AFOEM eBulletin – 14 December 2018

International Forum on Disability Management

Showcasing the Collaborative Partnership on the international stage, improving work participation by people with ill health, injury or disability is not just a priority for Australia. On a recent trip to Canada, Dr Robin Chase from the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM) had the opportunity to engage with representatives of other countries about work participation.

Dr Chase is the lead for the General Practitioner Support Project for the Collaborative Partnership to improve work participation for those people with temporary or permanent physical or psychological disabilities and represents the AFOEM on the Collaborative Partnership committee. From 14 to 17 October he was in Vancouver, Canada to present on the Collaborative Partnership to delegates at the International Forum on Disability Management. The conference theme was Challenges and Innovations for Workforce Health.

During his visit, Dr Chase had the opportunity to hear what other countries are doing to improve work participation by people with ill health, injury or disability. Dr Chase reported that Australia is facing the same challenges as other countries, such as fragmentation of systems, services and efforts to improve outcomes. "Clearly there are problems around the world, not least in Australia" he said. “Federal systems have resulted in significant confusion and costs, and undoubtedly are contributing to the problem.  At risk of parochialism there was little in this conference of which I was unaware, or had not seen or heard before.  I was struck by the positive role and cooperation, notably in Canada, Germany and Belgium between the various systems and the close cooperation with the various union movements.  I was heartened by Germany’s requirement to provide company doctors and the lack of conflict or disagreement that this engendered.”  

"I do believe that the Collaborative Partnership is innovative and there is nothing like it being attempted in any of the countries that presented."  

While at the conference, Dr Chase was invited to participate in an international disability roundtable discussion with the Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Canada's Federal Minister for Public Services, Procurement and Accessibility, and a group of other international delegates. The roundtable shared relevant country specific and international perspectives on overall approaches to disability policy development and specific strategies designed to increase work participation for people with disability. This was an opportunity to share work of other national programs and initiatives, such as the NDIS, as well as provide more information about the Collaborative Partnership.

A message from your President

It seems as though it was only yesterday that I took on the role of AFOEM President at RACP Congress in Sydney, and now, Christmas is around the corner and it will soon be 2019.  

On Saturday, 1 December 2018 I attended the first RACP SA branch Annual Scientific Meeting held in 10 years, titled ‘SA Horizons – scanning the next 10 years’. Themes included, Future Medical Science, Education for Future Physicians, and South Australia’s Future Workforce. Topics that are relevant to our Faculty irrespective of where we live and work.

The role needs to be determined for supervised input versus self-learning artificial intelligence (AI) in performing routine, algorithm-based activities such as interpreting ECG’s, x-rays, and fundoscopy to identify the severity of a particular abnormal result. Fully digital health information ecosystems are on the horizon. A potential positive outcome of this is to facilitate communication pathways between primary health care providers, specialists, and allied health, for a more co-ordinated approach to treatment and management of individual patients. 

Historically, the undergraduate and postgraduate training of doctors has been based around centres of excellence, with access to hard copy resources (libraries) and face-to-face teaching, in urban centres (universities). Developing self-directed learning and teaching is required to enable education using technology. This would allow learners to work collaboratively and transfer learning from one environment to another. Change is inevitable and not without disruption. It requires flexibility and creativity to meet the challenge of uncertainty about what the workplace of the future will look like for us as practitioners and for the workforce we will be looking after.

Primary healthcare is a social determinant of health, as is employment and poverty.  Hospitals are devolving patient care into the community where appropriate. The focus is on ‘patient-centred care’, or as applied to our speciality to ‘worker-centred care’, using a holistic approach that is socially and culturally responsible. 

What will a fit-for-purpose occupational medical workforce that justifies the community’s investment in doctors, look like in the future? This is a question that we as a Faculty will need to grapple with.

I would like to thank Dr Alison Drewry, Chair of the AFOEM Education Committee (FEC) and its members for the opportunity to attend their meeting on Friday, 7 December. The training of our trainees and supporting the continuing education of our Fellows is the foundation of our Faculty. The FEC members are about to embark on a staged process of looking at the renewal of Advanced Training curricula. This is an opportunity for us to affirm what is working and acknowledge what may be less effective so that adjustments and improvements can be made.  

