Notices from Julian - January 18, 2023
Julian Badenach
member photo

Julian reminded everyone that this is the first formal Club meeting of the year,

Further points to be noted are:

  • Since our last meeting we have donated $2000 to assist flood affected Australian families. The funding is being administered through RAWCS. (Rotary Aust World Community Service). Project No: 31 2022-23 Victoria and Border communities flood relief fund distribution (RABS)
  • Our Club has also donated $1000 towards funding Rotaractors attend District Conference. Alice Terrill co-president of Whitehorse Rotaract and also District Rotaract rep says the funds will mainly go towards assisting Whitehorse Rotaractors with ticket purchasing and also accommodation She also gave us an undertaking, members of her club would be encouraged to come and speak at our club after the conference to share their DC experience.
  • Following on from the Board meeting , the Club has begun a process of spending some of the money accumulated in the Farmers Market kitty. The first donation will be going to EERN. They had needed funding to buy a new truck however the Lions Club have delivered much of the funds needed for this and our money will go towards obtaining necessary appliances such as vacuum cleaners and microwaved for families in need. Over the next few months, The Board hopes to select other worthwhile charities around Whitehorse and provide funding relief where we can. A few suggestions are presently under review.
  •  Farmers Market was held on 8th January. Thanks to all the volunteers who came along.
  • The Rotary Recycle Treasurer needs a laptop. If anyone has plans to upgrade a home or office laptop computer, please talk to Greg if the old one is still operational. It may suit their requirements.


Climate and Peace Forum - February 7, 2023
Join in for this quarterly webinar, starting at 6:00 p.m. AEST on February 7, 2023
Three eminent speakers:
Kerry Schott - Non Executive Director AGL, Chair of Carbon Market Institute
Kobad Bhavnagri - Energy transitions expert and Global Head of Strategy at BloombergNEF
Kylie Hargreaves, Chair Australian Alliance for Energy Productivity
On the site you will also find details of past fora which will give you an insight into the detail and framework of the session which is worthy of the 45 minutes (15 from each presenter).
This detail has been brought to our attention from the team in our Environment Committee, whom we thank for their continued diligence in bringing these topics to our attention.
Club Announcements
Several Notices from members:  
See the details below

Notices from Club members included:

· John Elrington – upgrade of the vegie patches at Blackburn Primary has been completed before the kids return to school. This was done by a contractor following receipt of funds from the Club and a District Grant.

· Geoff Rose – thanks to Mark, David, Bruce, Amanda for their support in unravelling the mysteries of the Consumer Affairs Victoria reporting and compliance responsibilities which every Club Secretary has so much fun with

· Kath Ronan – reported that 16 Club members/partners have signed up to attend the District conference in Canberra in March

· Malcolm Chiverton - reported on the takings from the Farmers Market on 10 January... $2035 from the stall holders, $760 in donations and $392 from the BBQ. Those attending agreed that attendance was down but there were also many fewer4 stall holders than usual.

· Tony Stokes – reminded those in the room that copies of Tracy Balla’s excellent little book, “Cycling Together”, were available at the desk.

· Diane Fisher – brought the program for the upcoming Rotary International Women’s Day event on Wed 8 March to members’ attention. Speakers include, Hayley Dureau, a highly regarded STEM teacher, Mikaela Stafrace from Women Can, and Dr Helen Szoke AO, former CEO of Oxfam Australia. We’re hoping for 250+ attendees at this year’s breakfast and Diane encouraged members to book early.

· Mark Balla – reported that the long awaited project in India with the Nasik Road Club is underway. Photos will follow at next week’s meeting.

· Robyn Stokes – a reminder that free Club hoodies will need to be booked through Robyn before 31 January.

Effectiveness of Assistance Dogs with PTSD

Guest Speaker – Dr Tiffani Howell, Senior Research Fellow in the School of Psychology and Public Health at La Trobe University.

Tiffini recently completed a four year study funded by the Commonwealth Department of Veterans’ Affairs, to understand the effectiveness of assistance dogs as an adjunct to treatment for veterans with PTSD.

Tiffani began by clarifying the definition of an assistance animal (usually a dog...there is one assistance cat on the books in Queensland!)

