Reimagining health education in remote communities – Menzies
May 21, 2020
May 21, 2020
We are very proud to partner with the Menzies School of Health Research and the HealthLAB team. Even with COVID-19 restrictions, we’ve worked together to ensure the community can still access health information and advice.
This article talks about how the Menzies team has adapted during the COVID-19 lock-down period.
Pop-up labs have been transformed to encourage healthy lifestyles and teach communities about how to stay healthy during lock-down and beyond.
HealthLAB, a Menzies School of Health Research (Menzies) initiative, is a pop-up lab where you can have an interactive tour of your health by taking your own health measures and learning what they mean for you now and for your future health.
When COVID-19 travel restrictions were announced, the Menzies HealthLAB team had an innovative approach to ensuring the provision of health education in remote Northern Territory communities by re-purposing new technologies and creating hands-on health promotion packages to send to communities.
Associate Professor Heidi Smith-Vaughan, who leads the HealthLAB program, says it is an exciting time for the team.
“This challenge has inspired us to look at repurposing a range of new technologies. For example, we are working with Professor Deborah Richards at Macquarie University to produce conversational avatars, which will enable teens to engage with a virtual figure to discuss what they’ve learnt about healthy lifestyles.
“We are also working with the companies IBM and KWP! to develop a platform that uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) and ML (Machine learning) modelling to reinforce health messaging in a fun and engaging way.
“Due to COVID-19, we had to reimagine ways to keep the flow of health messages going. And what we’re doing is really exciting. Our trainees who have returned to community due to COVID-19 are still delivering messages. This is providing a whole new set of opportunities for these staff as well as keeping the HealthLAB messages flowing.”
HealthLAB is also working with the Moriarty Foundation through its programs Indi Kindi and John Moriarty Football to get health promotion packages to their staff in community. Staff are then being trained over video conferencing about how to deliver the packages while adhering to physical distancing restrictions.
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