2015 archive

14 December

Dr Mukesh Haikerwal – @DrMukeshH – is a General Medical Practitioner in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia in a group teaching and training practice in the West.

He has been the Chair of Council of the World Medical Association and was elected in May 2011 working with 111 Member National Medical Associations (NMA) working in particular in the areas of Medical Ethics, Social and Medical Affairs and in capacity building and advocating for the need for health and health care as a wise investment for Nations. This role builds on previous advocacy roles from his student and junior doctor days in Australia and the UK.

He is a Professor in the School of Medicine in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia. He is also Chair of the beyondblue National Doctors’ Mental Health Program and a Co-Chair of the Australian Asian Medical Federation. He sits on the Advisory Board of Brain Injury Australia and the Board of the Cancer Council of Victoria.

On August 1st 2014, he was appointed as Chair of the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare by the Hon. Peter Dutton, Minister for Health and Minister for Sport.

Mukesh is a passionate advocate for the use of technology in the health sector and stepped down as the National Clinical Lead and Head of the Clinical Leadership & Stakeholder Management Unit at Australia’s the National e-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA) after 6 years in August 2013. His roles there were in apprising the Australian community of the benefits of the vital role of IT in health care an enabler of progressive improvements and sustainability.

He worked for the Prime Minister of Australia on the National Health and Hospital Reform Commission formulating a future vision for Australia’s health including using eHealth as an enabler. He was previously assigned to the National Minister for Health’s eHealth Ministerial Advisory Group and had roles with the Victorian State government.

He was awarded the Order of Australia in 2011 for distinguished service to medical administration, to the promotion of public health through leadership roles with professional organisations, particularly the Australian Medical Association, to the reform of the Australian health system through the optimisation of information technology, and as a general practitioner.

He was the 19th Federal President of the Australian Medical Association, its Federal Vice President and, prior to that AMA Victorian State President. This saw him responsible for national policy development, lobbying with federal parliamentarians, co-ordinating activity across the AMA State entities and representing the AMA and its members nationally and internationally. He is a Life fellow of the RACGP and in May 2014, he was awarded the Gold Medal: the highest honour the AMA can present.



7 December

A tag-team of tweeters from @hsraanz are covering the #HSR15 conference this week. More details are here.


30 Nov

Therese Riley – @Riley_Therese – is a public health researcher with an interest in the application of systems approaches to the design and evaluation of community interventions. This week I hope to generate some debate and discussion about systems science in public health. We will share ideas and highlight the latest research.


23 Nov

Elissa Campbell – @Elissa_Campbell  – is co-founder of Palliverse, an online community formed in 2014 by a multi-disciplinary group of Australian and New Zealand clinicians and researchers, with a shared passion for palliative care. One of Palliverse’s aims is to improve community awareness of palliative care, providing education and advocacy through social media and by promoting the work of established palliative care groups. Palliverse has embraced multiple social media platforms, including regular #pallANZ tweet chats, Facebook posts and blog posts.

This week, Palliverse will discuss a number of public health palliative care topics such as equitable access to palliative care in Australia, New Zealand and globally, access to essential pain medicines, Compassionate Communities, advance care planning, and more.

Palliverse will also be tweeting from the 2015 Australian Advance Care Planning Conference (#ACPMELB15) in Melbourne on 24-25th November, and participating in the weekly global palliative care (#hpmglobal) chat at 11pm AEDT on Monday, 23rd November.



16 Nov

Lyn Morgain – @MsLynM – is the Chief Executive of cohealth, one of the largest community health organisations in Australia. Lyn has been an executive leader in public policy, not for profit organisations and government for the past twenty-five years. Her interests include the impact of discrimination and marginalisation on health and the role of advocacy in the development of equitable public policy and consumer led practice. She is passionate about strength-based approaches that engender community ownership and control over service design, development and delivery. Lyn has extensive experience in the initiation and execution of community alliances aimed at effecting change, at the local, state and national level. Lyn is the Chair of the National Complex Needs Alliance of the Public Health Association of Australia, a board member of VICSERV, the peak body of the community mental health services of Victoria and the Chair of the Footscray Community Arts Centre.

Lyn plans to cover:

16/11 – Content from the Not-For-Profit People Conference in Melbourne – Lyn is presenting at 11am on mergers, restructures and managing complex change: lesson from cohealth’s successful integration of three community health organisations

17 & 18/112nd National Complex Needs Conference in Canberra #NCNC2015 – Lyn Chairs the Alliance and cohealth is a sponsor – lots of great topics in the mix for this conference including mental health, alcohol and other drugs, social determinants of health and services, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health/chronic disease, culturally and linguistically diverse health, health and incarceration to name a few.

19 & 20/11 – Lyn will be touring around some of our services and likely to tweet about alcohol and other drug issues, Hep C and improved access to treatment, prisoner health, homelessness, health literacy, oral health, early intervention, early years/child health.


9 Nov

Jackie Barreau – @luvhopecourage – will tweet about the many issues affecting NET (neuroendocrine tumours) patients, including symptoms, misdiagnosis, treatment and sharing links from organisations and patients blogs, including her own personal experience. She will have a focus on Nov 10th – NET Cancer Day.

Jackie is an avid health consumer and advocate for childhoood cancer, stillbirth and rare diseases, including NET cancer due to my many lived experiences.

She has lost two children Cody – stillborn and Luke – neuroblastoma (NET cancer) in 1998. Her eldest daughter Tayla (16) has a rare type of NET called a paraganglioma which is genetic.

