This new website in the form of a Compass offers you the opportunity to seek direction and information on promoting cross-cultural solidarity and aspects of quality living. The worldwide demographics of populations have introduced compounding factors in meeting challenges for the next 50 years. These challenges involve engagement with all sectors including government, non-profit sectors, community organisations and individuals. Policy development for community wellbeing is everyone’s responsibility and diversity is a key element in addressing the array of programs that put policy to practice.
The Compass aims to examine current health policy issues from the perspectives of State and Commonwealth policymakers, researchers, authors and health-care reporters. Our focus in the health policy arena remains healthy ageing (primary care and early intervention), and intergenerational engagement (successful ageing and productive living). A third dimension to engagement is nation building; partnerships are progressing to promote interfaith relations (cross-cultural ethics and community harmony).
The recent National Stakeholder Forum on the Research Quality Framework emphasised the need to support a proposal for Third Stream funding involving knowledge exchange with communities. This view was reinforced by our Vice-Chancellor, Peter Sheehan, in his report to the Senate on 24 November 2005. The report emphasised that ACU National needs to strengthen research, scholarship and knowledge exchange with communities. A knowledge base, developed in partnership with communities, helps to deal with cultural, commercial, economic, educational, environmental, ethical, health, social, scientific and technological issues. This role is not new. It has been practiced in the United Nations and other international organisations for many years. In Australia, this role has been variously described as community engagement, outreach, community interaction, regional development, and knowledge transfer.
Whatever the term, the practice of community engagement is a central Third mission of higher education institutions — important not only for defining institutional strengths in academic research but also for the evaluation of outcomes, scholarship and information exchange with communities. This Third Stream activity is highlighted in the Compass. It offers readers a range of topics for building healthy communities — from issues of public policy on health (including the avian flu) to intergenerational relations (successful ageing and productive living), to cross-cultural solidarity (self-efficacy, skills for reconciling tensions between tradition and modernity, and for promoting interfaith harmony).
The navigational tools of the Compass aim to link researchers with sources of funding and prospective partners for collaboration. State-of-the-art research information will span four key sources:
- Journals: highlights of current research on health policy published in major professional journals;
- Commonwealth and States: highlights of activities at the Commonwealth and States related to health policy, including the challenges and strategies involved in dealing with major issues of building healthy communities;
- Bookshelves: highlights of recently published books on current issues and strategies in community building; and
- Media: highlights of the work of journalists who have published or broadcast unique stories to current health policy topics.
We hope you will find the Compass helpful. Please contact Monika Bhatia, Project Manager, on email email@example.com or phone 61-2-97014095 for further information and advice.
Peter H. Wilson
Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research & International)
2 February 2007