019: No excuse for Elder Abuse and Together WE can stop Elder Abuse

This forum was followed by the Public Health Association Australia’s public health prevention three day conference. In exciting news, Health Minister Greg Hunt announced that the Federal Government would be developing a long term national preventive health strategy. The development of a new National Preventive Health Strategy provides a framework for targeted investment in evidence based prevention interventions. Many speakers reinforced the cost-benefit of prevention, and provided much evidence of the cost savings compared to lack of action, or funding acute responses. Key messages to solving complex health problems were re-iterated throughout:

  • Think in global syndemic terms
  • Join up the silos of thinking and action
  • Strengthen municipal governance levers
  • Reduce influence of large commercial interests on public policy
  • Strengthen accountability systems
  • Create sustainable, health-promoting business models

I was inspired by the oration by Adjunct Professor Tarun Weeramanthri on How society and language shape prevention, discussing the important role of government in investment, regulation, and having a public health and wellbeing philosophy in the face of the politics of competing interests. More highlights from this conference are on the IEPCP website.

Last month IEPCP staff also attended the Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s Prevention conference, the GenVic conference and the Mental Wellbeing of Chinese International Students forum organised by this month’s featured partner in our Coffee with… interview: Ada Poon from the Centre for Holistic Health.

The IEPCP also proudly delivered our first forum on Social Inclusion, with keynote speakers: Steve Clancy, Manager, Community Capacity Building, Participation and Inclusion, Health and Wellbeing Division, Department of Health and Human Services; and Greta Cunningham, Senior Policy advisor, speaking about community connectedness; Isabel Fitzgerald from Centre of Excellence for Resilient Communities and Inclusive Societies (CERCIS); Associate Professor Karien Dekker RMIT, College of Design and Social Context; and Aleem Ali, CEO, Welcoming Cities. It was an informative and inspiring lead into an afternoon of workshops with sector representatives from across the Eastern Region contributing to how we can improve social inclusion, with a prevention rather than service delivery focus.

The IEPCP also hosted the inaugural meeting of the Disability Inclusive Volunteering Governance Group, comprising representatives from Volunteering Support Services, Councils, Health, NGO’s and private business. This group comes together with the aim to improve social inclusion in volunteering, and to collaborate to deliver actions identified at the recent local Victoria Alive forum. The IEPCP’s staff member supporting this group, Nicole Preston, has sadly resigned her position, however we are pleased that Kate Jeffery, formerly from Link Health and Community, has taken up the role in addition to other access and inclusion portfolios.

We look forward to an exciting financial year with new initiatives including in social inclusion, obesity prevention, and healthy ageing. We also congratulate Sharon Porteous, the Active and Healthy Ageing Advisor, who will be representing us at the upcoming Australian Association of Gerontology conference: Coming of Age Together: New Ways of Knowing and Acting.

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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