Jackie is currently a consumer representative for the Women’s and Children’s Health Network (WCHN) – Adelaide, and was recently appointed to Unicorn Foundation – only medical based charity for patients in AUS/NZ with NETS as a Consumer Advocate Leader www.unicornfoundation.org.au 

Her mission is to raise awareness around NET Cancer, and to educate not just the general public but also health practitioners, as many patients wait on average 5-7 years, and for some it is a decade, and by then the disease has taken hold and the prognosis is quite often poor. Celebrities that have lost their battle to NET cancer include Steve Jobs, and just last week US screenwriter Melissa Mathison who wrote the script for ET. In Australia there are approx 8,000 patients affected with NET’S with 750 new cases each year.


2 Nov

Alexandra Jones (@alikjones) is a lawyer, currently working with The George Institute for Global Health’s Food Policy team on regulatory strategies to reduce diet-related disease. Her background includes work in health and human rights, and on global tobacco control.

Ali plans to tweet on current legal issues in the food environment – should we restrict junk food advertising to children, tax or ban unhealthy foods and drinks, put nutrition info on menus and make health stars mandatory in supermarkets? What might we do about the corporate behaviour of  #bigsoda and #bigfood? What laws do we have already, and what more might we need to protect public health – or should the government stay away from using law to restrict what we put in our own mouths?


24 Oct

Nahkita Wolfe (@skeetwolfe) is a Monash medical and public health research student based out of the Burnet Institute, Melbourne. While completing her studies, Nahkita also works part-time as a consultant within the Nutrition Division at the World Food Programme, and as an Epidemiology teaching associate at Monash University. Passionate about the power of inclusive community conversations and global health equity, Nahkita also holds the roles of Community Lead at Global Ideas, and f21Ex Lead at festival21.

From October 24th, Nahkita will be tweeting from @WePublicHealth to cover the annual Global Ideas Forum (#GIF15), a foundational crash course in cutting-edge global health thinking, and more.


19 Oct

This week, a tag-team of tweeters is covering the Tobacco-Free Oceania conference in Perth.

Monday (tweeting from the pre-conference Health Inequities workshop) and Tuesday: Narelle Heydon
Wednesday: Kelly Blackburn
Thursday and Friday: Laura Hunter

Narelle Heydon@nellah – is a tobacco control professional with government, non-government and research experience. Happiness is being owned by an old Jack Russell.

Kelly Blackburn@kelblacki – is the Kimberley Regional Education Officer for the Cancer Council WA, based in Broome. She works across many different areas to reduce the incidence and impact that cancer has on her community.

12 Oct

Beth McRae – @outbackmidwife1 – is on the road to Alice Springs, covering the CRANAplus conference, and more.  Beth is a Remote Area Midwife, wife, mother, and grandmother. Author of ‘Outback Midwife’.


5 Oct

During #MentalHealthWeek, Fay Jackson – @Vision_In_Mind – was in the chair. Fay is the director of Vision In Mind. She offers consultancy in Mental Health in the work place, corporate sector, public services, Non Government Organizations, community, federal and state governments. Fay is a multi award winning national motivational speaker, educator, advocate and voice for mental health.

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5 Oct

During #MentalHealthWeek, Fay Jackson – @Vision_In_Mind – is in the chair. Fay is the director of Vision In Mind. She offers consultancy in Mental Health in the work place, corporate sector, public services, Non Government Organizations, community, federal and state governments. Fay is a multi award winning national motivational speaker, educator, advocate and voice for mental health.

28 Sept

Dr Alex Wodak AM (@AlexWodak) is a physician and was Director of the Alcohol and Drug Service at St Vincent’s Hospital from 1982 until he retired in 2012. Together with colleagues he started Australia’s first needle syringe program and Australia’s first supervised injecting facility. Both were pre-legal at the time. His retirement project is reforming Australia’s drug laws. Dr Wodak is the President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation.

He plans to tweet about: repairing the damage to public health during the Abbott government (2013-2015); and drug law reform.

21 Sept

@Steve_L (of @MacHealthForum) reports on Alzheimer’s & #MacAging talk. Steven Lott is Senior Lead, Communications, McMaster Health Forum. Steven leads the Forum’s communications initiatives, including the dissemination of Forum products and information, coordination of public talks, social media engagement, media relations, and website management. He is an expert in planning and executing successful communications campaigns. His areas of specialisation also include issues management, event planning, stakeholder engagement, online communications, and strategic communications.

Steven has worked with a variety of patient advocates, non-governmental organizations, think tanks, academics and other health system stakeholders in Canada, U.S.A., South America, Europe and Africa to promote strategic health policies. Steven has also attended many international health events, including the United Nation’s World Health Assembly in Geneva, United Nations Economic and Social Council special event on philanthropy in New York, World Intellectual Property Organization meeting on intellectual property and public health, WHO/UNICEF/World Bank briefing on the state of the world’s vaccines and immunization, International Alliance of Patient Organizations’ Global Patients Congress in Budapest and U.S. Senate and House hearings on global health.

During the week of September 21, Steve will be contributing to @WePublicHealth, with a focus on Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. During this week, he will be live tweeting from a public talk (and webcast) with Jay Ingram and Dr. Christopher Patterson on the science of Alzheimer’s (Sept. 23, 8:30-10 a.m. AEST).


