AFOEM ebulletin - 26 August 2022

A message from your President

As spring approaches, the daily number of new cases of COVID-19 in the current wave is now reducing, with the total number of cases in Australia nearing 10 million and 1.7 million in Aotearoa New Zealand. Sadly, the number of deaths has increased markedly in both countries, with over 13,300 and 2,600 deaths respectively recorded for the pandemic. Most of these deaths have occurred this year – with little media reporting or public health messaging, perhaps indicating we have become fatigued about this pandemic.

The first face to face meeting of the AFOEM Council since the pandemic began was held on 3-4 August in Sydney. There were many new faces on Council which consists of Armand Casolin, Geraint Emrys, Karina Powers, Peter Sharman, Catherine Kelaher, Ilse-Marie Stockhoff, Andrea James, Sid O’Toole, Tony Brown, Mary Obele and Maatje Lyons, the trainee representative. Farhan Shahzad was an apology and Dominic Yong, the ANZSOM representative, joined the meeting on the morning of the second day.

Discussions highlighted common concerns, and it was good to note the Faculty strengths in both policy and advocacy, and our education processes. College staff addressed areas of interest: Justine Watkins outlined the policy and advocacy process; Kirsten Berg provide an overview of how the RACP Online Community (ROC) can overcome many of the long-standing communication issues, while Sarah Champion introduced members to Medflix – the RACPs extensive collection of powerful and engaging educational videos. Members wishing to upload webinars should contact the Faculty staff.

Of concern to Council members is the number of Fellows retiring over the past decade is exceeding the number of new trainees. This has been exacerbated by the paucity of information on training of occupational and environmental physicians on the RACP website. Addressing our workforce issues is acknowledged as one of our AFOEM Council priorities. This issue was highlighted to College Council on 12 August as part of the ‘Future of the Faculties’ report. The College Council recommended the Board address the three Faculties main priorities and notify of progress within 12 months.

Expressions of Interest are open for our new ‘Improving the Health of Healthcare Workers’ project, which may help us raise our profile and increase our presence in health organisations. This project aims to improve the protection of healthcare workers to meet employer responsibilities for appropriate workplace safety in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand and address the duty of care responsibilities towards healthcare workers in their workplace. Coincidentally, Worksafe Victoria has invited AFOEM participation in a project which aims to identify the factors driving manual handling and mental injury in hospitals and determine prevention interventions. AFOEM members in Victoria, including AFOEM Council member Dr Andrea James, are participating in workshops over the next few weeks.

The Kevin Sleigh Memorial lecture is being held in the RACP Victorian Office on Monday, 29 August, and Dr Armand Casolin is presenting on lessons and challenges in Drug and Alcohol testing.  Attendance can be in person or virtually. Register here.

Don't forget to log in to the AFOEM Community on the ROC and take part in the discussions. You can also read Dr Farhan Shahzad's interview with Dr Teri Lillington and other members of the AFOEM Community.

Dr Warren Harrex
AFOEM President

Kevin Sleigh Memorial Lecture – Lessons and challenges in drug and alcohol testing 

Join us for the Kevin Sleigh Memorial Lecture – Lessons and challenges in drug and alcohol testing – on Monday, 29 August 2022 at 6pm AEST. Available online or in-person at the RACP Melbourne office.

The Kevin Sleigh Memorial Lecture was established in 2019 as a tribute to Kevin and his contribution to occupational medicine. The lecture and the Kevin Sleigh Medal provide an opportunity to reflect on his legacy and recognise these attributes in others.

Speaker and Hosts

Hosted by the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM), in conjunction with ANZSOM and WorkSafe Victoria, the Kevin Sleigh Memorial Lecture will be presented by Dr Armand Casolin, Chief Health Officer of Transport for NSW.

Dr Casolin is a great contributor to the field of occupational medicine, as well as an inspiring leader, mentor, and AFOEM’s new President-elect.

