AFOEM eBulletin – 15 December 2020

A message from your President

What a year it has been for both of our countries! At this time last year Aotearoa New Zealand was coming to terms with the deadly aftermath of the White Island volcano eruption, while Australia was about to head into the most deadly and destructive period of the ‘black summer’ bushfire crisis. Back in December 2019, we were just starting to hear of the first cases of disease from a novel coronavirus in China, which subsequently has led to a once in a hundred years global pandemic with devastating health, economic and social consequences globally.  

The COVID-19 response in both countries, while not perfect, has been world-leading and community transmission is now negligible, allowing the severe restrictions to be eased and life and work to return towards a ‘COVID-normal’ situation. AFOEM and our members have played an integral role in the response, as I have documented in my President’s Posts over the past several months. At times, it has been a challenge in some quarters to orient the response in workplaces to follow more of an occupational health and safety (OHS) framework, rather than just relying on infection control principles, but through our efforts there has been growing acceptance of the importance of risk assessment and risk management based on the hierarchy of controls.  Interestingly, a UK survey of medical specialists found that a greater proportion of occupational physicians were busier during COVID-19 than any other specialist group, which highlights the importance of our skill base during such a health crisis.  

With very promising findings from several of the COVID-19 vaccine trials over the past few weeks, vaccine rollout is starting to occur overseas and planned to start in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand in early to mid-2021. Clearly, the countries where the virus is out of control have higher priority, especially for the vulnerable and healthcare workers. There are logistic problems to be overcome in our two countries, but during the second half of next year, we should have emerged from the pandemic shadow.  Many of the workplace changes during COVID-19 are likely to continue to some extent and it will be important for occupational and environmental physicians to continue to advise on health and wellbeing impacts of these changes.

The Australian and New Zealand Society of Occupational Medicine (ANZSOM) Annual Scientific Meeting was held virtually in November and AFOEM was very proud to be the scientific partner for this very successful meeting. As expected, there was a very strong focus on COVID-19, with the main keynote speaker being Brett Sutton, Chief Health Officer for Victoria. Brett and his team had to grapple with a large second wave but did so very successfully with considerable AFOEM member input. Many other speakers spoke about their experiences in responding to the COVID-19 crisis in Government and across a wide range of industries. Novel aspects of the meeting included virtual worksite visits and a journal club. As AFOEM has signed a Model of Collaboration with ANZSOM, we are working much more closely together and I would like to encourage our Fellows and trainees to join ANZSOM and take advantage of their resources and networks.  

The 2021 College Congress will be held in late April/early May with an innovative structure and program to be held over several days in six cities across both of our countries. This form will include a virtual component and will also allow for local face-to-face interaction. This will avoid the need for interstate or overseas travel, given travel uncertainties due to COVID-19 restrictions. Our own Professor Michael Shanahan will be giving the Ferguson-Glass Oration, and this should be a highlight.  I strongly encourage AFOEM Fellows and trainees to register.

I would like to acknowledge the strong contribution AFOEM has made to some major workplace health initiatives this year. The first is our very active involvement in the Mentally Healthy Workplaces Alliance, which comprises a wide network of stakeholders. This Alliance aims to help workplaces to develop and maintain a working environment which optimises the mental health and wellbeing of their employees. For example, the Alliance recently released some resources to help workplaces to deal with the mental health challenges resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. I would like to pay tribute to Associate Professor Peter Connaughton, who was the first AFOEM representative and was instrumental in positioning AFOEM as a leader in this important area. This year we have been very fortunate that Dr Teri Lillington has taken over the AFOEM rep role and she has continued the leading contribution made by AFOEM.  

The other major program I would like to highlight is our Health Benefits of Good Work (HBGW) program, which this year celebrated its 10th anniversary. In the latter part of this year, we have held three virtual webinars, a virtual forum, and a newsletter for the more than 280 signatories to this flagship program across both of our countries. I would like to acknowledge the exceptional leadership of Dr Warren Harrex, Chair of the HBGW Executive Group and Keith Govias in his role as Chair of the Signatories Steering Group. Another important national workplace health initiative is the Collaborative Partnership, for which Dr Robin Chase has made a major contribution as the AFOEM lead. Robin has contributed another item in this eBulletin about this important initiative, which highlights the achievements of that partnership and AFOEM’s contribution.  

