Back to Health

Conference Resources

Reigniting a passion for preventive health – shifting from reactive to proactive care

The inaugural Back to Health conference was held at Pacific Bay Resort, Coffs Harbour on Gumbaynggirr Country in October. 

Resources from a number of presentations across the conference are now available for download below. 

Click below to access resources and presentations from Day 1 of the program.

Please see below link to access resources from Day 2 of the conference.

Friday 21 October

8:30am - 2:30pm

 Cultural safety training and cultural walking tour

Creating Cultural Safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Patients in Primary Care & Gumbaynggirr Country Cultural Experience

Start your conference experience with in-depth cultural safety training and a unique on-Country cultural excursion. This RACGP accredited training is a comprehensive series designed to increase cultural awareness and develop practical skills to enable health professionals to deliver culturally appropriate healthcare to their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients. This training is also an approved Cultural Safety Training required for the Indigenous Heath Incentive PIP. 

Component 1 – a self-paced eLearning module that must be completed before attending Component 2. It will take approximately 1 hour to complete online.  

Component 2 – a face-to-face cultural excursion that includes a 2 hour workshop, catered lunch and afternoon tea, a 2 hour on-Country cultural experience at Niigi Niigi (Sealy Lookout), and a crafted gift made by an Aboriginal local.  

Component 3 – a self-paced eLearning module that must be completed within 6 weeks of attending Component 2. It will take approximately 2 hours to complete.  

Learning outcomes:

  • Discuss the current experiences of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander of health and illness and how these differ from the rest of the Australian population

  • Explain the historical impact of the colonisation of Australia on contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s healthcare

  • Identify strategies to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with self-determination to access culturally safe healthcare within the primary care setting

  • Evaluate your practice’s cultural safety and identify strategies to provide culturally safe and acceptable healthcare to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients

  • Appraise the diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural perspectives of kinship, family, language and Country as individual and social determinants of health and wellbeing

Learn more here.

Saturday 22 October

9:00am - 9:10am

Welcome to Country

Acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land, the Gumbaynggirr Nation, and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture. Pay your respects to the Gumbaynggirr Elders past, present and emerging.

9:10am – 9:20am

Welcome from Healthy North Coast

Healthy North Coast Acting CEO, Monika Wheeler will welcome delegates with a broad outline of the conference program before introducing the conference facilitator.  

9:20am – 9:35am

Back to Health: reigniting a passion for preventive health

The last few years have been overwhelming, unpredictable and reactive. It’s time to refocus on the things within our control and re-ignite a passion for preventive health. Almost half of all Australians have health conditions that could be prevented, and preventive health measures can save people’s lives. This opening session will revisit what is preventive health and why it’s important. 

9:35am - 10:25am

Panel discussion: tools and considerations for preventive health

How can HealthPathways, recalls and reminders, health literacy, motivational interviewing and Aboriginal health protocols help to manage prevention? How do these tools work? Can they work beside other tools and practice and for different populations? These are some of the questions our panel will answer as part of this opening discussion. 

10:25am – 10:50am

Morning tea provided in Island Courtyard

10:50am – 11:20am

Breakout sessions

Please choose 1 session to attend

Download presentation here.

With: Professor Andrew Wilson

The Australian Government has developed the National Preventive Health Strategy, which will outline the overarching, long-term approach to prevention in Australia over the next 10 years. This session looks at past successes to achieve future gains in prevention. Delivered by Centre for Healthcare Knowledge and Innovation.

Download presentation here.

With: Lee Brogmus

The first 2000 days of life is a critical time for physical, cognitive, social and emotional health. This session outlines the importance of the first 2000 days and what action healthcare professionals need to take to ensure that all children have the best possible start in life.

With: Bron McCrae and Vanessa Gee

Join the Healthy North Coast healthy ageing team for an interactive session that will discuss head to toe preventive activities to address the risks associated with ageing. Learn more about end of life planning and preparations for a good death.

11:30am – 12:10pm

Breakout sessions

Please choose 1 session to attend

With Monika Wheeler and Miriam Veisman-Apter

This panel discussion identifies and addresses primary care access issues through a service planning approach. Explore sustainable and funding solutions that will have a lasting impact on health service quality and efficiency into the future. Delivered by Centre for Healthcare Knowledge & Innovation. 

Claudine Watson-Kyme & Kate Hodgkinson 

This interactive session will highlight lessons to be learned from actual medicolegal cases and give GPs the confidence not to practice defensive medicine. Dr Henschke will discuss common themes that run through many of the 240 cases that he has provided an expert opinion on. 

With: Professor Janet Wallace 

Medicine and dentistry have historically evolved separately, but better patient outcomes will be achieved by overcoming this divide. This session explores the interconnection between oral health and overall medical health.

12:10pm – 1:00pm

Lunch provided in Island Courtyard  

1:00pm – 1:55pm

Download presentation here.

