I have so enjoyed making the most of the mild autumn weather, getting out to meet with partners and attend local events throughout May.
I was very privileged to attend a presentation at the Box Hill library from Nyadol Nyuon – a Melbourne based commercial lawyer and passionate community advocate. Nyadol champions issues concerning human rights, multiculturalism, the settlement of refugees and those seeking asylum, drawing on her experience as a refugee for 18 years before coming to Australia through the humanitarian program. Nyadol is a captivating speaker, who generously shared her story of incredible resilience to achieve her dream of qualifying and practising as a lawyer and to establish a family in a country free from violent conflict. My key take-away was the very important role we all play in supporting settlement of new arrivals, particularly those from traumatised backgrounds, and to nurture their sense of belonging. Nyadol has worked with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, Judicial College of Victoria, Oxfam Australia, the Centre for African- Australian Women Issues and is currently a board member of the Melbourne University Social Equity Institute, the Youth Steering Committee of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council of Australia, and the New Sudanese Youth Association. She has been nominated as one of the hundred most influential African-Australians.
I was also delighted to be invited to the Eastern Community Legal Centre’s partnership dinner and volunteer recognition night. Keynote speaker Justice Jennifer Coate AO, former Judge with the Family Court and Commissioner into institutional responses to child sexual abuse, gave a riveting and compelling account of her experience on the Royal Commission. We were moved by her account of the number of people that came forward, many disclosing for the first time ever, because they believed in the process and trusted it would make change. A key take-away was the importance of Royal Commissions in providing restorative justice to survivors. It was also a highlight to hear from staff and volunteers expressing their passion for the work they do and their enjoyment of their workplace. Congratulations ECLC CEO Michael Smith and team on a great year!
Justice Jennifer Coate AO
I was very pleased to meet with and welcome a new Health Promotion Coordinator to the catchment: Melissa Yong, from the Division of Student Life, Health and Wellbeing at Deakin University in Burwood. Melissa spoke of Deakin’s vision to develop a Health and Wellbeing strategy for the University, and her role to lead this work and connect with partners and partnership platforms. I was fortunate to work closely with Melissa in her previous role in population health at the Department of Health and Human Services Southern region, and look forward to identifying opportunities to collaborate with her in her new role.
It was a great opportunity to join other PCPs and health sector partners and the Department of Health and Human Services at a consultation to provide input to the draft Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan (2019-2023). The plan is such an important directional document that spells out the key strategic priorities for the public health sector (such as Community and Women’s health) in both prevention and health protection. There was much robust discussion about the health issues facing Victorians in the coming term, and the importance of investment in primary prevention and systemic interventions, and health equity. A big thanks to Dr Catriona Ross from East region who facilitated on my table.
Of interest, is also the new National Strategies for Women’s Health and Men’s Health, and the key priorities for partners to consider in their alignment of work:
Five key priorities and actions have been developed to drive change and improve health outcomes:
- Maternal, sexual and reproductive health – increase access to information, diagnosis, treatment and services for sexual and reproductive health; enhance and support health promotion and service delivery for preconception, perinatal and maternal health.
- Healthy ageing – adopt a life course approach to healthy ageing; address key risk factors that reduce quality of life and better manage the varied needs of women as they age.
- Chronic conditions and preventive health – increase awareness and prevention of chronic conditions, symptoms and risk factors; invest in targeted prevention, early detection and intervention; tailor health services for women and girls.
- Mental health – enhance gender-specific mental health awareness, education and prevention; focus on early-intervention; invest in service delivery and multi-faceted care.
- Health impacts of violence against women and girls – raise awareness about, and address the health and related impacts of violence against women and girls; co-design and deliver safe and accessible services.
Five priority health issues are:
- Mental health;
- Chronic conditions;
- Sexual and reproductive health and conditions where men are over-represented;
- Injuries and risk-taking; and
- Healthy ageing. The Strategy advocates for a life-course approach in tailoring interventions to engage and support Australia’s diverse men and boys across all stages of their lives.
IEPCP staff also had the opportunity to attend the VicHealth From Attitudes to Action forum, which provided inspirational and practical tools for making equality a reality in Victorian workplaces. A line up of fabulous speakers served up plenty of food for thought for IEPCP coordinators supporting our partners work under the Together for Equality & Respect Action Strategy strategic direction: Build organisation and workforce excellence. Video from the forum is available on the VicHealth website.