News & Insights

Pandemic Response – Damien Moloney, Australian Red Cross
I spent 8 years working as a logistician and Field Coordinator for Médecins Sans Frontières in some of the poorest and strife-torn countries. For the last 18 months I have worked for Australian Red Cross in the Emergency Services Department helping Victorians deal with emergencies like bushfires, flooding and dealing with collective trauma events.

What lessons should we remember from the past?
There is nothing new but the way that we deal with it. People who are prepared to face emergencies are significantly more likely to deal with, and recover from them quicker and better

What do you do individually and what should we be doing collectively to prepare for the future?
Deal with the people, both responders and the affected community. People will lead your recovery and to forget about them will be the death of the community.

 

Disease Transmission & Prevention – Kylie Carville, Doherty Institute for Infection & Immunity
Kylie Carville is an infectious diseases epidemiologist with particular interests in vaccine preventable diseases and Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander health. Kylie has worked on infectious disease surveillance and response in Zambia and here in Victoria, and currently works on pandemic preparedness at the Doherty Institute, with the Health Evidence team at VACCHO and the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.

What lessons should we remember from the past?
That an individual can make a difference (in epidemiology this includes people like John Snow and Florence Nightingale). That everything is interconnected – you can’t look at disease transmission independent of the environment or human behaviour.

What do you do individually and what should we be doing collectively to prepare for the future?
I think part of preparing for the future is creating equitable systems that work properly now, that will hopefully handle future challenges. This is reflected in the work I do improving the use of data to strengthen systems and inform policy and programs, and working as part of a national consortium called APPRISE (the Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Disease Emergencies). Collectively we need to understand what the evidence base tells us (i.e. climate change is happening now, immunisation is effective) and act on this.

 

AI & Outbreak Forecasting  – Nic Geard, University of Melbourne
Nic is a lecturer with the School of Computing and Information Systems, University of Melbourne.  He uses computational models to help us understand how infectious diseases spread through populations and how we can best limit the harm they cause.

What lessons should we remember from the past?
We need to learn more about the reasons why bad decisions were made in the past. The multitude of different political, social, scientific, economic and personal factors that influence decision-making are still with us, and we will always need to negotiate these in order to make better decisions about the future.

What do you do individually and what should we be doing collectively to prepare for the future?
Individually, my preparation for the future is largely focused on helping raise my daughter to be independent and resourceful. Collectively, we need to develop our imagination about what the future could be. Currently, we are too willing to let others do this for us.

 

Collective Preparedness – Patrick Jones, Artist as Family
Patrick Jones is a father, writer, artist and permaculturist. He cofounded the performance collective, Artist as Family, with Meg Ulman in 2009.

What lessons should we remember from the past?
Gratitude, initiation, broad ecological knowledges, eldership and community sufficiency.

What do you do individually and what should we be doing collectively to prepare for the future?
Learning ever more knowledge that decouples our household further from the monetary economy and help model ecologically focussed and resilient communities of place. Re-establish economies that make returns to people, biomes and the future.

 

Herbs & Healing – Rasha Tayeh, Artist & Herbalist
Melbourne based Palestinian artist & herbalist Rasha Tayeh is interested in the space where art and health intersect, she incorporates food, photography, film and sound practices to produce work that explores food history and anthropology. Rasha also runs an online apothecary & teahouse, Beit e’Shai (Arabic for House of Tea).  All products are handmade by Rasha using natural and organic ingredients.

What lessons should we remember from the past?
When the last day of your life comes, plant the seedling that’s in your hand – Palestinian Proverb

What do you do individually and what should we be doing collectively to prepare for the future?
We should all be saving seeds. I document my ancestors’ stories; the seeds they’ve grown, the herbs they’ve used and how we can use them to heal.

 

Indigenous Futurism – Maddee Clark, University of Melbourne
Maddee Clark is a Yugambeh freelance writer, curator, educator, Ph.D candidate at the University of Melbourne writing on Indigenous Futurism and race.

What lessons should we remember from the past?
Remember everything

What do you do individually and what should we be doing collectively to prepare for the future?
Try to imagine the future world as often as I can, and think beyond the limits of what you normally think of as being possible or real

 

Ethics & Disease – Bridget Pratt, University of Melbourne
Bridget Pratt is an ethics researcher at the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne. Her work looks at how the health research sector can be better organised to address the health needs of marginalised groups in Australia and overseas and to increase their participation in conducting health research.

What lessons should we remember from the past?
Richer countries have continually exploited and imposed their worldviews, values, and conditionalities on poorer countries. We haven’t yet broken that cycle.

What do you do individually and what should we be doing collectively to prepare for the future?
Do better to ensure voices that are typically excluded and marginalised are included and influence decision-making that affects everyone. Make a real effort to address the social, economic, and political factors that cause massive disparities in well-being between and within countries.

 

HIV & Vulnerability – Susan Paxton, Living Positive
Dr Susan Paxton is a researcher and human rights advocate who has spent the past two decades working with and for people living with HIV in Asia and the Pacific. She has been living with HIV for nearly 30 Years.

What lessons should we remember from the past?
Young people, particularly girls, continue to be most vulnerable to rights abuse and lack of access to health services globally.

What do you do individually and what should we be doing collectively to prepare for the future?
Gender inequity needs to be adequately addressed. Girls’ and young women’s education has to be prioritised.