Jeremy Lasek – PHAA
Australia’s experiencing a range of chronic disease challenges including tobacco use, obesity, and unhealthy foods. Climate change looms as a national and worldwide health problem. And the Australian Government is close to finalising a comprehensive national policy on Prevention.
Oh yes, and we’re also dealing with a once-in-a-century pandemic.
So it’s timely that the annual Australian Public Health Conference 2021 will be held from Thursday 23 to Friday 24 September with the theme, ‘Supporting and Re-energising Public Health in a Disrupted World.’
With over half of Australia’s population – including the Conference host city Canberra – currently in lockdown, the conference has shifted from hybrid to a virtual-only format. The PHAA didn’t make this decision lightly.
‘However, we remain very excited to bring you the Australian Public Health Conference as a virtual event, providing the sector with an opportunity to share learnings, network, meet with sponsors and exhibitors, and have access to hours of content on-line,’ said PHAA CEO, Associate Professor Terry Slevin.
The annual Bazil Hetzel Oration address to the Conference will be presented by Professor Tom Calma AO, an elder of the Kungarakan people, and Chancellor of the University of Canberra. He’s also co-chair on the Senior Advisory Group on the Uluru Statement From The Heart’s Indigenous Voice proposal, convened by the Australian Government. Professor Calma, a past recipient of PHAA’s Sidney Sax Public Health Medal, has a storied history as a social justice and public health champion, including serving as a Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, and as a national Race Discrimination Commissioner.
Professor Calma has been to the fore during the COVID-19 pandemic, working closely with the Federal Department of Health, providing regular messages to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities about the importance of staying safe against the coronavirus.
In delivering the Bazil Hetzel Oration, at 3.30pm on Thursday 23 September, Professor Calma will reflect on the importance of clear, consistent, and timely communication throughout the pandemic. He will also touch on equally important issues which have been overshadowed at times during the pandemic. These include mental health and wellbeing, racism, and the importance of tobacco control.
The conference will also hear from Dr Michael Doyle, the PHAA’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Special Interest Co-Convenor at 12.30pm on Friday 24 September.
Dr Doyle will host a Virtual Yarning Circle. A Yarning Circle is a place which privileges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices, and provides a place to listen, network and yarn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health.
While there will be no formal presentations during this session, Elders and other leaders will be invited to share their knowledge. The Yarning Circle will be open to everyone, but due to the nature of this session, participation will be strictly limited and prioritise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander conference participants.
The PHAA would like to acknowledge and thank the sponsors of the virtual 2021 Australian Public Health Conference – Principal Sponsor, the Australian Government Department of Health, and Support Sponsor, the University of Sydney.