Entrepreneurs and philanthropists take note: below are some terrific ideas for new health-related online publications.

Croakey recently put out a call on behalf of the Public Interest Journalism Foundation for ideas for online publications covering health-related areas of need.

One of the pitches will be developed during a session at the New News conference, which will again be held as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival, on August 24 and 25.

Many interesting and useful suggestions – ranging from global to specific issues – have landed. They cover:

  • Web 2 and health
  • climate change and health
  • health inequalities and the social determinants of health (two pitches)
  • deafness
  • rural health
  • the food chain
  • public health and law
  • sexuality and young people
  • watchdog for health/welfare claims
  • primary health care
  • overdiagnosis
  • sports injuries prevention
  • non-pharma interventions for people with dementia
  • women with disabilities who experience violence
  • rural medical careers guide
  • humanism and medicine
  • vasculitis.

For those interested in pursuing any of these concepts, there may be some inspiration in this Reporting on Health article about how Kickstarter, a platform for funding of creative projects, raised $US140,000 in a month to start Matter, a website for investigative reporting on science and technology.

The pitches for the New News session, as outlined below, were to explain:

1. the publication’s focus
2. why it is an area of need that might benefit from having an online focus
3. the publication’s main audience.

On related themes, this post about the future of news by software developer Stijn Debrouwere is worth reading, even if you have no particular interest in journalism – many of the issues he raises have broader currency. He concludes: “Most innovation in media and most of the revenue and most of the value will come not from the incumbents and not even from news startups, but from people who unwittingly stumble into producing media as the solution to another problem.”

Perhaps some of the pitches below will fall into that category: an online media-based solution to a health-related problem?

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1. Health2.0 Blur
Malcolm Lewis, Public Health 2.0 innovator/catalyst

1. New technologies for communication, learning, research, coordination, epidemiology such as the full range of new media from webinars, through Youtube to Twitter, from tablets & smartphones, to NBN, and PCEHR are transforming what is possible in health. Concurrently the spread of Web20 and mobile technologies is changing the power relations between health professionals and the public we serve. The public has new expectations. New tech offers new models of service delivery in every area of health from education, to research through to service delivery and evaluation.

2. We need a new type of publication to help us cope with this revolution. It is all changing so fast and we need help in making sense. We need a new web20 multimedia publication to highlight what is good and bad and is difficult about this. We need to support learning and conversations to help us nut a way through all this tech-driven disruptive change.

All this tech is changing boundaries and categories and roles in health. Just as telephone companies and news companies were totally separate before convergence, similar changes will happen to our familiar categories in health like primary health care, population health, tertiary services. Our boundaries blur.

Journals can’t keep up with the change. Conference can’t keep up and twitter is too fast and fleeting. We need a new online web20 multimedia publication.

3. The groups we need to bring into a conversation: Managers, health innovators, tech types, Health Care Professionals of all types, early adopters, education researchers, policy, health public affairs, pharma, people in health sector who use social media in personal life and want guidance to use it in their professional life. Patients need to be in the conversation as well.

Its needs to be more than a web based publication, It needs to be a learning community. Its needs to be Multimedia: Webinars, podcasts, video casts, use guest bloggers, twitter chats, Linkedin discussion groups, Facebook  use aggregation software to bring all the threads to gether like http://grsshopper.downes.ca/

It will be some journalism, some community facilitation, some content curation and totally amazing.

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2. Climate change and health
Fiona Armstrong, Climate and Health Alliance

1. The health implications of climate change

2. This is an area that is being overlooked in public policy development and suffers from a low level of understanding in the community about the implications for human health from climate change and the health benefits of emissions reductions. An online publication could help to draw together the constantly emerging evidence from this dynamic area of research and serve to help bridge the gap between academic knowledge and community literacy on this topic. Online would be the most appropriate forum because of the international nature of the topic – addressing a global issue so sharing information between countries while at the same time focusing on the relevant impacts for a local audience.

3. As above, and international audience but focusing on the health community in Australia to help build understanding of this issue for ALL health professionals, not just public health experts, and helping to build an understanding of the strategies for policy responses for government and decision-makers.

