independent, in-depth social journalism for health


@WePublicHealth: An experiment in citizen journalism meets public health

@WePublicHealth tests the use of a rotated curated Twitter account as a new model for citizen journalism with a public health focus.

Every week, a different person – including community members and public health professionals – is asked to tweet-report and investigate public health matters.

Their focus might be local – for example, documenting the cost of fresh foods in remote communities via tweet-photos – national or global (for example, reporting from international conferences and events).

They might use the account to share a photographic or film-based investigation, or to share links to related resources and research, for example. Or they might convene Twitter chats or interviews around particular topics, events or hashtags.

One of the goals is to encourage creative use of Twitter for public interest discussions and investigations.

Information for @WePublicHealth applicants and tweeters

1. The @WePublicHealth project aims to encourage public health investigations and reporting of events and issues that are likely to be of interest or use to Croakey readers. We ask that you consider how you can use the week to provide a service to the account’s followers.

2. If you are interested in a stint on @WePublicHealth, please get in touch with a note about what you’d like to cover. Send a short bio and the topic or event that you would like to cover. The account is not available to those working for Coca-Cola et al.

3. The @WePublicHealth tweets are displayed on the Croakey home page. Please be aware of this, and maintain a respectful, civil tone in your tweets and discussions. Do not tweet anything you would not want to see on Croakey’s home page.

4. This account is not to be used for personal attacks. As the guests have control over the account, they are legally responsible for their tweets. Croakey does not accept responsibility if guest tweeters publish defamatory comments.

@WePublicHealth is inspired by the work of Luke Pearson with @IndigenousX (as previously profiled at Croakey, here and here), and Sarah Stokely who curates @WeMelbourne  and @WeTasmania.

@WePublicHealth archives

For the 2013-2014 archives will be available soon.

@WePublicHealth 2015 archive


30 May

During this week of World No Tobacco Day, @ACONwomen talks all things #WNTD2016 and #SmokeFreeStillFierce campaign launching this week.

23 May

This week is National Palliative Care Week (22-28 May). A number of organisations are getting together to tweet about a range of end of life care and palliative care activities this week.

Rebecca Bartel (@RebeccaBartel) Executive Director from The Australian Centre for Health Research (@ACHRorg) is launching the Australian edition of @deathoverdinner. This is an exciting interactive website dedicated to giving people the permission and the tools to discuss their choices and thoughts on end of life and End of Life Care with their friends and loved ones. They have a number of launch events on this week.

Liz Callaghan (@PCACEO) CEO of Palliative Care Australia, the peak national body for palliative care, and her team will be tweeting from a range of events planned for National Palliative Care Week.

The Palliverse team (@palliverse) will be attending a range of events this week and will be contributing their experience and expertise. If you are around, join the #PallANZ tweetchat 26 May 2016 (7pm Sydney time) on the the topic of “Living Well with Chronic Illness”, the theme of Australia’s National Palliative Care Week (#NPCW16). ​



16 May

Aram Hosie – @AramHosie – is Executive Manager Public Affairs at @cohealth_au
One of Australia’s largest community health organisations, coheath’s mission is to improve health and wellbeing for all, and to tackle inequality in partnership with people and their communities. Originally graduating as an Occupational Therapist, Aram’s career has spanned service delivery, policy, leadership and public affairs roles across a number of contexts including mental health, alcohol and drug, Aboriginal affairs and community health in both the government and non-government sectors.

Aram is also a Board Director for the Victorian AIDS Council and has a long history of advocacy on LGBTI rights and health issues in Australia and internationally – work for which he was recognised in 2015 as a Human Rights (Community) Award Finalist.

Aram will be using his time at the helm of the @wepublichealth account to cover the 2016 VICSERV #TowardsRecovery conference and other health news as it develops.




9 May

Rhonda Wilson – @RhondaWilsonMHN – is a registered nurse with diverse rural nursing clinical expertise. She is a mental health nurse researcher with a particular interest in the mental health and drug and alcohol health care of young people in rural and regional communities. Rhonda is an active member of the Australian College of Mental Health Nurses and the Congress of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nurses and Midwives. She is a Member of the University of New England Human Research Ethics Committee.

Rhonda’s scholarly and research interests include the development of e-health strategies and the use of social media amongst health professionals. She is an advocate for rural mental health and contributes to contemporary rural health conversations in social media such as Twitter @RhondaWilsonMHN #RuralMH. Rhonda has a regular ABC radio series Bush Remedies: You and your mental health’

Rhonda lectures in the under graduate and post graduate nursing and mental health courses and she supervises a number of higher degree research students in the School of Health.



