AFOEM eBulletin – 15 November 2019

Report on Occupational Health for Health Workers Conference 

I was privileged to be able to attend the recent Occupational Health for Health Workers 11th Joint Conference in Hamburg, Germany, held over three days in this elegant river port city.

The conference was organised by the Scientific Committee of Occupational Health for Health Workers (SC OHHW) together with several scientific committees of the International Committee of Occupational Health (ICOH) and the International Social Security Association (ISSA).

The conference was endorsed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the European Agency of Safety and Health.

The 33rd International Congress on Occupational Health 2021 (ICOH 2021) will be hosted by the Australian New Zealand Society of Occupational Medicine (ANZSOM) and held in Melbourne from 21 to 26 March 2021. Visit the event website for details.

In addition to the plenary sessions, the conference had a number of parallel sessions in the afternoons allowing, for multiple additional topics of interest or relevance. 

The theme of the conference and mission statement was the ‘Global Shortage of Health Workers’ and the global consequences of this situation for healthcare generally and for the provision of occupational health and safety services specifically.

The conference recognised a number of important factors contributing and influenced by this situation, including that women make up nearly 80 per cent of the healthcare workforce. healthcare workers (HCWs) are often exposed to a variety of health and safety hazards (including during conflict, major disaster and epidemic disease outbreaks), and that it is difficult to have an effective healthcare system without a healthy healthcare workforce (collectively and individually).

The conference discussed the causes and effects of forced migration of HCWs, including both in their country of origin and in the country/ies of settlement (whether as refugees or as migrant HCWs).

There was particular emphasis on the situations occurring currently in Syria, Venezuela, Argentina and Zimbabwe, and including the deliberate targeting of healthcare facilities and HCWs during recent conflicts in several countries.

The impact on HCW health and wellbeing in war zones, disaster zones and areas of disease epidemics was discussed, such as in Syria, Indonesia and Central Africa.

New delivery systems for occupational health and safety services were described, particularly appropriate and useful in times of shortage of occupational physicians/other OHS staff, using telemedicine and other online resources/technologies. 

Gender issues in the health sector in Europe and other locations were discussed, using European and other research. Issues including differences in risk management in health centres, pregnancy among HCWs and appropriate workplace and exposure modifications, immunisation, and the make-up of the health workforce.

Papers were presented on the origins and prevention/management of workplace violence in the healthcare sector, the increasing tuberculosis among HCWs, and the problems of occupational skin disease among HCWs.

There was a focus also on the health and safety and wellbeing of HCWs themselves and on the health and safety of healthcare systems, with research and discussion on the need to focus on safe working environments and safe systems of healthcare, rather than solely and typically on financial indicators and numerical outcome measures alone (with this more holistic approach referred to by one speaker as Macroergonomics).

Other topics included developing a culture of prevention (of injury and disease) in occupational health (Vision Zero project), radiation protection and the minimisation of musculoskeletal injuries among radiology HCWs, the issue of work stress and burnout among HCWs and vaccination and primary prevention of blood/body fluid incidents (BBFIs).

Specialist Occupational Physician

A message from your President

An event not to have missed this year was the ANZSOM-AFOEM Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) held in Adelaide in late October. Everyone I spoke with who attended considered the ASM a great success and I express my thanks to the organisers, both from our Faculty and ANZSOM. In particular, I thank Dr John Cross, Convenor, Dr Peter Jezukaitis, Chair of the Scientific Program Committee, Dr Josh Munn, AFOEM representative and Ms Melinda Miller, President of ANZSOM.  

This conference was the most successful ASM ever held by ANZSOM with nearly 200 registrations. The scientific content lived up to the theme ‘Making It Work: practical solutions in occupational health’. On the social side, the ASM dinner at the National Wine Centre of Australia featured a stunning venue, great food and wine, and an outstanding solo performance by an internationally recognised concert pianist, Konstantin Shamray. Thank you to Dr Richie Gun for organising this artistic highlight.
PP image 1pp image 2

Photo 1: ANZSOM-AFOEM ASM attendees.
Photo 2: Dr Beata Byok with Dr Josh Munn, AFOEM representative for the ANZSOM ASM and Ms Melinda Miller, ANZSOM President. 

The next combined ANZSOM meeting with AFOEM as scientific program partner will be held in Launceston from 22 to 27 March 2020.  Dr Helen McArdle is the AFOEM representative on the organising committee. Don’t miss this one.

Last Friday was the fourth and last meeting of the year for AFOEM Council. We were delighted that RACP President, Associate Professor Mark Lane, accepted an invitation to attend our meeting. He provided an update and answered questions on the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) investigation of the RACP.    

The Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine’s Future of the Faculty progress report and its relationship and relevance to our Faculty’s strategic goals and how to achieve them was discussed. An AFOEM Council working group will do further work on refining this.