14 Sept

Gemma Carey and Summer May Finlay – who are both WPH alumni – are tag-teaming at @WePublicHealth this week to cover the Power to Persuade Symposium.


7 Sept

Alexa Wilkins and Melinda Edmunds are tag-teaming at @WePublicHealth this week to cover the Population Health Congress 2015 in Hobart. Also follow the discussions on Twitter at #pophlth2015.

Alexa Wilkins @alexacwilkins is a public health professional, passionate about equity and social justice. Alexa has worked in Western Australia and overseas in a range of health promotion and public health roles in the fields of Indigenous health, sexual health and blood-borne viruses, maternal & child health, and mental health. Recently completing a Master of International Health that investigated hospital stillbirths in Timor-Leste, Alexa also has a keen interest in contributing to the global public health field. Most recently Alexa has been working in the Collaboration for Evidence, Research and Impact in Public Health (CERIPH) at Curtin University as a consultant to the Aboriginal Maternity Services Support Unit. This work sought to build the health promotion capacity of Aboriginal maternal and child health service providers and contribute to improvements in health outcomes for Aboriginal mothers and babies.

Alexa is commencing a new role in September 2015 as a Senior Policy Officer at the WA Commissioner for Children and Young People. By drawing on her public health, research and evaluation experiences she will contribute to advocacy and policy that strengthens the wellbeing of children and young people in WA.

Melinda Edmunds – @Melinda_Edmunds – is a passionate health promotion professional who believes in working towards making the healthy choice the easy choice for consumers. Melinda has worked in the field for over six years and is currently working in a not for profit organisation and is the President (WA branch) of the Australian Health Promotion Association and Co-Convenor of the 2016 National Australian Health Promotion Association Conference in Perth.

31 Aug

Melissa Cadzow is passionate about health consumer voices being included in decision-making at the boardroom table. Over the past decade, she has served on a number of boards and committees, including many in her role as a health consumer. Melissa has broad interests in the areas of shared decision-making, patient-centred care and engagement, as well as special interests in eHealth and children’s health. She also has 25 years’ experience running her own company in the IT industry.

Melissa is the official health consumer tweeter on the editorial team for the Mayo Clinic’s first international Healthcare and Social Media Summit in Brisbane, 1-2 September 2015 #MayoInOz. During the week she will also be posting on other issues from a health consumers’ point of view.

Please note that all of her social media posts, including those via @WePublicHealth, do not reflect the views of businesses, committees or boards with which she is involved. Furthermore, retweets and re-posting do not equate to endorsements.

Follow her on Twitter at @MelissaCadzow, or find out more about her work and interests here.

24 Aug

Dr Yvonne Luxford – @_Y_S_LA professional with 20 years’ experience working in the health sector, Yvonne interacts and collaborates with all levels of government, health professionals, service providers and advocacy bodies to achieve high quality, accessible and culturally appropriate health care.   Recently finishing as CEO of Palliative Care Australia, Yvonne is a passionate advocate for palliative care on the international stage, through her ongoing involvement with the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care, the Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network and the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance. She has been especially proud to host the Australian edition of ehospice – broadening the communication reach of news and views about hospice and palliative care. She also has a wealth of experience in public health, with particular interests in Indigenous health, chronic disease prevention, and equity of access to healthcare. She has been Vice President of the Public Health Association of Australia and is currently the Co-Convenor of PHAA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Special Interest Group, and deeply values her long involvement in the Close the Gap Steering Committee. Yvonne’s previous positions include Manager of Policy and Advocacy for the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Senior Executive Officer of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine, and several years as a university lecturer in various health related subjects. She has qualifications in philosophy and higher education, and her doctoral thesis explored a mixture of policy and medical issues with a focus on child oral health.

17 Aug

Award-winning writer El Gibbs is in the chair, talking about #CripCroakey – a crowd-funding project that she is running in collaboration with Croakey, with the aim of writing a series of articles about disability and health. Read more here, and support the campaign here.

8 Aug

Luke Pearson, founder of the successful independent media innovation, @IndigenousX, is in the chair tweeting down the deadline for his crowdfunding campaign at Start Some Good and also talking about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ health and wellbeing. His crowdfunding blurb says:

“In those 3 years we’ve had over 180 Indigenous hosts online, contributed to countless campaigns, promoted countless events, built indigenousx.com.au, spread overseas with @IndigenousXca (Canada), inspired the creation of multiple other rotating accounts, raised over $150,000 for other campaigns via StartSomeGood, developed a partnership with the Guardian to showcase our hosts, developed a partnership with AIATSIS to get you mob 10% off all of their products (type IndigenousX in as your discount code on their online shop), got Google to take ‘Aboriginal jokes’ out of their suggested search options, been mentioned in Hansard, and countless other cool things, and that’s all just in our spare time… let’s see what happens when we are doing this stuff full time!

We need more strong Indigenous media voices and we need to make sure those voices reach far and wide, and with your support that’s what we aim to achieve!”