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3. Health inequalities
Associate Professor Marilyn Wise, the Centre for Health Equity Training, Research and Evaluation, University of NSW

1. Inequity in health (and in other social outcomes) is an outcome of unfair, unjust social treatment.

Although it has been recognised, slowly, that this is the case, the search for ‘what needs to be done to overcome or prevent this’ has been focused on ‘ideas’ for ways to redistribute social goods, resources, rewards (and burdens) more fairly and justly.  It is important to ensure that all citizens have equal opportunities (at least) to access these goods and services.

However, decision-making power is, itself, distributed unfairly and unjustly.  Exploring/creating avenues to increase the ‘presence’ of marginalised groups in social decision making is the area I would propose as a focus for the publication.

The arenas in which such decision-making occurs are broad – legislative spaces, policy spaces, practice/service delivery spaces – in the public, private, and civil society sectors.  A brief review of the ‘presence’ of marginalised groups in these (beyond being consultees) shows how limited the decision-making influence of the groups is.

2. There is evidence that being ‘present’ in society’s decision-making forums does (or can) lead to improvements in access to opportunities for previously excluded groups – e.g. women.

There are direct benefits to health arising from being recognised as respected, autonomous, equal participants in social decision-making and there are indirect benefits to health arising from more accurate understanding of problems, their causes, and solutions (and from more direct engagement in implementation) of groups who are not currently ‘present’ in decision-making.

There are multiple questions for debate and discussion that are not ‘technical questions’ but are, rather questions about the values that underpin social decision-making, and about the ways in which our social institutions (in all sectors) and their agents (us) contribute to unfair, unjust social treatment.

Some of the questions for discussion might be, for example:

‘which groups’ need to be ‘present’ in order to increase health development.  Melissa Williams has proposed four criteria to use to identify such groups – these are, doubtless, more.

What would constitute ‘being present’?  How would this be assessed?

Where would we seek greater ‘presence’?  Just in legislative spaces? Or in policy and service spaces?

What structures and processes would be needed to increase ‘the presence’ of marginalised groups.

3. My view is that this is an issue for all health policy makers, managers, and practitioners and to academics – examining the ways in which our own organizations and ways of working constitute or contribute to or perpetuate unfair, unjust social treatment.

But the questions and the solutions are of concern to a much wider variety of people who are engaged in efforts to make Australia a fair, just society in practice – not only in rhetoric.

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4. Health and social justice
Dr Rod Macqueen

1. I work in the area of drug and alcohol problems (D&A) in rural NSW, including work with a number of Aboriginal services. What keeps me here is the issue of equity and social justice, and in all three areas, that is D&A, rural health, and Aboriginal health, we seem to be going nowhere.

People like Michael Marmot and Richard Wilkinson talk at big meetings, and publish influential articles and books, and are justifiably lauded for their work amongst those in the know. But I hear little discussion about equity in discussion with patients or co workers. I do not think these people read Quarterly Essay, or even the one page “in depth” (sic) articles in the papers – but they are usually aware of the issues and the impact of inequity once it is raised. Maybe an online approach might be more appealing and recruit more people to the debate?

2. Given that income, social class, inequity of income distribution and access to some control in one’s life are significant determinants of health, and are all beyond the individuals immediate control, health workers should keep on hammering this issue. But not amongst themselves, rather garnering some popular support as well. A funky, appealing, blog style approach, which nevertheless raises these issues in a questioning rather than a preaching way, may do well. Maybe we have one? – if so I am not aware of it.

3. It must be the general public. Probably the more online savvy age range, but that is probably 3 to 80 today anyway! But specifically, those people who think about issues a little, who reflect upon their world, but do so, at the moment, unaware of the mass of critical thinking and the huge evidence base that already exists.

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5. Deafness
Kyle Miers, Community Relations Manager and Caitlin Syrett, Communications Coordinator, Deaf Children Australia

1. Deafness (and all levels of hearing impairment) as a precursor to poor mental health, and the greater social impacts of deafness and mental health on educational outcomes, workforce participation and social inclusion.

Background statistics:

It’s estimated that 1 in 6 Australians have a hearing loss

There are approximately 16,000 deaf or hard of hearing children in Australia

For every thousand children born, one is born with severe hearing loss

95% of deaf children are born to hearing families, who have had little to no experience with deafness in their lifetime

Around 80% of deaf children attend ‘mainstream’ schools, where they may be the only deaf student

A deaf person is twice as likely to experience a mental health problem than their hearing peers.

Deafness is generally one of the most misunderstood disabilities. It is often considered a health or medical ‘flaw’. However, deafness presents more far-reaching social consequences than just an inability to hear sound. It significantly impacts the lives of deaf people and their families in numerous ways about which the wider community is largely unaware.

Families are fraught with issues about their child’s future, and must make decisions about their hearing technologies, communication methods (hear/speak, use sign language or both), and education modes. They hold concerns for their child’s future: will their child be able to work, access a good education, survive and thrive in the wider world?

The health sector focuses on fixing the child’s deafness with hearing technologies, audiology and speech pathology, but greater exploration, awareness and access to information are needed regarding the social, emotional and physical wellbeing of deaf individuals, and their families, as well as the impact on the wider community.

Deafness presents a barrier to communication, which is crucial in the formative early years for an infant’s cognitive development and language acquisition. This later affects their preparedness for school, educational outcomes, self-identity, confidence, aspirations, employability, workforce participation and economic outcomes. Difficulties in these areas put deaf people at greater risk of experiencing mental health issues and social disengagement. Recent work in this field had revealed a gaping hole in the availability of adequate services to prevent and address the mental wellbeing needs of deaf people.

The spectrum of hearing loss manifests in many and varied social impacts. Current studies suggest that people with even low levels of hearing loss use ‘compensatory’ cognitive behaviours to fill in the gaps of their hearing, These include pre-empting conversation, hyper-alertness and disengagement in social or educational settings, all of which may heighten the risk of developing mental health issues.

An excellent document to refer to regarding mental health and deafness in Australia is Deafness and Mental Health: Guidelines for Working with People who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing (http://www.health.qld.gov.au/pahospital/mentalhealth/docs/damh_guidelines.pdf)

And recommendations made in the 2010 Healthy Deaf Minds Tour report (http://www.deafchildrenaustralia.org.au/sites/default/files/HDMT%20FINAL%20REPORT%20LowRes.pdf)

2. Deafness has implications across many sectors, yet the current medical model which conceptualises deafness as a biological ‘flaw’ promotes gross misunderstanding of the wider, and preventable, personal development and social implications; as well as human rights issues concerning access to communication and language. The effects of acquired hearing loss in Indigenous communities (as a result of noise-overexposure or childhood illness) on behaviour, education and crime is also an area requiring further investigation and understanding.

At present, deafness is a fragmented sector. Educational outcomes for deaf children are an education sector issue. Employment outcomes for deaf people are an employment issue. The choice to give your child a Cochlear Implant, or not, remains a medical issue, despite the impact this has on the rest of the deaf person’s life. Deaf non-profits in each state provide services for their local deaf adult community. Individual researchers pursue their particular areas of interest (such as language, neurology, and education). Peer-review journals exist for specific professions, but there’s nothing as yet that investigates and disseminates a comprehensive body of knowledge around deafness and all associated public, policy and social impacts. Without it, deafness will continue to remain a fragmented and poorly understood medical cause of wider public and social impact.

Professionals, parents and the wider community can benefit from content that discusses and exposes the hidden non-medical issues of deafness. It would resource them to provide better support and services to holistically address the personal and social needs of deaf people, enabling them to lead full and active lives, and contribute positively to the general community.

The key focus should be on preventive factors that can maximise life outcomes, including the implications for the social and emotional wellbeing of deaf people.

3. A centralised, online and accessible publication of deafness, with the aim of creating better understanding of a holistic approach to deafness and its associated impacts on physical, mental and social wellbeing issues, would benefit the health sector, education, community services, policy makers, family services, deaf people, families of deaf people, employment services and related research fields such as linguistics and neurology.

