I’ll be taking the reins of the @WePublicHealth – a rotational Twitter account (with a different curator each week) that’s providing a new model for citizen journalism with a public health focus. I’m the Tweetybird for the week commencing Monday 27 February.
What’s my background and what does it have to do with public health?
I divide my work week between freelance environmental and science communication, writing and consulting, and working as the director of engagement at the Melbourne-based science communication agency Science in Public.
With my freelance hat on, I’ve written reports on the health benefits of contact with nature for Planet Ark, written features for several magazines and newspapers, and provided climate change communication and waste education consulting services for clients, such as local councils.
I’ve also been a host, moderator, keynote speaker and occasionally the event producer for a stack of public events aimed at engaging audiences in science, sustainability, health and environmental topics. For example, I produced and hosted ‘Risk business or worried well? The science of why and what we fear’ for EPA Victoria during last year’s National Science Week. This week I’ll be hosting the Celebrating Women in Conservation breakfast.
At Science in Public, I look after our work for health charity the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia and national publicity for National Science Week. We also media train scientists, so that they can bring their research to key audiences, from journalists to policy makers to school groups to the broader public.
We also run media programs for major conferences. I’m particularly excited that Australia will host April’s World Congress on Public Health (@wcph2017) and Ecocity World Summit (@ecocity2017) in July, and Science in Public will be managing media for each of these. I’ll be tweeting some of the interesting and exciting things I’m learning about public health as we work on these conferences – note that my tweets from @WePublicHealth and @Ha_Tanya are my own views, and not those of Science in Public or the two conferences and their organisers.
My background also includes teaching the Human Behaviour and Environment subject at the University of Melbourne, reporting for ABC TV’s Catalyst show, a masters research project in behaviour change during the transition to motherhood, and terms on the boards of Sustainability Victoria and Keep Australia Beautiful.
…and, like all of us, I’ve got a personal interest in public health because I’m human. I’m a mother of two, the sister of a breast cancer survivor, the sister-in-law of someone who died from lung cancer, and the daughter of a physio mother and GP father (who ironically has preventable lifestyle-related illnesses). I care about the health of the planet, my friends and family, and billions of people I’ll never meet but I know they’re there, breathing, eating, living and loving in their own communities.
What I’ll be tweeting about
Given my background is such a bag of mixed lollies, I thought I’d loosely tweet on a different theme each day:
- Monday: health and environment in the media – insights from Catalyst days, how the media has changed in recent years, how to make the abstract tangible (e.g. preventative health), insights from media training scientists.
- Tuesday: public events – drawing on my experience with National Science Week (past ambassador, current publicity advisor), how public events can be used to promote public health. And I’ll be visiting my dad at his nursing home, so I’ll probably tweet about that.
- Wednesday: my insider’s guide to the World Congress on Public Health – what the big themes and speakers are, and (more broadly) how scientific conferences can broaden their reach beyond academia and hopefully have a lasting impact not heir host cities.
- Thursday: people and places, plus a bit of girl power – This is the day I’m hosting the Celebrating Women in Conservation annual breakfast, so I’ll tweet about that and what I’ve learnt from female role models in the environment movement and in science. I’ll also focus on nature, conservation, climate change, urbanism and public health: nature restoration theory and why the urban form matters.
- Friday: communication for behaviour change – lessons from both environmental and health campaigns, the psychology of behaviour change and environmental problems, how we communicate risk without harming mental health, and the importance on understanding who you’re talking to.
- Weekend at home: personal stories from my life experience.
See you in the Twittersphere!