Roundtable 5: One Health in context and practice
One Health is a key component of the policy and communications response to AMR. It combines perspectives from environmental, animal and human health and has been applied in a myriad of ways, for example, in the surveillance of microbial resistant genes in waterways, the management of zoonotic disease vectors, and to build alliances for research and practice in human and animal health and food production. In this roundtable event, our experts focus on how One Health is put into action and the insights that have been generated for effective and sustained responses to AMR.
Save the Date: 6 July 2022
Roundtable 4: Governing antimicrobial use in clinical settings
Antimicrobial stewardship in hospital settings is a mainstay of the national and international response to the bacterial resistance threat and many advances have been made in Australia and internationally. However, taking AMS imperatives to the bedside and responding to patient needs can be a profound scientific, procedural and medical challenge. Hospitals are also complex social organisations, with their own imperatives and needs. In this roundtable event, leading social- and clinician-researchers reflect on what has been learned about the governance of antimicrobial use in the hospital and discuss the agenda for further social research in this field.
Save the Date: 4 May 2022
Roundtable 3: How can we use digital media for the prevention and mitigation of antimicrobial resistance (AMR)?
2 March 2022
Roundtable 2: COVID-19 media contexts and antimicrobial resistance communication
October 6, 2021, 3 - 4.30 pm AEST
Roundtable 1: One Health communications and AMR: Policy, practice, and politics
July 1, 2021, 3 - 4 pm AEST
Antimicrobial stewardship in hospital settings is a mainstay of the national and international response to the bacterial resistance threat and many advances have been made in Australia and internationally. However, taking AMS imperatives to the bedside and responding to patient needs can be a profound scientific, procedural and medical challenge. Hospitals are also complex social organisations, with their own imperatives and needs. In this roundtable event, leading social- and clinician-researchers reflect on what has been learned about the governance of antimicrobial use in the hospital and discuss the agenda for further social research in this field
Governing antimicrobial use in hospitals
As the global ‘fight’ against AMR accelerates, it is becoming increasingly evident that enacting practice change – one aspect of proposed ‘AMR solutions’ – is extraordinarily difficult. Surprisingly, this is even in the case in the relatively well governed environment of the modern hospital. In this talk, I will explore why, including the complex relationships between practice and temporalities, markets, and forms of vulnerability. I ask whether we should be emphasising practice and practice change, or whether, we should be focusing on the broader structures which delimit institutions, clinicians, and as a result, the public good.
Bio: Alex Broom is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Sydney Centre for Healthy Societies, at the School of Social and Political Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, The University of Sydney
The Practice-System Nexus: The Intersecting Influences Governing Antimicrobials in Australian Hospitals
Antibiotic-resistant organisms are primarily a problem in healthcare settings, because patients are at an increased risk of infection, there is the risk of cross-transmission between patients, and the high use of antibiotic use. The drivers of prescribing are different to those in community settings, so strategies need to be tailored to this context. Interventions to improve the quality of antimicrobial prescribing can be considered at an individual prescriber-patient level, at a hospital level, or at a jurisdictional/national level. Historically, Antimicrobial Stewardship Programs have been led by clinicians, but in recent years, there has been increasing recognition in regarding antibiotic resistance as a public health issue. The Victorian approach to Carbepenemase Producing Organisms provides one example of a co-ordinated response to this issue.
Bio: Allen Cheng is an infectious diseases physician. He is the Director of Infection Prevention and Healthcare Epidemiology at Alfred Health and Professor of Infectious Diseases Epidemiology at Monash University.
Using digital media for the prevention and mitigation of AMR
Digital media are increasingly important in healthcare and, since the COVID-19 pandemic, have gained additional impetus. Digital health can serve consumers and practitioners with information and advice and be harnessed for communications and education. Consumers can shape digital media and establish sites for support, action and the generation of new insights into healthcare. Online consults and scripts are also increasingly common, with direct implications for antimicrobial use in community settings. In addition, digital media have been used to promote awareness of AMR and to assess the impact of public communications. In this roundtable, leading experts examine digital health in the post-COVID-19 context and the related opportunities for strengthening action on AMR.