Potential contributors could also include:

Audiology and speech therapists

General Practitioners

Ear, Nose and Throat specialists

Psychologists

Disability services

Educators (including linguistics)

Parents

Members of deaf/ hard of hearing community

Specialist service providers (employment, health, case management)

Please forward all correspondence to [email protected]

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6. Rural health
Gordon Gregory, National Rural Health Alliance

1. The focus would be the set of issues that between them result in health status in rural and remote Australia being worse than in the capital cities. It includes the social determinants of health (such things as low incomes, lower levels of completed education, greater proportion of people with a disability, and poorer access to infrastructure); and deficiencies in the health system itself (poorer access to health services, shortages of health staff, higher costs of delivering health care, later diagnosis leading to worse outcomes and higher mortality).  The average life expectancy in rural/remote areas is around four years less than four the major cities.

2. Although online communications are not yet a panacea for rural challenges because the platforms for them are not yet as comprehensive, robust or affordable in rural and remote areas as they are in major cities (the so-called digital divide), it is likely that, over time, online communications will minimise the deficits mentioned in one above and help bring equivalent health outcomes and services to the Bush.

3. Over 7 million people live in rural and remote areas, which some of them already well-connected. Among health professionals, rural general practitioners are already relatively well-connected and there is growing capability in many rural areas.  Much is expected of the NBN and the associated commitment that, for those who cannot be connected by fibre, there will be special  (and affordable) satellite connections. The development of an online publication relating to rural and remote health would therefore help meet a real need and would now be timely, given that online communications with the Bush are improving and will long be the only means by which the tyranny of distance can be partially overcome.

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7. Our Food Chain
Wendy Cavenett, Writer in Melbourne

1. The area of focus for the publication would be ‘food’, or more specifically, ‘our food chain’. This would enable a range of inter-related topics to be covered from environment, agricultural, diet, nutrition, the challenges facing food production in the future, as well as the challenges facing many Western populations in the grip of obesity epidemics – or diseases caused by over-eating or bad eating. In summary, Our Food Chain would seek to: 1) define what our food chain actually is, how it is changing, and its sustainability; 2) examine the context in which food, the consumer, the environment and industry are placed and how that shapes and affects our health and the health of the environment; 3) examine our relationshop to food (too much – food as an addiction, comfort, pleasure; not enough – poverty) and its affect on our health (eg type 2 diabetes, heart disease) and ultimately, lifespan.

2. It is an area of need because: 1) world population is growing at an alarming rate and there is no long-term global food plan; 2) there is extreme excess and extreme poverty experienced across the world; 3)  a mismanagement of food (and our food chain) is resulting in unhealthy lives (huge medical expense) and premature deaths; 4) in many Western societies, food has become the new addiction, comfort, aphrodisiac… etc… causing an epidemic in lifestyle diseases…. An online focus would enable interactivity, feedback and video to accompany interviews, features and Q&A’s. It would also enable global participation…

3. The audience would be anybody interested in examining: 1) food in its many and varying forms (as sustenance, addiction, comfort); 2) our connection to our food chain and how it relates to our health (diet, nutrition, disease, psychology, longevity etc); 3) the health of our environment (including animals, agriculture, the oceans etc).

Outcome: A positive change in the way participants view the food chain, and how what we eat affects our health and lifespan.

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8. Public health and law
Rebecca Johnson, public health lawyer, Cancer Council Western Australia

1. A new e-publication that explores the dynamic role of law in making public health change will challenge, stimulate and inform.  It’s time to get law and public health talking.

2. Law is a crucial aspect of public health practice.  Legal action, whether legislative or litigative, has the capacity to either underpin or undermine population health objectives.  But although they both seek to influence behaviour, law and public health don’t always speak the same language.  Public health is a realm of evidence, surveillance, interventions and evaluations; law is a black-lettered lingo subject to a jumble of interpretations, nuances and analyses.  The interface between the two disciplines is a fascinating place.

An online publication that bridges the disciplines of law and public health will be a thought-provoking read.  My vision is a publication that explores the legal, ethical, and justice issues embedded across the spectrum of population health, and the wealth of ways in which the law can be mobilized to achieve public health will.  It should be online because it will start conversations – this publication will grow organically, inviting contribution, content and comment from a multidisciplinary readership.  It will offer fresh perspectives on the uses of law and the practice of public health.

