CAPHIA’s administration follows the Australian financial year. The last year was a significant time for CAPHIA, with the adoption of the new Constitution in March 2022 and subsequent shift in governance structure. This change allowed for the contemporisation of our governance approach, including the formation of the CAPHIA Board of Directors.
Along with this change came a number of achievements toward the implementation of our 2021-2024 Strategic Plan. This includes considerable work supporting the strategic pillars through action in our role as advocates for the advancement of academic public health across educational, governmental and community contexts. In addition, CAPHIA’s professional development activities allowed for strong collaborative contributions across our member institutions.
Below are some of the highlights of 2021-2022. A detailed account of CAPHIA’s activities and achievements in the last year can be found in the 2021-2022 Annual Report.
CAPHIA has seen an increase in requests to contribute to policies and plans as well as endorsing position statements of other organisations. This positive trend speaks to the significance of advocacy work undertaken to date. The focus of our advocacy work is on the development of, and investment in, public health education; inclusion in government planning to support an effective, educated workforce; and support of initiatives that grow the reach and impact of our member institutions. A number of achievements highlight the scope of CAPHIA’s work toward furthering this component of our Strategic Plan in 2021-2022.
Advocacy in Action Consultation Group
The formation of the Advocacy in Action Consultation Group in 2021 and subsequent formation of two new subgroups in 2022 supports a structured approach to CAPHIA’s advocacy work while facilitating diversity of thinking across our activities, especially in supporting the need for breadth and inclusion throughout public health education. Representatives from many member institutions, from Master of Public Health students to professors and course coordinators, serve as members and contributors to the Advocacy in Action Consultation Group and subgroups.
Written Submission in Response to Role and Functions of an Australian CDC
On 9 December, CAPHIA submitted the final written response to the Australian Government discussion paper, Role and Functions of an Australian Centre for Disease Control, which focused on our core expertise of academic public health. Recommendations centred on the development of a world class workforce, facilitating rapid response to health threats and supporting leadership on preventive health.
The submission represents an important contribution to public health in Australia and beyond. CAPHIA’s response focused on questions highlighting key connections between public health education and the workforce, as well as collaborative mechanisms for facilitating links between public health education across sectors and practical considerations surrounding the role of the CDC.
The CAPHIA submission underwent an extensive review process that incorporated feedback from the working groups, heads of school and representatives from member institutions to develop the final report. This process allowed for the integration of perspectives from the full spectrum of professional practice and expertise across academic public health in Australia.
Call for Increased Investment in Public Health
In May 2022, the Advocacy in Action Consultation Group published a call for increased investment in public health, “Government support and commitment to university-level public health education, research and workforce development is critical,” in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. The letter highlighted the vital need for strongly developed communicative pathways between CAPHIA, member institutions and the government in ensuring a well integrated workforce that is skilled and educated at the highest level. The publication represents a significant step in raising the profile of academic public health, particularly in highlighting the fundamental importance of education within the context of both workforce planning and policymaking across sectors.
CAPHIA Competencies Renewal
The 2016 Foundation Competencies for Public Health Graduates in Australia (2nd ed.) informs public health curricular development across Australasia. CAPHIA commissioned a third party review of the Competencies by the World Federation of Public Health Associations to inform the development of the next iteration. The Education Quality and Standards Working Group and subgroups are currently developing the third edition of the Competencies based on the recommendations detailed in the May 2022 review report, with drafts expected in Q1 2023.