FY2023 was a year filled with pride for the Health Issues Centre. The appointment of our CEO Alison Coughlan in December 2022 was followed immediately by the development a new organisational strategy that guides our growth and extends our reach as thought leaders and changemakers.
This year, we have lived our values in action through engaging widely across the health sector, committing to growing and evolving our practice, and strengthening existing and developing new partnerships across all parts of the health sector including through representation on local, state, national and international bodies.
Our efforts to grow more diverse and inclusive practice has shone through in the growing engagement we are achieving and in the intersectionality of experiences and identities that are reflected in the many people with lived and living experiences that we are privileged to work with.
We have taken the opportunity to lead in the consumer remuneration space with routine guidance and mechanisms for payment now embedded as ‘business-as-usual’, and enabling greater and more diverse engagement in our practice and informing the field more widely. We have widely shared our renewed purpose and vision and our commitment to continuous learning and development as we move forward.
We have run highly successful pilots of the Victorian Health Consumers Community of Practice and Group Mentoring Program that represented critical groundwork for our Victorian Health Consumer Engagement Leadership Programs. These networks/programs truly shift the dial towards consumer partners as leaders, influencers and teachers, and will support consumer engagement practitioners across the state to elevate and evolve their practice.
We have walked our talk through co-design work that has created new resources and tools to support onboarding and evaluation of consumer engagement. We also co-designed a curriculum framework that will support people living with disabilities to be ready and able to take their place as co-design partners with medical technology developers.
We have captured powerful lived experiences of cosmetic surgery that have informed much needed reforms. And we have partnered with people living with Long COVID to contribute important insights into the impacts of Long COVID on daily lives and to articulate consumer-led priorities for support, education, awareness-raising and research in this critical area.
As we look forward, we are aligned in our vision and purpose and have strong foundations to build upon. There is no doubt that we will take another important step in the coming year towards the realisation of our vision for consumers and community members to be valued and respected as equal and active partners in health system transformation.