Goulburn Valley and Northeast Victoria

Summaries of meetings held are listed below, by year.

The meeting dates for 2019 are Wednesday 5 June and Wednesday 20 November. Further details will be released closer to the dates.

For more information or to discuss possible topics or presenters please contact CERSH:


2018 Network Meetings

Wednesday 8 August 2018

Topic: STI/BBVs and Contraception Choices – 2018 Update

Meeting debrief: The Goulburn Valley and Northeast Victoria Sexual Health Network meeting was held in Benalla on Wednesday 8 August. It was a well attended meeting with over 25 rural workers, ranging from school nurses, practice nurses, researchers and social service workers.

Associate Professor Jane Tomnay, kicked off the agenda with an update on STI/BBV notifications. This session was very popular and participants were interested to hear the current stats and updates on treatments. Jane also gave an overview of the recent IUSTI conference held in Dublin.

Catherine Hannon from the Royal Women’s Hospital led an informative session on contraception take up and talking to young people about their options. A group activity gave attendees the opportunity to work through case studies, which promoted group discussion and problem solving.

Rural Nurse Practitioner, Susan Read, from Tallangatta District Health Service, shared her experience on being an Implanon inserter and discussed the scope of nurses in the take up of LARC. The session generated lots of questions and group discussion, which is always enjoyed by this network.

Wednesday 16 May 2018

Topic: What’s new in sexual health in 2018?

Meeting debrief: Over 20 attendees came along to the first network meeting for the year, held in Benalla on Wednesday 16 May.

The CERSH health promotion team presented on a current project to increase access to condoms for rural young people through the installation of condom vending machines in rural towns, as well as launching the SHOUT sexual health promotion posters. Dr Siobhan Bourke talked the group through theCERSH Online Modules and promoted the newest module focusing on service delivery of medical termination of pregnancy in a rural setting. The school nurses in the group were very keen to use relevant modules as professional learning during the school holiday break.

The group then heard an update from Carolyn Mogharbel, Team Leader from 1800MyOptions on the newly launched website and phone line providing contraception, pregnancy and sexual health information. Followed by an update from Penny Bolton from Murray PHN on the GPs in Schools program, including stats and feedback from the program’s clinicians in the Goulburn Valley and Northeast region.

2017 Network Meetings

Wednesday 1 November 2017

Topic: Working with Young People, 16 and Under

Meeting debrief: This meeting included two key presentations focused on the topic of Working with Young People under 16, in relation to the new laws regarding Failure to Disclose/Failure to Protect Laws, and a clinicians perspective in relation to consent, confidentiality and responsibility in a clinic context.

The first presentation, by Lisa Nguyen, a lawyer from Youth Law explored the detail of the new laws and provided the opportunity for small groups to discuss their relevance within realistic scenarios. While the second presentation from Dr Siobhan Bourke, University of Melbourne sparked discussion and provided insight into the often complex situation within the clinic.

The day concluded with a panel discussion with representatives from SOCIT, Gateway Health, CAV, Vic Police Youth Liaison, Youth Law and University of Melbourne, exploring some real life scenarios, exploring the shady areas of working out what is best for the young person, what the law says and what factors need to be considered.

There were 21 attendees from a diverse range of organisations and services, including, , DET, Gateway Health, FCJ College Benalla, PHN GPs in Schools, Benalla Shire Council, and Benalla P-12 College.

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Topic: Understanding Identity and Supporting LGBTI Young People – A Practical Skills Based Workshop

Meeting Debrief: The second meeting of the year for the Goulburn Valley and Northeast Victoria Sexual Health Network was focused on extending skills for those working with LGBTI young people. Facilitators from youth-led organisation, Minus18, travelled from Melbourne to deliver a tailored, practical workshop on understanding LGBTIQ+ identities, best practice responses when supporting first disclosures and ongoing support and referral information. Participants heard the personal narratives of the young facilitators, engaged in activities such as ‘build a person’ and workshopped case study examples.

Following the extended workshop session the group heard an update on the launch of Gateway Health’s Gender Service in Wodonga and a quick summary of the staff who attended the Gender and Sexuality Commissioner’s Equality Roadshow earlier in the month.

The meeting was well attended with 21 participants ranging from adolescent health nurses, rural council workers, youth development and community health workers.

