Transitioning from Face-to-face to Online: A National Allied Health Assistants Conference

Mr Tony Sheng1, Mrs Lucy Whelan1

1Monash Health, Australia

Background: Monash Health Allied Health Assistant (AHA) Day is an annual professional development conference specific to AHAs all over Australia. It originated in 2017 in a face-to-face format with over 300 attendees and to similar numbers in the following two years. In 2020, the global pandemic and arrival of COVID-19 in Australia meant that large-scale gatherings were not a possibility. Therefore, a transition from a face-to-face format to a virtual online experience was a necessity for the continuation of AHA Day for a fourth year.

Aim: To transition AHA Day from a face-to-face professional development conference to a virtual event.

Method: The inaugural Online AHA Day event was run via the Cisco WebEx platform in partnership with IT technology adoption partners Taleka. Planning, preparation and promotion of the event began in the first quarter of the year during Victoria’s first lockdown. A range of presenters were enlisted, including those internal to Monash Health, various external bodies, other consumers and AHAs who submitted abstracts for innovation presentations. The majority of presentations were pre-recorded and streamed on the day, with posters also on display during and after the event. The event was open and accessible to virtual attendees nationally.

Results: AHA Day 2020 ran successfully and garnered excellent feedback from all those who attended. 501 tickets were sold, consisting of attendees from every State and Territory across Australia.

Discussion/Future plan:  The use and uptake of virtual platforms has been kick-started by COVID-19.  Following positive feedback and an increased reach to attendees across Australia, AHA Day 2021 will follow a similar online format. The limitation is the difficulty in developing the same peer networking opportunities online. This will be a focus of design for the 2021 event.


Tony Sheng is a Grade 3 Allied Health Assistant (AHA) working across Victoria’s Monash Health network. His role as the AHA Workforce Officer sees him pioneering and innovating in AHA professional development, as well as in the student education and assessment space.

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