Hopefully many of you were able to complete the feedback survey on the Advanced Training Curricula, Common curricula content document that was recently circulated. If you did not complete the survey, I urge you to read the online document and provide feedback to the Faculty Office via This feedback will be passed on to the AFOEM Education Committee which meets in December. Associate Professor Tony Brown has been appointed as the Assessment Lead, AFOEM Education Committee.

Members of the AFOEM NSW Regional Committee warmly welcomed me on Thursday, 31 October. My thanks go to Dr Sandra McBurnie, State Councillor and Dr Louise Crowle, State Chair, and the members of the committee. Some of the topics discussed, which I believe are common nationally, were the lack of understanding of what a specialist occupational physician is amongst our colleagues, community and industry; the underutilisation of our expertise, the lack of an appropriate MBS item number and how to better engage mid-career occupational physicians in Faculty activities. 

This month marks the three-quarter point for my presidency, with just six months to go before we all welcome in a new President. I have found my role as President challenging, interesting, at times frustrating, and undoubtedly educational and enriching. The role of Faculty President is important, but is only one part of a team of people, comprising other Fellows and College staff who, working together, make things happen for our Faculty. I take this opportunity to thank all of you who have assisted during my presidency so far.  In the next few months we need to consider who may take on some of the leadership roles in the future with nominations for positions such as President-elect falling due early next year.

I would also like to take this opportunity to say a fond farewell to Lucie Perrissel-Taggart our Executive Officer who is leaving AFOEM on Friday, 22 November to take up the position of Health and Wellbeing Officer, Supervisor Learning and Training Support Unit in the Education, Learning and Assessment Directorate. I pass on my thanks and those of all our members who have benefited from Lucie’s commitment and hard work, given generously, to support our Faculty. It has been a pleasure to work with you, Lucie. Congratulations on your new job and wishing you all the best in your future endeavours.

Wishing you all well.

Dr Beata Byok
President AFOEM

Good luck exam candidates

Good luck to all our trainees who will be attempting the AFOEM Stage B Practical Examination tomorrow, 16 November 2019. We wish you all the best for your exams.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself while you prepare. There are a number of resources available on our website including the Instructions to Candidates. If you need support in the lead up to, or following your exam, the RACP Support Program is available 24 hours, seven days a week. This free, fully confidential and independent helpline is available to all Fellows and trainees and is managed by Converge International.

If you have any questions about the upcoming exam, contact

Register for RACP Congress 2020 – Balancing medical science with humanity

Melbourne Convention Centre, 4 to 6 May

We are excited to announce more inspirational speakers at RACP Congress 2020.

Keynote presenter, Professor Catherine Crock AM, will present 'Balancing science with humanity: how kindness restores the whole in medicine'. Professor Crock is a doctor at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, music and theatrical producer, humanitarian, mother and strong advocate for culture change in healthcare.

Genomics, discussing the application of this rapidly evolving multidisciplinary field with Professor Kathryn North AC, Director of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute and the David Danks Professor of Child Health Research at the University of Melbourne. 

We will explore the impact of transfers of responsibility when transitions from child to adult health occur with Ms Evelyn Culnane, Lead Transition to Adult Care at the Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne and Dr Jeremy Lewin, Medical Director of ONTrac at Peter Mac Victorian Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Service. 

Visit the Congress website to find out more about the program and to register.

RACP awards and medals

AFOEM President’s Awards

Today is the last day to send your nominations for the AFOEM President's Awards.

The AFOEM President’s Awards recognise the outstanding contributions made by Fellows and trainees to the Faculty in the following three categories:

  • education, training and assessment
  • policy and advocacy
  • trainee commitment.

Nominations close today, 15 November 2019.

Indigenous scholarships and prizes

Do you identify as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or Māori and wish to pursue a medical career as a physician? The RACP Indigenous Health Scholarship Program supports medical graduates and current RACP trainees on your chosen career path to becoming a physician. 

The scholarships provide a funded pathway through Basic, Advanced, Faculty or Chapter Training in Australia and/or New Zealand. Applications close Saturday, 30 November 2019, so submit your application today.

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 2020 in Melbourne. The opportunity allows you to gain educational and networking opportunities, as well as exposure to career pathways within the College.

The prize includes:

  • full registration for RACP Congress 2020, held in May in Melbourne
  • return economy airfares to Melbourne
  • up to three nights accommodation.

Please encourage anyone you know who is eligible to apply before applications close on Friday, 31 January 2020.

Further details are available on the RACP Foundation website.

RACP My Work Profile - homepage banner

My Work Profile

Many Government decisions on workforce are based on anecdotal data. As a response to this we are updating our records to assist our future decision making for physician education programs.

Did you know the hours you work, the professional activities you are engaged in and where you work impact the paediatrics and adult medicine workforce?

You’ll find My Work Profile in MyRACP.

MyRACP supported internet browsers are Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

How does My Work Profile benefit you?

Workforce data will be made available to you and will help:

  • new Fellows decide which geographic area to work in Australia and New Zealand
  • new Fellows choose between private or public practice
  • you understand how your work hours compare with your peers
  • the RACP and stakeholders including government policy-makers make better workforce decisions, based on current data
  • Fellows understand activities they are undertaking; research, administration or clinical.