3- 7 Aug

Dameyon Bonson is a Broome-based Mangarayi and Torres Strait Islander man and is the founder of Black Rainbow Living Well and a Social Venturist. He has presented nationally and internationally on Indigenous Suicide Prevention and recently returned from Montreal and the 28th World Congress on Suicide Prevention. He was recently awarded a Movemeber and beyondblue research grant to develop an APP to reduce stigma in mental health for FIFO men called @Y_Fronts. He is also a social commentator on ethical practices in Indigenous Suicide Prevention and Indigenous Politics on Twitter and can be followed  @DameyonBonson.  Dameyon also provides independent advice on Indigenous LGBTI suicide prevention and organisational support to combat exclusion and strengthen inclusion for both the Indigenous and LGBTI people within workplace environments. He is a Director on the WA AIDS council and member of the National Advisory Committee for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Suicide Prevention Evaluation Project. You can also follow Black Rainbow on Facebook and Twitter: @BlkRnBow

Amongst other things, Dameyon will be tweeting about the @IndigenousX crowdfunding campaign.

27th July

Michael Thorn (@MichaelTThorn) is Chief Executive of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, or FARE (@FAREAustralia), and has been responsible for leading FARE’s efforts to stop alcohol-related harm in Australia since January 2011.

FARE is an independent, not-for-profit organisation which works with communities, governments, health professionals and emergency services across the country to stop alcohol harms by supporting world-leading research, raising public awareness and advocating for changes to alcohol policy.

The Foundation has a strong focus on evidence-based preventive health policies, and recently partnered with the Public Health Association of Australia to launch a new campaign Prevention 1st (@Prevention1stAU), calling on all Australian governments and political parties to commit to a strong preventive health agenda to tackle the nation’s greatest health challenge: chronic disease.

FARE pioneered recent research on the alcohol’s harm to others, which revealed its impact on children and families (#HTO2015). In light of these findings, FARE developed a National framework for action to prevent alcohol-related family violence, partnering with 2015 Australian of the Year Rosie Batty to propose policies and programs for governments that would reduce and prevent family violence (#PreventAlcFV).

As a member of the New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory Alcohol Policy Alliance (#NAAPA), FARE played an integral role in campaigning for action on alcohol ahead of the 2015 NSW State Election in March. These efforts resulted in four significant wins: funding for a Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Clinic, a review of the Community Impact Statement scheme that guides liquor licensing approvals, continuation of the ban on political donations from the alcohol industry, and moving the Office of Liquor Gaming and Racing from the Department of Trade and Investment to the Department of Justice.

Michael previously worked for the federal government as a senior official in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He was a project director in the department’s strategy and delivery division. Michael has a strong strategic policy background, with extensive experience in strategic social policy development and implementation, most recently in Canberra and previously as a policy director of the Western Australian Department of the Premier and Cabinet from 2001 until 2008. He has also worked as a policy and management consultant in the fields of housing, Indigenous affairs, regional economic development and employment, and early in his career was a policy adviser and chief of staff to WA Government Ministers.

20 July

Information Communication Technology and Communication Disability: Harnessing the Affordances of Online Communication.

Bronwyn Hemsley @bronwynhemsley is an Associate Professor in Speech Pathology and a Certified Practicing Speech Pathologist at The University of Newcastle, Australia. She has a special interest in people who need or use augmentative and alternative communication aids and technologies, and who cannot rely on natural speech to communicate.

Currently,  she is investigating the use of Social Media, particularly Twitter, as a means for people with severe communication disabilities to get their message across and access evidence-based information and support. With colleagues across the disciplines she is also examining the use of Australia’s Personally Controlled Electronic Health Record by children with disabilities in the transition from child to adult health services, and safety in hospital for people with communication difficulties associated with stroke, cerebral palsy, or autism.

Bronwyn co-administers an online forum @WeSpeechies for speech language pathologists and other professionals interested in communication and swallowing disorders. During her week curating @WePublicHealth she hopes to engage with the public and across health disciplines on: views and experiences of personally controlled e-health records, using online forums to engage people who have communication difficulties, and using Twitter to disseminate and translate research findings to policy and practice in the fields of disability and health.

See here for details of a Twitter chat that she convened.

13 July

Dr George Crisp@DrGCrisp – is a Perth GP, WA chair and a National Committee member of Doctors for the Environment Australia. He has a longstanding interest in how our health is impacted by environmental degradation, sustainability in the health service and is involved in advocacy relating to community and environmental health matters.

6 July

It’s NAIDOC Week, a time to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,  and the theme – We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate – highlights Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ strong spiritual and cultural connection to land and sea. Tweeting is Professor Kerry Arabena@ArabenaKerry – Chair for Indigenous Health and Professor and Director, Onemda VicHealth Koori Health Unit, and formerly the Professor and Director of Indigenous Health Research in the School for Indigenous Health, Monash University. A descendant of the Meriam people of the Torres Strait, and a former social worker with a doctorate in human ecology, Professor Arabena has an extensive background in public health, administration, community development and research working in senior roles in indigenous policy and sexual health. Her work has been in areas such as gender issues, social justice, human rights, access and equity, service provision, harm minimisation, and citizenship rights and responsibilities. She was a founding Co-Chair of the new national Indigenous peak body, the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, a collective voice to lobby governments on Indigenous issues. Don’t miss her Croakey LongRead about love.

29 June

Melanie Pescud@mel_pescud – is a Research Fellow at ANU working on “A systems approach to healthy and equitable eating” with Professor Sharon Friel and Ellie Malbon. She has worked in the areas of child obesity prevention, health promotion, seniors’ mental health, alcohol warning statement labelling, alcohol use in teenagers, nutrition literacy, Indigenous health behaviour, workplace health promotion and evaluation, health policy development, and qualitative research methodologies.

