AFOEM eBulletin – 18 September 2020

A message from your President

Finally some better news on the COVID-19 front.  After reaching the peak of the second wave in Victoria of more than 700 cases a day and the introduction of Stage 4 lockdown measures, the 14-day average of cases is now about 50 per day and the easing of restrictions has started. In the other states and territories of Australia and in Aotearoa New Zealand, numbers are very low and the recent prompt handling of small outbreaks in NSW, Queensland and Aotearoa New Zealand demonstrates the importance of an efficient and timely contract tracing and quarantine system.  

Healthcare, aged care and meat works have been the main industry contributors to the COVID-19 surge in Victoria, which has demonstrated the need for stronger measures in those industries. In Victoria, a Healthcare Infection Prevention and Wellbeing Taskforce has been established, due to the more than 3,200 infections in healthcare workers in the health and aged care sectors. This not only represents a huge risk to the healthcare workers themselves, but has resulted in workforce shortages due to the many more healthcare workers required to quarantine due to being close contacts of affected workers. This at a time when there are huge demands on the health system. This taskforce is taking a much broader approach to responding to this crisis, including consideration of virus transmission sources in health facilities apart from direct patient care and the increasingly important mental health and wellbeing aspects. The taskforce and its subgroups now has occupational and environmental physician input to bring a much stronger focus on occupational health and safety (OHS) principles, including the importance of risk assessment, the application of the hierarchy of controls and a greater systems approach, to deal with this problem. This crucial occupational and environmental medicine (OEM) input has been long overdue.

AFOEM is also continuing to arrange webinars to keep our Fellows and trainees up to date on the fast moving COVID-19 situation. Many of our Fellows and trainees are contributing to the COVID-19 response in a variety of roles and these webinars provide a forum for discussion and sharing of different experiences. The next webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, 23 September from 6pm to 7.30pm AEST. The speakers are Dr John Parkes, Dr Rob McDonald and me. The topic is ‘COVID-19 lessons from the frontline’.  Further information and registration can be found on the event registration webpage. In addition, the first of our Health Benefits of Good Work (HBGW) COVID-19 webinars on vulnerable workers was held on 16 September and this provided the opportunity to share information about COVID-19 among our HBGW signatories. Two further HBGW webinars on COVID-19 will be held in coming weeks.

A major highlight for AFOEM in September was holding the annual Ramazzini Prize presentations by our registrars in virtual format for the first time. This replaced the usual face-to-face format at the annual RACP Congress, which was postponed this year due to COVID-19. Despite some nervousness about possible IT glitches, the format worked really well and we had a large virtual audience of AFOEM members actively engaged in asking questions of the presenters. This year we had 11 presentations on the following very diverse range of topics: 

  • sleep apnoea in safety critical workers
  • inflammatory bowel disease in air crew
  • spinal surgery in compensation cases
  • silicosis
  • efficacy of earplugs
  • antibiotics as a treatment for low back pain
  • return to work following rotator cuff surgery
  • pesticide exposure and prostate cancer
  • low back pain in coal miners and asbestos exposure and kidney cancer.  

I’d like to extend my congratulations to the winner of the Ramazzini Prize – Dr Nicola Emslie for her presentation on UVA exposure in the cockpit of commercial aircraft. I’d also like to thank Dr Alison Drewry for her excellent chairing of the session and the three examiners: Dr David Goddard, Associate Professor Tony Brown and Dr Matthew Brandt. Hopefully, the next Ramazzini Prize presentations can be held face-to-face in Brisbane next May, but if not we now have a workable plan B.  

The AFOEM Policy and Advocacy Committee (FPAC) met recently, again by Zoom, which has become the norm for all AFOEM meetings during the COVID-19 restrictions. The main outcomes of that meeting are: further COVID-19 guidance on vulnerable healthcare workers and return to work; a major new initiative on a better system for earlier return to work for workers on compensation; next steps in the AFOEM contribution to the national taskforce on silicosis to establish a disease registry and establish clinical guidelines for this accelerated form of the disease;and final steps to produce a reference guide on medico-legal terminology. Two new members joined FPAC in advance of this meeting, Dr Mpho Banda from the ACT and Dr Mary Obele from Aotearoa New Zealand. I welcome their active contribution to what is AFOEM’s major committee in advocating for stronger occupational and environmental medicine input to health policy making in our two countries. 