How and why people use digital health technologies: a sociological perspective
As a sociologist who specialises both in health and medical topics and in digital technology use, my research explores the social dimensions and lived experience of digital health technologies. In this presentation, I will begin with discussing digital health cultures. I will then draw on a series of projects I have led which address diverse social groups’ everyday experiences of digital health: from googling symptoms to using discussion forums, websites, social media groups, YouTube, apps and wearable devices. I will discuss the key findings across these projects and what they reveal about how people use these technologies and what they find beneficial or useful about them but also frustrating or disappointing. I will further reflect on the social inequalities and risks that can be part of everyday experiences of digital health. The presentation will end with some thoughts about the futures of digital health in COVID-19 times, drawing on my most recent research into people’s digital technology use since the advent of the pandemic.
Deborah Lupton is SHARP Professor in the Faculty of Arts, Design & Architecture, University of New South Wales (UNSW) Sydney, Australia. Her research is interdisciplinary, spanning sociology, communication and cultural studies. She is located in the Centre for Social Research in Health and the Social Policy Research Centre, leading both the Vitalities Lab and the UNSW Node of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society. She is an elected Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia and holds an Honorary Doctor of Social Science degree awarded by the University of Copenhagen.
What if we don’t need more health information?
This presentation draws some of the preliminary thinking that underpins my ARC Future Fellowship project ‘Digital and data literacies for sexual health policy and practice’. It reflects on the ways that academic and popular conversations frame health communication in digital contexts as ‘information’ (or mis/dis-information). I consider theorisations of the relationship between media technologies, culture and affect - particularly James Carey’s (1989) theorisation of communication as ritual - to ask: how might our understanding of both ‘digital literacies’ and ‘health literacies’ change if we shifted our focus away from individual capabilities for rational information-processing, towards collective cultural practices? What might be gained from a reparative or ameliorative reading of the ethical, communitarian, affective and aesthetic dimensions of reading, creating, archiving and sharing health-related content (Sedgwick 2002)? Finally, what practical applications might a consideration of the affective and ritual dimensions of everyday media practices offer to the fields of sexual health promotion and health communication?
Kath Albury is Professor of Media and Communication at Swinburne University of Technology, and an ARC Future Fellow (2022-2026). She is an Associate Investigator in the Swinburne Node of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society (ADMS), and co-leads the Digital Inclusion Program in Swinburne's Social Innovation Research Institute (SIRI).
Narrating AMR after COVID-19
COVID-19 media contexts and antimicrobial resistance communication
This SSN roundtable examines antimicrobial resistance communication in our post-COVID-19 era. International and national health agencies have, for at least two decades, used media and communications technologies to increase public awareness of the threat entailed by antimicrobial resistance. World Antibiotic Awareness Week and similar national events are held every year to galvanise policy action and mobilise the general public, with some success. But as the science shows, there is so much more to do.
In addition, the impact of COVID-19 raises many questions for how to design and deliver messages and advice about the use of antimicrobials. COVID-19 has shifted attention to public health, hygiene, infection prevention and vaccines, perhaps offering opportunities for AMR communications. At the same time, the pandemic sets a high bar on what counts as public health threat. In this context, is the continued use of apocalypse narrative wise when individuals and communities have to live long term with the coronavirus?
In this SSN roundtable, media and communications experts reflect on these opportunities and considerations for AMR story-telling in our post-COVID-19 era.
