Advocacy In Action

Advocacy is one of the three pillars in the CAPHIA 2021-2024 Strategic Plan. CAPHIA work with our staff and students from our member institutions, along with our strategic partners and networks to advocate for academic public health.

Our vision, as outlined in the CAPHIA 2022 – 2024 Advocacy in Action Plan is for a robust, evidence-informed and well-resourced Australasian public health system with a sustainable workforce that meets existing and future public health needs.

Our advocacy work is led by the Advocacy in Action Consultation Group, Chaired by Associate Professor Jane Frawley from the University of Technology Sydney. Want to find out more or get involved? Contact  

Recent publications

Submission in response to: Commonwealth Government COVID-19 Response Enquiry

Australia’s public health workforce was instrumental to our nation’s strong response to COVID-19. Many of the public health experts on whom we came to rely throughout the pandemic were educated by and/or work for the institutions CAPHIA represents and the education and training provided by CAPHIA member institutions has underpinned the Australasian response to COVID-19. In response to the Australian Government’s COVID-19 response enquiry, CAPHIA has shared several recommendations to build our desired future state: a sustainable, scalable, appropriately resourced, and highly educated public health workforce to actively manage all hazards.

CAPHIA urge the Government to urgently invest in the infrastructure of key enablers to reduce risk and better prepare and respond to the next event. These enablers include IT, data, education and training, preventive health, communications and the workforce.

The Submission was prepared by the Advocacy In Action Consultation Group as well as input from members and the Board of Directors. We thank all contributors.

Read the submission

Open Letter: Acknowledging the Voice to Parliament Referendum Result

As an organisation, CAPHIA supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health is public health, and central to our mission.

We are very mindful that both the process and the outcome of the Referendum has had a devastating impact on many First Nations people, and many others in the community. This impact will continue to be felt. We encourage academic public health institutions to support staff and students who are feeling distressed, traumatised or alone. We also emphasise our commitment to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people for better public health for all.

Read the open letter.

Open Letter: CAPHIA supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the establishment of a Voice to Parliament.

As an organisation, CAPHIA supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full.

On October 14 2023, the Australian population will be asked to vote in a referendum to alter the Constitution, to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Voice. We urge you to vote yes.

Read the full open letter.

Authorised by The Council of Academic Public Health Institutions Australasia (CAPHIA)
Rebecca Ivers, CAPHIA Chair, Board of Directors
20 Napier Close, Deakin, ACT, 2006, Australia.
03 October 2023

Draft National Consumer Strategy for Health and Wellbeing Submission

The Australian Department of Health and Aged Care called for feedback on their Draft National Consumer Strategy for Health and Wellbeing. The Draft Strategy goal was to

  • “equip policy-makers (those involved in informing, designing and developing policy) and program developers with knowledge, frameworks and skills to engage effectively and purposefully with consumers and communities in the design and development of preventive health policies and programs.” and
  • “support the engagement of consumers, community groups and consumer and community organisations with policy-makers”.

CAPHIA applauds the intent and general direction of the Draft Strategy and have 7 key recommendations for improvement. 

Read the submission

Climate and Health Strategy Submission

Climate and health impacts all communities and individuals locally and globally. A well-funded, thoughtful, and systematic approach is required to make rapid and meaningful impact to mitigate and adapt to the climate crisis.

Workforce is a crucial enabler in a healthier planet and healthier Australia. Enablers require investment to succeed. The aims of the Health and Climate Strategy will not be realised without additional investment in our public health workforce.

As outlined in our 6 recommendations, we firmly advocate that the entire public health workforce has the potential to contribute to the Health and Climate Strategy and should be provided with development and upskilling accordingly. To ensure this education is robust, significant investment by the Government is required to collate existing resources and address current gaps. We propose that short courses and micro credentials are a practical and efficient mechanism to quickly upskill and cross-skill individuals from across the public health workforce, at all stages of their career. Similarly, climate change decision makers require upskilling in rudimentary public health principles to ensure they can better serve their communities.

Read the submission

Open Letter to the Andrews Government:
Victorian community health funding cuts: Saving now to spend more later will harm our communities

CAPHIA urge the Andrews Government to reverse the proposed health sectors cuts to avoid future health and economic harm to all Victorians.

CAPHIA is deeply concerned by the Andrew’s Labor Government decision to cut crucial funding for community health services. We are at great risk of losing the hard-earned gains over many decades on non-communicable diseases, injuries and prevention work because of the focus on the COVID-19 pandemic. We need investment in preventive health and health promotion, not defunding of critical upstream programs and services which save money in the long term.