Finally, we are always on the lookout for further content from our Fellows and trainees for our monthly eBulletin. Please let Shauna know of any news items you would like to have included in a future eBulletins. Her email is:


Professor Malcolm Sim
AFOEM President

Looking for PPE: COVID-19 Manufacturer Response Register

Are you looking to source personal protective equipment (PPE)? The following resource may be able to assist you in meeting your requirements.

The COVID-19 Manufacturer Response Register has been developed by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, in collaboration with the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. It has been established to facilitate capability and demand matching for PPE between Australian businesses and customers in response to the pandemic.

When using the register, members are advised to note the following:

  • Buyers need to do due diligence in establishing the quality of the supply.
  • Find out minimum order for some of the suppliers, as this is not clearly stated in the register.

Go to register

For further information on sourcing PPE in Australia, please visit the RACP COVID-19 webpage > Advice and news > Personal Protective Equipment.

MBS telehealth extended

The Government has today announced a six-month extension of the MBS telehealth items introduced to cover the COVID-19 pandemic. Items used by specialists will continue unchanged.

The RACP recently delivered a survey of its members to the Federal Government that outlined the benefits to patients that have been delivered from telehealth as identified by its members. This was used to advocate for telehealth extension and we are pleased that our constructive discussions with Government have resulted in this outcome.

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 David Beaumont from Otago, New Zealand. He is a Past AFOEM President, Lead Fellow of RACP Congress 2019 and has been extremely active with RACP and AFOEM over his career. I had the privilege of working closely with him on the RACP Policy and Advocacy Employment, Poverty and Health priority which gave me an insight into his leadership skills and his inspiring vision for medicine.

Dr Farhan Shahzad MBBS, FAFOEM, Consultant Occupational Physician, Sydney

An interview with Dr David Beaumont 

Farhan: David, lovely to be talking with you again. Tell me, what has been the highlight of your time with our Faculty?

David: Of course, I have to mention my time as President, which was a huge honour, highly satisfying and an amazing experience. But interestingly, as I think about it, when I first became involved in the Faculty just over 10 years ago, was just as memorable. Just before coming to the AFOEM Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) that year, my wife said to me, “David, it’s not like you to not be on a committee…”. At the ASM, it was suggested I should speak to Mary Wyatt. Mary invited me to join the Policy and Advocacy Committee. Within three months, I was co-chairing the committee and leading a working party developing the position statement 'Realising the Health Benefits of Work'. (Later to become Health Benefits of Good Work). That was one of my proudest achievements. 

Farhan: What did you enjoy most about your presidency?

David: That’s an easy one – it was touring the regions of Australia and New Zealand and meeting our Fellows and trainees in their own meetings. I felt very privileged to join in their regional meetings, hearing what was keeping them busy (or challenging them) and hearing how they saw the future. 

At the time, one of the projects of my presidency was a statement on the role of the occupational and environmental physician. In every region I asked how they saw the future. Sure, challenges were identified, but overwhelming the view for the future was seen to be positive and exciting. Many saw our role evolving into a far wider and more preventative or population role. Certainly, there was strength of feeling that there must be more to us as a specialty than medico-legal practice. 

Farhan: Where to now for you, David?

David: Great question. After moving on from my company, Fit For Work, last year I took some time out to write the book I have been promising to write for the last 10 years. It’s currently in the publication process. I hope I convince them to keep the title – Positive Medicine: Disrupting the Future of Medical Practice. It’s a critical look at the reductive and deficit-focused medical model, which proposes an additional preventative role for doctors. A new model which focuses on empowering people to take responsibility and control of their own health. Watch this space.

Important information about CPD in 2020

The Medical Board of Australia (MBA) has stated that AHPRA will not take action if you cannot meet the CPD registration standard when you renew your medical registration in 2020.

The Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) announced that all general and vocationally-registered doctors are exempt from recertification program requirements until Sunday, 28 February 2021. Doctors returning to practice from 26 March 2020 are not required to enrol in the Inpractice or College program until Sunday, 28 February 2021.

Additionally, the MCNZ confirmed that doctors will not be audited for compliance with recertification programs between March 2020 and February 2021.

These relaxed requirements were announced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and apply to the CPD you are expected to undertake in 2020 and to your renewal declaration in the year that covers 2020 CPD.

In line with this regulatory advice, we will not be monitoring or auditing your 2020 CPD record, however it will remain open if you wish to record your CPD activities undertaken throughout 2020.

We know many of you will complete a multitude of CPD activities this year, whether upskilling in the use of telehealth for virtual consultations, reviewing online mental health resources, or vaccine development for those in immunology and infectious diseases research. The innovation we are currently seeing from our medical profession is perhaps the ultimate CPD.

In line with regulatory advice the College will resume monitoring and auditing CPD records in 2021.

If you have any queries relating to your CPD requirements, please don’t hesitate to contact us:

AFOEM webinar 23 September 2020

AFOEM presents: COVID-19 – Lessons from the Frontline

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, 23 September from 6pm to 7:30pm (AEST) and is free to all AFOEM members.

A panel of occupational physicians will share their expertise in managing COVID-19 across a range of industries. 

  • Dr Rob McDonald from BHP will present on their management of COVID-19 in the field with insights from an expert technical advisory committee led out of Yale University.
  • Professor Malcolm Sim will share his knowledge in relation to the construction industry and as a member of the national Healthcare Workers COVID-19 Taskforce.
  • Dr John Parkes will share his experience as Lead Occupational Physician with Victoria’s Department of Health.

There will be time for questions from the audience and discussion at the end of the presentations. 


AFOEM Ramazzini Prize 2020

The Ramazzini Prize is presented annually to an Advanced Trainee who presents the best scientific paper related to occupational and environmental medicine.

AFOEM would like to extend our congratulations to this year’s recipient Dr Nicola Emslie for herDr Nicola Emslie presentation on Pilots' occupational UVA exposures in the cockpit of flying commercial aircraft. The online presentations took place on Tuesday, 1 September 2020.

Dr Nicola Emslie is a stage C trainee in occupational medicine. She has worked as a medical officer for Air New Zealand for 10 years and more recently also joined the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust in an advisory role. Her recent research into occupational UV exposures in pilots gave her a unique opportunity to experience a very different kind of work environment – the cockpit of commercial jets. She hopes to be able to do further research on different aircraft types once COVID-19 loosens its grip on the world and on aviation.

Aside from her research, another area of professional interest is mental wellbeing. She has been involved in a peer assistance network for pilots and air traffic controllers which has assisted many individuals during difficult times. 

Nicola has three primary school aged children and lives on a lifestyle block south of Auckland. 

Have your say on an important part of the new programs for Advanced Training

Have your say and review the proposed common learning, teaching and assessment (LTA) programs and provide your feedback by completing the feedback form before 9am (AEDT), Monday, 12 October 2020.

The LTA has been developed to establish a baseline across all Advanced Training programs.

Your expertise and feedback are vital to help ensure the common LTA programs for Advanced Training are robust and appropriate.

More information about the Advanced Training Curricula Renewal Project is available on the RACP website.

Te Hui ā-Ataata mō te Waiora o ngā Tauira Mahi
Trainees' Wellbeing Webinar: What's in your toolbox?

To equip you with strategies for finding the joy in medicine, you're invited to the Trainees' Wellbeing Webinar. This free online event will be held on Thursday, 15 October from 6pm to 9pm (NZDT) or 4pm to 7pm (AEDT). 

The webinar will bring together trainees from Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia to share inspirational ideas and practical strategies to help you at work. With an industry-leading keynote speaker, thought-provoking panel discussions, interactive breakout discussions and elements of Tikanga woven throughout the webinar, you won’t want to miss this event.

Register now

Faculty awards and prizes

The AFOEM President’s Awards recognise outstanding contributions to the Faculty in the following areas:

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

Nominations are due 12 October 2020.

The AFOEM Essay Prize is open to medical students or interns in their first year after graduation. This prize is awarded for the best essay written additional to curriculum requirements, or the best research project or assignment on any topic in the fields of occupational or environmental health. Deadline for submitting applications is 30 October 2020.

Details about these prizes are available on the RACP Foundation website.

Indigenous Australian and Māori Health Scholarship for Occupational and Environmental Medicine

AFOEM is proud to offer the 2021 Indigenous Australian and Māori Health Scholarship for Occupational and Environmental Medicine as part of the RACP Indigenous Health Scholarship Program.

The Program is an opportunity for those who identify as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Māori or Pacific Islander (NZ) to receive support throughout their Basic, Advanced, Faculty or Chapter Training in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Other scholarships available under this program for 2021 include:

  • College Indigenous Australian and Māori Health Scholarship
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Scholarship
  • Aotearoa Māori Health Scholarship
  • Aotearoa New Zealand Pacific Islander Health Scholarship
  • Indigenous Australian and Māori Health Scholarship for Paediatrics and Child Health

Recipients of these scholarship receive the following support:

  • RACP training fees for the duration of the selected training program
  • examination fees
  • annual attendance at either RACP Congress, relevant scientific meeting or trainee days
  • AUD$2,500 cash assistance at the beginning of the Scholarship
  • Other support as advised in the letter of offer.

