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2017 AMA media and advocacy awards

At the 2017 AMA National Conference, six media and advocacy awards were presented. 

A new award category was opened for this year’s entries – the Best Public Health Initiative.  State and Territory AMAs were invited to nominate an outstanding public health initiative or campaign – other than smoking and tobacco control – launched by their State or Territory Government in calendar year 2016.

Nominated by AMA NSW, The NSW Government, won this award for its campaign to combat childhood obesity. The NSW Health campaign is a comprehensive whole-of-government plan with the specific target of reducing overweight and obesity rates of children by 5 per cent over 10 years.

The judging panel, headed by Public Health Association of Australia CEO Michael Moore, noted that the campaign stood out for its clear strategic directions, and its strong focus on children and young people.

The Best Lobby Campaign 2017 was awarded to AMA Western Australia for their ‘Three-year Employment Contracts for Interns’ campaign.

The successful introduction of the three-year employment contracts for interns is a standout achievement. The reform eliminates the previous system of annual contracts, thereby eliminating both the cost and the stress of interns having to reapply for their jobs on an annual basis. 

The judges commented that AMA WA’s policy success should contribute to improved health outcomes across the WA system, with the hope that this initiative may spread nationally over time. In addition, the successful recombination of the Minister of Health and Mental Health is also a noteworthy success for the WA branch.

Best Public Health Campaign from a State or Territory 2017 was awarded to AMA Western Australia for highlighting ‘Australia’s Mental Health Crisis’.

AMA WA has developed a state-of-the-art best practice mental health program that is being recognised Australia-wide as the best of its kind using a dual approach to reach youth at school and adults in the workplace – two groups under severe mental health pressure.

Judges commended the branch on the clarity and quality of the campaign. They said the effectiveness in engaging and delivering its important message pointed to a significant public health intervention that deserved to be recognised.

AMA Victoria received Best State Publication 2017 for ‘Vicdoc’, whichcovers the ethical, political, clinical, and work based issues facing the medical profession in great detail.

Judges commented that the publication was valuable and informative and a must-read for any Victorian doctor. The front covers were simple and with compelling use of images. The standard of writing in this publication was extremely high and very informative.

AMA Victoria was also awarded with the National Advocacy Award 2017 for their cooperation between federal AMA during the introduction of the Victorian Government’s ‘Assisted Dying’ legislation.

AMA Victoria’s actions and commentary on assisted dying have always referenced and reflected AMA Federal’s policy position.

AMA Victoria called for improved funding for palliative care services, and legislative changes to the Doctrine of Double Effect through the enactment of legislation to provide legal certainty to medical practitioners in connection with the accepted clinical practices of double effect and non-provision of futile care.

Judges commended AMA Victoria on its clear and concise submission to the inquiry into a very sensitive and often divisive issue.

Most Innovative Use of Website or New Media 2017 was awarded to AMA Western Australia for their creation of WAhealthfirst.com.au. 

This website utilised a new media approach that generates conversation from content advocating AMA WA’s position on key political issues, most relevant to the recent State election earlier this year. An expected outcome of new media is to use technology available to provide clear and easy communication to the user. Judges commended AMA WA in the success of WAhealthfirst.com.au and said it was clear it simplified the voter education process of health policy while also providing the facts.

 Meredith Horne