2019 TASA Health Day

Data, Technology and Sociology in the Age of Digital Health

Friday 29th November 2019 at the University of Western Sydney (Paramatta Campus)

As digital health technologies (e.g., My Health Record) have become increasingly rooted in the practices and organisation of health and care in Australian society, understanding the role of the digital has become of growing importance to health sociology. Much of the discussion in medical and health promotion rhetoric surrounding digital health has focused on its promise and benefits for citizens, healthcare systems and society (e.g., by increasing efficiencies, precision, and ‘user engagement’ in healthcare). Sociologists have drawn attention to issues around data misuse, privacy, and new forms of surveillance (e.g., selling patient information to insurance companies). Sociological approaches to digital health technologies and innovation provide a critical contribution to thinking about the use of digital health technologies, and their impacts, across different groups and health/care contexts. Sociological inquiry offers new ways of conceptualising and understanding the experiences and patterns of using emerging technologies, and their impacts on self/body, social relationships, and practices, within the healthcare field. This symposium will draw together insights from researchers working across various disciplines to consider sociological questions, issues and challenges around digitising health, and engage in discussions about new directions for research.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

Invited speakers

Speakers include Professor Alan Petersen, Professor of Sociology with the Health and Biofutures Focus Program at Monash University, and Professor Deborah Lupton, SHARP Professor at the Centre for Social Research in Health at UNSW, Sydney. Professor Petersen is an internationally renowned health sociologist at the forefront of debate about the development and use of health technologies and digital media, and how they shape people’s connection with healthcare. Professor Lupton is a leading international sociologist in digital technologies and data. She will present on innovative methods for understanding the more-than-human worlds of digital health. The day will include network activities.

Travel Bursaries Award

TASA has provided funding to award two travel bursaries of $300 to postgraduate or casual/unwaged staff TASA members (who are living outside of Sydney) to attend the symposium. Recipients do not have to submit an abstract to receive an award. If you wish to apply for a travel bursary please email Anthony K J Smith for more information.


Register Now

Draft Program 


Time Session and Presenter
8:30 – 9:00 Registrations with tea and coffee
9:00 –10:30 Morning Session


Keynote speakers

Professor Alan Peterson Monash University – Patients’ use of digital media to connect with healthcare


Dr. Paul Byron University of Technology Sydney – LGBTQ+ young people, digital media & peer-based care

10:45 – 11:00 Morning tea
11:00 – 12:30 Middle session


Dr. Jacinthe Flore RMIT University, Melbourne – Tracking the mind in the body: digital mental health and the ‘smart’ antipsychotic

Keynote Workshop

Professor Deborah Lupton UNSW Sydney – Innovative methods for understanding the more-than-human worlds of digital health 

12:30 – 1:30 Lunch
1:30 – 2:45 Afternoon Session


Stephen Darlington ANU – Experts in the Consultation Room – the Clinician, the Patient, and the NEHR

Dr. Allegra Schermuly Monash University – What’s compassionate about ‘compassionate access’?: How vested interests collaborate in shaping drug approval processes

Brooke Hollingshead La Trobe University – Social and sexual networking apps as places of risk and opportunity: Online HIV outreach to men who have sex with men in the Philippine

Dr. Clare Southerton UNSW Sydney – Like and Subscribe: intimacy and queer sex education on YouTube

Matthew Wade ANU – The role of crowdfunding platforms amid the fight for reproductive rights


3:30 Close