HOT NORTH Newsletter Out Now – July 2021
Welcome to the newsletter from the new side of normal where our work and lives are continually being redefined by COVID-19. In the Northern Territory, we are fresh off our first lockdown; the consequence of a single fleeting transmission event resulting in the virus flying from a Brisbane quarantine hotel into a remote mine in the centre of Australia, silently transmitting to other people and then with them flying on to Darwin, Alice Springs, South Australia, New South Wales and back to Queensland. All in a single week. It has been an inspiration to me to see how well the NT public and the health, police and first responder staff have worked together to prevent further virus transmission.
While it was only after 18 months into the pandemic that we had this first community transmission in northern Australia, the impact of COVID-19 on HOT NORTH began as soon as the pandemic was emerging, with unfortunately likely terminal consequences for HOT NORTH. For those in the HOT NORTH program, it has meant delays, disruptions, and postponement of many important research and translation activities. All our 2020 regional workshops were cancelled, and we were granted a no cost extension by NHMRC. This has at least enabled us to give extensions to Fellows, students and research projects to wrap things up by the end of 2021.
On the bright side, as you will read about below, we continue to collaborate on workshops across the north and strengthen those partnerships we’ve built over the last four years. We’ve recently returned from another successful regional symposium that saw over 110 people travel out to the very remote Gulkula site in East Arnhem. In what was one of our largest collaborations, we worked hand-in-hand (with hand hygiene of course) to deliver the event with organisers from the NT Government, Northern Territory Primary Health Network, and Miwatj Health.
August is shaping up to be a busy month with four events in the pipeline. A combination of inservice training and symposia will take us west to Kununurra and then south to Katherine, followed by this year’s Youth Health Summit in late August. We round out the HOT NORTH program with what will be our final Annual Scientific Symposium on 4 November, which will run one day prior to the NTPHN Compass 2-day event also located at the Darwin Convention Centre.
Finally, I’d like to welcome our latest scholarship winners who were each awarded funding to carry out a research project in one of our five priority fields. You can find more information about their projects below.
We continue to advocate for the HOT NORTH model of research and translation. We recently published articles in Lancet Regional Health and the MJA, highlighting the urban-rural health gap in Australia and how cross-disciplinary collaborations spanning the three northern Australian jurisdictions are making a difference.
As always, we encourage you to share our newsletter with those in your professional community and anyone else you think may be interested.
If you or someone you know is keen in joining the HOT NORTH initiative or attending one of our workshops, please feel free to get in touch with us at HOTNORTH@menzies.edu.au.
Professor Bart Currie
Director, HOT NORTH