3. It will be relevant to a wide range of readers, including public health practitioners, lawyers, students, policy and decision makers, advocates and the wider community.

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9. Sexuality and young people
Fron Jackson, Section Editor, Health and Medicine, The Conversation

1. Better sexuality information for young people and their parents

2. School-based sexuality education programs are patchy at best, with teachers reporting limited confidence in their sexual health content knowledge and their ability to discuss difficult issues. And if parents don’t feel equipped to discuss these issues with their children in an age-appropriate way, young people need to source the information themselves.

This forum would allow young people, parents and teachers to get sexual health information that goes beyond STIs and condoms, to deal with the sensitive issues of unwanted sex, negotiating relationships, same-sex attraction and online communication of sexual content. It would also provide a guide to parents about age-appropriate sexuality information.

It’s suited to the online space because this is where we look for information; it also allows the audience to look over the information in private and in their own time, and to build a community of readers who can share their insights.

3. Pre-teens, teens, parents of young people, teachers

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10. Watchdog for health/welfare claims
Melissa Raven, Psychiatric epidemiologist and policy analyst, Adjunct lecturer, Discipline of Public Health, Flinders University

1. The focus of the publication would be the accuracy of claims about health/welfare issues made in the public arena (mass media, blogs, social media) and in grey literature and in academic literature.

These claims are made by advocates, lobbyists, politicians, journalists, PR professionals, researchers, clinicians, consumer organisations, and members of the public.

2. Many claims about health/welfare issues are used to influence public perceptions and policy directions. Many of these claims are misleading or even blatantly false. But they are often loosely linked to statistical and other evidence that makes them seem plausible.

Once inaccurate claims enter the public arena, they may be propagated by other people unaware of their inaccuracy.

The UK organisation Full Fact is an example of the sort of process and content that I am advocating:

Full Fact is an independent fact-checking organisation. We make it easier to see the facts and context behind the claims made by the key players in British political debate and press those who make misleading claims to correct the record.
http://fullfact.org/

There is no Australian equivalent. The sort of critical analysis that Full Fact undertakes and publishes does occur to some extent in Australia, but it is published very haphazardly in various outlets such as Crikey, The Conversation, Media Watch, letters to the editor of mainstream newspapers, and academic journals.

The idea is to have a website to which people could go when they encounter claims that they think may be problematic, or if they simply want more information.

3. The publication would be useful to the public, journalists etc. – anyone interested in the accuracy of health/welfare claims.
It would be useful to many of the people who make these sorts of claims. It would help them to:

  • analyse the accuracy of claims of other players
  • challenge inaccurate claims
  • use evidence more accurately themselves
  • realise that if they make misleading or inaccurate claims, they are likely to be challenged

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11. Primary health care
Mary Chiarella, Professor of Nursing, Sydney Nursing School, University of Sydney

1. There is a need to shift government policy on health to a primary health care perspective – from a workforce, clinical, policy, economic, media and public perspective.

2. It might benefit from having an online focus because I don’t think you’d necessarily get an academic journal to focus solely on the topic but it is a topic that desperately needs both debate and ideas – everybody agrees but really nobody seems to know HOW to do it.

3. The audience would be everyone with an interest in better health.
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12. Overdiagnosis
Amanda Wilson, Media Doctor Australia

1. Over-diagnosis is a topic gathering interest in research circles.

2.The concept of DIY testing which is advertised in magazines and pushed through the media, and the rise of genetic testing is a worrying one.

3. The main audience would be the general public who are targeted.

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13. Sports injury prevention
Professor Caroline Finch, NHMRC Principal Research Fellow, Australian Centre for Research into Sports Injury and its Prevention  

1. Participation in sport, for many, is not without some element of risk but the majority of sports injuries can be prevented easily.  Injury-free participation in sport by the vast majority of Australians, whether it be through community clubs, schools or just recreationally, can be achieved through the adoption of proven prevention measures.