I would also like to congratulate Professor Malcolm Sim on his induction as a Fellow of the Collegium Ramazzini in Carpi and for his presentation of the Smiley Lecture in Dublin at the annual meeting of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland where he received Honorary Fellowship of the Irish Faculty.  

A free paper session is part of the AFOEM stream at the RACP Congress 2019 in Auckland. This is your opportunity to share experiences, ideas, and achievements with colleagues. Please send in your abstracts by 31 January 2019

Finally, I would like to extend my congratulations to the trainees who passed the Clinical Exams held in November.

As the year draws to a close I would like to wish everyone in AFOEM, including the administrative staff, a merry and safe Christmas and a New Year of exciting opportunities and achievements. 

Dr Beata M Byok
President, AFOEM

RACP Awards and Medals

To acknowledge outstanding achievements of our members, the College grants a number of awards. These awards provide an opportunity for the College and its membership to recognise and celebrate the accomplishments of members as well as promote their successes to inspire others. 

Nominations are now being accepted for the following:

AFOEM Ramazzini Prize

If you are an AFOEM trainee, you will know about the Ramazzini Prize. This prize is awarded to an AFOEM trainee who presents the best scientific paper related to Occupational and Environmental Medicine at the RACP Congress. The presentation assists trainees to demonstrate their research methods and communication competencies.

All AFOEM Advanced Trainees must present a paper for the Ramazzini Prize at least once during their OEM training to meet eligibility requirements for Fellowship.

Abstracts are submitted via the RACP Congress website. Authors of all abstracts meeting the criteria will be able to present at the AFOEM tream at the RACP Congress.

The prize recipient will receive $750.
Closing date is 31 January 2019.
Visit the link for more details: Ramazzini Prize

RACP holiday closure

The RACP will be closed over the Christmas and New Year holiday period from Monday, 23 December 2018  through to Wednesday, 2 January 2019 in Australia and Thursday, 3 January 2019 in New Zealand. 

Happy holidays.

AFOEM Regional Committee casual vacancies

There are various casual vacancies on AFOEM Regional Committees to be filled by way of expressions of interest.

New South Wales

  • one position open for Trainee Representative of AFOEM NSW Regional Committee.

Queensland/Northern Territory

  • one position open for the Chair of AFOEM QLD/NT Regional Committee
  • one position open for Deputy Chair of AFOEM QLD/NT Regional Committee.

South Australia

  • one position open for Deputy Chair of AFOEM SA Regional Committee.


  • one position open for Trainee Representative of AFOEM VIC/TAS Regional Committee.

Western Australia

  • one position open for Chair of AFOEM WA Regional Committee
  • one position open for AFOEM Trainee Representative of AFOEM WA Regional Committee.

Before nominating for the role, candidates must familiarise themselves with the following documents:

To nominate, submit a completed Expression of Interest Form and your resume by email to

Professor Malcolm Sim: Collegium Ramazzini and Smiley Lecture

Professor Malcolm Sim, AFOEM President-elect, was inducted in November as a Fellow of the CollegiumRamazzini medal Carpi 2018 Ramazzini in Carpi, which is the birthplace of Ramazzini in the north of Italy.  The Collegium comprises 180 internationally renowned people with expertise in the fields of occupational and environmental health and its mission is to "advance the study of occupational and environmental health issues and to be a bridge between the world of scientific discovery and the social and political centers which must act on the discoveries of science to protect public health".  Malcolm is pictured receiving his Fellowship medal from the Mayor of Carpi, who is wearing the sash, and to Malcolm's left is Professor Philip Landrigan, current President of the Collegium.

