Frankly it’s been a difficult start to the year for the Prevention Centre team. The sudden death of our Deputy Director, Sonia Wutzke, left us all deeply shocked. We have been mourning the loss of a friend and missing a critical part of our working partnerships.
It was a reminder of our own vulnerability on so many fronts, and a confronting reality to those of us who have a strong belief in prevention that there is still so much that we don’t know about preventing most diseases.
That low has enthused me even more to pursue our vision and charter: to look for and work out how to best apply the evidence on what works in preventing chronic disease.
We are now in the final months of our first phase of funding. As we tally up our work, we will be able to report to our funders that – even though some planned projects became impossible with the dissolution of ANPHA – we have completed almost all the achievable projects we set out to do and that we can measure the impact of the Prevention Centre’s activity.
While Australia has done well in the prevention of some chronic diseases and the control of some risk factors, there is still a lot of room for improvement. This need will continue to motivate us.
However, I am also inspired to want to think more broadly and creatively about what prevention of chronic disease means beyond the traditional concerns about major risk factors and the major diseases.
The next time we report our successes, I want to also be able to say that not only have we done better at what we know works for the major causes of death and disability in our community, but that we have pushed the envelope by looking at prevention of other chronic diseases and conditions.
We may be surprised where this takes us!