Interview with Professor Sharon Goldfeld

Interview with Professor Sharon Goldfeld

A top academic praised Burnie’s innovation and progress after a visit to the region with a national group.

Stronger Places Stronger People (SPSP) is a federal government initiative with representatives from ten communities across Australia.

Burnie was invited to be part of the SPSP initiative in 2019.

For three days, representatives did a wide range of activities across Burnie.

Burnie Works chair Chris Lynch said he enjoyed welcoming people from all over Australia to the region.

"Although these communities have very different geography and demographics, they are each working towards solving their own unique local problems.

"We are all using a community-led collective impact approach to build locally tailored solutions for our communities, and we can't wait to share what we have learned and achieved so far in Burnie."

Attending a walking tour at Burnie Community House was Sharon Goldfeld, who is on the Steering Committee for Restacking the Odds, which aims to ensure that children and families can access the services they need.

I'm a pediatrician who sees children with developmental and behavioural problems. 

But I'm also a public health researcher focusing predominately on health equity. 

I'm really trying to think about, particularly for young children, how do we make a difference early? And how do we make sure we make an equitable difference early?

It's about making a difference to those who most need it, so we see a more equal society in Australia.

Professor Goldfeld said she was impressed by the services offered for children in Burnie.

What's extraordinary about Burnie is three things.

First of all is this incredible community engagement with families coming to the table and saying 'these things are important to us'.

Number two, there is community engagement of the services infrastructure that's available - people are engaged in the mission, which is trying to make a difference for their kids.

And number three is this added bonus, which is Burnie Works.

Mr Lynch said the work of academics such as Professor Goldfeld was vital to SPSP and organisations like Burnie Works.

Burnie Works provides the link between the researchers and those who work on the ground to understand how families access services from birth to early years education.

This means that the research findings reflect what is happening on the ground and they will be able to help the Burnie community to work together so we can make sure children get the best start to a great life.

Kylie from Burnie Works and Professor Sharon Goldfeld at the Burnie Community House during the Stronger Places Stronger People visit to Burnie in August 2022.