Improved long-term investment in health prevention and promotion now will help to best support the promotion, and protection of the health of all Australians and ensure we best prepared for future pandemics, health emergencies and other public health threats

Now is the time to invest in the health of our communities, not further harm them.

Read the open letter.

Call to Action: Public Health Education for a Sustainable Future

The annual CAPHIA Teaching and Learning Forum is a unique collaborative, interactive 2-day event to showcase best practice public health education and workforce development. The 2021 Forum was hosted by the University of Sunshine Coast and explored the theme “Public Health Education in a time of disruption” with a focus on how we can achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals for a better world for all. 

Informed and inspired by Forum keynotes, plenary panelists, speakers and participants, the Call to Action outlines the 1) key responsibilities of public health educators, 2) curriculum priorities and 3) teaching and learning strategies to develop and deliver curricular which enables a sustainable and equitable future.  

The article was published in the April 2023 edition Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

  • Read the open access journal article here.
  • Access the Call to Action Brochure here

The Call to Action is being explored in a workshop on April 6 2023 to unpack and embed the ideas presented. The recording and takeaways will be shared with registrants. Read more about the event here

Advocacy in Action Plan

The 2022 – 2024 Advocacy in Action Plan was drafted by the Advocacy in Action Consultation Group and informed by discussions with members, including through the 2022 Heads of Schools Summit. The Plan outlines our vision, success measures and deliverables as well as providing a short background and the “why”:

Public health represents a vital aspect of enhancing and supporting health through its focus on populations and communities. As public health educators, we are the links between theory and practice, student and workforce.

This role gives us the opportunity to gain a vastly increased understanding of the practical, environmental, experiential, and perceptual knowledge that underpins the presentation of health within our community.

Collaboration is central to our practice as both public health practitioners and educators at local and international levels. This allows us to constantly contribute to the knowledge base within the field and disseminate this knowledge through multidisciplinary collaboration.


  1. Disseminates this collective knowledge, builds awareness and promotes community health. It allows us to influence avenues for systemic changes targeted at addressing health inequities in our society;
  2. Allows us to prepare informed responses to arising threats to community health and present targeted strategies that add to our existing cultural frameworks, including legislation; and
  3. Provides us with a means for expressing a most fundamental goal of our society, that is, a unified means for supporting our most vulnerable communities.

Our ability to act as advocates in public health remains a powerful tool for achieving an ideal system of healthcare practice and policy in Australasia and beyond.

Australian Centre for Disease Control Submission

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. The submission focused on our core expertise of academic public health with recommendations centring on the development of a world class workforce, facilitating rapid response to health threats and supporting leadership on preventive health.

The final submission integrates feedback from the Advocacy in Action Consultation Group with discussion points, recommendations and requests from Heads of School and representatives from member institutions. The review process culminated in a report that is tightly focused on questions targeted toward highlighting key connections between public health education and the workforce. In-depth discussion of collaborative mechanisms for facilitating links between public health education across sectors is presented, with reference to practical considerations surrounding the role of the CDC as a leading government body within national public health practice.

Position Statement: Educating the Public Health Workforce

The Position Statement: Educating the Public Health Workforce was developed to formalise the guiding principles underlying the work of the Advocacy in Action Consultation Group and subgroups. The document was developed through an in-depth collaborative process and integrates ideas and discussion points from public health academics across member institutions, including Heads of School, CAPHIA representatives, governance groups and members. Following a call for review by Heads of School and CAPHIA representatives, the draft Position Statement was revised and presented to the Board for the final stage of review, and feedback received during this process was consolidated to develop the final document. Revisions made to the Position Statement clarify CAPHIA’s role in supporting and facilitating public health education while better reflecting the nature and purpose of academic public health in line with the views of member institutions.

We extend our deepest thanks to all Heads of School, CAPHIA representatives, members of the consultation groups, institutional members and members of the Board for their time, feedback and support in the development of this document.

Call for Investment into Public Health

In May 2022 CAPHIA and the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) published an open letter in the Australian and New Zealand Journal for Public Health. 

The Open Letter outlined the importance of public health education and research to advance public health safety and ensure the wellbeing of our local communities.

Enhanced workforce planning is needed and explicit communication pathways between CAPHIA, its member institutions and government is central to this to ensure integrated and focused public health pathways for the future workforce. 

CAPHIA and PHAA call on the Australian Government to invest in public health through four key initiatives:

  1. Increase the number of Commonwealth Supported Places for public health undergraduates and postgraduates
  2. Develop and fund a national public health officer training program
  3. Introduce Government-funded micro-credentials to ensure continued high standards of service delivery 
  4. Include CAPHIA and educators and researchers of its member institutions in a review of the public health workforce and in policy and program planning.

Read the Call for Investment.