He has worked in occupational medicine for over 20 years, many of these in the transport industry, where he championed the health of transport workers and the safety of transport networks.

Formerly the Chief Health Officer for Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink, Dr Casolin took up the position of Chief Health Officer of Transport for NSW in August 2021.

New working group: Improving the health of healthcare workers

Expressions of interest are now open for a new ‘Improving the Health of Healthcare Workers’ working group. This group will produce a guidance document to advocate for improvement in Work Health and Safety (WHS) in the healthcare sector (particularly hospitals) to benefit workers, employers, organisations, and the community. The group will produce evidence-informed guidance for healthcare workplaces, demonstrated as a gap area during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members with expertise in any of the following areas are encouraged to submit an EOI:

  • Occupational and Environmental Medicine
  • Public Health Medicine
  • Infectious Disease Medicine
  • Respiratory Medicine
  • Adult Medicine
  • Paediatric and Child Health Medicine
  • Trainees
  • identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander or Māori
  • work in, or are familiar with regional, rural, and remote healthcare

For more information and to apply, please visit the RACP website. Applications close on Friday, 9 September 2022.

New working group: The value of occupational and environmental Medicine physicians in healthcare

This group aims to produce a position paper regarding the expertise and value of occupational and environmental physicians in the healthcare sector (particularly hospitals). This group is seeking members who:

  • specialise in occupational and environmental medicine
  • specialise in public health medicine
  • identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander or Māori
  • are trainees
  • work in, or are familiar with regional, rural and remote health care
  • work in Australian and/or Aotearoa New Zealand hospital systems

For more information and to apply, please visit the RACP website. Applications close Friday, 9 September 2022.

The AFOEM Essay Prize is open to medical students or interns in their first year after graduation. The prize is awarded for demonstrated excellence through essay, research project or assignment on occupational or environmental health. Applications close Monday, 31 October 2022. For more information, visit the Essay Prize webpage

The RACP President's Indigenous Congress Prize is open to medical students, junior medical officers and RACP trainees who identify as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or Māori. The selected applicant will receive support to attend RACP Congress 2023 to gain educational and networking opportunities and exposure to career pathways within the College.

Please encourage anyone you know who is eligible to apply. Applications open Thursday, 1 September 2022. For more information, visit the RACP website.


The RACP Trainee Research Awards 2022 — closing on Wednesday

Trainees and first year Fellows, this is your chance to be recognised for your research. Do not delay — the submission deadline approaching.

The RACP Trainee Research Awards provide a valuable opportunity for trainees to present their research at an Australian regional or Aotearoa New Zealand event.

The best presenters from each local event will then be invited to showcase their work, alongside recognised researchers, at RACP Congress 2023 – and will receive complimentary Congress registration, travel, and accommodation.

Trainees and New Fellows undertaking post-Fellowship training with the RACP are encouraged to apply. Applications close on Wednesday, 31 August 2022.

The Eric Susman Prize is a prestigious award presented by the College for best contribution to the knowledge of any branch of internal medicine (adult medicine and paediatrics).

The deserving Fellow will have demonstrated an outstanding and lasting contribution in the areas of research, teaching and/or clinical medicine.

Nominations close on Thursday, 15 September 2022. For more information, visit the Eric Susman Prize webpage.

College Medals and Awards

Nominations are now open for a range of College and Fellowship awards. These awards acknowledge the outstanding contributions and achievements made by Fellows and trainees in their respective fields.

We encourage you to nominate for the following categories:

  • The John Sands Medal recognises a Fellow who makes a significant contribution to the welfare of RACP and its members.
  • The College Medal is aligned to the College motto hominum servire saluti. It is awarded to a Fellow who makes a significant contribution to medical specialist practice, healthcare and/or health of community through physician activities.
  • RACP International Medal recognises a member who has provided outstanding service in developing countries.
  • RACP Medal for Clinical Service in Rural and Remote Areas recognises a Fellow who has provided outstanding clinical service in rural and remote areas of Australia or Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • RACP Mentor of the Year Award recognises a Fellow who has made an outstanding contribution to mentoring or provided a high level of support and guidance throughout training.
  • RACP Trainee of the Year Award recognises a trainee who has made an outstanding contribution to College, community and trainee activities.
  • The Eric Susman Prize is awarded by the College to a Fellow for best contribution to the knowledge of internal medicine.