After a very challenging year, I would like to say a big thank you to Jo Goldrick, Manager of Faculties at the College, who has worked tirelessly this year to progress the multitude of AFOEM activities. I am also very grateful for the exceptional support AFOEM receives from our recently returned Executive Officer, Lisa Helson, who has quickly picked up the reins and efficiently finalised many of our 2020 activities. I would also like to thank the Chairs of our main AFOEM committees; Dr Alison Drewry, Chair of the AFOEM Education Committee, and Dr Robin Chase, Chair of the AFOEM Policy & Advocacy Committee. Alison has had to grapple with the many COVID-19 challenges to the AFOEM training program and the cancellation of the 2020 exams, while Robin has played a major role in progressing the many advocacy issues of relevance to our Faculty. I am also very grateful for the active contribution of the many other AFOEM Fellows and trainees, who chair or are members of the many other AFOEM committees.  Without your continued involvement, AFOEM could not continue to play its major role in improving the health of workers.

Finally, as we head into the summer break, I would like to wish all of our Fellows and trainees a happy and relaxing holiday season. After a very difficult 2020, I am sure we are all looking forward to a less challenging 2021. While virtual meetings and other screen-based activities have had to be the norm this year, I am feeling a little Zoomed out and looking forward to catching up with many of you face-to-face at some stage next year, travel restrictions permitting.


Professor Malcolm Sim
AFOEM President

AFOEM Fellows interview series

This series provides insight into the careers of retired and actively serving physicians in occupational medicine. On this occasion I had the pleasure of speaking with Dr Andrew Jeremijenko who is currently practicing in Doha, Qatar.

Dr Farhan Shahzad, Consultant Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Sydney

An interview with Dr Andrew Jeremijenko 

Farhan: Hi Andrew, we are honoured to have you join us today from Qatar. Please tell us a little about your personal life, your training and where you are today. Tell us about your journey.

Andrew: I was born, bred and educated in Brisbane. I was able to travel as I completed my epidemiology, GP and specialty training. 

I worked for eight years in Indonesia during the time of SARS, bird flu and disasters including the Bali bombs and the tsunami.  We identified the first human case of bird flu in Indonesia and then a number of other clusters. At that time, I was fascinated by the cleavage site and its effect on pathogenicity. The cleavage site, 15 years ago is similar to the cleavage site now in this pandemic.

Farhan: We are in (COVID–19) pandemic times. How have you utilised your experiences (including tele-medicine) in your response to the pandemic.

Andrew: After seeing people die of bird flu and swine flu and studying pandemics like the Spanish flu, I became more aware of the risks doctors and nurses take when caring for the pandemic virus victims so I started a company called ‘TeleDr’.
I worked at Mater Private Hospital in the emergency department (ED) at the same time as running TeleDr.  Working with a great team in ED we developed an occupational program that saved the hospital about $20 million over seven years ($3 million each year in insurance premiums alone). Good occupational medicine and the “culture of caring” and the use of telemedicine was an effective strategy.  During the coronavirus pandemic in Qatar we used telemedicine (and PPE) to protect staff.

Farhan: Tell us about your experiences in Qatar and Australia. Your memories and the highlights of your occupational medicine career. 

Andrew: In Australia I became known as a Greenie. I saw sustainability as part of my specialty. I was involved in a number of environmental issues. It is possible my political ideology may have impacted my career in Australia. I was offered a job in Qatar a few months before the pandemic began. As I was new, I had an advantage because I could be more flexible than people who had been in the country for years. We swabbed and bled thousands of workers and the research we conducted was able to show possible herd immunity in the workers and low rates of reinfections.

Farhan: If you had more opportunities and more time at your disposal, what would you like to do in occupational medicine in Australia and overseas?

Andrew: The pandemic in Qatar was funnelled towards young, healthy workers in construction and hospital workers. It burnt like a bushfire through the worker camps but then public health measures protected the urban and vulnerable populations. The models showed the government actions contributed to a 10-fold decrease in numbers at the peak of the pandemic and likely contributed to the lowest official mortality rates in the world. The occupational research we did showed the virus used our eating, cooking and cleaning habits to spread. The cleaners, laundry workers and caterers had high seroprevalence and attack rates while the doctors and nurses had low seroprevalence. The invisible virus coming through the back door in asymptomatic workers. The back-door workers virus “probably spread more within the hospital than the front door".  PPE protected doctors and nurses. Occupational research made a difference in Qatar and if I had more time, I would do more research and encourage others to do the same.

Collaborative Partnership

The Collaborative Partnership was established in 2016 by Comcare, but it has since become an independent group of organisations working not-for-profit towards improving the access to Good Work for individuals with temporary or permanent physical or psychological disabilities. Comcare is the facilitator and provides much of the administrative support but is not the owner. It is led by Professor Niki Ellis FAFOEM and now includes myself as FAFOEM representative, the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the Department of Health, Department of Social Services (DSS), the Insurance Council of Australia, Employers Mutual Limited (EML) and the Department of Education Skills and Employment (DESE). The Partnership works under the Stanford Collective Impact Model and has produced a number of important initiatives. These include: 

  • Pillar 1: Measuring movement and findings ways to improve outcomes  
    Much of the early work focused upon trying to measure how individuals move between the various income support systems, for example, an individual may initially receive worker’s compensation benefits or motor accident compensation and then receive a Disability Support Pension, income maintenance insurance, disability insurance and/or superannuation. This is extremely complex and while mapping has indicated the size of the problem it is a significant issue to identify these movements and develop dynamic modelling to quantify and predict the movements of people. This is ongoing work and the project is expected to require at least a further 12 months. However, it is hoped that the model can be used to predict impacts to systems using levers, criteria and rules.  

  • Pillar 2: Transition support  
    This is being led by EML and they have set up a trial with a transition specialist to support people with health conditions in the transition in or out of income support systems with the goal of improving work participation. This trial commenced in August 2020 and works with at least 50 individuals drawn from the Victorian Worker’s Compensation Scheme. EML is working with DSS, NDIA and DESE on this project with further help from Monash University.  

  • Pillar 3: Employer support
    This is being led by DESE to design and deliver tools to build employer capability. This will include a staged approach with an external consultant to undertake a scan of the employment landscape to identify and match industries/sectors with high job demand and to perform a national analysis of employer provider policies, programs and services. It is designed to enhance the existing DESE job hub systems.  

  • Pillar 4: A project to develop and deliver tools to support the GP role in facilitating work participation 
    I have been leading this. The initial work involved several workshops with a broad range of organisations and individuals including the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP), employer groups, insurance groups and the ACTU. This resulted in the formulation of principles on the role of the general practitioner in supporting work participation. This was subsequently adopted early in 2020 as a supported Position Statement by RACGP with further endorsement by the Insurance Council of Australia, the DESE, the Department of Social Services, ACTU, the NDIS and EML. The core principle is that everyone with temporary or permanent injury illness or disability that impacts upon their ability to work should have access to Good Work. Good Work is defined as engaging, fair, respectful and balances job demands, autonomy and job security.  Good Work accepts the importance of culture and traditional beliefs and is characterised by safe and healthy work practices and strikes a balance between the interests of individuals, employers and society. It requires effective change management, clear and realistic performance indicators and matches the work to the individual and uses transparent productivity metrics. There are three main principles:
  1. Principle 1: General practitioners perform a patient advocacy role in work participation cases.  This was a particular sticking point in many of the initial discussions as many employers and insurance companies object to the concept that doctors have a patient advocacy role. However, to doctors this is a core part of our work and the only problem occurs when there is inappropriate advocacy. Usually the general practitioner is the first port of call for individuals with injury, illness or disability and the general practitioner’s approach to this is central to any successful return to work, maintenance at work or entry into the workforce.
  2. Principle 2: That general practitioners provide evidence-based assessment which draws on the patient’s work participation goals and context. Again, general practitioners are well placed to perform assessments and identify the supports needed to facilitate participation in Good Work.  
  3. Principle 3: After assessment and initial treatment, the general practitioner consults with his or her patient to determine their role. It acknowledges that a team-based approach enables the general practitioner to adopt different roles. This may entail working with case managers, allied health and other medical specialties. It acknowledges that general practitioners may perform a care coordinator role with the support of other stakeholders. The general practitioner might refer medical management to another health practitioner but will continue to monitor and support their patients. At other times, the general practitioner may acknowledge that they do not have the time or skills to perform case management in which case there is explicit acknowledgement that the general practitioner may hand case management to another person whether it be an occupational physician, rehabilitation physician, mental health professional, another general practitioner with interest in occupational medicine, or a specialised person within their own practice such as a designated practice case manager, nurses and allied health, or external providers such as rehabilitation providers.  

