Australian Global Health Alliance’s ‘Balancing Power in Global Health’ Workshop

June 13th, 2024

Published: June 13th, 2024

The Alliance recently hosted its first hybrid ‘Balancing Power in Global Health’ workshop, uniting member organisations across Australia and around the world. This workshop marked a significant milestone in our strategic efforts to promote equitable power dynamics within the global health ecosystem and expose members to the global discussions and thought and institutional leaders in this space.

This workshop commenced with Assoc. Prof. Seye Abimbola, the facilitator of the workshop and Alliance board member, who introduced us to the topic of decolonisation and the intricate dialogues surrounding it. Following this, Dr. Mabel Chew, co-chair of the Lancet Group on Racial Equality (GRacE), presented the Lancet’s initiatives to enhance racial equality within the research and publication field.

We were then inspired by Keziah Bennett-Brook’s work on the Gunna Maana program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health at the George Institute. Dr. Emma Rhule guided us through the global dialogues of decolonisation and power within United Nations institutions. Liss Gabb from the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) concluded the first session by emphasising the crucial importance of aligning organisational practices with the values of equity and justice.

After a nice lunch, Veronica Pardo delved deeper into what Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) actually looks like in a workplace setting. Participants were given a progression timeline on how they can transform their workplaces to reach Equity which is preached but is mostly overlooked so it tends to be rarely practiced. We learnt about the consequences of focusing on diversity without equity and how we should not rely on diverse people to lead systems of change without a change in the systems which continue to oppress them.

To finish off the day, Prof. Ian Anderson, Alliance founder and board member, along with Alliance members, re-committed ourselves to centring First nations global health and young generation knowledges, so we can put an effort to move our community on a path towards a balanced power structure.

This workshop took place in a timely week, with it being the National Reconciliation Week, the theme of this year being #nowmorethanever. The Australian global health community must continue to critically examine our narratives and systems to keep each other mutually accountable and to support our fight for First Nations justice as inextricably linked to the notion of global health justice.

We extend our deep gratitude to the speakers, members, our board, and secretariat who made this workshop possible. This event is part of a stream of work that began nearly three years ago, and this workshop is just the beginning as we continue to engage in dialogues and practices that inspire collective efforts towards a more equitable global health ecosystem.