22 June

Rebecca Vassarotti@RebeccaVassarot – is an independent consultant and community advocate.  Currently she is a community member of the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal working in the areas of energy and water, and guardianship.  In addition, She is on the Boards of the ACT Racing and Gambling Commission and Community Housing Canberra.  Previously, Rebecca has held roles including the General Manager of Policy and Programs at Alzheimers Australia, Deputy CEO of Australian Council of Social Service and a/CEO and Policy Director of Consumers Health Forum.  From 2003-2013 she was the Executive Director of YWCA of Canberra and from 2013 until 2014 she was on the boards of the ACT and Australian Councils of Social Service. This week, Rebecca will cover the ACOSS national conference (amongst other things), with a particular focus on the relationship between health and inequality.

15 June

Dameyon Bonson is a Broome-based Mangarayi/Maubiag Island man and Founder of Black Rainbow Living Well, an organisation for Indigenous LGBQTI Suicide Prevention. He was in Montreal this week for the 28th World Congress of the International Association for Suicide Prevention New Discoveries and Technologies in Suicide Prevention. http://iasp2015.com

He is facilitating what is believed to be a world first: a workshop to identify the social determinants of health affecting Indigenous LGBT people. The workshop is entitled Intersecting Indigenous Rainbows – International LGBT First Nations and Two-Spirited People in Suicide Prevention   https://www.conftool.pro/iasp2015/index.php?page=browseSessions&form_session=48

Dameyon’s work in suicide prevention also includes advocating for ethical research practices that benefit Indigenous people. He also provides independent advice on Indigenous LGBTI suicide prevention and combating exclusion and strengthening inclusion for both the Indigenous and LGBTI people within organisation structures. Dameyon is also interested in digital interventions in mental health and hopes to share some exciting news during his week @WePublicHealth. He has written for Croakey, Crikey, Good Men Project, The Stringer and the Star Observer.

You can follow him on Twitter @DameyonBonson.  You can also follow Black Rainbow on Facebook and Twitter: @BlkRnBow.

His coverage of the conference was superb, and only a fraction of his tweets are captured below. Note the conference analytics!!

8 June

This week, Melissa Sweet, curator of this account, is saying thanks to many people who have been working with Croakey and related projects in recent times.

1 June

This week @annaknicholson and @Pele_78 are sharing results from a national research project about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smoking, known as Talking About the Smokes.

Talking About the Smokes (TATS) is a large national research project to better understand the pathways to smoking and quitting for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and to evaluate what works in assisting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to quit smoking. The project is a collaboration between research institutions and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs) and their state and national representative bodies. It is modelled on the International Tobacco Control (ITC) Project Policy Evaluation Project with adaptation to suit the context of smoking cessation and tobacco control for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia. It is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health.

Anna Nicholson (@annaknicholson) is a PhD student with TATS, and is tweeting project results on behalf of the team. Anna grew up in Ballarat, Victoria, but migrated north 7 years ago to thaw in the tropical Top End. Originally a Physiotherapist with a keen interest in chronic disease management, Anna has spent the last 5 years at Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin, working on the TATS Project.

Pele Bennet (@Pele_78) is a proud Waggadaggam Woman of the Torres Strait Islands. She was born and raised in Brisbane and is a proud member of the Indigenous community of Brisbane. Pele is also a Director on the board of Queensland’s oldest community-controlled health organisation (ATSICHS), and Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Committee (AHPA) and director on the Australian Health Promotion Association (AHPA). Pele has been an Indigenous Health Worker and has worked in Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Prevention for Queensland Health for many years, including as a member of the Talking About the Smokes Project Reference Group. Pele will guide discussion of what these results mean for those working to reduce Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smoking.

You can find references for this week’s tweets at:  https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2015/202/10

29 May

#IHMayDay15 – sees Pele Bennet, who was the launch tweeter for @WePublicHealth in August 2013, back in the chair.

25-28 May

Alison Fairleigh@AlisonFairleigh – did a superb job covering the National Rural Health Conference in Darwin (also check the stories from Jennifer Doggett for the Croakey Conference Reporting service). Alison is a prominent #ruralhealth Twitterati and describes herself as: “Passionate. Extroverted. Advocating for rural mental health & farming communities. Former Qld Rural Woman of the Year. Australia Day Ambassador.” Follow the #ruralhealthconf and #NRHC15 streams too.

You can see many of her tweets in the Croakey reports. Here is just a brief selection:

18 May 2015

Dr Helen Schultz – “Shrink, coach and mentor of doctors in training. Public speaker. Author of ‘How Shrinks Think’. Medical education specialist” – is at the helm this week. Amongst other things, @drHelenschultz will be talking about the #MedicineSocial conference that she recently convened in Melbourne. More detail about it is here. 

11 May 2015

Kerrie Noonan @Keznoo covered the 4th International Public Health and Palliative Care Conference, Community Resilience in Practice, in Bristol.

Kerrie Noonan has been working a clinical psychologist in the area of grief, loss and palliative care since 1995 and is she is the cofounder of The GroundSwell Project and Dying To Know Day (August 8th) an organisation that exits to create social change and build death literacy in the community. Kerrie is currently completing her PhD in death studies at the University of Western Sydney.

4 May 2015

Penelope Smith@LopeyPen – is a Public Health Academic at Australian Catholic University (St Patrick’s Campus) – @ACUmedia – and is a member of the event management team assisting Creating Futures Convener Ernest Hunter and the Steering Committee for the sixth Creating Futures Conference – @CF15_Cairns. This week Penelope is tweeting on behalf of the conference.

