“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health,” said Hippocrates, and it stands true today. Put another way, he’s talking about preventive healthcare.
With so many competing priorities, good preventative healthcare is difficult to prioritise in today’s fast paced, efficiency-focused and often impatient world we live in. We wait until we get sick because often there is very little alternative when trying to work, educate, support and nurture ourselves and families, and perform in all the other roles expected of us. How do we truly make the healthier choices, the easier choices with so much going on in our lives?
At Health and Wellbeing Queensland, it’s about supporting and empowering everyone to live a better life. We know the same solution doesn’t work for everyone and our aim is that the right supports are available at the right time, for the right community. It’s about getting in early to motivate and to empower Queenslanders to find ways to prioriitse their health before they get sick that is contextualised to their own environment: where people live, work, learn and play. That’s no easy task.
Like many things in life, the path to wellbeing and balance is grounded in simplicity, yet its execution can be complex—people are complex. With people, population and communities at the centre of all we do, our key establishment activities around strengthening policy, creating a place-based approach, managing programs and building a new Queensland-specific evidence base stands firm.
Given we’re just over 12 months since establishment, we wanted to share with you our journey highlights.
Agile and evolving
When COVID-19 changed our way of living earlier this year, we were well underway with our program of work. Given our role is to adapt to the needs of Queenslanders, we did. We launched Boost Your Healthy, a digital hub providing support, inspiration and ideas to help Queenslanders stay healthy and active throughout and beyond the pandemic. Deveoped with an alliance partnership, the speed with which this hub came together was amazing. It has grown now to become a thriving resource for all things health and wellbeing related. COVID-19 aside, Boost Your Healthy has served our community and will continue to do so regardless.
Always informed by evidence
To apply the science of prevention, our data, analytics and intelligence remain a priority. In collaboratively building a new evidence base that’s specific to Queensland, we are well positioned to support the excellent health sector to provide even more precise, services to the right people, in the right place, at the right time. By building prevention science into our health system, we will be able to reduce the burden of chronic disease for individuals and the system. That’s a win for individuals, the health system and the economy.
Our program of work
With our foundational strategic planning completed, progressing the operational and implementation planning has been a priority for the team. A significant focus on population behaviour change and impact drives our performance.
The building blocks of our work are set and we have:
- Launched Pick of the Crop pilots in Bowen and Bundaberg (with a third location to be announced soon) in close in collaboration with school communities and local farmers to support nutrition and healthy eating programs for primary school students.
- Launched the Clinicians Hub to support health sector clinicians to tackle childhood obesity.
- Expanded the ECHO Queensland learning hub, in partnership with the leading supplier of online professional education and cased-based learning for clinicians. Originally conceived to serve rural and remote areas, telementoring is here to stay. To date we have delivered two obesity series and more to come next year, and plans are underway for telementoring series to serve our Remote Food Stores project partners and Queensland tuckshops.
- Progressed establishment of three community Wellbeing Hubs in collaboration with the Remote Food Stores Network to improve food security and community wellbeing.
- Progressed development of a whole of government Queensland Equity Framework, which will seek to address the roots of health and wellbeing inequality in our communities and give rise to housing, food, education and safety for all Queenslanders.
- Launched and continued to build Boost your Healthy, a public health initiative that delivers evidence informed resources around boosting activity, healthy eating and achieving and maintaining wellbeing.
- Implemented our Strategic Plan 2020-2024 which is a multi-strategy, multi-sector, coordinated approach. It also supports the Queensland Government’s objectives to ‘Keep Queenslanders healthy’ and ‘Give all our children a great start’.
- Commenced testing and calibrating our operational plans.
Partnerships are paramount
Partnerships are fundamental to our work and I would like to acknowledge the ongoing commitment from our partners including non-government organisations, Hospital and Health Services, government departments, universities, consumer and advocacy groups, peak bodies, associations, communities, families and individuals.
Focused on the end-game
As we move from establishment to consolidation, action and implementation, through our partnerships we will continue to put academic rigour around all our efforts to improve decision making, reduce healthcare burden, and drive evidence-based health system reform.
Stay safe, take care of each other and continue to Boost your Healthy.