Monday 27 March 2017

Topic: Contemporary issues related to sex and communication technologies

Meeting Debrief: Facilitated by Dr Megan Lim, Head of Sexual Health and Young People Research at the Burnet Institute Centre for Population Health. Megan’s primary area of expertise is investigating the role of new communications technologies in public health. She has conducted research into how these technologies (e.g. smartphone apps and social networking sites) can be used for health promotion, and the impact of these technologies. Her work focuses on young people in Australia and developing countries, particularly in sexual health and alcohol. The meeting combined a series of short presentations and group discussion and debate.

2016 Network Meetings

Wednesday 30 November 2016

Topic: What’s new in sexual health – locally and nationally

Guest Presenters: Attendees from the Sexual Health Conference in Adelaide presented a wrap up of the conference. This was followed by a presentation from the Diversity Group, Shepparton and Way Out, Wodonga. The group then heard an update on what’s happening at Rumbalara in Aboriginal sexual health work and an update from CERSH on a sexual health messaging campaign for rural communities.

Wednesday 24 August 2016

Topic: The Local Picture: Overview of HIV and Hepatitis C and Local Health Care Pathways

Guest Presenters: Chris Biesiekierski (GV Health), Lauren Coelli (Gateway Health), Suzanne Wallis (GV Health)

Summary: Clinicians, school nurses, sexual health workers and health promotion officers made up the attendees who heard an update on the new Hep C treatments and progress on HIV programs. Time was also given for attendees to share experiences, discuss challenges and workshop ideas to help with their work in local areas.

Wednesday 18 May 2016

Topic: Adapting our sexual health and relationships education for different learning styles

Guest Presenters:  Catherine Madill – DHHS and Jenny Walsh – author of The Practical Guide To Love Sex and Relationships  and Catching on Early Teaching.

Summary: In this network meeting Catherine facilitated a practical workshop around tailoring education to suit a range of cognitive levels including learning disabilities and cognitive impairments. Jenny then lead a discussion and workshop about adapting strategies and resources for one-to-one clinical and education settings, and with young people with a range of abilities and learning styles. Time was also allocated for network participants to share their knowledge and strategies in adapting sexual health and relationships education for different learning styles.

Wednesday 24 February 2016

Topic: Sex Ed by Porn? Surely We Can Do Better

Guest Presenter: Maree Crabbe

Summary: This training assisted participants to develop their understanding of pornography and its influence, and the frameworks and confidence to address the issues with young people. It also aimed to provide support for teachers and others to be prepared to implement the respectful relationship revamp announced recently by the Victorian Government.  The training was attended by teachers, youth workers, nurses, psychologists and others involved in education, health promotion, violence prevention, support or counselling with young people, or in policy development in related areas.

Resources: http://www.itstimewetalked.com.au 

2015 Network Meetings

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Topic: Understanding and Utilising Social Media and Technology

Guest Presenter: Natalie Hendry, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society (ARCSHS)

Summary: The morning interactive workshop was facilitated by Natalie Hendry, Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society (ARCSHS) researcher and educator about social media, young people and their social and sexual health. The afternoon session gave atttendees an opportunity for local presentations and discussions about  initiatives that are underscored by social media and technology.

Wednesday 27 May 2015

Topic: Counting what counts and measuring what matters

Guest Presenters: Dr Alana Hulme Chambers (CERSH), Nasra Higgins (Communicable Disease Epidemiology and Surveillance, Department of Health & Human Services), Dr Alan Crouch (CERSH)

Summary: This meeting focused on the following:

  • Exploring the current ways that we collect and utilise sexual health data, information and evidence
  • Discussing ways in which we can more effectively measure and count what matters
  • Identifying further training and support needs for this component of our work.

The agenda for the meeting included a presentation by Dr Alana Hulme Chambers (CERSH) about ‘What IS evidence? A presentation and discussion led by Nasra Higgins about STI/BBV epidemiology and surveillance systems, and an update of current STI/BBV epidemiology for Hume region and our LGA’s. And lastly, a group discussion, facilitated by Dr Alan Crouch (CERSH), based on the topics of data collection and evidence in reporting.

Wednesday 25 February 2015

Topic: Nurse-led models of sexual and reproductive healthcare

Guest Presenter:

Summary: This meeting focused on nurse-led models of sexual and reproductive healthcare. There was a number of local presentations and discussions, and information about current research and strategic directions of nurse-led model of care in Australia. There was also an opportunity for network members to share information and updates.