John van Bockxmeer

Country representing

Australia

Languages

English

Education

  • University of Western Australia, James Cook University, Bristol University
  • MBBS, BA, MPHTM, DCH, FRACGP, CEM

Current organisation

WA Country Health Service

Current role

Emergency and Primary Care Doctor

Skills and Expertise

Healthcare
Management
Project management
Research
Strategic planning

Areas of interest

Health
Human Rights
Leadership
Sustainable Development
Youth Unemployment

Website & Social Links

I am passionate about

I am passionate about creating healthier communities for all. Through my experiences as a remote emergency doctor I have seen the effect unequal access to healthy lifestyle choices has on chronic disease rates in vulnerable populations. Every day I witness heartache and devastation caused by generations of disadvantage and I am working to find ways to break this cycle. I see a future where all young people are able to achieve their potential and where inequality is a word of the past. I’m passionate about seeing the world around me for and questioning the status quo, doing things to make our community a better place and believing in the skills and fundamental goodness in those around me. Health is not simply the absence of disease. I constantly engage patients and colleagues to think holistically about healthcare and the difference between the pathology of having a 'disease' and being unwell with the manifestations of 'illness'. Our community health systems are established to provide complex 'bandaid' solutions to complex problems such as communicable disease and lifestyle related illness. I challenge us to think about how some of the solutions to fostering change might be simpler than we think. I have dedicated my life to the pursuit of these changes through my clinical career as a doctor but also in research, volunteer work and establishing a number of unique initiatives pursuing social impact through healthier communities.

Actions

When I started working as an intern I discovered that Australia’s remote population was one of the most unhealthy I had ever seen. Despite my global travels it wasn’t until I was back in Australia that I was hit by the reality that inequality exists in our society. Looking out the window of the hospital I saw kids kicking a tin can around the dusty forecourt and I had the idea that rather than spending millions of dollars on healing we could use pre-loved sports equipment as the tools to create healthier futures for remote Australians. I phoned up four friends and we started setting up bright blue collection bins across Perth, overwhelmed by the generosity of donors we drove across the state donating the equipment as we went. We used our skills as young health professionals to educate our participants whilst running sport and fitness programs. I setup a grass-roots organisation called Fair Game with three core programs that essentially turn worthless old sporting equipment into the tools for inspiring healthy communities. The Fair Game model is really simple and takes a holistic view of health trying to prevent problems before they start. I hope that the communities we volunteer in will have reduced lifestyle related illness, reduced communicable disease and improved mental health in years to come because of our efforts. Since I started Fair Game six and a half years ago we have recycled more than 20,000 items of sports equipment and inspired more than 8,000 people through our participation programs. We have established a training and mentor program teaching the next generation of ‘Fair Gamers’ and have more than four hubs across Australia spreading our positive health messages. We have five casual staff members and more than 140 volunteers. I run Fair Game in a completely voluntary capacity in addition to my full time employment in remote Australia.