Project Overview

PHAIWA has managed the ‘Building health promotion capacity across regional and metropolitan WA’ project since 2011. This project is funded by Healthway. This project provides tools, resources and skill based professional development opportunities to organisations and individuals to improve their ability to achieve effective health promotion and public health advocacy. The project has a range of strategies which engage practitioners, researchers and policy actors across the career spectrum. 

Advocacy Short Course        

This five day skills based and interactive course will enable participants to gain a comprehensive understanding of advocacy concepts, frameworks and core skills, how advocacy can value add and a systematic process of planning advocacy.

The next Advocacy Short Course is happening 12-16 March 2018.

The PHAIWA team has locked in some amazing speakers: Michael Moore, Michael Thorn, Professor Mike Daube AO, Christina Matthews, Elizabeth Chester, Jim Dodds, Jane Martin, Gary Walton and Matthew Pavlich.

Click the picture to view the event package.


Read about the 2014 Short Course below:

It was an ‘advocacy’ action packed five days for PHAIWA and our 30 fabulous participants, with some even travelling from Kalgoorlie, Albany, Melbourne, Wollongong, Townsville and Darwin! Throughout the week, participants gained a grounding in a broad range of advocacy strategies through a combination of practical activities and case studies presented by an outstanding calibre of guest speakers including:

  • Hon Nicola Roxon, Adjunct Professor Victoria University, and Former Federal Minister for Health & Attorney‐General of Australia;
  • Michael Moore, CEO Public Health Association of Australia;
  • Roger Cooke MLA, Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Shadow Minister for Health & Science, and Member for Kwinana;
  • Professor Bryant Stokes, Acting Director General Department of Health WA;
  • Dr Brad Pettitt, City of Fremantle Mayor;
  • Steve Harris, CEO of The Brand Agency and Chair of the Fremantle Football Club;
  • Melissa Sweet, Health Journalist & Croakey Editor;
  • Liz Chester, Director of Communications & Development, Telethon Kids Institute;
  • Samantha Menezes, Community advocate, Secondary supply legislation; and
  • Professor Mike Daube and the PHAIWA team.

A highlight of the course was the opportunity for participants to network with invited politicians (past and present) at a dinner function on the Thursday night. Feedback from participants has reflected on their appreciation to PHAIWA for providing such a unique experience, with all participants commenting they have gained a greater understanding of advocacy due to the varied and diverse course content, and are now aware of how they can put ‘advocacy in action’ once they return to their organisations.

Advocacy 101 and 202 Workshops

Advocacy 101 is a one day course is designed to give attendees an overview of public health advocacy, learn about advocacy strategies, and participate in some practical activities. A person from the media is also invited to run an interactive section of the course. This course is ideal for those starting to use advocacy and/or have limited knowledge of advocacy. Relevant case studies and examples are sourced depending on the target audience.

Advocacy 202 is a two day intensive workshop is designed for attendees to develop an advocacy plan for their chosen issue. The workshop allows plenty of time for attendees to workshop advocacy strategies and walk away will a completed plan. The workshop capacity is 20-25 people. Please note: Advocacy 101 is a pre-requisite for Advocacy 202 unless the attendee has sufficient knowledge and/or experience in advocacy. 

PHAIWA coordinates a number of these workshops throughout the year, however if you would like a workshop for your organisation or stakeholders please contact or (08) 9266 1544. 

Advocacy e-Mentoring Program

PHAIWA established the Advocacy e-Mentoring program in November 2011. The program aims to promote and transfer advocacy skills to public and allied health professionals in WA. PHAIWA is keen to develop and nurture the expertise of individuals and groups working within health promotion, public health and sectors external to health, to ensure that high quality, innovative and effective advocacy leadership continues in WA. We acknowledge that younger or less experienced health professionals may not get the chance to put advocacy skills into practice until opportunities arise in their role. Advocacy can also be quite confronting, for example being in front of a TV camera, or developing a press release, let alone meeting with politicians! Our mentoring program can help you access these advocacy skills and increase your confidence.

