Melbourne health / law partnership hosts international guests

Banyule Community Health (BCH), located in Heidelberg Melbourne, will today host international Medical-Legal Partnership experts Dr Edward Paul and Liz Tobin Tyler. The visit is their second stop on a week of events leading up to the inaugural Australian symposium on Advocacy-Health Alliances.

The visit provides the opportunity to observe Australia’s oldest health / law collaboration (30 years) and share insights on integrated service delivery. BCH is colocated with the West-Heidelberg Community Legal Centre, and has been the focus of extensive research by Associate Professor Mary Anne Noone, legal academic at La Trobe University. 

A summary of reseach conducted by Noone, published in the March 2012 edition of the Alternative Law Journal Justice for All (Vol 37 No 1 2012), profiles a long-standing Advocacy Health Alliance between West Heidelberg Community Legal Centre and Banyule Community Health in Melbourne, Australia.

The piece locates the collaboration in the context of international and Australian research that has established links between legal and health needs, particularly for people with chronic illness and disability.

After conducting an extensive analysis of the WHCLS / BCH model, Noone identified five key features of integrated legal service delivery:

1. Meeting a common purpose

2. Increased community access to services and support

3. Assists with identifying complex and interconnected needs and developing responses

4. Shares common values and understandings

5. Engages the community in problem-solving and solutions.2

Noone’s piece is engaging and a timely reminder that there are examples of Advocacy Health Alliances (in some guise or another) in Australia! This, and other examples of Aussie collaborations will be profiled at Friday’s symposium, which is shaping up to be a cracker.

Peter Noble

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