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Lending your voice to physio promotion
Shane Patman

One of the key pillars of the APA Strategic Plan 2012-2014 is Member Voice, to ensure the APA is influential with key health and policy decision makers in Australia and around the world.

Because the APA is its members, it is worth reflecting individually on our own efforts to have a voice. The health landscape is constantly full of opportunities to advocate at a local, personal level to promote physical activity, lifestyle change and benefits of physiotherapy to optimise health status. There are a number of opportunities to share your voice over the next couple of months.

Change Day takes place on Thursday 6 March (changeday.com.au), and is all about each of us 'Making a Pledge' to do one thing (or many things) to improve the health and wellbeing of others in the community. What pledge can you make to improve patient, client and consumer health outcomes? Making a pledge is absolutely free. All you need to do is make up your mind to do something that will have a positive impact on someone’s health and wellbeing. It’s about choosing to be the very best and most innovative version of yourself. The idea of Change Day is to create a mass movement of people working inside and outside of health and aged care services and the community who join together to demonstrate the difference we can make when we work collaboratively.

You could engage with Change Day and use your voice to restructure your work habits so you are more involved in a multidisciplinary approach to health care. You could also get involved in policy at a local level to improve the health of your local community, or work to break down silos and barriers which affect good patient care outcomes. You could do more interventions such as health promotion and primary health care interventions that focus on physical activity, exercise or lifestyle change, or look at your service and decide on one thing you could do better to make Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people feel welcome.

The Leukaemia Foundation's World's Greatest Shave, 13-16 March (worldsgreatestshave.com), is another way to get involved. You can use your voice to get sponsored to shave or colour your hair to help the 31 Australians diagnosed with leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma every day. Furthering the role of physiotherapy-prescribed physical activity and exercise to manage symptoms and optimise recovery can be advocated for.

Other important health awareness events to be aware of in the next few weeks are the Brain Awareness Week, 10-16 March (brainfoundation.org.au); World Kidney Day, 13 March (worldkidneyday.org); World Water Day, 22 March (unwater.org/worldwaterday); Arthritis Awareness Week, 23-29 March (arthritisaustralia.com.au); Epilepsy Day (Purple Day), 26 March (epilepsyaustralia.net/Purple_Day); World Health Day, 7 April (who.int) and World Parkinson's Day, 11 April.

So, while as an organisation the APA aims to use its voice to ensure the APA is influential with key health and policy decision makers in Australia and around the world, as members there are opportunities in our practices, our workplaces and our communities to have a voice. Perhaps you can consider what engagement with advocacy you want to lend your voice to in the months ahead, to promote physiotherapy and influence the health of your local community.

SHANE PATMAN, APAM
APA National Vice President

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