Often, we don’t think about health until it fails on us. A broken bone, a bout of the flu through to a devastating diagnosis or the inflictions of age, for most, health is a personal state we take for granted.
This is reinforced by national health statistics that indicate that four out of five Australians over rate their health as good to excellent. The health reality is somewhat different, with some 63 per cent of the population overweight or obese and around 45 per cent of Australians aged 16-85 likely to experience a mental illness in their life.
The health of our communities and its citizens poses not only a challenge for the extensive range of health practitioners spread across the country and in the 1,300 public and private hospitals but also for the urban leaders planning, managing and driving our cities and towns.
While the Australian population has grown some 17 per cent in the last decade spending on health has grown over 50 per cent in real terms over the same period. This disparity in growth is only expected to increase as our population ages and the rates of cancer and chronic conditions continues to rise.
Better health and planning for our cities are front and centre for the delegates on the Cities Leadership Institute International Exchange on Health and Innovation.
Over ten days urban leaders and health professionals will visit six cities in the United States and Canada to investigate and interrogate issues that drive health outcomes and shape health innovation precincts.
From governance models, funding options, and the development of collaborative partnerships to the latest technological advances, innovative designs and active transport the road ahead is full of inspirations and insights.
Special sessions on access and equity, rural and indigenous health and mental wellbeing ensure a holistic approach to healthy communities.
We look forward to sharing the lessons and learnings with you as we travel on the road to good health.
First stop is San Francisco, California. Please check in with us each day to get the latest news and share these with your colleagues.
Together, lets work towards making our healthy people and places.
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Executive Director, Cities Leadership Institute