The Beacon June FY22


I n March, the BCNA Policy and Advocacy team hosted a two-day Think Tank event in Melbourne, bringing together 21 consumers with a lived experience of breast cancer from across Australia. The Think Tank provided an opportunity for consumers to come together to help drive the implementation of BCNA’s Policy and Advocacy Strategy as well as sharing experiences and insights as to new ways in which BCNA can work with consumers more effectively. It was an opportunity to hear lived experiences because, as one of the participants so eloquently said, ‘a voice of one is a song for many’. The first day focused on the individual voices of consumers who shared their breast cancer stories and the issues that matter to them. Their lived experiences represented a metastatic breast cancer diagnosis, Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, LGBTIQ+ and living in a regional/remote area. This was followed by a discussion about how the lived experience informed the four key focus areas of BCNA’s Policy and Advocacy Strategy: • Year 1 – reducing the cost of breast cancer for those diagnosed • Year 2 – improving equity of access to optimal breast cancer care • Year 3 – improving the experience of living well with and beyond breast cancer • Across the three years – improving outcomes through reducing risk of developing breast cancer and early detection activity.

The conversation looked at how these areas were chosen and the actions, progress and impact of the strategy so far. Day two focused on improving and enhancing BCNA’s consumer engagement mechanisms. This included hearing from a BCNA consumer perspective on what it truly means to be a consumer-led organisation and the path ahead for BCNA. CEO Kirsten Pilatti presented a leadership perspective on BCNA’s origins, its successes and the organisation’s direction. An overview of the key consumer groups driving BCNA’s advocacy work highlighted BCNA’s continued commitment to being consumer driven. These existing groups include BCNA’s Review & Survey Group, the Seat at the Table Program, and the recent establishment of Lived Experience Reference Groups. The Think Tank brainstormed what future consumer engagement might look like and how these

The event ended in a crescendo of voices as a BCNA Consumer Representative reflected upon the Think Tank and consumers were encouraged to speak up and ask questions. The task at hand is now to turn all of the thoughts, ideas, and recommendations into a reality that strengthens how BCNA represents all of those in our network. Thanks to all the consumers who participated in the Think T ank event and for sharing their lived experience.

various mechanisms might interact and inform BCNA’s direction as an organization.


June 2022 | Issue 91

Breast Cancer Network Australia

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