International collaboration: highlights from the Inaugural Transnational Health Workforce Symposium

16 January 2024

The College of Health and Medicine played host to the Inaugural Transnational Health Workforce Symposium on 6th and 7th December 2023. This significant event was organised in collaboration with valued partners, including the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and the Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care. The symposium brought together 73 delegates representing the public health, health information, research, and policy sectors of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Set against the backdrop of the modern Yukeembruk Village Hall, the symposium aimed to address critical health workforce challenges and foster cross-country collaboration. 

The Inaugural Transnational Health Workforce Symposium stands as a testament to the power of international collaboration in addressing complex healthcare challenges. With a focus on shared knowledge, innovative solutions, and a commitment to inclusivity, the symposium laid the groundwork for future collaborations that have the potential to improve health systems on a global scale. 

Discussions are currently taking place to explore the option of holding the next forum in Canada, with the CIHI having expressed their willingness to host the event. 

Key Symposium Highlights

Global Perspective: The symposium attracted professionals from diverse backgrounds, including public health, health information, research, and policy. Delegates from Australia, Canada, and New Zealand convened to participate in an engaging exchange of ideas and insights. 

Insights into Health Workforce Challenges: The event kicked off with presentations and discussions that delved into the most pressing health workforce challenges faced by each country.  

Focus on Data and Analytical Challenges: An integral focus of the symposium was the examination of health workforce data and the intricate analytical challenges arising from existing workforce complexities and policy contexts. Delegates explored innovative approaches to gathering and interpreting data to inform policy decisions. 

Call for Policy Reform and Educational Innovation: The symposium emphasised the need for policy reform, system enhancement, and educational innovation to redefine professional roles and team design approaches. Participants acknowledged the importance of learning from innovative practices in rural and remote settings to drive positive changes in the healthcare landscape. 

Shared Commitment to First Nations Knowledge: A significant aspect of the discussions revolved around a shared commitment among the three countries to incorporate First Nations knowledge and perspectives into workforce and systems design. This commitment reflects a broader goal of fostering inclusivity and cultural sensitivity in healthcare practices. 

Government Leaders Workshop: Following the symposium, 31 government organisation leaders reconvened for a workshop. This session delved deeper into critical facets of healthcare systems across the three countries, specifically addressing issues of retention, qualifications, and workforce data and planning.