2. There is much misinformation about how and why sports injuries occur in the popular media.  Much of this is fuelled by the extensive coverage given to serious injuries and their impacts in professional and elite athletes.  However, the nature of sport played by professionals and that participated in by the remaining 95+% of Australians is very different.  This means that the level of injury risk is different and there are also differences in what/how injuries can be prevented.  Recent reports of unfortunate deaths in sport in Australia (field hockey, community football, surf life saving) have accelerated the level of community fear about sports injury risk and led to a proliferation of ill-informed views about their prevention.

Common beliefs about who gets sports injuries and why (e.g. “everyone who plays sport will get an injury” “injury is inevitable” “sport is so dangerous that I am not going to let my child play it” “there is nothing that can be done to prevent sports injury” “people hurt themselves by accident” “there are so many serious injuries in the national football team, that shows this sport is dangerous”) whilst common, are simply not true.  Similarly popular beliefs about the preventability of injuries such as (“you just want to cotton wool our kids”, “helmets are the answer to preventing all head injuries” “AFL players are always getting injured and there is nothing that could have prevented them”, “it was a freak accident”) are also incorrect.

There is no doubt that these incorrect beliefs exist.  But there is also ample scientific evidence about what could be done to prevent sports injuries.  There is a clear disconnect between scientific knowledge and public (sports participant) knowledge and this new online focus will be a powerful and authoritative (i.e. based on expert advice) tool to reducing this gap.

3. All those involved in community sport – whether as a coach, team manager, sports administrator, parent, sports trainer, teacher or participant.  This will cover many sports, not just the football codes that currently get most attention in the media. The key for making sport safer is to get the latest information out to those who most need it – those involved in the delivery of sport and those who play it – not just continuing to only inform scientific audiences.  Experiences from the community will need to inform the knowledge exchange and an online forum would enhance and facilitate this.

RELATED RECENT BLOGS (publically available but still mainly only targeting a scientific audience)

Sports injuries are freak accidents – or are they? British Journal of Sports Medicine blog. Posted 10/04/2012.http://blogs.bmj.com/bjsm/2012/04/10/sports-injuries-are-freak-accidents-or-are-they/

Twitter for dissemination of injury messages – more discussion about primary prevention needed. Injury Prevention blog. Posted 9/04/2012. http://blogs.bmj.com/injury-prevention/2012/04/09/twitter-for-dissemination-of-injury-messages-more-discussion-about-primary-prevention-needed/

Blog response (by Finch) re: Sideline assessment of concussion and return to play – are we practising what we preach? Posted 15/11/2011. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine blog. http://cjsmblog.com/2011/10/27/sideline-assessment-of-concussion-and-return-to-play-are-we-practising-what-we-preach/

Concussion in sport: new hints about the content of concussion management messages and the timing of interventions. Injury Prevention blog. Posted 17/10/2011. http://blogs.bmj.com/injury-prevention/2011/10/17/concussion-in-sport-new-hints-about-the-content-of-concussion-management-messages-and-the-timing-of-interventions/

Is it time for a new breed of professional sport role model? Posted 7/10/2011. http://www.monash.edu.au/news/show/is-it-time-for-a-new-breed-of-professional-sport-role-model.

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14. Non-pharma interventions for people with dementia
Bo Li, Senior Policy Advisor Professional Practice, The Australian Psychological Society 

1. Use of non-pharmacological interventions for patients with dementia, particularly for early stages. There is a significant body of literature regarding the use of effective (clinically and financially) behavioural interventions. The attached literature review will be of interest to you. It was part of our submission to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into caring for older Australians early last year.

2. There is considerable interest in aged care reform since the Govt’s aged care reform package announcement. With increased number of people with dementia, early and effective intervention is a key. By focusing on non-pharmacological interventions, there will be a signficant reduced pressure on the PBS spending (both in medications for dementia but also for other drugs to counter its effect – poly pharmacy). In addition, effective behavourial intervention techniques can be readily learnt by carers (qualified and non-qualified), so it is more accessible, as opposed to medication management and review, which requires pharmacists/GP/geriatrician etc.

3. Mainly to the public, carers, and also policy makers and commentators.

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15. Women with disabilities who experience violence
Marie McInerney, VCOSS publications editor, and Tricia Malowney, Co-Chair of the Women with Disabilities Victoria

1. Women with disabilities who experience family/carer/other violence

2. Victorian women with disabilities will experience more abuse, for longer periods, and far are less likely to report the abuse or get a fair hearing. See the (6 min) video put together about this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EovgP4YXjL8 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EovgP4YXjL8> .