Covid-19, pandemic media and the social imaginary
Angela Ndalianis, Director, Centre for Transformative Media Technologies, Swinburne University of Technology
Whether taking the form of films, social media exchanges, or memes, since the arrival of the coronavirus, pandemic media have taken centre stage in mediating collective life on a global scale and have become embedded in and give expression to our social imaginary. In this roundtable, I will examine the dialogue that takes place between pandemic media –films, TV shows, social media–and human perception of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the recent dystopian, science fiction film Songbird (Adam Mason 2020) imagines COVID-19 as a superbug that has, by 2024, evolved into the deadly Covid-23. With the virus having built up antimicrobial resistance, governments have been forced to set up concentration camps that house the infected. While fundamentally a love story, Songbird nevertheless uses storytelling to imagine the ‘what if’ scenario of Covid-19 even more out of control. In other examples, it is traditional film viewers who have created their own imaginings. Here, I will focus on how individuals living through Covid-19 have drawn upon their knowledge of pandemic media examples (especially zombie films/ TV series) to make sense of – seriously, critically, comically – the pandemic through the circulation of memes. I will examine how the social imaginary that is rehearsed across these examples can be a powerful discursive form that reflects real-world social, moral and ethical issues.
Angela is Research Professor in Media and Entertainment. Her research focuses on entertainment culture (films, video games, television, VR, comic books and theme parks) and the history of media technologies and how they mediate our experience of the world around us. Her expertise is in the transformative nature of media technologies – past and present – and how technologies impact on embodiment, the senses and perception.
You can’t handle the truth: Media audiences and the social motivations behind conspiracy and misinformation
Andy Ruddock, School of Media, Film and Journalism, Monash University
The Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review has published eight articles on the difficulties of nurturing Covid literacy in global digital media environments in the last year. Seven of these articles focus on audiences as crucial participants in the circulation of health information-accurate or otherwise. Whether fanning the flames of conspiracy theories (Chen et al., 2020; Soares et al., 2021), or bolstering digital barricades against the hordes of misinformation (Kim et al., 2021; Siwakoti et al., 2021; Epstein et al., 2021; Weintraub Austin et al., 2020), media audiences are conceived here as much more than the targets of health information.
This paper presents a short history of audience research to identify some of the landmarks and paradoxes that partly explain the apparent disorder around Covid communication. That history suggests that audiences participate in media culture when it rewards them with company, community and esteem. It also indicates that the present problem of audience fuelled conspiracy and misinformation is entirely in keeping with ecologies where industries and audiences alike have happily shifted the weight of political communication toward popular culture. In summary, the history of audience research indicates the social logic that drives some audiences into the arms of pandemic obfuscation.
Andy's work focusses on new ways to conceive how media make social reality. Andy is author of Exploring Media Research (2017), Youth and Media (2013) Investigating Audiences (2007) and Understanding Audiences, (2001). His new book, Digital Influence, explores the histories of phenomena such as representations of gender in film and reality TV, violence in political memes, the mainstreaming of populism, gun-control activism and public criticisms of media education.
Imagining audiences in a post-COVID-19 world
Monique Lewis, Griffith Centre for Social and Cultural Research, Griffith University
The SARS CoV-2 pandemic has brought about unprecedented disruption to public health, our social and mental worlds, our mobilities, and our economies. The magnitude and urgency of the pandemic have been articulated at saturation levels in news stories around the world, making it the most mediatised health event in history. COVID news is co-produced by a vast range of different actors who influence the news-making process. Audiences in health news are implied within this construction process, and the final product – the news story – offers insights into the distinct types of ‘imagined audiences’ at play. In this roundtable discussion I will explore these possible ‘imagined audiences’ implied in news stories and narratives and will discuss their relevance in the context of antimicrobial resistance. A collectivist worldview is arguably being cultivated in COVID news stories, where citizens are regarded less as biomedical individuals and more as agentic ‘public health citizens’ (Holland and Lewis, forthcoming). This pattern we are witnessing in COVID news reporting may reverberate and resonate for the post-COVID context, for the benefit of AMR advocacy and reporting.
Monique is a communication and sociology scholar at Griffith University, with a particular interest in exploring the framing of health news. Her research has focused on news media representations of COVID-19, medicinal cannabis, complementary medicine, and public health campaigns, and she is co-editor of 'Communicating COVID-19: Interdisciplinary Perspectives' (Palgrave).