Guest Speaker – Dr Tiffani Howell, Senior Research Fellow in the School of Psychology and Public Health at La Trobe University.

Tiffini recently completed a four year study funded by the Commonwealth Department of Veterans’ Affairs, to understand the effectiveness of assistance dogs as an adjunct to treatment for veterans with PTSD.

Tiffani began by clarifying the definition of an assistance animal (usually a dog...there is one assistance cat on the books in Queensland!)

  • An assistance dog is defined in the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act as a dog or other animal that is trained to help a person with a disability to mitigate the impacts of that disability on their lives and is also able to meet behaviour and hygiene standards that are essential to allow access to public spaces.
  • Thus, the dogs have the legal right to access public spaces that are off limits to most other animals so they can go with their owner to the bank, cafe, restaurants the library and so on.
  • Guide Dogs for people with visual impairments are very familiar. Dogs are now providing support to people with autism, those with epilepsy or diabetes who need alerts, people with mobility impairments to help them retrieve objects, people needing psychiatric assistance, including PTSD.
  • Dogs can often sense a person’s need before that person can themselves. It isn’t known how this is done in most cases. They can be trained to do a number of tasks including:
    • calming or comforting a person with anxiety
    • waking people who may be having nightmares
    • misbehaving so that the person needs to respond to the misbehaviour thus taking them out of their own troubled thoughts
  • the dogs offer love and companionship, provide the person with a routine in their day (feeding, walking, etc) and give greater independence in many cases
The research project:
  • Tiffani’s team reviewed 34 previously published studies of the role of assistance animals is supporting those with PTSD
  • Of those 28 had been published since 2018 which was when her own study began
  • She noted an improvement in the quality of the research over time, with greater rigor, larger sample sizes, the use of control groups, greater use of validated measure, the use of physiological measures (eg, stress hormones) and the inclusion of measurements in before and after contexts.
  • Overall the studies showed an improvement in the quality of life the of the people involved, reduced impact of PTSD symptoms and improved level of social interactions
  • Tiffani stressed that in no case was the PTSD condition considered ‘cured’, that is, the individual still met the clinical threshold for PTSD, but their capacity to live with it was improved
  • Several challenges with the approach of one dog/one person level of support were noted in the reviewed studies, in particular:
    • the amount of adjusting that the person needed to do to accommodate an assistance dog in their lives
    • difficulties with public access, ie, it is legal for these dogs to access all public spaces but not everyone realises that
    •  high cost
    • long waiting lists
  • Tiffani’s study which began in 2018, included 20 veterans and measured changes in quality of life and in carer burden. It was completed in 2022
  • Tiffani worked with an assistance dog training provider (Centre for Service and Therapy Dogs Australia ) to source the dogs for the study
  • CSTDA has a detailed three year program that both trains the dog and supports the person needing the dog to varying degrees over the three year period. The dogs also need to be recertified for public access every year
  • As in the pervious studies, Tiffani found that there were improvements in the PTSD symptoms and quality of life experienced by participants, it is a big commitment for many to include a dog in their lives especially if they have not had a dog before, universal public access remains a problem, eligibility for such a program remains challenging.

Next direction for her research?

  • Tiffani is now looking at Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) as an area for further investigation
  • AAT is “the purposeful integration of an animal into a structured goal-directed therapeutic process”.
  • the main difference would see the dog living with and being cared for by the clinician, not the veteran or patient
  • thus, one dog would be able to provide support to multiple people, perhaps 10 patients per week

Q&A (a few dogs joined the meeting on zoom at this point)

· favourite breeds? – retrievers of all sorts, corgi, truffle-hunting lagotto Romagnolo, standard poodles. CSTDA picks the breed to suit the individual’s needs.

· what are they responding to when they pre-empt the person’s needs? – not known, could be olfactory, visual, electrical cues

· what if the bonding is not going well? – the relationship is given twice a day support initially to forestall that possibility

· ongoing funding? – DVA currently funding this arrangement, but it necessarily limits the number of people who can be assisted so eligibility requirements are high

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Mar 22, 2023 7:30 AM
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Meeting Responsibilities
Desk 1
Stinson, Liz
Desk 2
Malvestuto, John
Desk 3
Coleman-Bock, Ashley
Stinson, Liz
Fisher, Stephen
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