Helping the health sector thrive

A message from Executive Dean of Health Sciences Professor Suzanne Chambers:

In recent months I have had cause to reflect upon the many colleagues who have gone through or who are currently experiencing the challenges and fears of a loved one undergoing treatment for a life-threatening illness. The importance of what we do at ACU is very much on my mind as I focus on the work that our healthcare workers carry out and the impact that even our smallest actions can have on the human dignity of the patient.

It has made me reflect on the importance of strengthening our resolve to make a difference in how health care is delivered in this country and beyond. I am now, more than ever, inspired by ACU’s mission to act in truth and love, to step up, to be courageous, and to pursue truth with focus and determination. It is a reminder that each of us can contribute to a greater purpose through our everyday actions.

ACU is committed to helping Australia’s health sector thrive. Our graduates are equipped not only with the knowledge and skills to provide outstanding care, but also the compassion and empathy to provide care that people remember. Almost 12,000 students have graduated from our Faculty of Health Sciences over the past three years with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Exercise Physiology, Midwifery, Nursing, Nutrition Science, Occupational Therapy, Paramedicine, Physiotherapy, Psychology, Speech Pathology, Social Work and more. These graduates enter the national health workforce to support and serve the industry and its clients.

As part of this commitment, the university is focused on promoting human dignity in all aspects of life and across the lifespan. Earlier this year, we welcomed Professor Laurie Buys to ACU as Professor of Healthy Ageing. A national leader in gerontology, with extensive expertise in the field, Professor Buys will be indispensable in driving our contribution to healthy ageing in this country as Australian policy makers and health professionals build the framework we need to support our growing ageing population. She has been instrumental in championing a number of webinars and round-table discussions on healthy ageing in recent months, with themes on topics as diverse as Converting Wealth into Well-Being and Empowering our Future.

With postgraduate nursing programs in aged care management, gerontological nursing, and mental health for allied health professionals and nurses, some of which are moving to ACU Online, we are committed to playing a part in ensuring our older generation is appropriately cared for.

In another coup for ACU, five of our Health Sciences academics were recently selected by the Council on the Ageing Queensland (COTAQ) to inform the next phase of an Age-Friendly Strategy for Queensland. The strategy has been commissioned by the Queensland Government and this work will be led by Professor Laurie Buys, Associate Professor Gert-Jan Pepping, Dr Heidi Olsen, and Doctor of Philosophy students and School of Allied Health sessional staff Mizan Ahmad and Hannah Forbes. The award of this important work was highly contested and is a great credit to the project team members and ACU, with the project to take place over the next six months.

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