This will be an opportunity to put the knowledge shared in the morning panel on prevention into practice. Using an interactive case-base scenario, this workshop will explore the tools available to clinicians to meet the challenges of diabetes primary and secondary prevention, in particular, HealthPathways. 

2:00pm – 2:30pm

Preventive Screening and Population Health 

Screening programmes represent a considerable amount of healthcare activity. This session looks at the different types of routine screening in public health and clinical care, including self-administered screening that could address screening barriers.

2:30pm – 2:55pm

Afternoon tea provided in Island Courtyard

3:00pm – 3:40pm

Breakout sessions

Please choose 1 session to attend

Bronwyn Morris-Donovan, Rob Curry, Aaron Hardaker and Nerida Volker

Build your narrative about the value of allied health and arrive at a definition that assists you to communicate effectively with peers, colleagues, funders and policymakers your vision, direction and qualities that make you an agent of transformational change. Discover ways to increase your involvement in the planning, management and leadership of health service delivery to improve decision-making, clinical governance and patient safety. Delivered by Centre for Healthcare Knowledge and Innovation.

Carolyn Lloyd 

Immunisation is a constantly evolving area of primary care. Gain access to the most up-to-date clinical information and boost your immunisation knowledge, update your skills, expand your scope of practice, and be part of the nation-wide healthcare workforce protecting the community against vaccine-preventable diseases. 

Download presentation here.

With: Dr Matthew Kinchington

This session explores up-to-date research on strategies for preventing cognitive decline, from memory loss and brain function to chronic cognitive diseases like dementia. Understand what to do and what not to do for maintaining optimal brain health.

3:50pm – 4:30pm

Breakout sessions   

Please choose 1 session to attend

Download presentation here.

Dr Janet Long, Sarah Robin, Paul Kelly, Tony Rothaker and Kerry Pearse

Collaboration among health care providers and across social systems is a proven strategy for improving health care delivery. This session examines how mapping collaborative relationships and understanding social capital can support a shift towards the community participation principles that underpin a primary health care approach. Includes local examples of social capital in real-world practice. Delivered by Centre for Healthcare Knowledge & Innovation and facilitated by Paul Kelly, CEO of CHESS Connect. 

Dr Luba Sominsky

Neuroimmunology investigates links between thoughts and emotions, and the susceptibility versus resistance to disease. Learn more about this growing field and get up to date on the most recent evidence-based research of interactions between neural, endocrine and immune processes. 

Download presentation here.

Professor Niki Ellis

Work is an integral part of general health and daily life. This session will help you to recognise early work-related ill-health, to advise about improving working conditions and health-at-work, to support return-to-work, and preserve and restore working capacity.


Leisure time

6:30pm – 10:00pm

Dinner and entertainment

Tickets for the conference dinner may be added to your chosen package during the registration process. It offers an excellent opportunity to enjoy canapes and a delicious 2-course meal while getting to know the North Coast clinical community in a relaxed setting. Extra tickets may be purchased for guests if desired (eg. partners).

Cash bar open and canapes served.

Music by Matty Devitt.  

Mitch Wallis, Founder of Heart On My Sleeve and author of Real Conversations. 

Mitch Wallis is one of the most recognisable faces in mental health. He openly shares his 20+ years of lived experience with mental ill health, including anxiety, depression and OCD, and is a leader in the wellbeing space, holding a Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University. Mitch has delivered keynote presentations to tens of thousands of people, including some of the most recognised companies in the world. Through the power of storytelling, connection and living with authenticity, he creates a more open conversation about mental health, so that people can rewrite their toxic narrative by learning to love themselves and feel loved by others.  

Mitch has been an advisor to the United Nations on the topic of youth mental health, has been named a Man of Impact by GQ, and was appointed the first ever ambassador for the Australia & New Zealand Mental Health Association. He has a remarkable ability to break down a heavy and complex topic into an integrated and digestible tale.  He explores the darkest yet most insightful moments of his own mental health journey (and its impact on his personal and professional life) and he pairs this with systemic and social challenges and psychological neuroscience. Mitch knows what it’s like to hurt and he recognises that pretending is painful. He’s real, authentic and raw and he invites you to join him on his journey to gain insights that are actionable, relatable and transformative in practice.  

Learning outcomes

  • Gain direction and perspective through lived experience  
  • Build tactical resilience techniques and tools for supporting yourself and others  
  • Reduce confusion associated with supporting others when they say they’re struggling  
  • Maintain mental wellness during times of ambiguity

The Matty Devitt band is based around Matty Devitt, an Indigenous Australian singer and songwriter that combines his love of modern music with the spirit of his Aboriginal heritage. This Coffs Harbour-based band delivers a unique style of chilled out, rootsy, acoustic rock, that’s driven by Matty’s insightful and soulful lyrics, as well as their appreciation for the classics.  

