A healthy conversation was started in Launceston on Tuesday night.
An interactive forum aimed at improving Tasmania’s health outcomes attracted about 70 people to UTAS’s Inveresk campus.
Featuring some of the state’s top Northern researchers, topics included paying people to stop smoking, food insecurity as well as insights into the future of the Inveresk campus move.
The forum was organised as part of the University of Tasmania’s latest approach to health – predictive, preventative and participatory – and was the first of its kind to be held in Launceston.
Event organiser Scott Pedersen said he was thrilled with the attendance and level of engagement, with online interaction a major focus for the forum.
“I thought it was excellent. We were very impressed with the level of interaction from the audience and online through Twitter,” he said.
“We wanted to engage people in a conversation about health and I think we succeeded in that.”
The forum was hosted by UTAS researchers Casey Mainsbridge and Kira Patterson.
Mr Mainsbridge said the forum was about challenging perspectives of attainable health outcomes.
“We want to show the community, you, how you can be involved in our research and health programs,” he said.
“This will lead to discussions about how the impending move to the Inveresk precinct will be designed to improve the health of Northern Tasmania.”
Speaking of the government’s Healthy Tasmania Five Year Strategic Plan, Mr Mainsbridge said the state still had a long way to go to reach its goals.
“There are lots of aspirational and potentially hard to reach targets,” he said.
“Particularly when you consider we have some of the worst health outcomes in the country. But community connections is something we will touch on and that is what tonight is all about.
“How we can engage community, key stakeholders, you, in a shared and collaborative effort.”
Mr Pedersen said the university would continue its health focus online and in future community forums.
“This should be the start of a conversation, not the end of it. As the Northern transformation progresses, we will continue to engage the community with the focus of our research,” he said.