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BCRI Symposium 2022: Social Connection


Research shows social connection is central to health and wellbeing – it’s a truth that has become even more evident as whole communities grapple with isolation the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bolton Clarke Research Institute is a leader in research around social connection, with initiatives like it’s HOW-R-U? program attracting international attention and the Connecting Communities to Care social prescribing initiative now underway in Melbourne.

On 4 March, the Institute will bring together a stellar program of top national and international policy makers, academics and service providers in an online Social Connection Symposium to highlight current research and initiatives including the impact of COVID-19, along with the effect of the pandemic to fast-track practical solutions.

With an opening address by Swinburne University Chancellor of Technology Professor John Pollaers, high profile presenters will include the University of Queensland’s Professor Cath Haslam on the social prescribing as a path to social cure, Swinburne Social Innovation Research Institute Director Professor Jane Farmer on guidance about social connection activation that makes sense and is implementable, and a representative from the UK-based Global Alliance for Social Prescribing, on their activities on implementing social connection activities.

“We wanted to showcase what is happening in Australia in particular,” BCRI Senior Research Fellow Dr Rajna Ogrin said.

“COVID-19 has had a huge negative impact on loneliness and social isolation. We know isolation causes a lot of health issues and that social connection works to protect against these things.”

The symposium will also include panel discussions on implementing and evaluating an evidence-based, holistic whole of community approach to wellbeing and how to make social connection activities “business as usual” in Australia.