AFOEM ebulletin - 3 June 2022
Professor Malcolm Sim has now departed on a well-deserved holiday following completion of his presidency where he led us magnificently through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dust Diseases Task Force and the creation of the virtual ICOH2022 – among many other challenges.
The absence of media and government coverage of COVID-19 in recent weeks might suggest the pandemic is nearly over. However, nothing is further from the truth. The removal of mandatory public health measures may be giving false reassurance of this severity of this pandemic. As I write this, Australia has reported over 7 million cases with over 300,000 active cases while Aotearoa New Zealand has reported over a million cases with 50,000 active cases. These indicate that about 28 and 23 per cent respectively of our populations have been affected already. The immunisations certainly reduce the morbidity and mortality, but not its transmissibility. Workers are likely to continue to be affected, with spread among the public and schools. This remains – and is likely to remain - a significant problem for our members providing advice to workers, organisations and businesses. As well, influenza cases are on the increase.
Congress was held in Melbourne in May, with 97 AFOEM registrants, representing about 15 per cent of all registrations. Sadly, I had to cancel my attendance at short notice having contracted COVID-19. Dr Amanda Sillcock and her team did an amazing job with the mixed physical and virtual presentations. The standard of presentations was high and congratulations to Dr Amy Bright for winning the Deane Southgate award and to Dr Harry Chow for winning the Ramazzini presentation. Dr Chung Chee, Dr James Crompton and Dr Chris Pang were presented with their Fellowship certificates by Professor Malcolm Sim. The feedback from the 37 members who attended the ATM was positive and raised some important issues which we will need to address.
I would also like to especially thank those members who have nominated for committee positions. These are critical for the continuing functioning of our faculty and our specialty. I am pleased to welcome Dr Armand Casolin as AFOEM’s new President-Elect. Nominations are still open for chairs of the Assessment and Education Committees.
Dr Claire Woods presented at the Creative Careers in Medicine conference in early May. This appears to be an excellent forum to promote our specialty and an opportunity to attract more trainees.
Finally, for trainees and junior fellows, there is a funded six-month AFOEM accredited position in occupational respirology at the Alfred Hospital commencing in August. Details are on the AFOEM ROC.
Dr Warren Harrex
Applications are now open for the 2023 RACP Foundation Research Awards. RACP Fellows and Advanced Trainees from Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand are eligible to apply for funding in the following categories:
Awards of particular interest to AFOEM members include:
Applications for Education Development (Study) Grants (round two) open on Monday, 20 June 2022, including the AFOEM Education Development (Study) Grant.
Closing dates and full details are available on the RACP Foundation Research Awards webpage.
The RACP Congress and AFOEM ATM were held in Melbourne on Thursday 12 May to Monday,16 May 2022. We kicked off with the AFOEM dinner on Wednesday night and had a wonderful evening greeting old friends and meeting new faces.
Image: Immediate past-president Professor Malcolm Sim, AM (far left) with AFOEM members at the AFOEM Dinner.
We welcomed Professor Karen Walker-Bone for the Ferguson Glass-Oration plenary, and she gave an excellent presentation on the challenges of our aging workforce.
Image: a visual summary of the Ferguson Glass Oration 2022
At the AFOEM ATM, we had two days of practical talks and demonstrations including sessions on spirometry, sleep studies, audiometry, epidemiology, IME reports, environmental assessment, return to work and mental health, occupational hygiene (respiratory, radiation, noise, ventilation etc) and discussed stages A, B and C of the training program with our trainees.
Image: Demonstrations of Occupational Hygiene Tools at the AFOEM ATM
On day three, we loaded up on buses for the worksite visits. Trainees were given tours of Australia Post, Kinetic Depot, Nestle, PPG Industries, Yarra Trams Depot, Ego Pharmaceuticals, Melbourne Zoo and Australian Synchrotron.
Image: Trainees on a worksite visit at the AFOEM ATM
Many thanks to Dr Joe Slesenger, Dr Harry Chow and Dr Jomini Cheong for planning the 2022 ATM, and to Dr Amanda Sillcock and Dr Cathy Bones for planning the AFOEM stream at Congress.