The 2017-18 program commenced in August and will run for 12 months. Click here to see who is involved in 2017-18. Interested in the program? You can find our more information about getting involved here.

Recommended reading: Planning for the next generation of public health advocates: evaluation of an online advocacy mentoring program. Emily O’Connell, Melissa Stoneham and Julie Saunders. Public health advocacy is critical to achieve public health objectives. This paper reports the qualitative evaluation of an online e-mentoring program that combined skill-based activities with mentoring from an experienced public health advocate to build the advocacy capacity of a group of public health professionals.

Opinion Piece Seminars

The Opinion Pieces Series features emerging public health practitioners who are ideally placed to contribute to the debate around the future of public health, policy and advocacy. These Opinion Piece Seminars provide a greater diversity of perspectives and ideas, from people who often do not have the opportunity to be heard.


Below are the topics of each Opinion Piece held to date:

  • Are public health conferences health enough?
  • We know reality TV is a popular style of entertainment and there are many shows that aim to address health. Megan Upchurch and Carl Heslop pitched the audience a concept for a reality TV show that promotes public health.
  • ‘We often hear people say that health is a personal responsibility. But is it more than that?’. Presented by Laura Hunter, Marc Zen and Hazel Leong.
  • ‘Making an impact on ‘Screenagers’ – How can health promotion grab the attention of Gen Z?’ Presented by Rachel Murray, Peter Martin and Sarah Di Cristofaro.
  • ‘Should public health involve industry in health‐promoting policies, programs & initiatives? If yes, what areas of industry should be involved?’. Presented by Michael Clow, Ashleigh Doig and Hannah Pierce.
  • ‘Is the Ottawa Charter still useful for health promotion professionals in 2014?’. Presented by Tom Shalders, Jemma Snow and Lorena Chapman.
  • ‘Imagine Perth in 2033…what key actions do you think have happened outside of the health sector to promote wellbeing in WA?’. Presented by Toyah Tinworth, Catherine Walker and Simon Pham.
  • ‘How is marketing contributing to the obesity epidemic?’. Presented by Jodie Hurd, Jake Johnson and Sokunthea Kruy.
  • ‘What are your policies for the 2013 State Election?’. Presented by Hannah Gray, Asha Singh and James Stevens‐Cutler.
  • ‘How does the long term view for public health fit with the Gen Y generation?’. Presented by Emma–Lee Finch, Prue Reddingius and Lauren Tracey.
  • ‘Health and the environment ‐ the green, brown and built environment agendas’. Presented by Piers Verstegen, Michelle O’Brien and Anna Pardini.
  • ‘What do you think is the biggest challenge for global public health over the next 50 years?’. Presented by Henry Tan, Kelly Kennington and Amberlee Laws.
  • ‘Early Career Investment — what do we need from our managers?’. Presented by Julia Stafford, Leanne Gledich, Victoria Van and Peta Turner.
  • ‘Principles, values and beliefs of public health – how can they be more visible and persuasive with the public, politicians and decision makers’. Presented by Jonathan Hallett, Leesa Tapping, Eleanor Costello and Emma Croager.

Yellow Brick Road

PHAIWA believes there are many inspiring and dedicated people whose efforts are often overlooked or left unnoticed. These seminars highlight the professional backgrounds and journeys of individuals who have helped to advance public health objectives, and how advocacy has assisted their careers.

So why the Yellow Brick Road?

As you know the YBR is a central theme in The Wizard of Oz – which was written in 1900 and first screened in 1939. According to film historians, the Yellow Brick Road is very bright, very broad, but not straight. It curves and wanders over hills and mountains.  It’s polished and smooth except in a few places where bricks have broken or are missing, and in other cases the Yellow Brick Road weaves through dark and abandoned forests in Oz leaving potholes, dead ends and cliff edges.

There are many theories about what the movie actually symbolises. However, after much surfing, we discovered that most writers, critics and bloggers think that the movie’s key message is about discovering how to have faith in yourself and your ability to handle life’s complexities.  As the movie shows, from time to time as you follow the Yellow Brick Road, you just may get lost in the woods and it is the capabilities offered by the three central characters – the Scarecrow (wisdom), the Tin Man (sentiment) and the Cowardly Lion (bravery) – that will allow you to change direction through the knowledge gained in the process. 

