The impact that the current COVID-19 Pandemic has had on human interaction and how we go about business is unprecedented, something I doubt any of us have experienced before. Unfortunately, it is unlikely to be the last and it would be very naïve to think that this isn’t something we may have to face again in the future.

As such, we must take this opportunity to learn from what we are currently going through, to ensure that we are better prepared and equipped to deal with any future pandemics or other adverse risk events for that matter, that could potentially impact on public health and the ongoing sustainability of our Institute.

I doubt that there wouldn’t be a single member that this pandemic has not had a significant impact on. Whether it be the impact on our workplace or how we undertake our day to day work activities, we have been forced to re-evaluate how we traditionally do business. In particular, what we can do to minimize the impact that this pandemic has had on workplaces, businesses and person to person interactions. The positive changes we have had to make to continue to operate effectively will remain well after this pandemic has been successfully navigated.

During this current Pandemic we have been talking about SOCIAL distancing, would not a more correct turn of phrase be PHYSICAL distancing as we still need social interaction? More than ever, the mental health and well-being of us all will be significantly challenged by physical distancing. We need to stress the importance of not socially isolating members of the community during this time, especially those that are socially isolated at the best of times.

Please think of loved ones and friends that may be at risk and reach out to them. Ring them regularly, FaceTime them, arrange Zoom meetings with friends. I have been “Zoombeering” with my friends online every week to ensure that we still have an opportunity to catch up virtually for a beer until these restrictions are eased. It is important to maintain that social connection.

Despite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 Pandemic, the AIOH can take this opportunity to think about how we effectively communicate to our members, as well as how we can maintain, or better still, improve the delivery of existing member services.

The 2020 Council, Staff and Committees have been working in unison to identify all of the potential impacts that this Pandemic may have on the Institute’s ability to deliver on its Vision, Mission and Objectives, and more importantly developing contingency plans to mitigate these potential risks.

This has already identified several great opportunities to better deliver services to our members, including:

  • Online Membership interviews,
  • Online Certification Oral Examinations,
  • Online delivery of Chapter events and seminars.

Not only will this allow the Institute to continue to deliver critical services to our members, but it will also allow important revenue streams into the Institute to continue.

Talking about important revenue streams, the Council, RAFQ Committee and the 2020 Conference Committee are also working hard to identify all the possible scenarios that we may have to consider with respect to our 2020 Adelaide Conference. In these uncertain times it is critical we investigate all of the potential opportunities that we may be faced with so that we are ready to execute the best option once we get a clearer picture on the environment we will be facing, leading up to conference time.

The 2020 Council has also taken to running our monthly Council and Executive meetings remotely. This has been very successful, with productivity not being compromised. It also allows the Institute to save money on Council member flights and accommodation, that are associated with face to face Council meetings. I have no doubt that this will impact the frequency of face to face meetings, not only for Council, but for all Committees going forward.


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