Hear what others have to say about My Work Profile

For more information, please read the My Work Profile FAQs. For details on what data will be collected and how it will be stored, please read the Privacy Statement.

Complete today

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 Deputy Chair of AFOEM NSW Regional Committee

Queensland/Northern Territory

  • one position open for the Trainee Representative 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.

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

Launch of the 2019 MJA-Lancet Countdown on health and climate change

Listen to experts discuss report highlights and key challenges at the Sydney MJA-Lancet Countdown Launch at Macquarie University on 28 November 2019 at 4pm. The RACP was involved in the development of the MJA-Lancet Countdown Policy brief for Australia, which will be launched as part of this event.

Register on the event website if you wish to attend. 

Tri-nation Alliance International Medical Symposium

Registrations are now open for the Tri-nation Alliance International Medical Symposium (IMS), 20 March 2020, Amora Hotel Sydney, Australia.

Now in its ninth year IMS is an annual event that reinforces the strong historical relationship between medical professions from Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Cementing these ties, a formal agreement between the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians, The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists and the Royal Australasian College of Psychiatrists created the Tri-Nations Alliance. 

The IMS 2020 theme, Providing care to underserved populations is relevant to health professionals from all member countries. With a focus on higher medical education, delegates will explore how specialist training can support and enhance access to healthcare for critical populations experiencing difficulties in accessing healthcare, potentially due to location or isolation, social determinants or other specific issues.

Visit the IMS website to find out more about the program and to register.

Tools to help you meet your CPD requirements

Participating in audit activities is one of the key ways doctors will meet requirements of the MyCPD Category 3 – Measuring Outcomes. If you’re unsure how to do an audit, or deciding an area of your practice to audit, we have developed an audit template to help you.

The audit template:

  • provides a guide to completing an audit
  • explains each step and provides a link to other resources that may assist Fellows.

For audit ideas, access the following resources:

New Pomegranate podcast: Ep53 Marrabinya – a hand out-stretched

Marrabinya is a Wiradjuri word meaning 'hand outstretched'. It’s the name of a service in the Western New South Wales Primary Health Network which financially supports Indigenous Australians to attend specialist consultations. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples receive specialist medical care 40 per cent less often than non-Indigenous Australians. It’s easy to imagine communities out in the red desert and blame culture clash or the tyranny of distance, but most Indigenous Australians live in cities or regional communities. The Marrabinya staff explain how socioeconomic factors and institutional biases can accumulate to prevent Aboriginal patients from receiving the care they need.

Marrabinya is an exemplary model of principles that RACP has formalised in the Medical Specialist Access Framework. Indigenous leadership, cultural safety, person and family-centred approach and a context-specific approach can all contribute to great gains in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. 

Guests: Marrabinya Executive Manger Donna Jeffries and chronic care link staff Desley Mason, Kym Lees, Possum Swinton, Sandra Ritchie, Donna Jeffries, Melissa Flannery, Joanne Bugg, Jacob Bloomfield and Gaby Bugg.

Fellows of the RACP can claim CPD credits via MyCPD for listening to this episode.

Subscribe to Pomegranate Health in Apple iTunesSpotify or any Android podcasting app.

Listen now 

Be part of the change to improve physician mental health

We’ve partnered with the Black Dog Institute and are looking for supervisors to join the Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) as part of the development of an online mental health training program. 

The program will give supervisors the skills to better manage and support the mental health needs of trainees.

Your involvement

As a part of the RCT you will be asked to complete:

  • four questionnaires over six-months
  • the online HeadCoach for Physicians program:
    o consists of nine modules (less than 10 minutes each)
    o can be completed over three-weeks at your own pace
    o can be completed on your computer, tablet or phone.


Register for the RCT today on HeadCoach for Physicians website or contact if you have any questions. 

More information on the main trial, including information about confidentiality, is available in the participant information sheet.

This research has been reviewed and approved by The University of New South Wales Human Research Ethics Committee. If you have any complaints or concerns about the research project please email or phone +61 2 9385 6222 quoting the following number: HC190628.

Discover your online learning options today

We understand you’re busy and on-the-go so discover our quality online education. Accessible anywhere and optimised for mobile on-the-go learning, access a range of online learning courses, resources, lectures, curated collections and podcasts. Developed by members, for members, the interactive nature of our online learning resources enable you to learn from your peers.

RACP Online Learning Resources are free for members and count towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements

Find out more

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. 

Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) workshops

General information webpage provides an overview of our three SPDP workshops.
Online workshops webpage provides dates and information on how to register for the online SPDP workshops.
Face to face workshops provides a list of dates and registering for the face to face workshops.

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

AFOEM contact details

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

AFOEM Faculty enquiries (including Council and committees):

Lucie Perrissel-Taggart, AFOEM Executive Officer
Phone: +61 2 8076 6351

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:
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