During the month of June, there are some great learning opportunities with topics including:
- Thursday, 9 June: The diagnosis of common shoulder conditions
- Wednesday, 15 June: Lumbar sciatica in the occupational setting
- Monday, 20 June: Medicinal cannabis: An evidence review update
SA/NT Branch Dinner Meeting
The diagnosis of common shoulder disorders
Presenter: Dr Peter Jezukaitis, Occupational and Environmental Physician
Date: Thursday, 9 June 2022, 6pm (ACST)
#itswhatyouknow - WA Branch Webinar
Lumbar sciatalgia in the occupational setting
Presenter: Dr Anu Krishnan, Clinical Research Fellow in Palliative Care
Date: Wednesday, 15 June 2022, 6pm (AWST)
Joint AFOEM/ANZSOM VIC Educational Meeting (webinar)
Medicinal Cannabis: An evidence review update
Presenter: Dr Janine McMillan, ISCRR Research Lead
Date: Monday, 20 June 2022, 6.30pm (AEST)
To register and for more information visit ANZSOM.
Not an ANZSOM member?
Join ANZSOM or subscribe to ANZSOM news.
In April AFOEM launched a drive calling to improve health and recovery outcomes and reduce barriers to care for people experiencing work injuries. Attention was drawn to the value of a biopsychosocial approach to worker injury management. The Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand launch recordings feature speakers from the medical, worker, employer and compensation management perspectives and are now on the It Pays to Care page of the RACP website. The two key 'It Pays to Care' documents describe the evidence for this approach, how this approach might be incorporated by organisations involved in worker injury management, and the values and principles upon which this is based.
The revised national driver medical standards ‘Assessing Fitness to Drive’ has been approved by Infrastructure and Transport Ministers and will come into effect on Wednesday, 22 June 2022.
From that date, all health assessments conducted for the purpose of establishing fitness to drive must be conducted according to the new edition. Please review this Summary of Changes on the Austroads website, as well as the NTC Review Report.
From Wednesday, 22 June 2022, the redeveloped Austroads website will offer ready access to the new standards, with a user friendly and searchable html format, alerts to the recent changes, and links to consumer information.
The past few years have been difficult. With the impacts of the pandemic, disruptions to training, and increased workloads on the health and wellbeing of medical students and junior doctors, there is no question about that.
So to help you to navigate support services, the Australian Medical Association Council of Doctors in Training (AMACDT) and the Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) have partnered to answer the question: where can I go for mental health support?
Together they have created a traffic light mental health support flyer which provides a list of recommended support services to access depending upon your levels of stress, mental illness, or the acute needs you are facing. Save the flyer to your phone so you can easily access it when you or your colleagues need support.
The Physician Advocacy online course aims to provide you with the skills to advocate on important health issues and to make a real difference when it comes to broader systemic change. The course will help you develop your working knowledge of government and parliamentary processes, policy and media, stakeholder analysis, and framing messages. Furthermore, its flexible design means you can dip in and out, or just complete the parts that are relevant to you.
Start the Physician Advocacy course now
The Primer of CPD Activities in Digital Health provides a range of digital health activities and CPD requirement examples across the three CPD categories. The Primer has been developed by the RACP Digital Health Advisory Group to help you gain knowledge and CPD credits within digital health and clinical informatics.
Kickstart your digital health CPD activities
Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for time spent on RACP Online Learning.
The College is pleased to launch the ‘Behind These Doors’ video tour of the RACP building at 145 Macquarie Street Sydney, narrated by Honorary Associate Professor Catherine Storey OAM, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health and Medicine, University of Sydney. We invite you to join us on a virtual journey to explore the College’s Macquarie Street home and discover its fascinating treasures and history.
Watch the ‘Behind These Doors’ video tour here.
The ROC is your secure online forum where RACP Fellows and trainees can post topics, questions and start discussions with other members. Did you know that the ROC also features a ‘Member Directory’ designed to help you find and connect with your colleagues? The easy-to-use directory allows you to search by name, location, Division, Faculty, Chapter and/or specialty and is the perfect way to chat directly with other members and expand your network of contacts across the membership.
Access the Member Directory and find your colleagues today.
The End of Financial Year is fast approaching and so are great deals and discounts on a range of products and services. During the month of June, your Member Advantage program brings you exclusive savings at your favourite retailers, great deals on cars, savings on health insurance, whitegoods, electronics and so much more…
*Terms and conditions apply.
Log in today to start shopping or call 1300 853 352 for more information.
For more information, visit: https://racp.memberadvantage.com.au (Aus) or https://racpnz.memberadvantage.com.au (AoNZ).
Check the Expressions of Interest page at any time, to find out if there are any opportunities that are of benefit to you.
AFOEM contact details
AFOEM Faculty enquiries (including Council and committees):
AFOEM Executive Officer
AFOEM Education and Training enquiries:
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: