Driving national discussion around public health prevention
MERQ's A/Prof Basia Diug and Prof Dragan Ilic were co-scientific leads of the inaugural Public Health Prevention Conference hosted by the Public Health Association Australia in Sydney during May. The event focussed on systems thinking, health advocacy and research translation. The conference was a great success with all 300 registrations sold.
The conference had an excellent line-up of speakers including keynote speaker former Prime Minister The Honourable Julia Gillard who spoke about her role at Beyond Blue and the importance of prevention in mental health particularly with its links to education. Other speakers included former politician Michael Moore AM, ABC National Medical Reporter Sophie Scott, cardiologist Prof Andrew Wilson, health policy expert Prof Mike Daube, Jane Martin from Cancer Council Victoria, Dr Lisa Studdert, Deputy Secretary (Acting) Department of Health, former AMA president Dr Mukesh Haikerwal AC and Ms Jerril Rechter, CEO of Vic Health.
Assoc. Prof Basia Diug was part of the welcoming committee for The Hon Julia Gillard and chaired a dynamic discussion on systems thinking to a full house. The conference also trended on twitter with the hashtag #prevention2018
PhD student Adina Lang was among the delegates, and she delivered her first presentation on her research into optimising preconception health of Australian women to a 40-strong crowd at the conference. Her preliminary findings from the cross-sectional study of pregnant women showed that around a third were unplanned, and that there are plenty of opportunities to educate women about preconception health. Conference highlights for Adina were meeting keynote speaker Professor Andrew Wilson, who spoke passionately about the opportunities for the public health prevention sector to expand across the full spectrum of chronic diseases.
Next year’s conference will be in Melbourne and Dragan and Basia look forward to continuing to work with PHAA.