The 2019 BioMedVic Communicators Forum gathers 70 professionals to debate ‘Change’

On May 30th the fourth annual BioMedVic Communicators Forum took place in the RMIT Storey Hall. The event attracted about 70 communication professionals to network and discuss the role and impact of change in the medical and health sectors. The concept of “Change” acted as the leitmotiv of the event and unified the individual sessions.

The program design was influenced by feedback received from attendees at last year’s Forum who gave suggestions about speakers, case studies, and professional development topics.

The Forum started with a warm welcome note by Núria Saladié (BioMedVic), who set the tone by reflecting on the role of science communication and its responsibilities. In his keynote address, award-winning science journalist Jason Gale (Bloomberg News) shared some inspiring stories about how shining a light on global health issues can be a catalyst for change. No matter whether it was writing about the lack of toilets perpetuating disease cycles, or the unregulated use of antibiotics in chicken and pig farming underlying the spread of multi-resistant pathogenic bacteria, Jason clearly articulated how science and health communicators can drive positive change and shape new policies.

An expert panel comprising Tony Abbenante (DHHS), Megan Prictor (Melbourne Law School) and John Carlin (MCRI) tackled the opportunities and challenges of the ‘big data’ revolution and explored the relevance of e-health information and how it should be communicated.

In the case study session, we heard how Lauren Love implemented the social media tool ‘Workplace’ at Ambulance Victoria with great success. Imogen Crump (The University of Melbourne), spoke about how platforms like ‘Pursuit’ fill a gap in the media landscape of the specialist science journalist. And Rachel Mitisano (APR.Intern) unpacked the value of using multiple media channels when implementing a marketing strategy.

Through role-playing with actors and lots of laughter, Leadership Victoria confronted attendees with sector-relevant workplace scenarios during the “Courageous conversations” training session. It proved a great opportunity to discuss how commonly-encountered challenges in the science communication sector can be approached and managed practically for positive outcomes.

The Communicators Forum is an annual event supported by BioMedVic and organised by and for communications professionals working in health and biomedical organisations. The buzz at the Closing Networking reception confirmed that this year’s Forum had once again “hit the mark” to foster collaborations and forge a sense of community between the communication specialists from organisations across Victoria.

See the program of the event here.

Photo gallery of the event: