A brief update on the progress of the Alliance since the roundtable in March.
The objectives of the March roundtable were to hear from you as key thought leaders on what you saw as the value of the Alliance to your organisation or institution. The aim is to achieve more equitable and improved global health and development outcomes and to position the City of Melbourne as a regional and global leader in health and development. Following discussions on the value proposition, the opportunities and the challenges, a majority of you attending the roundtable supported the proposal and agreed on important considerations for the establishment of an Alliance. The inaugural meeting of the Foundation Committee was held on 7 July with a follow-up meeting on 16 November, where lively discussion resulted in the decisions outlined below:
- Terms of reference endorsed.
- Alliance membership largely retained as the organisations invited to the roundtable.
- Alliance to retain the existing auspice by the Nossal Institute for the twelve months of the Foundation period. Noting the Foundation committee will undertake work on the options for future Alliance governance structures.
- A working group draft an Alliance Purpose and Principles paper based on a theory of change framework.
- Alliance activity over next 12 months will comprise of expanded activity around existing events, including visits by international experts, with member specific networking opportunities through symposia.
- Recruitment of a half time Executive Director to commence immediately.
- The Nossal Institute to negotiate contracts with Foundation members who agreed to make a financial contribution to the Alliance.
- Agreement reached to submit a business case to State Government for the funding of a landscape mapping study.
- Future Alliance membership criteria should be based on capacity and intent rather than financial capability.
Key points from the Committee’s discussion of the value and purpose of the Alliance to inform the Purpose and Principles paper were:
- Networking is a core reason for the Alliance. While it should not just be a “talk fest” sharing ideas and peer to peer knowledge exchange should be a central role.
- Advocacy: the Alliance would be a respected voice drawing together and presenting evidence but not a political campaigner.
- Brokering: from time-to-time the Alliance could also take on a broader role in securing major time dependant projects that require a consolidated group. This would help Melbourne to be more competitive in securing large global health contracts. The Alliance role would be one of a broker and facilitator not a competitor.
- Capacity Building and Career Pathways: sharing skills and experience across the Alliance to build the capacity of staff in particular areas, and advising on and facilitating career pathways for students and others interested in careers in global health and development
Work by the Foundation Committee and the Working Group on the Alliance’s program logic and raison d’etre, has resulted in a name change to the Global Health Alliance Melbourne (GLHAM): An alliance for development and health equity in the Asia-Pacific. The change is intended to help brand the Alliance as more distinct from the University of Melbourne, as well as shorten the name and acronym.
The new team
In November, Misha Coleman was recruited as the new Executive Director of the Alliance. Misha has significant experience in leadership roles in global health, in the private sector, non-government and Australian Government, with post-graduate qualifications in international development, women’s health, community development, monitoring and evaluation, project design and management, governance and compliance.
She has extensive experience living and working in countries including Palestine, Ethiopia, Kenya, Vietnam and Cambodia. She founded and was Executive Officer of a National Alliance in the asylum seeker and refugee sector, was formerly the CEO of Anglican Overseas Aid, and has also worked for AusAID, as Country Manager of ACIAR at the Australian Embassy in Hanoi, and has led Asian Development Bank and US Government aid programs in the Asia-pacific region. She was formerly a midwife and worked in South African townships during apartheid and in several Australian indigenous communities.
Joining her as Program Manager is James Hamlet, who also works in Education and Learning at the Nossal Institute for Global Health. He has experience working in the HIV sector in both Australia and Vietnam. James holds a Bachelor of International Relations (Hon) from La Trobe University and a Master of Public Health from the University of Melbourne.
Some early achievements
- Since beginning, GLHAM met with the DHHS to discuss funding of a Landscape Study, a key and immediate activity that will map where Melbourne based global health and development organisations are operating globally; their expertise; measure their impact; and quantify the economic significance of the Melbourne based global health and development sector to Victoria. We have drawn upon the Washington Global Health Alliance’s (WGHA) successes to develop the study and we have proposed an application for funding to the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.
- In early December, the Alliance co-hosted its first in an ongoing series of public symposiums on global health issues, that will produce a policy document with input from across the sector. The first of these symposiums, “Out of the Shadows: The case for investing in women’s mental health,” co-hosted with the Jean Hailes Research Unit and Monash University, brought together Professor Arthur Kleinman, a world expert on mental health, with Victorian-based experts from the public and private sectors, to articulate best practice strategies on keeping women’s—and their children’s—health and wellbeing at the heart of every nation’s sustainable development agenda.
- The Alliance facilitated a collaboration between Medicines Development for Global Health and The Fred Hollows Foundation, for the purpose of implementing delivery of Moxidectin in African contexts, with a focus on River Blindness. Furthermore, the Alliance enabled a collaboration with the Lowitja Institute, to implement its Moxidectin treatment program to target scabies throughout indigenous communities in Australia.
We look forward to working jointly with each of you to develop the Alliance and to expand our collective influence in global health and development.
Professor Ian Anderson, PVC Engagement
Helen Evans, Board Member, Nossal Institute