Introducing Dietitians Australia
We have been busy here down under! In May, after nearly 12 months of planning, we evolved from the Dietitians Association of Australia to Dietitians Australia. We launched our new visual identity as well as a new member database and communications platform, Share Plate.
The new logo combines the ‘D’ and the ‘A’, with the lines representing the path to a healthier Australia through what we put on our plate.
representing our Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) credential has also been updated to a speech bubble, representing the conversation between APDs and their audience.
The contemporary look and feel have been welcomed by members, with the opportunity to engage and collaborate with fellow members around the country and overseas through Share Plate.
Supporting members through COVID-19
In addition to these exciting projects, we have been busy supporting our members through the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Dietitians Australia has been advocating for increased access to telehealth for some time, the COVID-19 pandemic made it a necessity. We led early with calls for telehealth to be supported by both Medicare and private health insurers. Members were offered opportunities to support these calls with letter and email templates to be sent to Members of Parliament. Through continued advocacy, dietitians are now able to use usual billing practices for telehealth consultations supported by government funding (Medicare). Major private health insurers also support telehealth dietetic consultations and smaller providers continue to come on board. We continue to advocate for ongoing access to telehealth.
Support and professional development for members:
In addition to advocating for access to dietitians via telehealth, we collated and communicated about resources and announcements, and answered many member questions related to professional practice and the pandemic.
We fast-tracked some online professional development courses through our Centre for Advanced Learning
and provided a suite of professional development opportunities at low or no cost to members.
Virtual plenary presentations:
When the Dietitians Australia national conference scheduled for August 2020 was postponed due to the pandemic, we adapted quickly to present our plenary presentations virtually under the theme “Discover. Grow. Evolve”. More than 300 delegates were inspired by speakers discussing Leadership, Implementation,Translation and Sustainability. As an outcome of the conference, Dietitians Australia is now a member of Climate and Health Alliance.
Emerging dietitians were treated to a plenary where they learned about some unique career paths of young leaders of our profession, as well as an online networking session.
Our online Board and Members forum provided members an opportunity to hear from our Board members and ask questions about their organization.
Dietitians Day 18 September 2020
Dietitians Day is an annual opportunity to celebrate our wonderful dietetic friends and colleagues. Through this year’s theme ‘Dietitians make a difference’, members were encouraged to acknowledge and celebrate the many Accredited Practicing Dietitians that have influenced their career and that of others. It was great to see a flurry of activity of social media!
We also celebrated the 90th
anniversary of dietetics in Australia on Dietitians Day. To help commemorate this milestone, we presented a historical webinar: The first 20 years of Dietetics in Australia – Dietitians that made a difference. Advanced APD and DA Board Member Glenn Cardwell hosted APDs Dr Beverly Wood and Virginia Fazio, who treated attendees to some fascinating insights!
Advocacy Think Tanks
With our increasing focus on advocacy, we ran ‘Think Tanks’ in our priority areas- Aged Care, Mental Health, Disability and Food and the Environment, providing opportunity for members to highlight the priorities for the new Dietitians Australia Advocacy Priority Action Plan. A new board committee has also been established to help drive the work in this area, Advocacy and Policy Advisory Committee.
The Think Tanks gave us a good picture of member experiences in these areas of health care. Some common threads ran through all sessions.
- Cost-benefit analysis of the inclusion of dietitians and nutrition planning in each area.
- Recognition and training support for dietitians working in these areas.
- Greater recognition by Aged Care Quality Standards, Disability and Mental Health NDIS Care Planning processes and the need for Dietitians to advise on individual clients and their appropriate nutrition.
Subject Matter Leads have been appointed for each area to work with Dietitians Australia Policy staff and the board to further develop and implement action plans.
Sally Moloney APD | Marketing and Membership Administration Manager Dietitians Australia | www.dietitiansaustralia.org.au