February was a month of terrific energy as discussions ramp up in preparation for the prevention strategic planning cycle processes to set the scene for the next four years. The Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network extended an invitation to contribute to a workshop: Assessing Health Care Needs in Eastern and North East – to identify current health needs and strategize on the potential for shared responses to gaps to inform their strategic planning process. Strengthening local partnerships was identified as a common principle, and many vulnerable groups and issues were identified arising from the pandemic impacts. The importance of resourcing prevention and supporting access to social support services was frequently mentioned by participants, and also the importance of identifying community strengths as part of a systems and needs analysis.
It was also exciting to be invited to participate in the Manningham City Council’s Healthy City stakeholder consultation exploring solutions to some current local priorities being identified through data collection: Climate Change, Injury Prevention, Violence Prevention, Healthy Eating, Active Living, and Mental Wellbeing. Council staff presented a comprehensive analysis of data related to each of these priorities, to guide consideration of resource allocation to improve the population health and wellbeing.
EasternCommunity Legal Centre reconvened the Elder Abuse Strategic Advisory Committee. It was wonderful to hear about the ongoing success of various programs and partnerships being led by ECLC to respond and prevent elder abuse in the community; and from other represented organisations working in the space. Gerard Mansour, Commissioner for Senior Victorians, presented on the extensive changes happening in state government, in relation to aged care, public housing for older people and seniors rights; and gave an overview of activity responding to issues arising from the pandemic for seniors, their carers and family, and services.
I attended a comprehensive presentation by Women’s Health East on their Strategy for Equality: Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health discussing the identified regional priorities of Equality, Capability, and Access; and was also delighted to meet up with their two recently appointed managers, Belinda Crockett, Manager Health Promotion, and Kate Ravenscroft, Manager Equality and Respect. I’m looking forward to working closely with them in numerous partnerships and project areas.
At the IEPCP we have been enjoying the rollout of our Systems Thinking Workshops, again facilitated by Andrew Brown from Deakin University, and this time with a focus on social inclusion. The feedback from the five workshops during February was extremely positive, and I look forward to seeing the analysis and bringing back all the participants to explore opportunities for where to next. Also if any partners were unable to make it along to the IEPCPs International Students forum, or launch of the Social Inclusion Framework, or the forum on Community Connectors you will now find them on our website and YouTube channel.
We also warmly welcome our newest member of the team, Louisa Mitchell, in the role of Primary Prevention Coordinator. Louisa is well known across the catchment and has extensive stakeholder connections and skills in health promotion and social inclusion. In other news, I congratulate Laura Collins our Partnerships and Evaluation Coordinator who has just successfully completed her INFANT program training and has had a long interest in healthy eating.