Penelope was previously the Stakeholder Management Officer at the Lowitja Institute (National Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research) – @LowitjaInstitut – and the Link Coordinator for its predecessor Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health. She was also a Public Health Academic at La Trobe University (Melbourne Campus) – @Latrobe.

She is passionate about all things public health, social justice, community engagement and imparting this passion to her students. Sadly sometimes this passion results in typos so be forgiving this week!

Creating Futures 2015: Practice, Evidence and Creativity in Tropical and Remote Settings, Cairns, 11-14 May 2015.

Creating Futures 2015 is the sixth in a series in which the populations of interest are Indigenous peoples from Australia, New Zealand and beyond, the residents of Australia’s neighbouring island nations, and people living with and recovering from mental and/or physical illness or disability in remote and tropical areas.

As with previous Creating Futures conferences there will be a focus on evidence and innovation in identifying and addressing the social determinants of mental and physical health and wellbeing. Special areas of interest will include:

  • Creativity;
  • Addressing social and behavioural determinants of chronic disease;
  • Impediments to progress in chronic disease management: policy and practice in substance misuse;
  • Sustaining our strength, resilience and imagination. …. Empowerment starts with Me;
  • Detained populations (forensic and other);

West Papua – forgotten refugees … and more.

27 April 2015

Dr Erica Crome@EricaCrome – is an Early Career Researcher and Psychologist in the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use (@CREComorbidity) and is based in the Centre of Emotional Health at Macquarie University (@MacquarieUniCEH). Experience in research, clinical and corporate settings has made her passionate about enhancing the quality and accessibility of mental health research to improve the lives of the millions Australians with lived experience of a mental disorder.

She aims to start conversations about engaging more consumers in research, increasing the accessibility of research for practitioners and consumers, breaking down research silos and supporting the next generation of health and medical researchers.

Watch this space for an exciting week of live updates from mental health events, twitter interviews and a mash-up of psychology, health economics, policy and ethics.

Monday 27th: Mental Health Services and Treatment in Australia – including reactions to the National Mental Health Commission Report

Live tweets from “Silence no more: The mental and physical health consequences of child sexual abuse, and what can be done about it” http://www.ccd.edu.au/events/conferences/2015/silencenomore/index.php

Tuesday 28th: Implementation Science – what determines how innovations travel from research to clinical settings.

Wednesday 29th: Resources for practitioners and consumers – where to access high-quality information and treatment (at the lowest cost)

Thursday 30th: How do we engage more consumers in research and service planning – and why this is important

Friday 1st: Supporting the next generation of mental health researchers – Early Career Researchers and Women in Health and Medical Research

This includes Twitter interview with Prof Maree Teesson – Director of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in Mental Health and Substance Use at 1 pm. As a winner of the 2014 Sydney Eureka Prize for Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers, named in The Australian Financial Review and Westpac’s 2014 100 Women of Influence Awards and a Fellow to the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Science, this is an interview not to miss!

20 April 2015

A tag-team of social determinants of health experts were at the helm on behalf of the new Centre for Research Excellence on Health Equity, which is being officially launched this week – Follow @crehealthequity.


Fran Baum (@baumfran) is Professor of Public Health and Director of the Southgate Institute of Health, Society and Equity at Flinders University. Professor Baum is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. In 2008 she was awarded an Australian Research Council Federation Fellowship focusing on development of effective government and community responses to social determinants of health inequity and social exclusion. She holds several other national competitive grants and is widely published on aspects of health inequity and the social determinants of health including Aboriginal people’s health, primary health care, health promotion, Healthy Cities, and social capital.


Sharon Friel (@SharonFrieloz) is Professor of Health Equity and Director of the Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet), Australian National University. She is also Director of the Menzies Centre for Health Policy ANU. Between 2005 and 2008 she was the Head of the Scientific Secretariat (University College London) of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health. She is the Co-Director of the CRE in Health Equity (@CREhealthequity). She publishes widely in the social determinants of health equity, including in trade and investment, urbanisation, food systems, and climate change; and the analysis of governance, policy and regulatory processes and their effectiveness at addressing health inequities.


Gemma Carey – @gemcarey – is a Research Fellow with the Regulatory Network at the Australian National University. She holds a PhD in social policy and population health from the University of Melbourne. Her research sits at the critical interface between public health, public administration and social policy. In particular, Dr Carey has investigated processes of ‘joining up’ within within government and between government and non-government organisations. She tweeted for @WePublicHealth last week (see more bio details in the entry below).


Matt Fisher is a Research Fellow with the Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity. He is currently working as Project Manager on a 3-year ARC Discovery research project on Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity in Australian Health Policy. Matt completed a PhD in philosophy at the University of Adelaide in 2009. His research interests are focused on the social determinants of mental health and their implications for public policy and political ethics. Matt also has extensive experience with social housing policy and non-government, not-for-profit housing providers. He has a strong commitment to values of environmental sustainability and is particularly interested in issues of urban design, in relation to both public health and sustainability outcomes.


Phillip Baker (@PhilBakerNZ) is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Regulatory Institutions Network, Australian National University and has a PhD from the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health. His research interests span public policy, political science and global health with emphasis on the prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), trade liberalization and population nutrition, regulations shaping infant and young child feeding, and agenda-setting in public health (how and why are health issues politically prioritised or neglected). He has lectured previously at the Crawford School of Public Policy, ANU, on globalization and health and worked as an intern at the World Health Organization on global nutrition policy.

