Social inclusion and ensuring 'no one gets left behind' was the focus of Sydney Local Health District's second annual Equity Fest.
Commitment to equity in our health services is a key part of the District’s strategic plan and Equity Fest is an opportunity to recognise achievements and reflect on what more can be done.
More than 250 people from the District, City of Sydney, Inner West Council, Justice Health, University of NSW, University of Sydney, Agency for Clinical Innovation, Central and Eastern Sydney PHN and various NGOs shared ideas to progress the equity agenda across our organisation.
Journalist and medical student Amy Coopes emceed the event while the keynote speech was delivered by lawyer and social entrepreneur Zione Nthenda Walker. As the co-convenor of Women’s Legal Services Australia, Zione led significant family law reforms to protect victims of family violence.
Chief Executive Dr Teresa Anderson said this year’s Equity Fest focused on “social inclusion to reflect our aspiration that no one is left behind”.
“It is about acknowledging that we should always be looking for opportunities to make sure that our services reflect the diversity of our communities and that we need to keep working to ensure everyone is able to be heard and supported,” she said.
Almost half of our 700,000 residents speak a language other than English at home; we have a significant numbers of refugees, asylum seekers and humanitarian entrants and a very significant Aboriginal population. We have pockets of both extreme advantage and disadvantage, including the homeless and people in temporary housing or boarding houses.
The Join-In groups, held in the morning session, provided an opportunity for delegates to discuss important issues and explore how we can work together, beyond our usual sphere of activity.
The Speak-Out groups in the afternoon looked at areas that need attention and were an opportunity to share understanding and experiences.
Delegates agreed that it is vital to address the many social determinants of health, such as housing, education, income and employment when identifying inequalities so that everyone is able to meet their health potential.
“Our role is not just to treat the sick, but improve the health and wellbeing of all people living in our District,” Dr Anderson said.To view photos taken on the day, see https://www.slhd.nsw.gov.au/media/photos.html