Nominations close on Friday, 30 September 2022. Full details are available on the RACP Foundation webpage.

Research projects and research supervision: online courses for trainees and supervisors

Each trainee is responsible for completing their own research project. Trainees can learn about conducting a research project by enrolling in our Research Projects online course. It’s designed to support trainees through a detailed walk-through of the research process.

A trainee’s experience can be greatly enhanced by a supportive and informed supervisor. The Research Supervision online course helps supervisors who want an update on research project requirements and the research process in general.

RACP Online Learning Resources are free for members and count towards Continuing Professional Development requirements.

#itswhatyouknow — ANZSOM learning opportunities

During the months of August and September, there are some great free learning opportunities available to AFOEM Fellows and trainees:

  • Monday, 29 August: Kevin Sleigh Lecture – Lessons and challenges in drug and alcohol testing, presented by Dr Armand Casolin
  • Wednesday, 7 September: Learning Together Webinar – various speakers (see below)
  • Wednesday, 21 September: llumination in the workplace and its impact on health and safety, presented by Dr John Sammarco

Kevin Sleigh Lecture (in-person and webinar) – hosted by AFOEM Victoria, ANZSOM and Worksafe Victoria
Lessons and challenges in drug and alcohol testing
Presenter: Dr Armand Casolin
Date: Monday, 29 August 2022, 6pm (AEST)

Learning Together Webinar – hosted by SOM (UK) and ANZSOM
It Pays to Care, presented by Dr Mary Wyatt
Mental health at work, presented by Profssor Neil Greenberg
The role of occupational physicians in acute hospitals and the NHS growing OH program, presented by Dr Shriti Pattani
Date: Wednesday, 7 September 2022, 6pm (AEST)

#itswhatyouknow - WA branch webinar
llumination in the workplace and its impact on health and safety
Presenter: Dr John Sammarco
Date: Wednesday, 21 September 2022, 6pm (AWST)

To register and for more information, visit ANZSOM.

Not an ANZSOM member?
Subscribe to ANZSOM news.

 Survey eDM banner 

Tell us about your recent physician training experiences

COVID-19 continues to challenge our profession so it’s important we understand the impact it has on physician training, so we can support our trainees and educators.

Tell us about your recent physician training experiences through one of the following surveys.

Physician Training Survey (PTS)

Trainees in Aotearoa New Zealand along with educators across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand are invited to complete the Physician Training Survey (PTS)*.  Eligible trainees and educators can complete the survey using their unique link sent by research provider Big Village.

Medical Training Survey (MTS)

Trainees in Australia are invited to provide their feedback through the Medical Board of Australia’s Medical Training Survey (MTS). This survey is now open and can be accessed via the link at the end of the Ahpra re-registration process.

Why you should you participate

The RACP and training settings use survey results to sustain successes and prioritise areas for improvement. Your anonymity is protected through reporting thresholds. Sufficient responses allow results to be anonymously reported to training settings and specialty training committees every response counts.

The RACP works closely with training settings where there are concerns about workload, wellbeing, and workplace culture and requests local leaders to demonstrate how the concerns are being addressed.


For information about the survey, visit the Physician Training Survey or the Medical Training Survey webpages or contact the Training Survey team at

*The Physician Training Survey has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) – Concord Repatriation General Hospital of the Sydney Local Health District 2019/ETH12472.

If you have any concerns or complaints about the conduct of the research study, you may contact the Executive Officer of the Ethics Committee, at or on +61 2 9767 5622.