13 April 2015

Dr Gemma Carey@gemcarey – is a Research Fellow with the Regulatory Network at the Australian National University. She holds a PhD in social policy and population health from the University of Melbourne. Her research sits at the critical interface between public health, public administration and social policy. In particular, Dr Carey has investigated processes of ‘joining up’ within within government and between government and non-government organisations.

Dr Carey has published a widely on different aspects of public administration and public health. She has a monograph on joined-up government and public administration with Melbourne University Press due for release in 2015 – ‘Grassroots to Government: Joining-up in Australia’, and is Chief Editor and contributor to the upcoming book ‘Designing and Implementing Public Policy: Cross-sectoral Debates’, to be published by Routledge in 2015.

In addition to her academic research, she runs a policy forum – the Power to Persuade (PTP) (an annual symposium and blog). PTP is aimed at improving the relationships between policymakers, academics and the community sector. Running since 2011, PTP is sponsored by the Victorian Government and a range of NGOs and peak bodies (www.powertopersuade.org.au).

7 April 2015

Croakey moderator and journalist Marie McInerney  covered a Prisons Health conference this week in Geraldton, WA, as a precursor to Croakey’s launch of the #JustJustice crowd-funding campaign.

Marie has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 30 years, including for Reuters and Australian Associated Press. She was founding editor of Insight, a specialist social issues magazine published in Melbourne by the Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS) and is a moderator and contributor to Croakey. She has also worked as a lecturer and tutor in journalism and writing at the University of South Australia and RMIT. She tweets at @mariemcinerney.
 Read her report of the conference here. 

30 March 2015

Catriona Bonfiglioli@CatBonfiglioli– is a media and journalism academic at UTS and a PHAA member tweeting on behalf of the NSW branch of the PHAA.

She is Senior Lecturer, Media Studies in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia. Catriona is an award-winning professional journalist with 15 years’ experience as a reporter, sub-editor and specialist medical journalist. Catriona joined PHAA in 2000 and serves on the NSW branch executive.

Catriona has been researching the role of media in public health and medicine since 1999. Her doctoral research examined media discourse about genetic technologies including cloning, GM food, and the Human Genome Project. Her postdoctoral research has focused on the role of media in overweight, obesity, physical activity and inactivity.

Catriona is lead chief investigator of the ARC Discovery Project 1096251: Bonfiglioli, Chapman, & Smith. ‘Changing the media diet – Investigating the power of the news media to prevent obesity’.  Catriona is the author of Reporting Obesity: A Resource for Journalists, a resource for journalists published by the NSW Centre for Overweight and Obesity: http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/public-health/coo/publications/reporto.php

23 March 2015

Gemma Jacklyn@GemmaJacklyn – is a doctoral student, tutor and lecturer in epidemiology at the Sydney School of Public Health at the University of Sydney and holds an NHMRC postgraduate scholarship. She’s interested in better understanding the benefits and harms associated with breast cancer screening. Her main focus is overdiagnosis and overtreatment. She supports informed choice about breast cancer screening and has co-authored a paper about this in The Lancet.

16 March 2015

Chad Foulkes, Healthy Together Geelong Coordinator for the City of Greater Geelong – @TorquayChad – tweeted about the social determinants of health, and the roles of land use planning, infrastructure & activation as areas where local government can work for public health.

Chad has led Healthy Together Geelong based at the City of Greater Geelong which is taking a systems approach to address obesity. Previously he worked in the WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention and CO-OPS (the collaboration for community-based obesity prevention initiatives) at Deakin University where he designed and delivered professional development nationally. He has led teams in local government on community planning, development, health, engagement and governance. He has won two IAP2 awards and served on the IAP2 worldwide judging panel and chaired the Australasian IAP2 judging panel. He is a member of the Academic Board for the Masters of International and Community Development at Deakin. Additionally he runs a consultancy.

9 March 2015

This week, Mary Freer@FreerMary – is tweeting for Change Day, a people led, accessible and energetic social movement for better health outcomes, which is marked on 11 March.

Change Day invites you to be change-makers in health, aged care and community services right across Australia.

The Change Day movement says: “It’s easy to get caught up believing that change needs to start somewhere else. We can end up waiting for someone else to ‘fix’ things or waiting for someone to give us permission to be amazing, or even just to do what we know needs to be done.

“Don’t wait any longer! Wherever you are and whatever your role is in health and community care: you can make a difference. Together our potential is enormous.”

Mary has contributed to Australia’s healthcare system reform in a variety of executive and leadership roles over the last 20 years. She has worked with Health Workforce Australia, Healthdirect Australia, Premier and Cabinet in South Australia  and more recently as a consultant to health and community care services across Australia.

Mary is the Founder and CEO of Change Day Australia and works closely with Change Day leaders in many countries across the world to bring about global improvements to our health and social care systems.

2 March 2015

This week was an extra special program – many thanks to Kristine Olaris@kristineolaris, CEO of Women’s Health East in Melbourne, and her colleagues for organising a packed schedule of tweeting about women’s health.

23 Feb 2015

Public health lawyer, author and blogger Michele Simon –  @MicheleRSimon – has been investigating conflicts of interest and the Dietitians Association of Australia.  Read more here.

Simon, president of Eat Drink Politics, a corporate watchdog consulting firm in the US, has released an Australian edition of “And Now A Word From Our Sponsors” detailing close links between the food industry and DAA.