One Health communications and AMR: Policy, practice and politics
Australia’s National Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy: 2020 & Beyond (2019) adopts a ‘One health communications’ approach, resonating with international policy frameworks. Specifically, the strategy advocates for “coordinated action across all sectors where antimicrobials are used in the country, as well as close coordination with global action” (page 3). One Health is explained as the “interconnection between people, animals, plants and their shared environment” (page 5). The one health approach is widely accepted and applied in many policy and communications framings of AMR, but presents some challenges for shared and agreed understanding. Moreover, to be effective, the practical and political dimensions of one health policy settings need to be acknowledged and ‘baked in’.
This SSN roundtable event considers how one health communications approaches might be profitably translated into action. Discussants will consider framings of one health from the points of view of policy decision-making, health care practice and social research. They will also discuss how shared understanding of one health can support goals and targets that will help us know that we are making a difference in efforts to mitigate AMR.
Join us for this opportunity to debate the ways forward for AMR policy and communications.
Dr Mihaela Ivan, Victorian Department of Health and Human Services
One Health approach - applications for an effective public health response to AMR
Stakeholder engagement and clear communication are essential in developing effective health policies and public health interventions. The application of a ‘One Health’ approach in the public health response to AMR will be explored, with a focus on policy development and integrated surveillance systems.
Dr Erik Baekkeskov, University of Melbourne
The promises and pitfalls of polysemic ideas: ‘One Health’ and antimicrobial resistance policy in Australia and the UK (https://doi.org/10.1007/s11077-020-09390-3)
One Health has in recent years gained promotion by health authorities as the key strategy against emerging infectious disease challenges like antimicrobial resistance. In turn, recent social science scholarship posits that ambiguous (‘polysemic’) ideas are effective for coalition building between diverse stakeholders: their capacity to be interpreted differently attracts different interests. Hence, in search of political solutions to ‘wicked’ and similarly complex problems, deploying polysemic ideas would be critical to effective policy-making. A recent article by the presenter and co-author Adam Hannah scopes the policy-making potential of polysemic ideas by examining the impact of ‘One Health’ on responses to AMR in Australia and the UK. It offers two primary arguments. Firstly, One Health is a polysemic idea, and can help mobilise broad attention to complex problems; since One Health became associated with AMR, political and administrative attention has grown more intense and coordinated than previously. Secondly, however, a polysemic idea alone may be insufficient to generate effective action: the contrast between Australian and UK AMR policies illustrates that polysemic ideas do not suspend interests, institutions, or ideas that can be readily deployed.
Dr Jonathan Dartnell, NPS MedicineWise
One Health AMR communications: What can we learn from medicines policy?
AMR is not a new challenge. In Australia, the Antibiotic Guidelines was first published in 1979 to target and address emerging AMR concerns in Melbourne teaching hospitals. The guidelines became a precursor and catalyst for innovations in implementation science, as well as leadership, development and implementation of national policy. Implementation of early guidelines were supported with novel interventions such as sophisticated advertising, key opinion leaders, audit and feedback, and drug and therapeutic committees. The guidelines themselves grew to address all therapeutic areas. Academic detailing was trialled, tested and rolled out. The state of knowledge and commitment were captured in national policies including the Policy on the Quality Use of Medicines (QUM) in 1994, National Medicines Policy (NMP) in 2000 and National Strategy for QUM in 2002. The NMP aims to support the medicine needs of Australia and optimise health outcomes and economic objectives. It has been effective because effector arms have been in place to support the policy including the TGA, PBS and NPS MedicineWise. While Australians may not be aware of NMP, they recognise the importance of access to safe and efficacious medicines, which individuals and the community can afford.
The first (2015) and second (2020) National AMR Strategies have been well supported by stakeholders but community awareness is low. More importantly, Australians probably cannot articulate what they should expect from government policy in the way they could for medicines and NMP.