Dr Eberhard Wenzel (2nd January 1950 – 21st September 2001) worked in public health for over 20 years. He was well known to many through his work at Griffith University, Queensland, his prolific work on the International Public Health Watch web site and email list serve, and the development and maintenance of the Virtual Library on Public Health, a site which under the period in which he moderated it, earned a rating of the best in the field by the medical journal The Lancet. After the passing of Eberhard the Virtual Library on Public Health was hosted by the School of Public Health and Community Medicine at the University of NSW for several years as a project of the South-West Pacific Region of the International Union for Health Promotion and Education. Eberhard was an inspiring advocate for the socio-ecological view of health promotion as it was described over 20 years ago in the Ottawa Charter. This health promotion represented a significant move away from a medical view of health promotion that focused primarily on disease prevention.
Eberhard was an inspiring advocate for health promotion as it was described over 20 years ago in the Ottawa Charter. This health promotion represented a significant move away from a medical view of health promotion that focused primarily on disease prevention. Eberhard was highly critical of recent trends, both nationally and internationally, that signified a step backward to such a medical paradigm of health promotion.
Eberhard was not afraid to speak his mind about what he saw as the critical failings of health promotion and public health. His thoughts were often challenging and sometimes controversial. However he could be relied upon to question accepted dogma, bring a different perspective, challenge accepted beliefs or practice, and to stimulate new ways of thinking. Eberhard's students and others touched by him carry on this legacy of critical thinking.
Following Eberhard's death in September 2001, the Australian Health Promotion Association endorsed the establishment of an annual oration in his memory. With this memorial oration, the Australian Health Promotion Association hopes to stimulate a culture of critical and reflective discussion for the advancement of health promotion in Australia.
Read Karen McPhail-Bell’s story about tweeting for AHPA in July 2016:
@AHPA_AU on Twitter: Reflections of an AHPA ‘host’ tweeter
Karen McPhail-Bell, AHPA NSW
In this article, I share with you a short reflection on my recent experience of hosting AHPA’s Twitter account. I do this to reflect on and improve my own Twitter practice, as well as to assist those of you already engaged in, or considering joining, Twitter.
There is a diversity of uses available for health promotion through social media. As a professional body, AHPA has used Twitter for its conferences (e.g. Anderson et al., 2014 and @AHPA16) and maintains an active presence on Twitter at @AHPA_AU. A Twitter presence is important for AHPA to maintain a professional network, to contribute to ideas, to advocate for health promotion, to connect with its members, and to nurture its professional identity in the online world – amongst other reasons. To maintain its presence, AHPA shares the hosting of its Twitter account between its member branches, for which it asked me to host in July 2016.
An AHPA branch representative provided me the @AHPA_AU login details. I signed in on my mobile phone using the Twitter app, to view and engage with fellow tweeters when mobile. The Twitter app allowed me to switch between my personal account and the AHPA account – meaning I had to pay attention to the account from which I was tweeting! Access on my mobile phone was important because some of the computers I work with block social media access, and because I am not always at a computer. I explored using TweetDeck to organise tweets ahead, but decided against doing this given I did not have a series of messages I wanted to tweet, nor was there an AHPA agenda for July. I focussed on amplifying the voices of others by way of retweets, sharing information that was directed to me, and sharing items of interest that would reflect the AHPA aims. I monitored particular accounts to retweet their perspectives (as an example, @WePublicHealth, @Croakeynews or @IndigenousX), including accounts with which AHPA might benefit from connecting to, or vice versa. I also sought to engage with tweeters who directly connected with @AHPA_AU, knowing the power of Twitter for dialogue and engagement.
Some reflections and challenges
Carving out regular time to host the AHPA account was a challenge for me. I suspect this was in part because I juggle various demanding part time roles, with a different office and organisation each day of the week. During the month of July I also had a case of the flu and took some leave, resulting in poor access to my phone and computer, and thus to Twitter. On reflection, my busy-ness meant I leant towards passive engagement such as retweets, rather than proactive engagement and dialogue. I was mindful that I was using Twitter on behalf of AHPA’s agenda, and thus careful regarding Twitter’s blending of the personal with professional. Perhaps because of these factors, I (and @AHPA_AU) did not experience the full dialogical benefits of Twitter while I hosted. My view though, is that with a planned or focused approach these constraints do not need to be a barrier to use of Twitter.
I valued the opportunity to contribute to the @AHPA_AU presence and to use that profile to promote a range of perspectives, voices and information. I finish with some suggestions regarding hosting a Twitter account, based on my experience. Please share your tips and tweak or add to this list!
Contact me on Twitter @solomon_kazza - I would love to hear about your experiences on Twitter, and what you’d like from @AHPA_AU in this space.
Anderson, G., Gleeson, S. Rissel, R., Wen, L.M., & Bedford, K. (2014). Twitter tweets and twaddle: twittering at AHPA’s National Health Promotion Conference. Health Promotion Journal of Australia, 25: 143-146.
It was during the first year of my undergraduate degree in the Bachelor in Health Sciences at the University of Adelaide that I was introduced to the core principles of health promotion. I quickly realised how well these principles aligned with my passion for social justice and decided that this was a career pathway I wanted to pursue. This year I am beginning my PhD in the area of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages in the hope that my research findings can be used to help promote environments which are supportive of health and wellbeing for the Australian community.
I became involved with AHPA after being awarded the AHPA SA Student Health Promotion Prize in 2014. This gave me the chance to be part of a community with like-minded people who share similar interests and passions to myself. Since then I have been an active member on the SA Branch Committee and most recently I have been involved in the Branch’s social media strategy and will now be taking over the role of Vice President.
Being a part of AHPA SA has been beneficial to me in so many ways. Developing a large personal network of people within the health promotion field, and having the opportunity for professional development experiences are what I hold as some of the most valuable aspects of being a member of AHPA. Recently AHPA SA provided me with a Professional Development Scholarship which supported me in an overseas internship with the World Health Organization in Suva, Fiji. This was an invaluable experience which gave me insight into how a leading global organisation undertakes work in the field of health promotion and in which I developed new skills which I can use during my career.
To me health promotion is about providing everybody with the equal opportunity to live a healthy and fulfilling life and it is an area which I am proud and excited to contribute to.
Co-VIce President, WA Branch
Health promotion is about making the easy choice the healthy choice. My role as the Make Smoking History Project Officer at Cancer Council WA and the work of our Division (Education and Research) focuses on reducing the burden of disease by helping people before they get sick. My role and the work of my team (Make Smoking History) specifically focus on reducing the harm caused by tobacco smoking in Western Australia, through a comprehensive approach.
Knowing that the work I do every day is making a difference to someone’s life is my inspiration. We might not see the difference straight away like some professions, however we know that health promotion and prevention makes a difference and creates lasting change for individuals and also society as a whole.
Since commencing my career in health promotion I have worked predominately at Cancer Council WA, across a few different areas but mainly in tobacco control. In previous roles I developed strong professional relationships with my colleagues and senior management. I am also well-known for my hard-work and dedication to my job. This has helped me achieve the position I am in today.
If asked what skills are necessary to work in the health promotion industry I would say:
The ability to work with others – collaborating is a very important part of health promotion
Strong communication skills – being able to communicate with a variety of different target groups
Advocacy – even if it’s not a key element of their position it is important for all health promotion practitioners to be advocates for health promotion in their workplace and personal lives. This is essential to help raise awareness of health promotion and will also help key decision makers see health promotion as a priority.
On the 2016 AHPA (WA Branch) Committee I am Co-Vice President, I currently share this role with another committee member. Being in this position has helped me develop a variety of skills in leadership, governance, people management, strategic planning and stakeholder engagement. My involvement with the AHPA (WA Branch) has been beneficial in helping me broaden my networks outside my direct area of work and also helped me develop skills that may not have happened in my current work position. It has been and continues to be a rewarding experience.
SA Branch member, AHPA Vice-President
I have a strong commitment to promoting health and preventing illness for the population as a whole, groups at risk and for individuals and I am encouraged by the many successes that have seen improved health outcomes. This underpins my reason for working in the health promotion field and being involved in the peak body for health promotion AHPA – I am currently Vice President.
My undergraduate study was in urban geography and later I completed a graduate diploma in health education. This was before the growth in health science degrees. I began my working life as a research officer in community health and worked with many people in community health who have had inspiring careers in health and human services. Once in the central office of the health department my initial focus was primary health care (the WHO definition) policy and implementation and helping develop the Social Health approach in South Australia, again an excellent opportunity. My job changed focus on the first day I started; flexibility is an important characteristic! In 1997 I became the manager of a small health promotion unit in the department. This grew over time and with a few twists and turns I ended up managing a large and talented team responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating health promotion policies and programs for SA.
It’s not the easiest field to describe to others. I usually start with describing what has been done in tobacco control because it’s concrete, important and exemplifies the multiple strategies that are necessary to make a difference and also allows discussion of inequities. I take a very broad approach to what is meant by health promotion and this is reflected in the work I do now as a health promotion consultant. For me public health, population health, health promotion and primary health care all have more in common that difference.
As a consultant I undertake a variety of roles. Recently I’ve completed a review of road safety programs for older people; prepared a diabetes plan including action across the continuum of care; evaluated a respiratory prevention program with a focus on disadvantage and written short articles on health to name just a few.
My role as AHPA Vice President is to lead on certain roles such as the Communications Committee and our annual face-to-face planning meetings; to be a member of the Financial and Risk Management (FARM) Committee and provide support to the President. I also do some advocacy work. I am pleased to be able to play a role in AHPA nationally. We have an enormous amount we can do but rely heavily on willing volunteers. There are challenges ahead but also opportunities such as the professional accreditation. It is very rewarding to be involved and I would encourage others to do so!