CHASE Partnerships Symposium
Summary Report

On Tuesday February 12th 2013 CHASE held its inaugural Partnerships Symposium. The purpose of the Symposium was to bring together organisations working in the area of social exclusion to share learnings for inclusive practice and to create opportunities to foster and build partnerships. The Symposium was developed after consultation with current CHASE partners. The day was well attended by representatives from over 30 different organisations, based widely across Victoria. Notably, many of the organisations in attendance were not currently involved with CHASE or Deakin University. The day was a success with positive feedback being received from those who attended, and some strong expressions of interest in the formation of new partnerships with CHASE and Deakin more widely.

Welcoming address

Professor Brendan Crotty, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Faculty of Health commenced the morning session discussing the importance of the work of CHASE addressing inequalities and social exclusion to combat poor health in an increasingly pressured health care system.

Professor Brendan Crotty considered the importance of the University's need to respond to local, national and international health care issues and needs particularly within the context of the current challenges (the ageing populations, the increasing prevalence of chronic conditions, inequality, socio-economic disadvantage and increases in disability in our community). Furthermore, he discussed the increasing demands on the health system and the ever increasing cost burden to the system. He highlighted the increasing mismatch between what is acute disease in the hospital based health system and our need to have something different to address community based needs using multiple approaches to meet the diversity of community needs. Importantly, he highlight evidence based systems approaches to health and healthcare. Thus, the need for population health approaches to tackle serious health issues affecting population.

Professor Brendan Crotty also discussed how the tertiary health education sector is responding to the challenges and increasing demands for more health and human services professionals. As an example, Deakin University has doubled the number of students since 2005 in the health courses. This has acknowledged the demand for different type of professionals to address the issues discussed and the increasing need for graduates to work in multi-disciplinary teams. The Faculty of Health courses at Deakin University are also cognisant of the need for work ready graduates and have a strong focus on this, for example, by including work integrated learning in collaboration with our partners into all courses. He also discussed the digital revolution in teaching and the shift in how we teach to access excellent resources from around the world, while maintaining a high degree of interaction.

Professor Brendan Crotty also talked about research funding and the likely to focus on health issues and costs, particularly in relation to prevention of poor health. He suggested that this will lead to a different approach to health and health care research; hopefully with greater focus on inequality and social exclusion rather than just the physical.

Finally Professor Brendan Crotty concluded by saying that the drivers for change in the health system and the education system are partnerships to investigate and advocate for appropriate and effective approaches to address health issues. Partners provide real life advice for our curriculum, and provide opportunity for work integrated learning for students.

CHASE: An overview of its vision, philosophy, mission an streams of work

Professor Ann Taket, Director of CHASE provided an overview of CHASE, its vision, philosophy, mission and streams of work. Please click here for a copy of the presentation.

Discussion: Celebrating and creating partnerships

Professor John Toumbourou, Associate Dean (Partnerships and Workplace) led a discussion on celebrating and creating partnerships, what CHASE, the Faculty of Health and Deakin University can offer along with the benefits of partnerships. Attendees viewed building partnerships with CHASE as extremely valuable. They identified some very specific areas where they felt they needed collaboration with CHASE (for example, to build new evidence, research, evaluation and advocacy). Please click here for a copy of the presentation.

A focus on learnings for practice

An important focus of the morning session was on learnings for practice. This session was dedicated to highlighting current CHASE partnerships, the work they had undertaken and the lessons learnt for inclusive practice. Dr Fiona Andrews and Melinda Chapman (City of Wyndham) discussed their shared project 'A Good Place to Raise a Family' and how the findings from this research were impacting on urban planning design and community development in the City of Wyndham (please click here for a copy of the presentation). Dr Erin Wilson discussed her work undertaken in partnership with Scope on 'Measuring outcomes of disability related services and supports'. Please click here for a copy of the presentation. Dr Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli (representing AGMC, the Australian GLBTIQ Multicultural Council, a peak body for individuals/groups from a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer multicultural background) discussed 'Addressing the Needs of Multifaith, Multicultural, GLBTIQ Individuals in AGMC's Partnerships'. Please click here for a copy of the presentation.

Discussion: Strategies for accessing students for shared projects

The final session for the morning focused on strategies for accessing students for shared projects. This discussion was led by Olive Aumann, General Manager, Health Development at Whitehorse Community Health Service (please click here for a copy of the presentation). The session commenced with an overview of the different types of students that could be involved in shared projects.

