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!