On this page

Aim of the clinical community of practice

The Centre for Alcohol and Other Drugs will provide an opportunity for sharing of ideas, strategies, local solutions and concerns with respect to COVID-19 Pandemic preparedness.

The community of practice will be multidisciplinary and include representation from all districts and networks. It will enable clinicians and clinical managers in Alcohol and Other Drugs from all districts to provide expert advice and guidance to the system, and to escalate matters that require a statewide or system response.

The aim of these sessions is to:

  • support clinicians to network and share strategies, local solutions and issues with respect to pandemic preparedness for alcohol and other drugs services
  • identify, prioritise and escalate issues related to COVID-19 which are actually or potentially affecting clinicians providing alcohol and other drugs care that require a statewide or system response
  • review and provide expert clinical advice on guidelines, resources and other information
  • share Ministry approved advice and resources on the response to COVID-19 that can be circulated within all districts and networks.


  • Executive sponsor: Deb Willcox, Deputy Secretary, Health System Strategy and Planning.
  • Clinical lead: Dr Deborah Zador, Chief Addiction Medicine Specialist, NSW Ministry of Health.
  • Community of practice secretariat: Alice Connors, Centre for Alcohol and Other Drugs​.
  • Key stakeholders:
    • All district and network directors of alcohol and other drugs
    • ACI Alcohol and Other Drugs Network Manager
    • NSW Association of Alcohol and other Drugs Association
    • NSW Users and AIDS Association.

The Centre for Alcohol and Other Drugs will escalate issues raised by the community of practice to Strategic Reform and Planning. Key information will be collected and distributed through MOH-COVID19-ClinicalAdvice@health.nsw.gov.au, which will be monitored by the Strategic Reform and Planning.

Collated issues/advice will be escalated by Ms Willcox through to the Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) and/or the State Health Emergency Operations Centre (SHEOC) as appropriate.

PHEOC and SHEOC responses will be provided to Strategic Reform and Planning and then to the community of practice secretariat(s).

Weekly community of practice updates will be provided to NSW Health Chief Executives.

Clinical leads

Each community of practice will have a clinical lead appointed by Deb Willcox, Deputy Secretary, Health System Strategy and Resources.

The clinical lead will:
  • assist with the facilitation of the community of practice
  • work with clinical peers in the districts and networks to share ideas and develop appropriate response strategies
  • provide expert advice and guidance to the system and Ministry as required
  • escalate relevant matters to the Ministry that require a statewide or system response
  • provide expert advice to respond to media enquiries.

This community of practice scope is not

A group which is able to endorse statewide changes or make decisions that impacts a unit or system or allocate funding to recommendations.


This community of practice is open to all NSW Health AOD service program and clinical leads, the ACI AOD Network Manager, representatives of NADA the NGO sector peak and NUAA a consumer community based organisation. As a minimum it will include representation from all districts and networks. However, membership may be extended more broadly to include all interested NSW Health staff as well as professional colleges, private providers/clinicians and other non-government organisations as appropriate to the clinical speciality.

If you would like to join the community please consult your area directors/clinical directors and then contact MOH-AODSafetyQualityFeedback@health.nsw.gov.au

Frequency of the community of practice

Fortnightly basis on Thursdays at 1.00pm. Meetings commenced 17 March via teleconference. Teleconference details will be attached to the calendar invite.

Guidelines and resources

Current as at: Monday 17 October 2022
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW