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

@WePublicHealth 2017 archive

@WePublicHealth 2016 archive

@WePublicHealth 2015 archive

Wepublichealth-2014archive.docx (112 downloads) (word.doc)


12 March

Dr Marita Hefler (@m_hef), Co-Coordinator and Lecturer for the Menzies Master of Public Health unit Qualitative Research Methods and News Editor for the BMJ specialist publication Tobacco Control, is covering the latest news in tobacco control and public health, including reflections from the recent #WCTCoH2018 in South Africa. Marita joined the Menzies tobacco control research team in 2013. Her current research interests are the use of social media to enhance tobacco control, and smoke free prisons policy. She has published on use of social media for tobacco control advocacy, and been a resource expert for social media in tobacco control for a range of international workshops. Marita has a particular interest in tobacco control approaches for socioeconomically disadvantaged populations; her PhD examined the smoking trajectories of highly marginalised young people. She also has a background in program evaluation, and has led a number of evaluations of public health programs in Australia and internationally.

5 March

Krister Partel — @kristerpartel & @aushealthcare — Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) Advocacy Director tweeted about healthcare systems thinking and how we can evolve our public healthcare system to meet 21st century demands. On 7 March, Krister reported from AHHA’s health sector town hall #AHHABlueprint seeking the sector’s input into the development of case study exemplars highlighting system innovation and best practice to be used to support AHHA’s advocacy on the implementation of the recommendations found in, Healthy people, healthy systems. Strategies for outcomes-focused and value-based healthcare: a blueprint for a post-2020 national health agreement.

26 February

TasCOSS, the peak body of the Tasmanian community services sector. – @TasCOSS – covered health and social issues in the lead up to the Tasmanian election.

19 February

Aimee Brownbill, a PhD candidate with the School of Public Health at the University of Adelaide, profiled some of the key health issues facing South Australian voters in the lead up to the State election on 17 March. Follow her on @AimeeBrownbill.


12 February

Associate Professor Samantha Thomas from Deakin University – @Doc_Samantha – reported from the 7th International Gambling Conference, Auckland, NZ.


5 February

The Social Action and Research Centre@SARC_Anglicare – sits within Anglicare Tasmania and for over 20 years has worked to create positive political, social and cultural change to bring about a just Tasmania. From a foundation of social justice, SARC undertakes social research, policy development, advocacy and community engagement. We seek to influence and shape the systemic framework that impacts on the lives of low income and vulnerable Tasmanians – public policy, legislation, programs, practice and public discourse.

With the Tasmanian state election falling on March 3 this year, SARC is engaged in advocacy on three main areas: housing affordability, vulnerable children, and removing poker machines from the state’s pubs and clubs. The issue of pokies has shaped up to be one of the key election issues for 2018 and is a long-standing priority for SARC.  During this week as guest twitter host, SARC shared much of its own research and material on these three areas, as well as other relevant articles, research, and pieces of interest.

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29 January

Dr Kalinda Griffiths – @Klick22 – is a Wingara Mura Leadership Program Fellow with the Sydney Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics at the University of Sydney. She is an epidemiologist who received her undergraduate degree in biomedical science and master’s degree in public health from Charles Darwin University, and recently received her PhD in cancer epidemiology from the University of Sydney. She is also an honorary research fellow at Menzies School of Health Research, and a Deputy Editor of the Health Promotion Journal of Australia. As an early career researcher, Kalinda has made contributions in cancer epidemiology, social epidemiology, analysis of linked data, and laboratory science. Her core interest is in better understanding complex health inequities through the use of data, particularly big data and linked data. Kalinda was the Northern Territory Young Australian of the Year in 2011 for her contributions to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health research. Kalinda will share some of the work that is being undertaken at the Sydney Centre for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics and any other public health news that might be of interest.


22 January

The Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA) – @AipaAust – provides leadership on wellbeing and mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. AIPA is committed to improving the social and emotional well-being and mental health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by leading the change required to deliver equitable, accessible, sustainable, timely and culturally competent  psychological care which respects and promotes their cultural integrity. Furthermore, AIPA is committed to supporting and formally representing the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander psychologists and students, supporting Indigenous psychologists through undergraduate and post graduate courses, working toward achieving equity within the profession and developing and delivering professional development activities which aim to increase the cultural competence of the mental health workforce, service delivery and the mental health system overall.  By maintaining a high standard of practice and engaging in Indigenous psychological research, AIPA is committed to being on the forefront of Indigenous psychology in Australia.

As well as offering leadership, professional support, mentoring and networking for Indigenous psychologists, AIPA has identified the following ten priorities for action:

  1. Establish a fully funded AIPA secretariat
  2. Deliver cultural competence training
  3. Work toward Indigenising psychological curriculum in universities
  4. Work toward increasing the number of Indigenous psychologists
  5. Provide mentoring and professional support for AIPA members
  6. Expand and nurture AIPA membership
  7. Develop new paradigms in Indigenous psychology
  8. Provide input into social and emotional wellbeing and mental health policy
  9. Provide pathways for Indigenous people to enter psychology
  10. Develop and implement a research agenda for AIPA.

AIPA aims to provide leadership to achieve equitable participation of Indigenous people within psychology. Currently there are 81 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander psychologists in Australia, representing .4% of the profession (instead of 2.5%). Psychology needs to increase the number of Indigenous graduates ten-fold to achieve parity.


15 January

Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz – @GidMK – was in the chair. An epidemiologist working in chronic disease in Sydney’s west, he was announced last month as winner of the 2017 Gavin Mooney Memorial Essay competition. He discussed some of his plans for his forthcoming essay, Health Behind Bars: It’s Criminal, which will examine the neglected issue of prisoner health, and will be published jointly in 2018 by Croakey and Inside Story. He also discussed his work in diabetes in western Sydney.





8 January

This week, Melinda Edmunds – @Melinda_Edmunds – and Gemma Crawford – @gemmacrawford – kicked off the @WePublicHealth year with a look at some of the health promotion issues for 2018.

Melinda has over seven years’ experience as a health promotion practitioner. Melinda worked in the not-for-profit sector for six years working on state-wide injury prevention, sector development, and healthy lifestyle programs. She is currently Senior Coordinator at PHAIWA where she manages capacity building and professional development projects, conducts research to support public health advocacy activities and works in partnership with a range of organisations to ensure good public health advocacy outcomes. Melinda is a Director on the Australian Health Promotion Association (AHPA) Board and the immediate past President AHPA (WA Branch).

Gemma has more than 15 years of experience in the practice, advocacy, teaching and research of health promotion and public health. She is currently Course Coordinator for postgraduate health promotion and public health programs and an Academic with the Collaboration for Evidence Research and Impact in Public Health in the School of Public Health at Curtin University. A proud pracademic, her practice and research experience spans injury prevention, physical activity, youth health and peer education, capacity building and workforce investment, political support for health promotion and prevention, knowledge translation, ethics and research impact, alcohol and other drugs, mental health, sexual health and BBVs. Gemma is the national president of the Australian Health Promotion Association and Director of FoxPollardConsulting, and is in what she hopes are the final stages of a very long PhD.

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