This seminar series illustrates how individuals have combined these capabilities to successfully navigate a road which may be filled with difficulties and obstacles or could have been straight and wide.


Previous presenters have been:

  • Isabel Ross: Mental Health Promotion Coordinator, WA Country Health Service
  • Darren Armitage: Acting Director Health Promotion, Healthway
  • John Carey: Mayor, City of Vincent
  • Bernadette Kenny: General Manager North and South PHN, WA Primary Health Alliance
  • Daniel Vujcich: Senior Policy Officer, Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Program, WA Health
  • Maria Szybiak: Director, LiveLighter Campaign at National Heart Foundation of Australia
  • Josh Wilson: Deputy Mayor, City of Fremantle; Chief of Staff, Office of Hon. Melissa Parke MP, Federal Member for Fremantle
  • Gemma Crawford: President, Australian Health Promotion Association; Lecturer and Researcher, School of Public Health, Curtin University
  • David Pigram: Aboriginal Health Promotion Officer, South Metropolitan Public Health Unit 
  • Jo Malcolm: Health Promotion Coordinator, Water Corporation.

Executive Conversation

The executive conversations series commenced in mid-2011. These roundtable discussions provide an opportunity for invited representatives from various organisations to meet with a leader in public health advocacy, often from interstate and overseas. Previous conversations have featured:

  • Dr Gary Fooks, Senior Lecturer Sociology and Public Policy and Co-Director of the Centre for Critical Inquiry into Society and Culture, Aston University, England; Healthway Visiting Fellow 2016.
  • Katherine, Director of the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS), London; 
  • The Hon Catherine King MP, Shadow Federal Minister for Health;
  • Steve McCutcheon, CEO, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ):
  • Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the UK Alcohol Health Alliance & President of the Royal College of Physicians of London 2006-2010;
  • Dr Chris Reynolds, legislation specialist based in SA;
  • Obesity prevention experts Tim Lobstein and Jane Landon from the UK;
  • Dr Shelley Bowen, Senior Public Health Advisor Prevention and Population Health, Department of Health Victoria;
  • Dr Angela Pratt, former Chief of Staff to Nicola Roxon;
  • Roger Cook MLA, WA Minister for Health; and
  • Tim Marney, WA Under-Treasurer;

Other Professional Development Opportunities

PHAIWA also coordinates and specifically tailors a number of other professional development opportunities, often done in partnership. Below is an outline of other professional development activities available:

  • Media Skills Workshop (can include TV and Radio). Presented by experienced journalists e.g. Elizabeth Chester, Debra Bishop and Andrea Burns.
  • Election Forum. PHAIWA works with a number of partners to organise a public health election forum prior to each State election. All sides of politics are invited to outline their public health policies and answer questions from the audience.
  • Consensus and Priority Setting Workshops. This workshop is designed to help an organisation and/or sector develop their top 10 priorities for their health area. This is a comprehensive process where PHAIWA works closely with the organisation and their stakeholders. 
  • Visiting experts. PHAIWA has previously hosted Healthway Visiting Fellows for a number of months and also works opportunistically with other visiting experts to hold one off seminars. An example is in 2016 PHAIWA and partners held a seminar on ‘Unhealthy commodities and public health: Policy implications of links across alcohol, tobacco and ultra-processed food companies’ with Professor Jeff Collin,  Global Health Policy at the University of Edinburgh. You can view his presentation here
  • Topic specific training. PHAIWA is able to run a number of webinars, workshops and seminars on specific topics such as Social Media, Internal Advocacy, Working with the Media, Getting Your Messages Out to Community. 
  • Guest lectures. The training team is available to support Universities with advocacy related guest lectures. 

If you are interested in holding any of the above professional development activities please contact Melinda Edmunds; or (08) 9266 1544. We are available to deliver training across WA, Australia and Internationally.