Sunday 23 October

7:00am – 7:45am

Meditation wellness activity

Join mindfulness teacher and registered psychologist Lisa Brown for a relaxing meditation wellness activity. Take some time out to stop, be still and start your day off on the right foot.

7:45am – 8:45am

Healthy North Coast board breakfast (FREE optional add-on)

Get to know Healthy North Coast with a presentation from the Acting CEO and Chair on governance structures, flagship operational projects, the value that organisations can get from joining HNC’s membership, and the membership application process. 

9:00am – 9:15am

Welcome and acknowledgement 

Start the day by acknowledging Country and the Traditional Owners and then recap and reflect on the activities of Saturday before looking ahead to the days proceedings. 

9:15am – 10:10am

Download presentation here.

The last few years have been particularly challenging, and many health professionals are feeling the effects of burnout. This workshop will be a chance to reflect on your everyday resilience and wellness and strengthen your connection to self and others. Learn how to read your wellness pulse and to keep your battery charged so that you and those around you can thrive. 

10:10am – 10:45am

How do we facilitate the implementation of green prescriptions? 

The 2021 World Health Organisation report on ‘green and blue spaces and mental health’ reinforces the call for the provision of nature-based prescriptions, supported by suitably trained health professionals. This panel discusses how best to support the uptake of green prescriptions for the health and wellbeing of communities. 

10:45am – 11:15AM

Morning Tea provided in Island Courtyard

11:15am – 11:55am

Breakout Sessions 

Please choose 1 session to attend

Download presentation here.

Nicola Kerr and Rachel Gerathy 

Childhood obesity can be strong predictor for carrying excess weight into adulthood, placing children at increased risk of developing chronic disease in later life. This session will explore the psychology of feeding, the vulnerable periods throughout the lifespan, and why early intervention is vital no matter a person’s age. It will look at how to have healthy conversations with both children and adults and where to refer to local programs accessible for all. 

Download presentation here.

Fiona Tully and Liza Emery

The prevention and management of kidney disease addresses a number of underlying risk factors. This session looks at ways to maintain healthy kidneys, screen for and monitor long-term conditions that can lead to chronic kidney disease and other chronic health conditions, and will discuss how to slow and manage the progression of declining renal function.    

Evidence shows that a multidisciplinary approach can help to keep hearts healthy. This session discusses case studies that demonstrate the benefits of working together as a team, as well as new and emerging treatment and referral options.

12:05pm – 12:45am

Breakout Sessions 

Please choose 1 session to attend

Download presentation here.

Lucinda Scopelleti

Prevention is an important part of a comprehensive harm reduction approach to reduce alcohol and other drug (AOD) harms, particularly amongst young people. This session shares the experiences and innovative 3 stage model of the Clean Slate Clinic, a Telehealth program that supports Australians to safely undergo alcohol detox from home. 

Dr Kym Collins 

Presentation available here.

Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a key part of the goal to end HIV transmission. PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV by up to 99% when taken consistently as prescribed, and all GPs in Australia can prescribe it. This session explores the use of PrEP and post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) as HIV prevention strategies.

Kerryn Lawrence

Investigates the impacts of the local environment on human health and ways to monitor and mitigate factors that affect human health and disease, both now and into the future. 

12:45pm – 1:30pm

Lunch provided in Island Courtyard 

1:30pm – 2:15pm

Preventative health in a digital world

Harnessing the power of digital technologies is essential for achieving universal health coverage. This session explores some key ways that tools may be used for maximum impact on health systems and people’s health. Presented by the Centre for Healthcare Knowledge and Innovation. 

2:15pm – 2:45pm

Lifestyle medicine and gut microbiome 

The gut microbiome plays an important role in health by helping control digestion and the immune system. An imbalance of unhealthy and healthy microbes in the intestines may contribute to weight gain, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and other disorders such as cancer, obesity and diabetes. This session will explore the latest findings on gut health research. 

2:45pm – 3:00pm

Falls prevention energiser 

As the conference comes to a close, prevent your energy levels from falling by taking part in a short fall prevention exercise routine. Learn simple ways to build leg strength and improve body mechanics and balance while an afternoon snack is served.

3:00pm – 3:30pm

Afternoon Tea served at tables

Maintaining proactive preventive health in reactive times

In times of crisis (COVID, bushfires, floods) it’s easy to slip back into a reactive model of healthcare. This closing session offers a chance to reflect on the learnings from the conference and ways to maintain a commitment to preventive health as part of a disaster management plan.

3:30pm – 3:45pm

Take home messages

Hear from the Healthy North Coast Board Chair as he ties together the events of the 3 day conference and shares some final take-home messages.  


Conference closes

The Back to Health conference is a partnership between Healthy North Coast, Centre for Healthcare Knowledge and Innovation and Health Pathways.