The next phase in the general practitioner project involves working with the RACGP and other stakeholders to develop tools and resources that will allow these principles to be adopted by general practitioners and to work with the other three pillars of the Collaborative Partnership. In addition, we (the Collaborative Partnership) will be working with the RACGP to help them with their curriculum review and to write a module for occupational and environmental medicine and workplace rehabilitation. The first workshop to progress this will take place in February 2021.

Dr Robin Chase AM, FAFOEM

Health Benefits of Good Work Webinar Series

In the second half of 2020, the Health Benefits of Good Work (HBGW) Signatory Steering Group (SSG) developed three webinars concentrating on COVID-19 and returning to the workplace. 184 attendees participated and engaged in this thought-provoking series. 

Webinar 1 – 16 September 2020

Topic: How to support employees who are vulnerable to COVID-19 return to the workplace. 

  • Mr Keith Govias (Chair), Principal Consultant – Workplace Risk, Gallagher 
  • Professor Malcolm Sim AM, President, AFOEM 
  • Ms Simonie Fox, Head of Shared Value Partnerships, AIA Australia
  • Ms Lucy Hartley, Claims Service Manager | Vice President | Life & Health Business Management, Swiss Re Life & Health Australia Ltd, Australia Branch

This webinar is available on the Health Benefits of Good Work resources webpage.

Webinar 2 – 2 November 2020

Topic: Considerations from a mental health WHS and productivity perspective.  

  • Mr Keith Govias (Chair), Principal Consultant – Workplace Risk, Gallagher 
  • Ms Noni Byron, Managing Director / Founder and Owner of Prestige Health Services Australia
  • Dr Teri Lillington, is a specialist Occupational and Environmental Physician
  • Ms Julie MacCormick, Claims Service Manager at Swiss Re Australia and New Zealand

The webinar covered three key areas:

  1. Effective leadership skills – supporting employees mental health and productivity when working from home and returning back to the workplace.
  2. Understanding WH&S obligations as an employer – both from a work from home and return to office perspective – with a lens on mental health and COVID-19 WHS considerations.
  3. Silver Linings of COVID-19 – helping employers see a new way of recruiting candidates into employment who may previously have been discounted due to injury/illness or disability (i.e. WFH possibilities), job adaptation and job design post COVID-19 – flexible workplaces – promoting productivity, better work life balance and inclusivity.

This webinar is available on the Health Benefits of Good Work resources webpage

Webinar 3 – 2 December 2020

Topic: How to support employees with workers compensation injuries with a return back into the workplace (mental health and physical considerations). 


  • Mr Keith Govias (Chair) Principal Consultant – Workplace Risk, Gallagher 
  • Ms Corrinne Hutton, Manager Work Injury Prevention Partnerships – SIRA  
  • Dr Robin Chase, Chair AFOEM Policy & Advocacy Committee
  • Ms Tatjana Jokic, (Panellist) JK Corporate Resourcing and Signatory Engagement Committee 

This webinar will be available on the RACP website in due course. 

Feedback from the webinar series attendees:

“Great speakers – love the practical tips”

“Fantastic, knowledgeable panel. Thank you”

Health Benefits of Good Work Virtual Forum 

Promoting the Health Benefits of Good Work during COVID-19

The first Health Benefits of Good Work (HBGW) Virtual Forum was held on 11 November 2020. The virtual forum replaced the annual face-to-face forum (due to COVID-19). There were 120 attendees with a highly engaged audience. Due to the volume of questions, some had to be answered out of session. 