Below are some grabs from a tweet-chat conducted on Feb 23 with Simon about her report (apologies to those in the US whose plans to join the chat were spoiled by my mixing up the time difference).

16 Feb 2015

Ann Arnold – @ann_arnold – a journalist with Background Briefing, Radio National’s investigative documentary program, is in the chair this week, following her recent program, Doctors in Distress (audio and transcript are available here). She began her career at the SMH, and has worked across numerous Radio National programs, including Late Night Live and Life Matters. She is an occasional print freelancer (The Monthly, The Drum).

Ann plans to tweet from 3-4pm each day from Monday to Friday, on the theme of stress. Stress for medicos, mostly, but will broaden to all workplaces and causes. She is keen to hear your stories, thoughts and research.

9 Feb 2015

Miriam Herzfeld@MiriamHerzfeld1 – has worked in the community sector, for the University of Tasmania, and for both local and state governments in several states in Australia. Miriam currently works as a Public Health Consultant and is an Associate of the University of Tasmania. Miriam convenes Tasmania’s Social Determinants of Health Advocacy Network.

2 Feb 2015

Renee Williams – @Ren_Williams – is an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman who has been working in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs for the last 17 years, with a particular focus in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.

She will be talking about the aftermath of the Queensland election and the implications for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and their communities, health and wellbeing. Renee will also discuss the Apunipima election charter, and wider public health issues, particularly from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective.

Renee has a certificate in Diplomacy Training at UNSW, Cert IV in Indigenous Leadership at AILC, Assoc Degree in Business Administration (ACU) and Master of Public Health (Deakin Uni).  Renee has vast experience and knowledge from the roles that she has undertaken in local, regional, state, national and organisations, including the Victorian Aboriginal Health Services, the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care, and Oxfam Australia.

Just over 12 months ago Renee returned to Cairns from living in Canberra and working at the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, where she was the National Policy Manager. Currently she is the Senior Project Officer with Apunipima Cape York Health Council where her role is about politics, strategy and policy platforming with a particular focus on health reform for Cape York Communities.

Through her experience over the years, Renee understands the importance of self-determination of her people to create change for themselves and their communities.

During the week, Renee conducted a “Twitter-view” with Dameyon Bonson about his crowdfunding campaign for the Black Rainbow Living Well Foundation, and you can read the Storify here (some extracts below).

26 Jan 2015

The Queensland election was the focus this week of Dr Mark Bahnisch@MarkBahnisch – a sociologist who teaches at the Australian College of Applied Psychology. He has worked in health policy and health systems research at The University of Queensland and is also currently working on a narrative of the Queensland Doctors Dispute for ASMOF. Additionally, he is a long time observer of Queensland and Australian politics, and his book, Everything You Need To Know About Queensland But Were Afraid to Ask, is forthcoming with New South Publishing in May.

19 Jan 2015

Mark Metherell@metherellmark – is communications director of the Consumers Health Forum of Australia.  The views he expresses @WePublicHealth are his own and not necessarily those of CHF.   Mark joined CHF two years ago and previously wrote on health issues for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

For @WePublicHealth, Mark proposes to give the consumers’ perspective on the continuing debate over the co-payment and the future of Medicare.

12 Jan 2015

John Mendoza@johno0910 – is a Director of ConNetica, a boutique consulting practice. He has been involved in over 100 mental health and wellbeing projects in every Australian jurisdiction since establishing ConNetica in early 2007.  These have involved working with and evaluating programs targeting people with mild to severe and complex mental ill health, long-term unemployed men and families, service development and workforce development.

He has published extensively in both grey and peer reviewed literature on mental health and mental health reform and been a keynote speaker at over 50 conferences. He is the co-author of a number of major reports on mental health reform in the past decade most notably – Not for Service: Experiences of Despair and Injustice in Mental Health Care in Australia (in 2005) and Obsessive Hope Disorder: Reflections on Thirty Years of Mental Health Reform in Australia and Visions for the Future (in 2013).

Prior to his role at ConNetica, John has held several executive positions including Chief Executive Officer of the Mental Health Council of Australia (MHCA), and Chief Executive of the Australian Sports Drug Agency. He was appointed in 2008 as the Inaugural Chair, National Advisory Council on Mental Health, to the Federal Health Minister, The Hon Nicola Roxon MP. He is presently:

  • Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Health, Education and Science at the University of the Sunshine Coast; and
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, Mental Health Policy Unit, Brain and Mind Research Institute, University of Sydney.
  • Chair, headspace Maroochydore
  • Member of the Foundation Board of the Queensland Mind and Neuroscience Institute, chaired by Angus Houston AC.

In 2002, John was awarded the Queensland University of Technology, Vice-Chancellor’s Outstanding Alumni Award for Innovation and Excellence and the Faculty of Health’s 2002 Outstanding Alumni Award. In 2010, he was awarded a Life Award for lifetime achievement in suicide prevention. He has a Bachelor of Education and Grad Dip in Health Promotion.

5 Jan 2015

Marie McInerney has worked as a journalist and editor for more than 30 years, including for Reuters and Australian Associated Press. She was founding editor of Insight, a specialist social issues magazine published in Melbourne by the Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS) and is a moderator and contributor to Croakey. She has also worked as a lecturer and tutor in journalism and writing at the University of South Australia and RMIT. She tweets at @mariemcinerney.

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