Applications are open from Thursday, 1 October to Monday, 30 November 2020.

Further details on these scholarships are available on the RACP Foundation website.

Congratulations to Dr Brett Shannon 

Dr Brett ShannonDr Brett Shannon, a Ngugi man, is the recipient of a 2020 American Australian Association (AAA)  Aurora Indigenous Scholarship.

Dr Shannon will undertake a PhD at the University of Illinois, Chicago on injury management and prevention for vulnerable populations focusing on occupational injuries.

He is currently in the early stages of conducting a scoping review of Indigenous occupational injuries in Australia, Canada, USA and New Zealand that will reveal differences in use of ethnicity on compensation data. 

Dr Shannon was the first recipient of the AFOEM Indigenous Health Scholarship in 2019.

Pictured here at the 2019 Congress with Dr Beata Byok AFOEM Past-President

Update on Faculty exams

Thank you to everyone who has been involved or impacted by the postponed AFOEM 2020 exams.

The exams have been rescheduled and the new dates are now available on our website.

The Faculty Assessment Committee and College staff are working on contingency planning for all Faculty exams. We know that COVID-19 is impacting regions differently and that this will continue to evolve between now and the scheduled exams. We are monitoring COVID-19 in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand carefully, and we are preparing multiple contingencies to try and provide candidates with the best options possible.

Free webinar – physician wellness in the era of COVID-19

Wednesday, 30 September 2020, 8am AEST, online

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists are pleased to invite all medical professionals to this free webinar presented by Dr Michael Myers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made, and continues to make, a seismic shift in the wellbeing
of physicians worldwide. In this webinar, Dr Myers will discuss the myriad of ways in which
physicians have been impacted.


RACP Online Congress Series

The 2020 Online Congress Series continues throughout the rest of the year and is available on the Online Congress Series platform for you to access at any time. Register now to attend the upcoming live webinars.

The Gender Equity in Medicine panel discussion

Date: Thursday, 24 September 2020
Time:12pm to 1pm (AEST) / 2pm to 3pm (NZST)
Chair: Professor Christine Bennett AO, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Head of Campus, Sydney, The
University of Notre Dame Australia

Register now

The AFPHM John Snow Scholarship Finals

Date: Thursday, 24 September 2020
Time:5.30pm to 7pm (AEST) / 7.30pm to 9pm (NZST)
Chair: Professor Donna Mak, Head of Population and Preventive Health, School of Medicine, University of Notre Dame, Perth, Western Australia

Register now

Heart disease management update across the life continuum

Date: Tuesday, 6 October 2020
Time: 6pm to 7pm (AEDT) / 8pm to 9pm (NZDT)
Chair: Dr Yong Shen Wee, Cardiologist at Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane

Register now

Online Congress Fringe Experience

We recognise how important it is to take time out for your health and wellbeing. Many healthcare professionals do extraordinary things outside of medicine and we are showcasing them again this year in the Online Congress Fringe Experience.

We hope you enjoy the latest meditation by Dr Susannah Ward and violin performance by Dr Hecham Harb.

Calling all AFOEM trainees in WA

The AFOEM WA Regional Committee welcomes expressions of interest for the position of AFOEM Trainee Representative.

Essential attributes for the role:

  • You reside in WA.
  • You are a registered trainee undertaking the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Training Program in Australia.
  • You are familiar with the College’s Constitution, College Strategic Plan, AFOEM By-laws and the AFOEM Work Plan.
  • You have a demonstrated understanding of the practice of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in the region.
  • You have a demonstrated understanding of the medical education environment.
  • You can demonstrate that you are effective at working within a team and valuing all members.
  • You have demonstrated experience in leadership.
  • You have a cooperative, positive attitude and high standards of ethical behaviour.
  • You are committed to quality assurance and continuous development.
  • You have demonstrated high-level written and oral communication skills.
  • You have strong administrative and organisational skills.

To apply, submit an expression of interest form and a copy of your latest CV to by COB Friday, 16 October.

Please visit the EOI webpage for further information and to download an expression of interest form. 