Two weeks later, Malcolm gave the Smiley Lecture in Dublin at the annual meeting of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland.  Irish occ med faculty FellowshipThis invited lecture is named in honour of Dr James Smiley, one of the founders of the Irish Faculty.  Malcolm's talk was: 'The resurgence of occupational disease: the 'Down Under' experience' and included perspectives and lessons learned from the recent upsurge in cases of coal workers' pneumoconiosis and accelerated silicosis.  At a ceremony before the black tie dinner, Malcolm was presented with the Smiley Medal and Honorary Fellowship of the Irish Faculty.  The picture shows him receiving his Honorary Fellowship from the Dean of the Irish Faculty of Occupational Medicine, Dr Lynda Sisson.

Register for RACP Congress 2019

Join colleagues from Monday, 6 to Wednesday, 8 May 2019 at the Aotea Centre in Auckland, New Zealand, for RACP Congress 2019. 

Register now to attend the AFOEM Ramazzini presentations. The Ramazzini Prize is awarded annually at Congress to the best AFOEM trainee presentation on an occupational and environmental medicine topic.  

RACP Congress 2019 key topics include:

  • Life course theory ‘How do we impact health along the life course?’
  • Obesity: rising to the challenge
  • First 1000 days and non-communicable diseases
  • Medically unexplained symptoms master class
  • Mental health and addiction of patients
  • Chronic disease and integrated care.

Early bird registration closes 22 February 2019.

Visit the Congress website to register and view the program. 

CPD funding on offer 

Fellows in rural and remote Australia are invited to apply for funding to undertake CPD activities, as part of the Support for Rural Specialists in Australia program.

Read more

Lead Fellow reminder

Expressions of interest are sought from Fellows interested in nominating for the RACP Congress Lead Fellow role for 2020, with the possibility of extending to 2021.

The Lead Fellow and the Congress Planning Committee work with key stakeholders to implement the Board’s strategic vision for Congress.

Find out more

Listen to our targeting diabetes podcast  

Dr Paul Drury and Professor Sophia Zoungas discuss issues surrounding pharmacological management of Type 2 diabetes in the latest Pomegranate Health podcast. 

Listen now

Workshops to promote participation from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in the National Cancer Screening Program 

Around 55 workshops (free of charge to workshop participants) will be delivered across Australia in 2018 and 2019. The workshops aim to support healthcare providers and other relevant groups to promote cervical screening and the benefits of regular cervical screening to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, in accordance with the renewal changes.  

To register, or for more information on the workshops, please contact The Benchmarque Group on telephone 1300 855 568 or by email at

Newly released report on reducing opioid-related harm for surgical patients

The Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia's (SHPA) newly released report, Reducing opioid-related harm: A hospital pharmacy landscape, exposes national inconsistencies in the provision of pharmacy services to reduce the risk of opioid misuse, extremely high use of sustained release opioids and poor handover of discharge information for use by general practitioners.

According to SHPA, this is the first Australian study to comprehensively analyse current hospital pharmacy practices around opioids. It has shone a light on the link between the prescribing and supply of opioids to patients after surgery in public and private hospitals nationally and heightened risk of long-term misuse and dependence, highlighting the urgent need for a coordinated, multidisciplinary response.

Medical Board of Australia’s updated sexual boundaries guidelines

The Medical Board of Australia’s (the Board) updated Guidelines: Sexual boundaries in the doctor-patient relationship came into effect on 12 December 2018.

The updated guidelines complement the Board’s Good medical practice: A code of conduct for doctors in Australia and do not change the ethical and professional conduct expected of doctors by their peers, the community and the Board.

The updated guidelines were finalised following wide-ranging stakeholder consultation. The Board appreciates the contribution of stakeholders to the review of the guidelines.

The key changes to the guidelines include:

  • a change in the title to make the scope of the guidelines clearer
  • editorial updates that re-order the content, make it easier to read and clarify terms and definitions
  • a new section on social media that complements the Board’s social media policy
  • a requirement for patient consent if medical students or anyone else is to be present during an examination or consultation
  • advice that an unwarranted physical examination may constitute sexual assault. This includes conducting or allowing others, such as students, to conduct examinations on anaesthetised patients, when the patient has not given explicit consent
  • replacing the term ‘chaperone’ with the term ‘observer’. The revised section on the use of observers reflects the advice and principles in Professor Ron Paterson’s report of the Independent review of the use of chaperones to protect patients in Australia, February 2017.

