There has been no shortage of challenges for allied health therapists since the start of 2020. Businesses have been disrupted, new workflows have been created, then changed and re-created, then changed again. Amidst all the challenges, there have been several positives that are important to highlight and reflect upon. One specific positive is the strength and resilience of the allied health community.
The allied health community has come together in a unique and encouraging way since 2020. You have likely seen this in your own circles. Facebook groups are being started. Collaborative meetings are being held over Zoom. Information about restrictions is being disseminated without any agenda other than supporting one another.
It is encouraging to see the allied health community coming together virtually. It is also a good reminder about the importance of coming together in-person for collaboration, education, reflection and celebration. The best way to do this is through conferences. This article is going to take a look at the best allied healthcare conferences in Australia that you cannot wait to attend!
The Increasing COVID-19 vaccination rates in Australia means that in the not-to-distant future conferences will be making a return appearance. This will likely be in 2022 so lots to look forward to.
If you’ve never been to a conference before then there are 2 main reasons to attend: to network and to learn.
If you have been to a conference before then you know there are many reasons to attend. Conferences are a fun, engaging and informative way to network with people in your industry, find out about the latest innovations and research in your field. Even the allied health practitioner who keeps up to date with industry innovations and conversation can benefit from attending a conference. A dedicated event where top industry professionals gather from many different geographical locations is invaluable to ignite motivation for all attendees and provides an excellent personal, as well as professional opportunity to fine-tune your industry expertise.
It’s important to step back from your day-to-day role occasionally to gather some perspective. Doing the same role day in and day out, no matter how much you enjoy your field of work, doesn’t allow for many career-building opportunities, such as learning about cutting-edge research and technologies being developed in your field and offering networking opportunities with those in your industry that you would otherwise never meet.
There is no shortage of allied health conferences in Australia to access these opportunities. While most have been put on hold, or gone online, there is still a packed roster of gatherings for people in many different disciplines.
Here are the hottest Australian allied health conferences to look out for(*if a conference you love is not on the list, let us know!).
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The National Allied Health Conference is the major allied health conference in Australia. It happens every other year and shifts its location to a different, major Australian city for each conference. The last 3 have been held in Brisbane (2019), Sydney (2017) and Melbourne (2015) respectively. The 14th conference was originally meant to be held in Perth. This year, It was held online from August 9th – 12th. NAHC’s schedule boasted a number of relevant workshops, seminars and learning sessions over a 4-day period with topics covering sustainability in the allied health workplace, clinical adaptations during COVID-19 and responses to music therapy for COVID-19 patients.
The Indigenous Allied Health Australia (IAHA) is another large and important conference to add to the calendar. The annual IAHA conference aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as well as supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander allied health students and graduates. The 2019 National Conference brought together 329 delegates from around Australia. Over two thirds of attendees (67.5%) identified as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The 2021 conference is up in the air at the moment and a decision will be made in early September.
If research is your thing, then the Victorian Allied Health Research Conference is a must.
VAHRC hosts seminars on identifying allied health research assets and how to embed a research culture into an allied health practice. VAHRC is on hiatus during the coronavirus pandemic so be sure to join the mailing list for details about their next conference.
When able to meet in person, conferences are often held in major metropolitan centres due to the large exhibition space needed and accessibility for the maximum number of attendees. In contrast, the Outback Allied Health Forum focuses on the challenges faced by providers in rural and remote locations. Held bi-annually, the 3rd Outback Allied Health Forum was held in June 2021 in Mt Isa and is in the process of making preliminary plans for the next event in 2023.
The Australian Physiotherapy Association, the team behind Adelaide’s Transform 2019 are coming back with Thrive 2021 (postponed to 31 March -2 April 2022 due to the pandemic) in Brisbane. APA’s conferences include conference breakfasts each morning and a farewell conference dinner, for plenty of networking opportunities with people in your field. Thrive 2021 is expecting an audience of over 1,500 allied healthcare practitioners just like you!
In addition to being able to network, listen to experts speak and learn about research and innovations in your field of interest, you will also be able to learn about which tools will serve you best in a clinical setting. Conference sponsors will be exhibiting their products for you to check out in between workshops and sessions. These sponsors range from athletic tape providers to Practice Management Software UK (PMS) providers. The sponsors appear at these events to speak directly to users and better understand clinic needs. Take advantage of this opportunity to talk with your current service providers and compare their services to other providers all in the spirit of healthy competition.
All in all, there are a lot of great conferences to look forward to so stay strong and keep going in the meantime!