2 May

Jane Martin – @janemartinopc – is executive manager of the Obesity Policy Coalition and will be tweeting from Vancouver at the International Congress on Obesity ICO. Follow #ICO2016. The OPC is a partnership of Cancer Council Victoria, Diabetes Victoria and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University; with funding from VicHealth. The OPC advocates for policy and regulatory reform around unhealthy food marketing, tax and pricing measures, and food labelling issues. Jane has a Bachelor of Arts and Masters in Public Health and has fellowships at Melbourne and Deakin Universities. Jane is the Vice-President of the Australia New Zealand Obesity Society, a board member of Family Planning Victoria and an alumnus of the Williamson Leadership program.  She was the recipient of the Jack Brockhoff Churchill Fellowship travelling to the US and UK to study advocacy strategies in obesity prevention. She writes, presents, publishes and is often called upon to comment in the media on obesity prevention policy issues.



25 April

Mark Metherell, Communications Director for the Consumers Health Forum of Australia, is discussing health issues in the run-up to the Federal Budget and Federal election. Mark is a former Fairfax health journalist of many years experience. Follow @MetherellMark


18 April

Dr Alana Mann@alana_mann – is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney and a researcher in the Sydney Environment Institute’s Food, People and the Planet node and the Charles Perkins Centre. She is a member of the Right to Food Coalition and sits on the committee of the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance. Her book Global Activism in Food Politics: Power Shift was published in 2014.  She will focus on urban food insecurity, considering contributing factors such as lack of affordable housing and poor access to transport, and how planners are addressing these issues.


11 April

Luke Craven – @LukeCraven – is a PhD Candidate at the University of Sydney and the Sydney Environment Institute. His interests lie in the application of social and political theory to contemporary policy problems, with a focus on food politics, policy, and system reform. He will be previewing the launch of the Right to Food Coalition and a Food Security Research Forum that is to be hosted by Monash and Deakin Universities.


4 April

Elissa Elvidge – @ElissaElvidge – is a PhD candidate at the University of Newcastle (primary supervisor is Prof Yin Paradies, Deakin University). Her research is titled “An Aboriginal cultural safety and security framework for NSW hospitals”. Elissa hopes that by producing the first empirically validated Aboriginal Cultural Safety and Security framework, this research will provide the methodological foundation for further research and policy that will contribute to improving both the accessibility and acceptability of hospitals for Aboriginal people in NSW. Elissa has over 7 years experience working in public health at Hunter New England Local Health District, Population Health Unit (2007-2014). During this time she was part of several teams including: the HIV and Related Programs, sexual health promotion team, an Influenza surveillance program as part of the Acute Response team and she was also a member of the Cultural Redesign Advisory committee. In the CRA committee she was part of a team who developed ways of ensuring that the population health programs and workplace culture was culturally safe and free from racism. It was during this time that she developed a passion for cultural safety. Elissa’s academic interests include working with marginalised communities to improve health equity, racism as a social determinant of health, and using social media in public health research. Elissa will be tweeting about her experiences working in public health, cultural safety, her research methods and is particularly interested in hearing from clinicians about how they “do” cultural safety.

Elissa1 Elissa4Elissa3

28 March

The #TalkingTeeth series is in the spotlight this week. In the chair are Professor Marc Tennant – @MarcTennant – and Professor Estie Kruger – @EstieNikla1 – from the International Research Collaborative – Oral Health and Equity at the Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology, The University of Western Australia.  Read more about the series here.

Winthrop Professor Marc Tennant and Professor Estie Kruger

The International Research Collaborative Oral Health and Equity, Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Human Biology, The University of Western Australia

Marc and Estie (along with their colleague Professor Kate Dyson) have been working together for nearly two decades on addressing the issues of oral health and marginalisation. The team started out as the Centre for Rural and Remote Oral Health that has now evolved into the International Research Collaborative Oral Health and Equity. They are the leading dental public health team in Australia with graduate students and Fellows now spread all over the planet. Their team of some 150 Fellows and 40 active graduate students work on diverse issues ranging from forensic identification through to large scale mathematical modelling. The team publishes in the international peer review literature at the rate of about a paper a fortnight. Their efforts in addressing inequities have seen them build the discipline of rural, remote and Indigenous oral health into a thriving area of activity in Australia. The team is responsible for the development of the gold-standard model of remote area dental care, with a strong community lead focus. The team has also played substantial roles in the development of all of Australia’s new dental schools and were instrumental in the new now universally accepted models of dental education in Australia. The multi-award winning team are leads in their field; most recently Professors Dyson and Tennant being made Fellows of St Catherine’s College at UWA, with Professor Kruger winning multiple awards for her teaching. More importantly their students have won awards all over the world including the Prime Ministers Award in Australia and others winning excellence awards from the Saudi Government.



21 March

Craig Dalton – @CraigBDalton – is a public health physician and founder of As convenor of the 3rd International Workshop on Participatory Surveillance in Newcastle 22-24th March, he will be tweeting about innovations and challenges in tech leveraged participatory public health surveillance. IWOPS3 is hosted by @HMRIAustralia and funded by @SkollGlobal.




14 March

It is timely to have Mary Freer – @FreerMary – in the chair during the week of #ChangeDayAus (16 March). To date, more than 60,000 pledges have been made, making this the largest mobilisation of people towards health improvement in Australia. Mary founded Australia’s first Change Day, held on 6th March 2014. This national quality improvement campaign resulted in over 15,000 individuals and organisations making a pledge to do one thing to improve patient and client outcomes. In 2015 Change Day Australia engaged 50,000 people in making a pledge for improvement.  This work can be seen at change Over many years Mary has contributed to Australia’s national health and social care reform agenda through her work with state and commonwealth agencies. She has held leadership positions with national government and not for profit health care  and social welfare services, including women’s and community health services, healthdirect Australia, the Department of the Premier and Cabinet in South Australia, Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation,  Health Workforce Australia and now as Director of freerthinking and CEO of Change Day Australia.




7 March

Kellie Tranter – @Kellietranter – is a lawyer, human rights activist and producer of @humanrightshr. She will tweet about health in the context of climate change and human rights.


29 February

Aine Healy is the Director Advocacy, at the NSW Council for intellectual disability. She plays a key role in establishing and maintaining local, statewide and national connections on key policy issues, establishing strategic directions, and ensuring that CID is both responsive to the concerns of people with intellectual disability and led by them. She has a long history of working in partnership with people with cognitive disability, and combines those skills with strengths in network development, collaborative partnering with government and non government agencies, and systemic advocacy on issues of importance to people with intellectual disability.

CID Senior Advocate Jim Simpson, who shares the @nswcid handle with Aine, has been a long time campaigner on improving health for people with intellectual disability. He has led many initiatives for CID including successful campaigning for improved access to Medicare, coordination of the 1st National Roundtable on the Mental Health of people with intellectual disability and publishing the resources “Healthier Lives” Health Fact Sheets.

CID is a 60-year-old organisation, led by people with intellectual disability – with the majority of Board Members being people with an intellectual disability. CID undertakes a range of functions – systemic advocacy, providing policy advice, expert representation and operates a specialist information service. Health and mental health are two priority campaign areas for CID given that there are over 300,000 people with intellectual disability in Australia and they have very high rates of health problems. These problems are often not diagnosed or well treated. CID works with social change agents, health professionals, government and service providers with the aim of improving the health of people with intellectual disability. CID wants to make sure people with intellectual disability have the support they need to get healthy and stay healthy.

CID tweets from @nswcid & is excited to be tweeting from @wepublichealth this week and raising the profile of the health needs of people with intellectual disability and encouraging others to include people with intellectual disability in broad health reform strategies.








22 February

Jessica Gregory – @JessKBGregory is the Communications and Media Officer at ANROWS, Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety.

Amongst other things, she will be tweeting this week from #ANROWS2016, which is also being covered by the Croakey Conference News Service.

Previously she worked on policy, communications and media projects at Domestic Violence Victoria, the peak body for family violence services in Victoria.

Jess has worked in communications for non-profit organisations as diverse as the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and her local community house. She also gained governance experience as a board member of the community house.

Jess has a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications) and a Diploma of Modern Languages (French) from the University of Melbourne. She has written for numerous magazines and websites including Crikey and My French Life.

While completing her studies Jess was the green room contact for the ABC television programs Insiders and Offsiders. This role led to a keen interest in politics, media and social change.


15 February

Daniel James – @mrdtjames – is a Yorta Yorta man with a lifelong passion for social justice and health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Daniel is currently the Program Manager of National Aboriginal Health Outcomes at the National Heart Foundation.




8 February

Melissa Stoneham – @DrMelStoneham – is the Deputy Director at the Public Health Advocacy Institute in Western Australia. She is passionate about advocating for change, Indigenous issues, succession planning in public health and mentoring. She is involved in a range of public health issues but this week will be tweeting from the International Gambling Conference being held at the Auckland University of Technology – follow #IGC2016 and @IGCnz.

The IGC receives no funding or support from the gambling industry and has brought together a range of researchers, practitioners and policy makers to discuss how to prevent harm in the shifting world of gambling.



1 February

Professor Bernadette McSherry is the Foundation Director of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute at the University of Melbourne and an Adjunct Professor of Law at both the Melbourne Law School and the Faculty of Law at Monash University. She researches and writes in the fields of criminal law and mental health law and is the author/editor and co-author/co-editor of ten books, 25 book chapters and over 150 journal articles.Bernadette is President of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law and a legal member of the Victorian Mental Health Tribunal. Her current research projects funded by the Australian Research Council and other funding bodies are investigating ways of regulating the use of seclusion and restraint in health care settings in different countries; what supported decision-making means for individuals with severe mental health issues and finding alternatives to preventive detention for accused persons considered unfit to stand trial.

The Melbourne Social Equity Institute is a ‘virtual’ research institute which connects researchers from a range of disciplines with community members, practitioners and policymakers to identify unjust or unfair practices that lead to social inequity and work towards finding ways to ameliorate disadvantage. More information is at

This week, Bernadette will be tweeting about mental health law issues and also tweeting some of the sessions at the Melbourne Social Equity Institute’s Conference on Disability, Human Rights and Social Equity #socialequity16

She’ll do her best not to tweet about the Collingwood Football Club #gopies Bernadette tweets using @bmcsherr and the Melbourne Social Equity Institute tweets using @MSEI_UniMelb







25 January

Megan Williams – @MegBastard – is a Senior Research Fellow with the Muru Marri Collaboration in the Centre for Health Research at Western Sydney University. She conducts research at the nexus of health and justice, focussing on the leadership and wellbeing of Aboriginal people.

Megan is a chief investigator of an ARC-funded positive life pathways research and associate investigator with the NHMRC-funded Centre for Research Excellence on Offender Health and Indigenous Offender Capacity Building Grant at UNSW. Megan has also been awarded several government research contracts and competitive evaluation tenders.

Megan’s work has been endorsed by the Lowitja Institute, Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research Institute, and she is a research associate with the Mibbinbah Aboriginal men’s health promotion charity ‘Be the Best You Can Be’ Working Group.

Megan’s program of research at Western Sydney University focusses on understanding strategies to reduce the 80% recidivism rates among Aboriginal prisoner populations. Megan brings together her 20 years’ history combining research and evaluation with community health service delivery and governance.

Megan is a descendent of the Wiradjuri people of the NSW riverine, and also has European heritage. Her current research builds on insights from her PhD research, for which she received a UNSW Medicine Dean’s Rising Star Award. As well as evidence on ‘what works’ to reduce recidivism from an Aboriginal perspective, Megan is interested in service delivery and policy mechanisms for enacting Aboriginal peoples’ right to self-determine support, and understanding the role of mainstream service providers in improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system.

In terms of research translation and public health advocacy, Megan has a decade of experience in undergraduate and postgraduate Aboriginal health and wellbeing teaching, with Muru Marri colleagues winning a UNSW Vice Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence and being nominated for such at UQ. Megan was a founding director of Project 10%, an Aboriginal-led company campaigning for policy reform and integration, and she has collaborated in multi-disciplinary groups to produce community resources such as case studies, life histories and a well-travelled group discussion guide to accompany the Australian feature film, Mad Bastards.



18 January

Bree Knoester is a Partner at Holding Redlich, a national law firm with its origins in acting for injured workers. Bree is now a Partner in the firm’s personal injury division – Adviceline Injury Lawyers – and is the Partner in Charge of their Asbestos Litigation Practice, Springvale and Gippsland Practice.

For over 12 years Bree has acted for individuals injured at work, on the road, in public places or as a result of exposure to harmful substances like asbestos. Bree specializes in catastrophic injury claims in particular acting for infants and young persons.

Prior to joining Holding Redlich/Adviceline Injury Lawyers, Bree was a Barrister at the Victorian Bar for eight years. Bree was involved in in many of the largest cases and settlements in personal injury litigation in Victoria as well as landmark cases involving compensation paid to victims of sexual abuse and acting for journalists suffering post-traumatic stress disorder. Bree regularly appeared in the Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. She was a Member of the Victorian Bar Ethics Committee, Readers Course Committee and Bar Council.

Bree received a Masters of Law from Monash University which focused on health and the law. Bree has published on issues regarding psychological injuries in the workplace, particularly as suffered by those working in the media and emergency services, life expectancy and the challenges faced by those injured by family members and the uninsured.

Bree is on the Board of the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma, a project of Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism (New York), which provides journalists around the world with the resources and support necessary to report on violence, conflict and tragedy.

Bree grew up in the Latrobe Valley and at an early age wanted to advocate for the rights of those in the local community. Once she was admitted to practice and commenced her legal career, she remained heavily involved in cases for injured workers in the Latrobe Valley. Growing up in Traralgon, Bree witnessed first-hand the devastating effect of the widespread asbestos use that had occurred up until the 1980s at many of the Latrobe Valley industries and employers.

Latrobe Valley power industry workers contract mesothelioma at seven times the state average. Over 140 000 Latrobe Valley power station workers were exposed to asbestos between the 1920s and 1980s.

Bree has now opened a regional office in the Latrobe Valley to service clients who deserve expert legal advice but cannot come to metropolitan Melbourne. Bree is passionate about the health issues affecting this part of Victoria which continues to bear the burden of its asbestos legacy and now experiences ongoing issues following bushfires and mine fires. Bree is an active member of the Asbestos Council of Victoria.

This week Bree will be looking at the intersection between our environment and our health – and how this often intersects with the law. Bree’s focus will be threefold:

  1. Regional Victoria – fires, floods and dust – the effect on our population
  2. Occupational hazards – why work can be bad for our health
  3. The global environment – toxic torts and Big Business

Bree tweets using @breeknoester and co-authors tweets at @AdviceLineLaw, providing free legal information to followers.




11 January

Dr Graham Mackenzie is a Consultant in Public Health Medicine, NHS Lothian, Edinburgh, Scotland. He graduated 1995, working initially in general medicine and cardiology.

In 2001 he started in Public Health training, taking up his current post in 2008 with a remit for women and children. Graham has had a wide range of research interests including cardiovascular disease and statins, hip fracture and thromboembolism (the subject of his MD thesis) and more recently food vouchers in child poverty (paper submitted for peer review Dec 2015).

He wrote the chapter on child public health in Oxford Specialist Handbook of Community Paediatrics (Oxford Specialist Handbooks 2012).

Graham is married, with 3 children. Interests outside work include music (plays saxophone and clarinet in a band), cycling, reading and travel (though he’s never been to Australia).

Graham tweets using @gmacscotland, and has recently been experimenting with setting up a social media network for Public Health in Scotland (  )

Plans for @WePublicHealth

The second #scotpublichealth #publichealthhour will be 3 Feb 2016, 11AM-noon UK time.

While guest editing @wepublichealth, Graham plans to look at 4 themes: “something old, something new, someone followed, and a hint of #ScotPublicHealth”.

Tweets on these four themes will be labelled with:

#PublicHealthArchive (something old – see … … – expanding this to look at public health progress across the world from the past 2 centuries)

#PublicHealthNews (looking at Public Health stories from around the world)

#PublicHealthTag (like the playground game, in an attempt to network with public health colleagues across the world)

#ScotPublicHealth (stories from public health in Scotland, or shared by the Scottish Public Health community –  )

Join this social media experiment

Please join us during the week by tweeting a selfie showing your Public Health priority for 2016. Use #PublicHealthTag in your tweet.

Here’s why:

  1. Public Health and social media are collective endeavours. They’re better when we involve others.
  2. There are a number of Public Health challenges that are the same around the world eg inequalities, obesity, antibiotic resistance, demographic changes with an ageing population, the impact of cuts and austerity. We can all learn from each other.

So let’s try to meet some new people with common interests around the world.

Mention a colleague, inviting them to take part. Include a link to this blog.

I’ll collect the tweets by public health theme in a Storify.

If the idea works, we can treat this as a Public Health directory for 2016. Tweet, take part, think broadly about people you’d like to involve and invite them to take part.

Search Twitter for #PublicHealthTag to see who else is engaged.





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