RACP becoming a supporter of the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children 

The RACP and its Paediatrics & Child Health Division (PCHD) accepted an invitation from the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children to be listed as supporters on the Global Initiative’s website. The Global Initiative campaigns around the world to end corporal punishment of children. It generally seeks to partner with organisations in many countries and has collaborated with the College previously. Its campaign is strongly aligned with established College positions on child protection and physical punishment of children.

Corporal punishment has been illegal in all settings in New Zealand since 2005, but as the RACP is a trans-tasman College, it is now listed as a supporting organisation in Australia as well as New Zealand on an interactive map on the Global initiative’s website

Other supporter organisations in Australia and New Zealand to date are: 


  • Australian Human Rights Commission
  • Bega Valley Sanctuary Refugee Group
  • Commissioner for Children Tasmania
  • National Children’s and Youth Law Centre.


  • NZ Human Rights Commission
  • Brainwave Trust Aotearoa 
  • Action for Children & Youth Aotearoa
  • Youthlaw Tino rangatiratanga Taitamariki.

While being a supporter does not entail any financial or other obligations, the College might be listed as a supporting organisation in future Global Initiative publications. 

Boost your genomics knowledge

A new elearning module is available to introduce physicians in Australia and New Zealand to the emerging field of clinical genomics.

Learn more

Survey of Clinician Researchers – Invitation to participate

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) invites all clinician researchers to participate in the 2018 Survey of Clinician Researchers. The survey is being conducted on behalf of NHMRC by ORIMA Research, an independent market and social research company. 

By participating in this survey, you will contribute to research that will inform the NHMRC about:

  • whether there are appropriately clear and supported career pathways available to clinician researchers in Australia
  • factors that enable some clinicians to enter research
  • factors that enable some clinicians to maintain a career in research 
  • factors that cause some clinicians to choose not to enter research 
  • major support mechanisms and enablers for clinician researchers
  • major barriers and current issues for clinician researchers. 

Participation in the project will assist NHMRC in building a better understanding of the clinician researcher population in Australia. The RACP encourages you to participate in this important research as the project will benefit researchers from medical, nursing and allied health disciplines and in the longer term will aid the integration and translation of research into health policy and practice.

Ethics approval was granted for this project by the ORIMA Research Human Research Ethics Committee. 

For more information, or to participate:
1. read the Participant Information Sheet
2. go to the survey website by clicking on the link below, or pasting the link into your browser:    

If you have further questions regarding the Survey of Clinician Researchers, please do not hesitate to contact May from ORIMA or Alice from NHMRC:

Expressions of Interest

Remote Area Trainees Training Program Director on the Faculty Training Committee in Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Check the Expressions of Interest page at any time to find out if there are any opportunities that are of benefit to you.

Conferences and events

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians publishes notices of events and courses as a service to members. Such publication does not constitute endorsement or mandating of any such events or courses. 

ANZSOM Annual Scientific Meeting 2019, 27 to 30 October 2019, Adelaide.

View all occupational and environmental health medicine events.

Go to the events list at any time to see what events are coming up.

Career opportunities

New South Wales
Physicians for Private Practice 

View all positions vacant

Find a consultant page on RACP website

Just a reminder to all AFOEM Fellows and trainees, AFOEM is the only Faculty, Chapter or Division that has created a dedicated page on the RACP website that lists contact details for AFOEM Fellows by state. It is an incredible resource that can be used by all members of the Faculty.

The list is located on the find a consultant page on the RACP website. If you are included in the current listing and your details have changed or you would like to be included on the webiste, please email the AFOEM Executive Officer at with the details you would like included on the page (name, address, contact number and preferred email address).

This page is also a useful resource for finding contact details for colleagues in your state and for regional committees to reach out to other Fellows that may want to be included in the various state-based activities. 

AFOEM contact details

AFOEM Faculty enquiries (including Council and committees):
Lucie Perrissel-Taggart, AFOEM Executive Officer
Phone: +61 2 8076 6351

AFOEM Education and Training enquiries:
Molly Davies, 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:
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