While some challenges were identified during the discussions such as identifying projects and access to cohorts of students to work on projects, solutions to these issues were also identified. For example, having a single entry point (as per the details of the appropriate contacts as per the above), working with CHASE members to work up appropriate projects after initial contact, links to further information about student access opportunities and CareerHub.

The Public Health and Health Promotion CareerHub has been created and designed by Deakin University to support partnerships between health agencies, public health and health promotion students and graduates. The aim of the CareerHub is to better connect health agencies, students and graduates in relation to volunteer and employment opportunities. To register for CareerHub, register with the Jobshop, central job listing service for Deakin University, (and to be assigned to the Public Health and Health Promotion work group), please follow the six steps below:

  1. Visit www.deakin.edu.au/employ-students
  2. Click on the link 'First time user - register'
  3. This will then start the registration process. On the first page, please choose the category that suits your organisation best. All except for 'individual' would be relevant.
  4. When filling in your 'organisation name', please include a (hp) at the end, so that our staff know to assign you to the Public Health and Health Promotion work group. EXAMPLE: Barwon Health (hp)
  5. Your registration will be sent to Jobshop staff for approval, and then you will be able to begin listing vacancies.
  6. When listing vacancies, you login to the system using your individual username and password. There is a link on the left hand menu 'Add a new Job'. When listing jobs just for Public Health and Health Promotion students, please choose this workgroup when registering a new job on the system.

Think Tanks

The afternoon provide an opportunity for participants to engage in informal networking and think tank sessions to share research ideas, discuss potential collaborations and plan shared activities. These sessions produced valuable discussion and exciting opportunity for future work. A number of collaborations were established for future work between CHASE and other organisations as well as among the organisations attending. The workshops were organised according to CHASE's streams of work.

Social diversity and improving the health and wellbeing of marginalised / disadvantaged / excluded groups

A group of four academic staff and 12 partner agencies came together to share the areas of diversity that they were involved in, and the challenges they encountered in the community health and welfare sectors. The group represented - community health (PHHP), local government - social planning, specific social health needs such as people struggling with drug and alcohol issues, depression, complexity of issues including food insecurity, correctional services and social inclusion. Following our introductions and general discussion of the complexity of working in this area, the group divided and 2 key areas of discussion emerged. One group (community health PHHP) shared experiences and challenges of the field, particularly evaluation and process. The discussion also included student placement opportunities and increasing partnership opportunities for student activity between the School of Health and Social Development, and external agencies. The other group discussed the challenges of meeting the needs of marginalised individuals and families, and took the opportunity to discuss the tensions as well as the positive outcomes of working in the health and welfare field. Overall, the think tank session was a rewarding experience with many coming away with newly established links in the field, ideas and ways forward for future collaboration.

Gender, families and reproductive health

A number of positive discussions took place about future collaborative projects. For example, discussion about future shared projects on the sexual and reproductive health of international students, the needs of homeless women and evaluation of playgroups in shopping centres. Further to this, projects of varying scales and focus were discussed with possibilities including: focus on disadvantage, multicultural families, playgroups as links to other services, socialisation of children and child development more generally, functioning of partnerships for service delivery (as playgroup likely to be managed by non-profit organisation, not council), impact on local business etc. Possibilities for larger projects eg masters major project, honours or PhD discussed as there is also possibility of comparisons with other LGAs who have trialled or adopted this model, such as Brimbank and Dandenong councils. There was discussion also about wider planning issues in Maribyrnong, such as the changing demographics associated with infill developments and gentrification, the mismatch between what developers envisage for new developments and the actuality of who lives in them. The group discussed the role(s) that students potentially could fill at an NGO from the regular work that an undergraduate student on a placement could undertake, through possibilities for Masters major and minor projects and arrangements such as different students working on sequential aspects of the some project (eg literature review, research protocol, data collection etc), student projects addressing questions related to or arising from funded projects carried out by the types of organisations represented at the session. Discussion also occurred around the requirements and demands for supervision of the different types of student projects, as this was a concern for at least one of the organisations represented.