Why is this?Because they’re far more vulnerable (reliant on people for care, often institutionalised, unable to communicate), are often too scared to report (of further abuse, or of losing their home if they report), are often not believed (‘any bloke kind enough to stay with her must be a good bloke’), have trouble communicating abuse (for example, someone who can’t speak might not have the ‘words’ programmed into their word processor to speak of the abuse, and it may be against the law to actually load appropriate words in them because that may be ‘coaching’), or have nowhere to go to be safe (too few accessible refuges for women with disabilities escaping family violence etc)…..

3. Women with disabilities themselves, to be given a voice and a platform; service organisations (including those supporting women and those which may not understand their needs and risks), policy makers; media; government.

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16. Rural Medical Careers Guide
Matt Irwin, a fifth year medical student at the University of New South Wales who represents medical students to the National Rural Health Students Network  

The Rural Careers Guide would be a continually updated and interactive website used by every Australian medical student to learn how they can train to become and practice as a doctor specialist in a rural area.  The site aims to answer questions asked by hundreds of medical students concerning what they can and cannot do outside metropolitan areas, as well as give them an idea of the extent to which various specialities are able to be practiced in rural and remote areas.  As well as this, we want to provide them with profiles of specialists that have trained or are practiced rurally, and get frank answers regarding what it meant for their career, what it meant to their income, what it meant to their family life etc.  Put simply, we want to outline how students can train to become a specialist in rural areas and where they can (and currently do) practice once they are qualified.  We want to be able to map out for them where they can work and how many specialists are currently there.

2. A few years back, the number of students studying medicine was doubled in an attempt to combat the chronic shortage of GPs and specialists in rural Australia.  However, most medical students still see themselves training and practising in the city because “to go rural would be career suicide”.  Students fear that going rural would mean they have to become a GP, they will be underpaid, overworked and not respected by their city colleagues.  As a medical student I wanted to know if this was actually the case.  So, we want to create a comprehensive, fact-based source of information for students that will tell them if they can train to become the specialist they want to be in a rural area, practice as the type of specialist they want to be in a rural area, and what it will mean for their career, income, work-life balance and family life.  By getting all the facts on the table we hope to convince students it is not “career suicide”, get them out to rural areas, and improve access to healthcare for our rural cousins.

3. The 17,000 Australian students currently studying Medicine, with the potential to expand the service to include nursing students.  Thousands of specialists from overseas will likely also be interested in the information on the site as they will want to determine where they put their specialist skills to use.  Eventually with enough data we could offer a postcode lookup tool, or map of areas to train or work as a specialist for every type of specialist (surgeon, cardiologist, cancer specialist etc.)

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17. Humanism and medicine
Reema Rattan, Section Editor, Health and Medicine, The Conversation

1. Person-centred medicine or introducing humanism to medicine
Many people feel alienated by how doctors treat them and the success of alternative medicines lies in the tendency that such therapists have to pay attention to people talking about themselves (which may be beneficial in itself – https://theconversation.edu.au/now-lets-talk-about-me-self-disclosure-is-intrinsically-rewarding-6897

Women who choose to home birth are often refugees from hospitals who have had a really bad experience; many people are kept alive just because we have the technology etc. Doctors focus on population-level outcomes and often discount individual wishes or at least try to dismiss them.
There are researchers working on patient-centred medicine but the patients (known to non-resaerchers as people) are absent.

2. Allows for a collaborative endeavour. Both doctors and people could find open ways to talk about illness in a way that doesn’t make patients feel they are being dictated to.

3. Everyone!

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 18. Vasculitis: the Disease that Deceives
Geraldine Robertson
Women’s Web – Women’s Stories, Women’s Actions
www.womensweb.com.au <http://www.womensweb.com.au>
http://www.vasculitis.net.au

1. for people with are rare, undiagnosed or misdiagnosed condition who are having a problem with their relationship with medical providers because of this.

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I will keep you posted on which pitch will be developed at the New News public health session.

 

 

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