The Fertility, Pregnancy, and Early Parenting Experiences of Doctors study

You are invited to participate in the Fertility, Pregnancy, and Early Parenting Experiences of Doctors study. The aim of the study is to capture the lived experiences of male and female doctors in regards to fertility, pregnancy, and early parenthood, with the goal of identifying the impact on work satisfaction and career progression, as well as potential areas of improvement in workplace strategies.

By completing this survey, you are consenting to participate in this study. The survey will take up to 30 minutes to complete and is voluntary and confidential. 

Please direct any questions or comments to the St Vincent’s Hospital Research Office: or

*This is an investigator-initiated study (created by doctors). It has ethics approval through St Vincent’s Hospital HREC (2021/ETH11588).

Advanced Trainees and New Fellows — your invitation to the National New Fellows Online Forum

New Fellows Forum

Advanced Trainees and New Fellows in Australia are invited to join this interactive and informative forum to learn about all the things you need to know when entering Fellowship.

The following sessions will be included alongside a welcome to Fellowship by RACP President Dr Jacqueline Small and an introduction to Dr Kudzai Kanhutu, the new College Dean:

  • Fellowship, what’s next? What I wish I knew when I was new — a Fellow’s perspective
  • Medical indemnity – things you need to know as a Fellow
  • CPD, what changes now you're a Fellow?
  • Q&A for the panel of speakers.

Join us on Thursday, 13 October 2022 at 7pm to 8.30pm (AEDT) / 6pm to 7.30pm (AEST) / 6.30pm to 8pm (ACDT) / 4pm to 5.30pm (AWST).


Pomegranate Health podcast — Ep84: The ASD Odyssey


Ep84: The ASD Odyssey

The average age at which autism spectrum disorder is diagnosed is four years old, though signs are often present well before that.

Even when families and GPs may have concerns early in a child’s development, it can take a year or more for a consultation with a paediatrician to become available. There are similar waiting lists to see other allied health and sub-specialists who may contribute opinions to a diagnosis. And there is some inconsistency as to what kind of supporting documentation is required to access support services at different layers of government.

The Autism Cooperative Research Centre published a national guideline with 70 recommendations to streamline this process and improve equity for families from different backgrounds and living in different parts of the country.

In this podcast, we hear from a GP and a paediatrician working in regional practice about how the national guideline can help patients receive early intervention in the critical developmental years.


  • Dr Jo McCubbin FRACP (Fitzpatrick House, Sale, VIC)
  • Dr James Best FRACGP (Junction Street Medical Centre, Nowra, NSW).

Subscribe to email alerts or search for ‘Pomegranate Health’ in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox, or any podcasting app. Fellows of the RACP can claim CPD credits for listening via MyCPD. For a transcript and further references please visit our website

AFOEM banner

The AFOEM community is open in the ROC (RACP Online Community)  

This is a community exclusively for AFOEM Fellows and trainees and is our place to connect, discuss matters of interest and share ideas and resources.

Download the app from the App Store or Google Play, or log in via MyRACP. Go to ‘My Communities’ or select ‘Explore’ on the home page to find your community.

Let’s make September all about Dad

Father's Day - MACelebrate Father's Day with unmissable offers and savings on gifts Dad will love. This September, we bring you special offers so you can spoil Dad, Grandad or any father-figure in your life.

See Member Advantage’s Father’s Day offers here.

More news

Conferences and Events

Save the date

  • The RACP Health Reform Summit — 19 October, 9.30am to 4pm AEDT

AFOEM contact details

AFOEM Faculty enquiries (including Council and committees):
LynFay Shapiro
AFOEM Executive Officer

AFOEM Education and Training enquiries:
Education Officer
Phone: +61 2 8247 6268

AFOEM Examination enquiries:

Examination Coordinator, Assessment and Selection Unit

AFOEM training site accreditation inquiries:
Site Accreditation Unit

AFOEM CPD enquiries:


Close overlay