@WePublicHealth: 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 2018 archive

@WePublicHealth 2017 archive

@WePublicHealth 2016 archive

@WePublicHealth 2015 archive

Wepublichealth-2014archive.docx (216 downloads) (word.doc)


15 April

In the chair this week is Terry Slevin (@terryslevin), CEO of the Public Health Association of Australia.

Adjunct Professor Slevin is one of Australia’s foremost experts in public health and health promotion, currently serving in the role of Director of Education and Research at Cancer Council Western Australia following several other roles at the Council since 1994. He is also a notable member of the PHAA, being a Fellow of the Association and having previously served in the role of Vice President on the Board.

9 April

Dr Melissa Stoneham – @DrMelStoneham –  covered the 23rd IUHPE World Conference on Health Promotion, Rotorua, Aotearoa/New Zealand 7-11 April. Hosted by the Health Promotion Forum of NewZealand . Follow #iuhpe2019.


1 April

Lyn Morgain – @MsLynM –  the Chief Executive of cohealth, Victoria’s largest community health organisation, was in the chair. Lyn attended the What Works Summit in Reykjavik Iceland. This invitation event brought together diverse leaders from all over the world to consider the latest thinking on advancing social progress to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Anchored by the Social Progress Index, a powerful bench-marking tool to connect decision makers with fresh perspectives on social performance, the third What Works global summit will bring together leaders and change makers from business, government, and civil society. Through focused case studies, debate and interactive workshops, participants will leave with new tools and innovative solutions, along with a strengthened network and prospective partners to help drive social change. The summit will consider how the SPI tools can be used to achieve the SDGs and create positive policy change at every level of government, and how all stakeholders can work together to advance social progress. The summit represents a great opportunity to learn from thought leaders about best practice social impact measurement, knowledge sharing and research to generate social change.

Lyn has been an executive leader in public policy, not for profit organisations and government over the past twenty five years, holding community well being, planning, governance and community service portfolios. She is a sought after facilitator, chair and speaker and has published numerous journal articles on primary care and the social determinants of health. She is passionate about strength based approaches that engender community ownership and control over service design, development and delivery. As part of the leadership of cohealth she is responsible for supporting the delivery of a diverse range of complex social and clinical service models that engage communities with poor health status, utilising a social model of health. Increasingly these programs are integrated, locally orientated and designed in partnership with consumers. Her interests include the impact of discrimination, stigma and marginalisation on health and the role of advocacy in the development of equitable public policy and consumer led practice. Lyn has extensive experience in the initiation and execution of community alliances aimed at effecting change, at the local, state and national level. Lyn is a member of the Victorian Justice Health Ministerial Advisory Committee and the Community Health Taskforce. She sits on the board of the Footscray Community Arts Centre.

25 March

@CroakeyNews retweeted the news from the 15th National Rural Health Conference in nipaluna/Hobart (#ruralhealthconf), and the Equally Well conference in Melbourne, with a focus on the physical health of people with mental illness (#EquallyWellAust).




18 March

Dr Tim Senior – @timsenior – tweeted about the NSW election and health, and Close the Gap Day.

He is a GP who works in Aboriginal health, and who crowdfunded the Wonky Health columns at Croakey, investigating the impacts of policies upon health. He is a contributing editor at Croakey, and also a contributor to the #JustJustice project. He is also a regular columnist with the British Journal of General Practice and won the inaugural Gavin Mooney Memorial Essay Competition, writing about climate change and equity.

Please read his 2013 article: The difference between Close the Gap and Closing the Gap and why it matters https://croakey.org/the-difference-between-close-the-gap-and-closing-the-gap-and-why-it-matters/

Also, read his compilation and article about his tweets https://croakey.org/the-nsw-election-whats-health-got-to-do-with-it/

12 March

Indigenous Eye Health – @IEHU_UniMelb – is a research group within the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health. IEH was established by Professor Hugh Taylor in 2008 with the aim to Close the Gap for Vision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through world-leading research, policy formation, advocacy and implementation. Research has established the state of Indigenous eye health in Australia and current service availability and explored barriers and enablers to the delivery of eye health services for Indigenous peoples. The evidence gathered has guided the development of a comprehensive policy framework – The Roadmap to Close the Gap for Vision – that is supported by the Indigenous and mainstream health sectors and government.

IEH is currently actively engaged in supporting implementation of the Roadmap by providing the necessary advocacy and technical support to Close the Gap for Vision.

@IEHU_UniMelb covered The Close the Gap for Vision by 2020 National Conference 2019 (#CTGV19) in Alice Springs on March 14-15. It is co-hosted by Indigenous Eye Health at University of Melbourne and Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance Northern Territory (AMSANT). The conference was also supported by our partners, Vision 2020 Australia, Optometry Australia and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists.

4 March

Dr Megan Williams – Senior Lecturer in Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing at the Graduate School of Health, UTS – previewed some of the key health issues ahead of the NSW election.

She has over 20 years’ experience combining health service delivery and research, particularly focusing on Aboriginal peoples’ leadership to improve the health and wellbeing of people in the criminal justice system and post-prison release. Megan is a Wiradjuri descendent, and also has Anglo-Celtic heritage. She is a contributing editor at Croakey and a member of the #JustJustice project.

25 February

Dr Liz Sturgiss – @LizSturgiss – discussed primary healthcare; what is it and how does it function alongside public health? Is primary healthcare a function of public health? Are we on different paths heading to the same destination? 

Primary health care was recently re-affirmed by the WHO in the Declaration of Astana at the Global Conference of Primary Healthcare in Kazakhstan. Strong primary healthcare – available to all members of a community – is recognised as the most efficient, effective, and cost-effective way of achieving high levels of population health.

Liz is a GP and primary care researcher at the Department of General Practice at Monash University. She has an interest in obesity and particularly how the condition is influenced by the environment we live in. She is passionate primary care researcher who wishes she had a dollar for every time she’s heard, “I didn’t know GPs could do research.” 

Liz opened up the world of primary care to compare the goals of public health and primary care, sharing a look behind the scenes at how primary care research happens, introducing some of the talented researchers in Australia, and exploring the important health issues that are being tackled right now by primary care researchers.

Liz also live-tweeted from the International Medicine in Addiction conference in Melbourne (1-3 March), which focused on behavioural addictions and addiction in marginalised/complex populations.

18 February

The Council for Intellectual Disability (CID @nswcid) shared the history of deadly disability discrimination and outlined the health inequalities faced by people with intellectual disabilities. 

Council for Intellectual Disability is a NSW based disability rights organisation led by people with intellectual disability. For more than 60 years we have been working to ensure a community where all people with intellectual disability are valued. We speak up on the big issues, we provide information and learning opportunities, we empower individuals and communities.

People with intellectual disability experience stark health inequalities including the research showing that up to 50% of deaths of people with intellectual disability are potentially avoidable. This is three times the rate of avoidable deaths for the general population.

CID has been advocating for action on this issue for many years and there have been major advances in NSW with the State government funding intellectual disability health services around the state to provide specialist backup to mainstream services.

Now, it is time for action at a national level. This week we will be launching our campaign for commitments by the major parties. We will be calling for specific actions to improve doctor and nurse training and primary health care for people with intellectual disability.

This is a joint campaign with our national body Inclusion Australia. Collaborators in the campaign are Down Syndrome Australia, the Australian Association of Developmental Disability Medicine and the Department of Developmental Disability Neuropsychiatry at UNSW.



11 February

Korina Richmond and Wendy Watson (@BustJunkAds) covered food marketing to children, how food marketing influences children, what’s the link with obesity and cancer, what are the current issues with food marketing regulations (or lack thereof) and what can be done at a state government level, highlighting our current advocacy work calling on the NSW Government to remove junk food advertising from state-owned property.

We work within the Cancer Prevention and Advocacy Division @CCNewSouthWales.  With one in three cancers being preventable, we are passionate about helping people lead healthy lifestyles through building knowledge and creating an environment where it’s easy to make healthy choices.  Our food policy work includes strategic research and advocacy into food marketing to children.







4 February

Croakey editor Dr Ruth Armstrong – @DrRuthAtLarge – shared stunning views and public health news from a family road trip across national parks in the United States.

28 January

Dr Melissa Stoneham – @DrMelStoneham – director of the Public Health Advocacy Institute of WA gave an overview of critical public health issues and events for 2019.

21 January

@lewest from @ncdalliance shared global perspectives on NCDs related topics, including of #HLM3 on #NCDs in 2019 & coverage of WHO’s 144th Executive Board Meeting #EB144 in Geneva commencing on 24th January. Lucy Westerman is Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer at NCD Alliance. The NCD Alliance (www.ncdalliance.org) is a unique global civil society network uniting 2,000 civil society organisations in more than 170 countries dedicated to improving non-communicable diseases (NCD) prevention and control worldwide. With NCDs, also referred to as chronic diseases, the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, NCDA’s vision is world where everyone has the opportunity for a healthy life, free from preventable suffering, stigma and death caused by NCDs. NCD Alliance is a recognised global thought leader on NCD policy and practice, a convener of the civil society movement, a partner to governments and UN agencies, and an advocate for people at risk of or living with NCDs.
Lucy leads NCD Alliance’s (@ncdalliance) NCD prevention and health promotion policy work, particularly focusing on alcohol control, nutrition, physical activity, and cross-cutting issues such as the influence of social, commercial and environmental determinants on health. Lucy also co-ordinates global campaigns across NCDA, such as #enoughNCDs.
Lucy holds a Master of Public Health from University of Melbourne, and Bachelor degrees in Health Sciences (Health Promotion, Hons), Arts (Sociology), Science (Nutrition). After starting her career in health research, Lucy went on to lead a government regulatory programme, as well as holding roles at various not-for-profits in Australia. Lucy joined the NCD Alliance in 2015 after moving to the UK with her husband and two sons, where she currently lives.

19-20 January

Simone Cameron (@simone_cameron_), a member of the Home to Bilo group, and a registered migration agent who has previously worked with asylum seekers and refugees in Biloela, covered a series of rallies held on behalf of a Tamil family and their Australian-born children who are facing deportation. Read more here.

14 January

Kicking off a national conversation on alcohol and health this week – FARE@FAREAustralia – an independent, not-for-profit organisation.

7 January

Kicking off 2019 for @WePublicHealth is Associate Professor Lilon Bandler – @DrLilon. As an Associate Professor in the Indigenous Health Education Unit, Sydney Medical School (University of Sydney), Lilon is responsible for the development, integration and implementation of comprehensive Indigenous health learning and teaching resources for the Sydney Medical Program, as well as providing personal and academic support of Indigenous medical students, and increasing the recruitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to medicine. She has broad teaching experience, across the spectrum of undergraduate and postgraduate medical education. A/Prof Bandler has worked in general practice for over 20 years, and continues to work part-time in rural, remote and very remote western New South Wales.

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