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Focus on FIFO population sharpens

An interview by Pamela Haskell Mahon, Communications Officer, WA AIDS Council

Earlier this year the WA AIDS Council were thrilled to welcome Bethany Martin to the Health Promotion team as the successful applicant of a graduate scholarship from the Australian Health Promotion Association (AHPA). Bethany will be working with the Fly In Fly Out (FIFO) community to improve health outcomes.

I caught up with Bethany to find out more...

Tell us about your background and how you got to this point?

I studied Health Promotion at Curtin University and as part of my studies I was required to complete a practicum placement. Whilst choosing my placement I was volunteering in India on Curtin’s Go Global Program, and was concerned at how taboo sexual health subjects were within the community we worked in.

Having already an interest in sexual health, finding it a bit more out there and interesting, I decided I wanted to be my placement in a sexual health agency. During my placement at the WA AIDS Council, I had the pleasure of being supervised by the wonderful Ruth Wernham, Leader of the Health Promotions team, and got to work on the sexual relationships education facilitators guide and present at Ladies Night In. Having enjoyed the non-judgemental and quirky environment of the Council I continued volunteering in the office and on the Needle Syringe Exchange Program (NSEP).

What are you focussing on as part of the scholarship?

The focus of my scholarship is to conduct community consultation with male Fly In Fly Out (FIFO) workers and get a greater understanding of their sexual health and relationship behaviours. This will enable us to aim resources at risky behaviours they may be participating in, so they can make more informed decisions. I will also be running some focus groups to get an idea of what pitch, tone, colours and images the FIFO workers prefer so that resources will be attractive to them.

Where are you at with this project so far?

I am currently getting in contact with Pubs, Taverns, Hotels/Motels and mining villages in the Pilbara, offering them free Safe Sex Packs to have on offer for their clients. This assists in making Safe Sex Packs more easily accessible within Pilbara, promoting safer sex.

What would you like to do in the future, where do you see yourself?

As I am fresh in the field, there are a number of different health issues I would be interested in. However, after my time in India and volunteering in South Africa late last year, I would like to continue studying in the international public health area, as well as getting some work experience in regional and remote communities.

What you do in your spare time?

In my spare time I also work for HBF Fitness, instructing some of their free fitness sessions for members, I also work for the Better Health Program working with overweight children and their families to learn how to live a healthier lifestyle and have fun whilst exercising. I also love the odd T.V series binge!

Just for fun, tell us something that people may not know about you…

I grew up on a farm in Badgingarra, known for (or not known at all!) its wildflowers and Badgy Burger.


 

This article featured in our March eNewsletter. Subscribe here

 

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To minimise the impact and further transmission of HIV, other blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections. To reduce social, legal and policy barriers which prevent access to health information and effective support and prevention services.