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BWA gets busy in Brissie

Kim Borg in the sunshine state

BWA Researcher Kim Borg was recently very busy in Brissie, attending two events; a National Health Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Symposium on Research Translation and a workshop on Digital Inclusion.  We spoke with Kim about what kept her so busy in the Sunshine state. 

The 6th Annual NHMRC Symposium on Research Translation co-hosted with the Lowitja Institute 

Can you get more Aboriginal kids vaccinated using something as simple as a letter to their parents?  Actually, yes. Improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal Australians is an ongoing focus of the NHMRC and the Lowitja Institute (based in Melbourne). This symposium was an opportunity to share knowledge of what successful research looks like, including research on how well-planned interventions can produce results.

Kim spoke at the symposium on the topic of Aboriginal health in Victoria, specifically in relation to its research (in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Premier and Cabinet) on trying to increase uptake of the free flu vaccination among Aboriginal children. Kim’s presentation, Optimising flu vaccinations among Aboriginal children in Victoria, detailed the communication-based intervention used to encourage parents to have their kids vaccinated.

The letter and pamphlet used in the study were based on BehaviourWorks’ own INSPIRE framework, which is a set of behaviour change techniques for action-oriented communications.
The study was well received at the Symposium, although feedback was received that more community consultation was needed to make sure it is effective (such as getting school aged kids to help design artwork for future letters to get the community on board and create ownership).   

The Australian Digital Inclusion Alliance workshop

Like most of us, you’re probably reading this online. Yet there are those who don’t have access to a computer.  It’s hard to imagine, but many Australians have been left behind by the rapid move to a digital world. Kim also participated in an Australian Digital Inclusion Alliance workshop in Brisbane. The topic of the workshop was on digital abilities, and the fact that we can do much better when it comes to making Australia a more digitally inclusive society. 

We forget how quickly life has changed since computing and the Internet took over our lives; the recent Same Sex Marriage postal survey was the first time many young Australians can remember actually posting a letter. While technology is developing at faster and faster rates, it’s running ahead of some of us.  According to the Australian Digital Inclusion Index (ADII), access and affordability are improving, but when it comes to our digital abilities – attitudes, skills, and use – results suggest we’re stagnating.  

BWA has been part of the Alliance from the beginning due to its work with Australia Post, understanding peoples’ behaviours online. This project informed the white paper report which was released in August (link here), written by Kim and BWA Director, Dr Liam Smith.  And to highlight how important this issue is, the Monash Graduate Research Industry Partnership (GRIP) begins in 2018, with a PhD specifically aimed at Digital Inclusion; it’s another example where rapid change can leave many people behind if we’re not careful. 

Others who participated in the workshop included representatives from the Queensland State government (eg. The State Library), University researchers, and Not-For-Profit organisations that work with people who want to be digitally included in Australia’s future. 

This was a great opportunity to bring academics, government and workers in the field into the same room to see what’s possible, what’s worked, and to develop a research agenda going forward.

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