Disability

The disability think tank had a lively discussion covering a range of topics and issues including:

  • How to get in touch with people with disability / consumers
  • Data management within agencies, issues of privacy, need for researchers to sign confidentiality agreements. How can we manage and access data already available (data mining)?
  • Getting useful information - developing information maps re service and funding pathways that are useful to practitioners and service users
  • Is social media a useful tool for people with disability in terms of information sharing and dissemination?
  • How do we work to 'join up' people with disability with similar needs/interests to share information about services and solutions in an environment which focuses on individualized funding and service provision?

Aboriginal health

A detailed and enthusiastic discussion was undertaken in the aboriginal health think tank. Key points included:

  • Horizontal violence and exclusion (within and between various Aboriginal communities)
  • Exclusion within Aboriginal communities
  • Perceived and expressed needs of Aboriginal communities are shaped by the social fabric e.g. the types of services offered to Aboriginal communities shapes their perceptions of their needs, and their expressed needs, which may not truly reflect actual needs.
  • There is a need to celebrate and communicate and disseminate information about health services and what various organisations are doing in more positive and diverse ways and settings links to the need to enhance cultural competence among the Aboriginal Health workforce
  • There is a need to more aware of not 'pigeon holing' Aboriginal people in Aboriginal health services only, but also create opportunities for greater inclusion in mainstream services. Often, there are feelings of placelessness and exclusion within/between Aboriginal populations, so an Aboriginal person who is not from country or is from another community will not always feel comfortable or at ease using an Aboriginal health service in a community they are not originally from, and may experience exclusion.
  • Need for not homogenising Aboriginal people or Aboriginal health issues. Need to recognise great diversity within and between multiple urban and regional Aboriginal communities.
  • Community engagement - There is a need for broader service and cross-sectorial engagement (both between Aboriginal health and mainstram health services; as well as Aboriginal health services and other sectors such as education, etc.), and more cross-cultural engagement.
  • There was a common and strongly expressed feeling that there is a need for more real and meaningful inclusion and presence of Aboriginal communities and engagement of Aboriginal communities in health (e.g. that goes beyond tokenistic representation or presence to real actions and capacity building).

A number of strengths, challenges and needs were also discussed, including:

  • There are some commonalities in the experiences of services in regional and urban areas
  • Expertise of Aboriginal health workers/partner organisations - creates opportunities for co-learning (see below under opportunities)
  • How do we bring all the work together?
  • Understanding the specific barriers for each different Aboriginal community. Need for a situation analysis and understanding of what the real barriers for each community are, but then going beyond this to ensure an action stage.
  • Challenge is the unique and specific needs of communities that are situated on the rural/urban interface e.g. Healesville.
  • Need for capacity building - both organisational level and broader workforce development - most particularly in the area of translation of cultural competence knowledge into practice.
  • Need for wider sector cross-cultural engagement and capacity building around indigenous health issues and cultural competency.
  • Currently a felt low capacity for supervision. Need for enhanced organisational understanding and mentoring regarding supervision
  • Currently, Deakin curriculum is limited in its incorporation of Aboriginal health issues, health practice and cultural competency. Often, inclusion in the curriculum in individual units is driven by individual champions. One possible barrier might be the felt limited Aboriginal health knowledge and cultural competencies and capacity of many staff. Need for more capacity building of the tertiary sector, and incorporation of Aboriginal health into curriculum.
  • Money and funding
  • Need for more data and research, particularly in the urban context. Research needs to include community consultations and meaningful community engagement.

Opportunities identified included:

  • Overall, there are many opportunities for co-learning between organisations and Deakin in many areas including teaching, learning, content knowledge, context, cultural competency, capacity building, supervision, curriculum, etc. For example, Deakin supporting organisations with WIL opportunities, PD opportunities, etc. Organisations supporting Deakin with PD in areas of cultural competence and Aboriginal health.
  • Greater staff capacity building of Deakin staff, supported by the expertise of our Aboriginal health partner organisations. E.g. exposure to partners' work, learning of new knowledge, skills and cultural competency related to Aboriginal health. This could help support greater integration/embeddedness of Aboriginal health issues in course curriculum
  • More supervisor/practicum partner capacity building and dialogue
  • Indigenous health services informing knowledge and capacity building content in course. In particular, focussing on the urban context of Aboriginal health.
  • Incorporation of indigenous health core competencies into course curriculum.
  • Student projects - Masters projects for Victorian based IKE students? Other WIL opportunities including student volunteers.

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