Living with Natural Disasters – The Exchange

Ninety women from Tamworth and surrounds attended ‘The Exchange’ at Tamworth Regional Gallery on Thursday, November 2 to discuss the topic Recover, Adapt, Connect. The theme addressed the impacts of natural disasters on health and wellbeing.

‘The Exchange’ is a HealthWISE initiative, supported by the Australian Government. It is designed to empower women in their careers through the meeting of minds and sharing of ideas.

Upon registering for the event, 14% of those in attendance felt prepared for the summer ahead.

Dr Arnagretta Hunter, guest speaker, is a physician and cardiologist working in private practice in Canberra and at the Australian National University. Guests heard how a three-week heatwave in 2019 in Canberra really focused Dr Hunter’s thoughts on the changing environment.

Usually she would encourage her patients to undertake more physical exercise, but in these conditions she advised against it. Research shows that reduced physical activity over just a few weeks results in changes in muscle strength, blood pressure and hormone systems. Regular interruptions to activity will have increased impacts on our population’s health and wellbeing.

The panel discussion, led by Integrated Care Manager Anne Williams,  included Shona Eichorn, CEO of Northern Inland Academy of Sport (NIAS) and Jodie Hunter, a Tamworth based architect at Urban & Abode. Shona explained that that getting involved in organised sport is a positive, but people have stepped away from this in recent years. NIAS provides their athletes and coaches with education, sports psychology, nutrition and mental health advice to assist their endeavours.

Jodie touched on changes in the built environment such as local councils providing more pathways that can assist residents to undertake more activity. In Tamworth there are also plans for a skywalk up to the lookout. Individuals can also make adjustments to their own environments, including increasing airflow and retro fitting insulation to improve their preparedness.

At the conclusion of the event, 36% of guests felt prepared for the summer ahead.

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