Presenting a healthy future for PNG

JCU is celebrating the upcoming International Day of the Tropics with a public seminar on health and gender in Papua New Guinea.

On Thursday 27 June, three JCU researchers will be presenting their innovative research projects examining women’s rights, health and gender issues in Papua New Guinea (PNG).

State of the Tropics Project Manager and SDG seminar organizer, Ann Penny said, this seminar will feature two research presentations.

"This upcoming seminar is a special one because it will be our way of celebrating the 2019 United Nations' International Day of the Tropics on the 29 June," Ann said. "It recognises the day the Inaugural State of the Tropics Report was launched in 2014.

"During the seminar, Dr Michelle Redman-MacLaren and Rachael Tommbe will be presenting how they are responding to requests for information about sexual health from women in PNG. Then Elizabeth Gumbateki will share her study examining the experiences of girls going through puberty in PNG.”

According to Ann, the seminar will demonstrate the impact JCU research is having on addressing The United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in PNG. The UN SDGs are a call to action for institutions to combat global challenges such as inequality, health and wellbeing.

“PNG is an incredibly biologically and culturally diverse country but unfortunately one where challenges in health and wellbeing persist," Ann said. "The three guest speakers have all focused their work in PNG researching women's rights, equality, and health and wellbeing issues and importantly, including local participation in the work that they do."

JCU researchers Michelle Redman-MacLaren and Rachel Tommbe

JCU researchers Michelle Redman-MacLaren and Rachael Tommbe will be presenting their research on PNG women's sexual health and wellbeing project

During the seminar, the latest State of the Topics report Health in the Tropics will be released.

“This year, the State of the Tropics will be releasing its 2019 report about health in the tropics on the day of the seminar,” she said. “The report analyses the health statistics and trends that are occurring across the Tropics. We will ask everyone at the seminar who would like a copy to get in touch and we will provide one.”

During the six-month seminar program, JCU academics are presenting research that impacts the outcomes of the Sustainable Development Goals - from local to global examples. The seminar series will include presentations on JCU’s large-scale and new emerging projects led by researchers and PhD candidates.

"Future seminars will cover the business of the SDGs, urban planning and leadership for sustainable development," Ann said.

In 2016, JCU became the first Australian university signatory to UN SDGs campaign. Since then, JCU continues to support and promote the principles of the SDGs through its research, teaching, and operations.

“The JCU sustainable development working group is implementing those goals at JCU by identifying where our research and activities fit into those goals and looking at what we are doing at a local, state and global level,” she said. “It is important for an institution like JCU, who does have a focus on the tropics, to contribute to research to help achieve the UN SDGs in tropical Australia, our close neighbours in Asia and the Pacific, and the broader tropics.

“Because it is a global agreement that addresses everything from the environment, health and wellbeing to government, governance and institutions, it makes sense that JCU should be a leader not only in the research that we do but also the actions that we put in place on our campuses as well.

The Health and Gender in PNG seminar will run from 4:00-5:00 pm on Thursday, 27 June at JCU. Registration for the SGD Seminar series is free.

If you would like to improve the health and wellbeing of people and communities, consider JCU Health Studies or JCU Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

Featured JCU researcher

Dr Michelle Redman-MacLaren
Dr Michelle Redman-MacLaren
Michelle is a public health researcher known for her ability to facilitate action-oriented research in a culturally respectful way for positive health outcomes. She achieves this by facilitating participatory, decolonising public health research