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Collaboration key to healthy communities as USQ hosts Regional Health Forum

Four people
Professor Heather Bryant, Executive Director of USQ’s Institute for Resilient Regions Professor John Cole OAM, USQ Professor of Social and Behavioural Sciences Jeff Dunn AO and Professor Anil D’Cruz from Tata Memorial Hospital in India.
Collaboration was key when international health experts joined researchers and community organisations at the University of Southern Queensland’s (USQ) Regional Health Forum in Toowoomba this week.

International speakers included international expert in cancer control and health sciences Professor Heather Bryant, and Professor Anil D’Cruz, Chief of the Department of Head and Neck Surgery at Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital in India.

Both shared their insights on overcoming regional health disparities to achieve better health and living in communities at the forum and public lecture.

Executive Director of USQ’s Institute for Resilient Regions Professor John Cole OAM welcomed discussions around the challenges and opportunities for bridging the urban and regional divide in Australia and promote better health and wellbeing.

“Resilient communities are ones that self-organise and take care of themselves - both Professor Heather Bryant and Professor Anil D’Cruz reminded us of the holistic context,” Professor Cole said.

“The health and wellbeing of our people is not something that we can just leave to the doctors as it involves all of us. A well community is a community that takes care of itself. The health and wellbeing of a community throws up a complex set of issues requiring a response that draws on our personal, family and social capital as well as government.”

Other speakers included Chair of the Central West Hospital and Health Service Jane Williams, CEO of the Darling Downs & West Moreton PHN Simone Finch, and Associate Professor Dr Jacki Schirmer from the University of Canberra.

USQ Professor of Social and Behavioural Sciences Jeff Dunn AO acknowledged that collaboration was essential when addressing the health disparity in regional Australia.

“If it was easily solvable, we would have made more progress. It’s not as simple as to say that we need more GPs, we need more money or people need to make healthier choices. It is a complex problem requiring collaboration,” Professor Dunn said.

“USQ is interested in hearing about where we should direct our efforts, where the best possibilities for gain are, where is the potential for improvement and how can our researchers and academics best contribute to address this disparity in ways which are meaningful,” he said.

USQ’s Resilient Regions Week
, held in partnership with Cancer Council Queensland, continues this week with a Health and Wellbeing Showcase at USQ Ipswich today and a Plenary Symposium to finish off the week at USQ Springfield tomorrow.

For more information, visit https://www.usq.edu.au/research/research-at-usq/institutes-centres/irr/resilient-regions-week.