Australian Society for Medical Research National Scientific Conference 2020

The 59th Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR) National Scientific Conference will be held as an online event from 18 to 19 November 2020. 

The conference theme is '2020 vision: the future of medical research' and will explore cutting edge advances in medical research and provide professional development opportunities.

ASMR are accepting abstracts until 25 September 2020.Visit ASMR's website for further information. 

IOMSC Global Insights Webinar 21 September 2020

Addressing 'How Health Care Worker Safety Impacts Patient Safety during the Pandemic Era'  
Date: Monday, 21 September 2020 from 9am to 10.30am AEST. 

This webinar will address how compassionate leadership and commitment to a culture of health and wellbeing of healthcare workers is essential. By positively supporting employees’ health, safety and wellbeing, employers can ensure that staff perform to the best of their ability. The strong relationship between levels of staff wellbeing and clinical outcomes is well documented. Research shows that when staff wellbeing is supported, employee involvement increases, motivation and performance levels increase.

Visit IOMSC's website for further details and to register for this free webinar. 

Update your member details

We want to make sure that we have your correct member details on the RACP’s Find a Consultant page.

We ask that you check your details are correct and if they need to be updated or added please contact

Call for member feedback: College submission to IHPA Consultation Paper on the Pricing Framework for Australian Public Hospital Services 2021-22

The Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) has released its Consultation Paper on the Pricing Framework for Australian Public Hospital Services 2021-22 and is inviting submissions. The College is intending to produce a submission.

To help us develop a submission we are seeking the views of public hospital physicians. If you are interested in contributing, please download the full consultation paper and send your responses to any of the consultation questions to by close of business Friday, 25 September 2020.

The following are questions that we are particularly interested in seeking feedback from our members on:

Impact of COVID-19

  • What changes have occurred to service delivery, activity levels and models of care in public hospitals as a result of COVID-19?
  • How will these changes affect the costs of these services in the short and long term?

Alternate funding models

IHPA is currently assessing the Victorian HealthLinks program, which uses a capitation model, for inclusion on the General List of In-Scope Public Hospital Services. This program aims to provide an alternative funding model to Activity Based Funding (ABF) and promotes innovative ways of funding care pathways such as chronic care.

IHPA has also conducted some initial analysis of activity data associated with Adjacent Diagnoses Related Groups (ADRGs) to assign ADRGs to suitable funding models (e.g. ABF, bundled payments or capitation payments).

  • What comments do you have regarding the innovative funding models being considered by IHPA?
  • What factors should IHPA consider in its analysis to determine which patient cohorts or ADRGs are amenable to certain funding models?

Participate in the ethics online learning course

Ethics lies at the very heart of what it is to be a physician and is as relevant now as it was when first discussed 2,500 years ago. The ethics online learning resource focuses on the sorts of ethical issues that are a constant feature of healthcare, and it also addresses some of the ideas that underpin ethics, such as the relationship between ethics and the law and the difference between ethics and rights. 

The aims of this course are to:

  • encourage discussion and broaden thinking about the main ethical issues facing physicians
  • encourage reflection on appropriate courses of action in situations that may be ethically challenging
  • challenge participants’ understanding of, and attitudes towards, ethics
  • model ethical practice
  • help participants reflect on their own and their profession’s ethical commitments. 

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

Medical Training Survey

The 2020 Medical Training Survey will be closing soon. This survey is run by the Medical Board of Australia to gather feedback on your experience of medical training this year.

Information about the Medical Training Survey is available on the Medical Training Survey website. The survey link was sent by email from the Medical Board of Australia.

Ensure you are up to date with the latest evidence from Evolve on addiction medicine

The RACP, in partnership with the Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine, has launched the latest Evolve Top-5 recommendations on low-value practices. 

Practitioners of all disciplines, not just addiction medicine specialists, will come across patients who experience substance addiction and may have to play a substantial role in their management.

The newest Evolve Top-5 recommendations ask clinicians to:

  • be aware of the potentially detrimental consequences of deprescribing opioids to people with chronic pain who are opioid dependent (even as they are also aware of the harms of overprescribing of opioids for chronic pain)
  • follow best-practice approaches to elective withdrawal and pharmacological care for substance use disorder by ensuring that support plans and services are available to affected patients
  • be cognisant of the fact that patients and their carers are often in such distress that they might advocate for treatments that are not evidence-based. In such cases, practitioners might refer to off-label use guidelines, seek a second opinion and provide the patent/carer with clear information on such treatment options
  • embrace a universal precautions approach for any medication with a potential for misuse, so that risk assessment, monitoring, clear communications and harm minimisation are all standard components in treating patients who use such medication. 

