Academic Day One: gallopin’ gargoyles, Batman, where to begin?
We hope you all had the pleasure of catching most of the academic program on Thursday before making it down to Blueprint. Dan and Merry, you’ve outdone yourselves! Starting things off with a humble and inspiring collection of poetry and stories was our very own Dr James Fitzpatrick, who masterfully showed us how with perseverance and keen interest, one person can make dramatic change to so many –
“Grab hold of your story and let the world know about it.”
Bisi Alimi spoke eloquently, wisely and with just enough sass to remind us of the issues still facing the LGBT community. I especially appreciated his willingness to share such personal and profound stories, which culminated to underscore his message that the best way to help people suffering hate crimes and discrimination is to talk about it, and thereby reduce stigma. His parting words: “I believe in humanity.” Now we do too, Bisi.
“I believe in humanity.”
After a quick break we returned for Sabrina Hahn, an absolute gem of a woman, whose enthusiasm and passion could be felt from the back row. We ardently admire her commitment to ground-up health improvement, and how she relayed to us the importance of empowering Indigenous communities to take hold of their health through traditional food and building beautiful gardens. We also loved the slightly cynical, very cheeky quip – “Back when I was a kid, you just ate stuff. You didn’t have allergies. If you did, you died.” But at the essence of her talk was this:
“In Aboriginal health, what you guys need to know, it’s all about prevention. And as medical professionals, you need to go out into communities to get the full story. Seize opportunities to go out. Everything is stripped and life becomes simple and honest.”
Next up, Dan interviewed Emmanuel Ndayisaba, an endlessly inspiring and charming medical student. Hearing about his journey, from his life in Rwanda to being accepted as an Australian citizen, was moving and powerful. His closing statement stuck in the mind.
“When you are a refugee, you don’t choose, you take what you can.”
Fremantle turned it all on for the Blueprint, where balmy weather and sunny skies set the scene for our journey between venues. It was great to see the enthusiasm at B-Shed, where Tai-chi practitioners and hoola-hoopers looked out over the old ship Leeuwin and busy port of Fremantle. Sing-alongs, home-made juices and crash-course gardening were on the menu at the Notre Dame Drill Hall, whilst at Fremantle Town Hall you were all cooking up a storm as the smell of freshly ground coffee drifted through the building.
And finally, without any need for introduction really, we spoke to Sir Michael Marmot. He masterfully guided us through his pivotal research in global health, leaving us swimming in awe at what he has achieved and how he has influenced health practice. “We can make a difference. We know what to do. Let’s get on with it! Social justice demands it.”
Friday Academic promises to be just as delicious.