  • Ms Rachael Palmer — Senior Consultant and Organisational Psychologist at Transitioning Well
  • Ms Cathy Oddie — Domestic Violence Survivor Advocate 
  • Dr Sara Pazell — Managing Director at Viva Health at Work
  • Professor Malcolm Sim AM, President, AFOEM
  • Dr Warren Harrex, President-Elect, AFOEM and Chair, HBGW Executive
  • Ms Noni Byron, Managing Director, Prestige Health Services Australia

Presenter 1: Ms Rachel Palmer  – Transitioning Well – Promoting the HBGW for younger and ageing workforce and those returning from parental leave during COVID-19. The objective of this session was to provide education to employers around the issues younger, ageing and returning parents may face as a result of COVID-19 and working from home and how we can best promote HBGW for these particular sub groups.
Presenter 2: Ms Cathy Oddie – Domestic Violence Expert Speaker – Domestic violence and the employers WH&S obligation for employees working from home. This presentation covered domestic violence statistics in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand: warning signs for employers to be aware of, how to have the conversation with employees where concern is identified and how to support employees who may be at risk/experiencing domestic violence. 
Presenter 3: Dr Sara Pazell – Good Work Design – considerations around work design during COVID-19.

Feedback from the Forum:

“Great event. Wish to thank presenters on sharing concepts but also making me aware of suitable workplace support measures.”

The Virtual Forum is available on the Health Benefits of Good Work resources webpage

Ramazzini Prize

Are you a registered AFOEM trainee? Have you submitted your research project this year? Apply for the Ramazzini Prize, awarded annually for the best scientific paper related to occupational and environmental medicine by an AFOEM trainee.

Visit the website for more information. Submissions close Sunday, 31 January 2021.

RACP President's Indigenous Congress Prize

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 2021 to gain educational and networking opportunities and exposure to career pathways within the College. 

Please encourage anyone you know who is eligible to apply before the deadline on Sunday, 31 January 2021.

RACP Congress 2021

AFOEM Ferguson-Glass Oration

Date: Saturday, 1 May, 2021
Time: 9am to 9.45am (ACST)
Location: Adelaide

RACP Congress 2021 continues to take shape with a growing number of speakers now confirmed for the six-day event. We are pleased to announce that Professor Michael Shanahan will be delivering the 2021 AFOEM Ferguson-Glass Oration in Adelaide on Saturday, 1 May.

Named shortly after their incorporation into the RACP, AFOEM's keynote lecture was named the Ferguson-Glass Oration to showcase our history and pay homage to our founders, Professor David Alexander Ferguson AM and Professor William Ivan Glass. You can read more about the award on the RACP Congress website.

Perth Keynote speaker

Associate Professor Peter Connaughton will be the Keynote speaker at the Perth session on Monday, 3 May 2021.

For those unable to attend their local city event in person, the event will also be live streamed and you will be able to access it for an additional six months as part of the RACP Congress Online Series.

Find out more about the RACP Congress 2021 program and sessions in your local city on the RACP Congress website.  

Submission deadline for RACP Congress 2021 abstracts extended

The deadline for abstracts to be submitted for consideration for RACP Congress 2021 has been extended to 12 January 2021. Those of you wishing to submit in any of the categories available should visit the RACP Congress 2021 website for more details.

RACP Quarterly Issue Three 2020

RACP Quarterly is our member magazine featuring healthcare and medical news.

In our last issue for 2020 we feature the incredibly worthy inaugural recipient of the new College Medal, Professor Douglas Bridge. We also feature Dr Matthew Wheeler, an Indigenous Health Scholarship recipient. 

COVID-19 related articles include: ‘Will the COVID-19 pandemic encourage a reflection on what is low-value clinical care?’ and ‘Telehealth transforming access to healthcare during COVID-19 and beyond’.   

Other highlights in this issue are ‘New recommendations to help stop early heart attacks for Indigenous Australians’, ‘Introducing effective pregnancy warning labels on alcohol products’ and ‘Natural killer’ cells may be the answer to treating Hepatitis B’.

Read RACP Quarterly Issue Three 2020 online now.

Access previous issues of RACP Quarterly on the RACP website.

A message from Dr Ben McConchie: The 2020 RACP Physician Training Survey is closing soon

Add your perspective to training settings

Thank you to everyone who has participated in the 2020 Physician Training Survey. Highly valuable feedback has been received so far. We are keeping the survey open a little longer to allow more trainees and educators time to share their perspective during this busy period. The survey closes Wednesday, 16 December 2020.

We use trainee and educator feedback to guide improvements to training environments. To protect respondent anonymity, we only communicate results when we meet response volume thresholds. The more responses we get, the more data we can use to promote positive change.

The anonymous survey can be completed via the personalised link in the email eligible participants received on Monday, 30 November 2020. If you didn’t receive this link or would like it resent, please contact Engine. For information about the survey, including confidentiality and how you could win an iPad, please visit the Physician Training Survey webpage.

The 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, please email the Executive Officer of the Ethics Committee or call +61 2 9767 5622.

RACP Congress 2020 online learning series

RACP Congress 2020 has been the first entirely digital RACP Congress, free for members. This year’s Congress has provided members with learning opportunities while earning CPD credits and connecting in new ways, through webinars, livestreams and podcasts. The RACP Congress 2020 Online Series has been made available with all sessions available via the Congress Online Learning platform until Friday, 18 December 2020.

Access now

Introducing our new online Heritage Centre

To celebrate our College’s rich history, we have developed a Heritage Centre on the website. The ‘Our heritage’ webpage brings together the revamped College Roll, the first release of a College timeline and the History of Medicine Library.

College Roll

The College Roll celebrates the stories and achievements of our inspiring Fellows. We encourage retired and Life Fellows, aged 70 years or older, to share your story. We also accept biography or obituary submissions on behalf of deceased Fellows.

We encourage everyone to visit the College Roll and read about the achievements of our esteemed physicians, their stories and their impact on medicine, communities and patients.

College timeline

Discover the history of the College through the new College timeline. Vision, dedication and passion — explore the College’s history over the years, the evolution of medicine and the role of our physicians.

Can you add to our timeline? We encourage members to submit a timeline entry that you think is of significance.

History of Medicine Library

Our History of Medicine Library, located at our head office in Sydney, has a leading collection of medical history items from Australasia and around the world.

The College established the Library in 1938 as a clinical library. The focus of the library changed to medical history in the mid-1950s. The Library continues to grow through the contributions of our College members. The Library holds over 30,000 medical history items.

While the library is currently closed due to COVID-19 you can browse the Library’s catalogue online.

Visit the Heritage Centre

Pomegranate Podcast: A new script for global public health

In episode 65, we present some provocative solutions to problems presented in the previous two stories. We heard about pharmaceutical patents and how embedded intellectual property law is in global trade relations. There’s a fundamental assumption that innovation occurs thanks to the vigour of the private sector and the plucky entrepreneur. It’s even been said that financialised capitalism is "the greatest engine of progress ever seen".

But the reality is that shiny smartphones and targeted drugs wouldn’t exist without massive government spending on research. It’s public money that funds the riskiest stages of development, before private enterprise takes these products to market with the benefit of monopoly pricing. Dr Owain Williams and Associate Professor Peter Hill argue that states can demand more control over the outputs and pricing of drug and vaccine research and that the current intellectual property regime is not the only way to stimulate innovation.

In the second part of this episode, Associate Professor Adam Kamradt-Scott talks about the lessons learned and not learned from pandemic modelling in past years. He also makes the case for establishing an Australian Centre for Disease Control with standalone jurisdiction, to cut through some of the conflict we’ve seen in recent months between state and federal leaders.


Dr Owain Williams (University of Leeds)
Associate Professor Peter Hill AFPHM (University of Queensland)
Associate Professor Adam Kamradt-Scott (University of Sydney, United States Studies Centre)

Claim CPD credits

RACP Fellows can claim CPD credits via MyCPD for listening to this episode and reading the resources available on the webpage. To be the first to find out about the latest Pomegranate Health episodes, subscribe today in Apple PodcastsSpotify, any Android podcasting app. You can also join our email alerts list to remain updated with future podcasts.

Listen now

New online course: Chronic breathlessness in advanced illness

Equip yourself with the knowledge you need to better identify, assess and manage chronic breathlessness in advanced illness through our new online course. Watch this video from the online course which explores something many of us find challenging: answering sensitively and truthfully when a patient wants to know how they’re going to die.

AI for healthcare webinar now on Medflix

Watch this engaging webinar where Dr Olivier Salvado, Head of Imaging and Computer Vision at CSIRO, presents on the opportunities and challenges for the medical application of artificial intelligence (AI) and reviews the main AI methods in the medical context. Hosted by Associate Professor Clair Sullivan FRACP, the webinar explores why the deployment of AI technologies in healthcare is lagging and highlights the current challenges that hinder AI deployment into clinics.

Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Care Standard

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has released the revised Antimicrobial Stewardship Clinical Care Standard, which has been endorsed by the RACP.

The Standard was first published in 2014 and revised in 2020 and has eight quality statements and a set of indicators. It is used by health service organisations as part of their antimicrobial stewardship programs, as required by the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards.

Australian Institute of Health Innovation – COVID-19 and future crisis preparedness in healthcare

The Australian Institute of Health Innovation (AIHI), Macquarie University, is pleased to announce the release of five new domestic PhD scholarships, focusing on research into COVID-19 and health system crisis planning.

With a track record of delivering internationally significant research, AIHI leads in understanding responses to the pandemic along with preparing for future health crises. The AIHI Directors, Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite, Professor Johanna Westbrook and Professor Enrico Coiera, are seeking suitably qualified candidates with pioneering ideas for research in this field. 

Find out more

Climate and Health Alliance survey

This survey is run by the Climate and Health Alliance in collaboration with Monash University and open to all RACP Adult Medicine Division and Chapter members and members of the Faculties of Public Health Medicine, Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine based in Australia. 

The survey is being sent to health professionals across Australia and is assessing their:

  • views on climate change as a human health issue
  • willingness and ability to communicate the health impacts of climate change.

We encourage you to participate in the survey – regardless of the focus of your work – because your participation will help us understand our members' needs and interests in this area.

The survey is confidential, administered online, and open until Thursday, 17 December 2020, 12pm (AEDT). The survey should take approximately 25 minutes to complete. If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact the Climate and Health Alliance at

Go to survey 

Update on telehealth in Australia

On 27 November 2020, the Commonwealth Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt announced that telehealth will become a permanent part of the Medicare system in Australia. While this announcement is welcome news, it does not necessarily resolve the issue of what the final form of the new permanent telehealth items in the MBS will be. This is why the College has been proactively engaging with the Department of Health, and will continue to do so, to ensure that the final form of these items is properly aligned to the clinical needs of our members and their patients.

Inviting nominees for potential vacancies on the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Council and Principal Committees 2021-2024 triennium

Nominations are being sought from people with appropriate expertise to participate on the NHMRC Council and Principal Committees for the 2021-2024 triennium. Nominees should be exceptional leaders who can advise the government on health and medical research (HMR). Nominees should have demonstrated knowledge and experience of the breadth of HMR in Australia and be recognised as a leader in their field.

Please note that successful candidates would be appointed by the NHMRC in an individual capacity and not as a representative of the College.

Nominations should be provided directly to the NHMRC by Sunday, 31 January 2021. Details on how to do this can be found on the NHMRC website.

National Obesity Strategy – consultation report

Despite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Obesity Strategy working group has recently released a report from an extensive national public consultation. The report summarises the main themes and ideas arising from the consultation and discusses key areas of the consultation paper that were supported by 1,380 survey responses, 35 stand-alone submissions and 604 Australians who participated in community events.

The findings of the consultation on the forthcoming strategy show strong public and stakeholder support for a range of measures to promote the health and wellbeing of Australians. These include implementing protections against the marketing of unhealthy food and drinks and using price levers to increase affordability of healthy food and increase prices of processed foods.

The results of the consultation clearly indicate that Australians want significant, specific and well-resourced government action on obesity. Such action needs to be guided by a comprehensive strategy to tackle the commercial drivers of obesity and ill-health. This and other findings, such as a clear focus on population-level systemic intervention, the demands for tailored efforts for priority groups and the need to avoid stigma, are closely aligned with the RACP submission to the consultation.

The full report and the summary report from the consultation are available. The final draft of the strategy is expected to be considered by Health Ministers in early 2021. 

Expressions of Interest  

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. 

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

Career opportunities 

For career opportunities, view all positions vacant on the RACP website.

AFOEM contact details

Member enquiries
(AUS) 1300 69 7227
(NZ) 0508 69 7227

AFOEM Faculty enquiries (including Council and committees):

AFOEM Executive Officer
Phone: +61 2 8247 6361 

AFOEM Health Benefits of Good Work (HBGW) enquiries:

AFOEM Education and Training enquiries:

AFOEM Examination enquiries:
Examination Coordinator, Assessment and Selection Unit

AFOEM training site accreditation inquiries:
Site Accreditation Unit

AFOEM CPD enquiries:
Close overlay