For more information about the latest Evolve recommendations visit the Evolve website.

Get involved with Evolve

If you want to be more involved in shaping Evolve, consider joining the Evolve Policy Reference Group. The RACP regularly consults, collaborates and partners with Fellows and trainees in the Evolve Policy Reference Group. The group plays an important role in leading and shaping Evolve to make it more relevant and fit-for-purpose. Email to find out more.

Palliative and end-of-life care during the COVID-19 pandemic

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Australian palliative care clinicians are facing the likelihood of significant challenges to the delivery, availability and quality of palliative care for existing patients, new patients with diseases other than COVID-19, and those who might die from COVID-19.

report written for the Australian COVID-19 Palliative Care Working Group, of which the RACP is a member, has been published by Palliative Care Australia to guide a greater understanding of the challenge of the pandemic for the delivery of palliative care.

The report describes the role of palliative care in supporting various patient journeys during COVID-19, including the importance of Advance Care Planning, the ethical considerations that may arise if resource allocation or rationing become necessary, the principles that govern the distribution of finite resources and the practical realities of how such principles are implemented.

The report says Australia has not yet comprehensively addressed these issues and invites Australian governments to take the lead in working with clinicians and communities to create the much-needed guidelines for difficult decision-making during a disaster or pandemic.

In a related development, the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses has issued a Position Statement intended to guide critical care nurses in facilitating next-of-kin presence for patients dying from COVID-19 in the intensive care unit (ICU). The statement endorses practices aimed at facilitating family visitation in critical care where resources such as Personal Protective Equipment and staffing permit it.

Your Member Advantage insurance offers

As a valued member you can access insurance from Vero.

Vero has two levels of home and contents insurance cover to protect your home, contents and valuables. Compare the options below and choose the best cover for you:

Secure Home Extra Insurance cover for your home and contents in the case of insured events such as storms, fire, flood, theft, burglary, and vandalism. You can upgrade to Secure Home Elite Insurance to also include accidental damage cover.

Visit your Member Advantage benefits website for more information.

This may contain general advice and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Conditions and Exclusions apply. A Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) is available for this product and can be requested when you call for a quote or can be downloaded from the Vero website: You should consider the PDS before deciding whether to buy any of these products. The insurer is AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 trading as Vero Insurance.

COVID-19 Australian Frontline Healthcare Worker Study Information

Future proofing the frontline: Investigating psychosocial and mental health needs of frontline health workers during COVID-19 and beyond

The research team, which represents multiple universities and healthcare organisations, and importantly includes frontline health care workers, is undertaking a research survey to investigate the extent of mental health, psychosocial and workplace issues experienced by frontline health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. As frontline health staff work in stressful environments under usual working conditions, it is crucial that they understand the additional burdens that crises such as pandemics generate and how best support programs can respond to these events.

From this study, they hope to understand the strategies and mental health services used and desired by frontline health workers in times of crisis. They will use this information to make recommendations to address these needs during future crisis events. This survey is open to all healthcare workers in Australia and explores the important social, occupational and mental health effects experienced by frontline health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Data collected will remain anonymous, unidentifiable and will only be accessed by the investigators of this study. The study has received ethics approval from the Melbourne Health Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC 2020.241).

Access survey

The research team is aware that asking health workers to reflect on the changes that have occurred during the pandemic may cause some distress, and they encourage health workers to seek support if this is the case.

The RACP Support Program is a fully confidential and independent help line available 24 hours, seven days – free for Fellows and trainees. The research team also recommends the telephone support lines, web-based resources and apps offered by the following organisations:


Please feel free to contact the research team if you would like further information or would like to discuss the project. The team thanks you very much for your support.

Associate Professor Jane Munro, MBBS FRACP MPH MHSM
Head of Rheumatology
The Royal Children’s Hospital
Murdoch Children's Research Institute

Professor Karen Willis
Co-lead Investigator
Allied Health Research Consultant
The Royal Melbourne Hospital
La Trobe University

Associate Professor Natasha Smallwood
Co-lead Investigator
Consultant Respiratory Physician
The Royal Melbourne Hospital
University of Melbourne

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.

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. 

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):

Shauna Duffy, AFOEM Executive Officer
Phone: +61 2 8247 6251 

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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