Southgate Institute researchers working on Centre for Research Excellence on the Social Determinants of Health Equity (CRE-Health Equity) were in Canberra 9-13 May for the annual research retreat and policy day; joining with colleagues from ANU, University of Sydney, University of Ottawa, and the Lowitja Institute. During the first 3 days the research team ‘retreated’ at a beautiful venue on Mt Stromlo to discuss CRE-Health Equity’s four major research themes. Two international visitors joined the retreat, Chief Investigator Ron Labonté Canada Research Chair in Globalization and Health Equity at the University of Ottawa, and Associate Investigator, Dame Margaret Whitehead W.H. Duncan Professor of Public Health and Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Policy Research on Social Determinants of Health from the University of Liverpool.
On Thursday the CRE-Health Equity team led by Prof Sharon Friel and Prof Fran Baum hosted a very successful National Policy Forum at the ANU titled A fair go for all: Addressing Social and Health Inequities in Australia and Internationally. The forum included two panel discussions. The first, on the topic of Health Equity and the Budget, included Andrew Leigh of the Labor Party, Dr Richard Di Natale from the Australian Greens, Dr John Hewson, former leader of the Liberal Party, and Profs Friel and Whitehead. The discussion was hosted by Paul Barclay, from RN’s Big Ideas programme and is available here. The second panel discussed Lifting the Lid on Systemic Racism: Indigenous Health and was led by Romlie Mokak, CEO of the Lowitja Institute and included four other Indigenous leaders on health and equity: Janine Mohamed, CEO of the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives; Dr Tamara Mackean from Flinders University (also a member of the CRE-Health Equity research team); Luke Pearson, founder of @IndigenousX; and Richard Weston, CEO of the Healing Foundation. We will be publishing a short report on this panel discussion in the coming weeks.
On the Friday, research team leaders met with the CRE-Health Equity Critical Policy Reference Group. The CPRG is made up of people working in policy, inside and outside government, and provides a critical policy perspective on the research. Members provided some highly insightful and useful feedback on research themes, learnings from the Policy Forum, and the CRE-Health Equity goal of integrating Indigenous theory and perspectives on research across the programme.