AFOEM eBulletin – 19 November 2021
A message from your President
This past weekend (13-14 November) our Stage B practical exams were held. This is a critically important activity for our Faculty and our trainees, especially as the 2020 exams needed to be cancelled due to the pandemic. This phase of the exams comprises the Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE), Exhibit Based Assessment (EBA) and Clinical Station. This year the OSCEs and EBAs are being held virtually, while the clinical stations are being held in a combined in-person and virtual format across several centres in both countries.
This has been a hugely complex logistical exercise requiring careful planning, the need to be flexible and have contingency plans in place to deal with the evolving nature of the pandemic. I’d like to pay special tribute to the contribution of the AFOEM Assessment Committee, chaired by Dr Andrew Lingwood, and in particular the tireless efforts of Dr Wing Chan, who is the Lead Fellow for the practical exams. We are also very grateful for the major contribution of the clinical leads in each centre who have had the difficult task of finding suitable patients for the clinical stations, those Fellows who have set questions for the exam and to the many examiners who are giving up their weekend to participate in the exams.
Finally, it is important for us to acknowledge the high level of planning and support AFOEM has received from the College Education, Learning and Assessment (ELA) team. They have had to completely restructure how exams have been held in 2021 and this has involved the use of new technologies and close liaison with jurisdictional governments to keep across the changing COVID-19 restrictions. This has been no easy task, but their efforts have proven very successful in being able to hold the exams this year, not just for AFOEM, but for the other Faculties and Divisions as well.
I’m sure I speak for everyone in wishing our candidates well for the Stage B practical exams and we look forward to welcoming successful trainees as new Fellows of AFOEM next year.
In other news, the College has established a Regional and Rural Physicians Working Group to guide activities to support equitable health outcomes for Australians and Aotearoa New Zealanders living in regional, rural or remote locations. The working group will also consider workforce and training issues. The AFOEM representative on the working group is Dr Peter Sharman, who is well aware of the special needs for occupational and environmental medicine in such locations from his experience in Tasmania. Peter would welcome input and suggestions from AFOEM Fellows and trainees. More details can be found later in this eBulletin
A very welcome development in Victoria is the establishment of an occupational lung disease clinic at the Alfred Hospital, which will also work in close collaboration with Monash University. The main focus of the clinic will be silicosis, but it will also be open to assessing and managing workers with other occupational lung diseases. WorkSafe Victoria is supporting the establishment of the clinic and this is the latest of their many initiatives to prevent and manage the silicosis epidemic. Dr Ryan Hoy, a respiratory physician with occupational health training and interests, is the lead physician for the clinic, with AFOEM members also working there. We would like this to be the start of a greater involvement by hospitals in occupational disease management and surveillance, which should help to raise awareness and direct greater attention to this important group of diseases.
The next Health Benefits of Good Work (HBGW) webinar will be held on Tuesday, 30 November from 12.30pm to 2pm AEDT / 2.30pm to 4pm NZDT. This will be the last HBGW webinar for the year and will focus on the many issues surrounding COVID-19 vaccination in the workplace. Details are still being finalised and will be circulated soon so save that date and time in your diary.
The ROC (RACP’s Online Community) is now up and running and you will have received an invitation from me to actively participate in the ROC. There is a dedicated community in the ROC for AFOEM members and there have been several posts in there already. This is a great opportunity to interact with AFOEM Fellows and trainees, as well as other College members. The ROC will also become the main way of communicating events and opportunities to AFOEM members. If you haven’t already done so, I strongly encourage you to log in via MyRACP
to set up your profile and become an active contributor to AFOEM communications.
The online International Congress on Occupational Health (ICOH), being held from 6 to10 February 2022, is fast approaching. Early bird registration is closing on 14 November, so I encourage you to register before then and take advantage of the reduced registration fee. The program has shaped up really well with a strong focus on better pandemic planning to protect workers, but the Congress will also cover a wide range of other topical occupational medicine issues. The opening keynote will be given by Professor Sir Michael Marmot, an Australian based in the UK, who will speak on the important issue of workplace health inequalities. Further information on the ICOH 2022 Congress and registration details can be found on the ICOH 2022 website
The other important upcoming meeting is the Australian and New Zealand Society of Occupational Medicine (ANZSOM) Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM), which will be held in Brisbane from 20 to 23 March 2022. AFOEM is the scientific partner and has contributed to the development of the scientific program, which has now been finalised. Bruce Watson, CEO of WorkCover Queensland, will be giving the keynote address. Early bird registration is closing on 20 December. Further details on the program and how to register can be found on ANZSOM’s website
. I look forward to catching up with ANZSOM and AFOEM colleagues and friends in Brisbane next March – this will be a very welcome development after such a long period of COVID-19 restrictions.
Finally, I would like to thank Lisa Helson for her time with the Faculty as our Executive Officer. Lisa is on secondment to another area of the College. I would like to welcome LynFay Shapiro who commenced as our Executive Officer on 12 November. We look forward to working with her.
Professor Malcolm Sim AM
AFOEM Fellows interview series
I have witnessed a variety of traits amongst our peers through these interviews. Our Fellows have adapted a course in their careers which promotes an entrepreneurial spirit, bridges the gap and offers solutions outside the box whilst establishing authority in the workplace. On this occasion, I have the pleasure of speaking to our highly esteemed colleague, Dr Maggie Goldie.
Dr Farhan Shahzad, Consultant Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Sydney
An interview with Dr Maggie Goldie
Farhan: Hi Maggie, could you please tell us about yourself, your personal life and training?
Maggie: I was born in Glasgow during the Second World War and we moved to England when I was about four and a half. Educated at Beckenham Grammar School about 12 miles out of London, and then studied medicine at the Middlesex Hospital, London.
When I was still in the UK, I worked through my residencies and then did seven and a half years of anaesthetics before coming out to Australia in 1974. After coming to Australia, I had the opportunity of joining an occupational medicine practice in 1976 working with BP Refinery, Alcoa and Cockburn Cement in Kwinana near Perth, Western Australia.
It was a great introduction to occupational medicine, and I was very lucky to work with Dr Harley Pearcy, who was an early member of Australian and New Zealand Society of Occupational Medicine (ANZSOM) and the original college, going back to the early 1970’s. He's not often talked about, but he was influential at that time and was one of the only occupational physicians in Western Australia.
In 1983 I began working with the old State Rail Authority in NSW. During my time with the railway, I had the opportunity to complete a 10-week course at Sydney University which was absolutely brilliant, and it expanded my knowledge and professional network. It was during that time that I started to get involved with ANZSOM.
In 1988 I joined Boral heading up occupational health and safety. It was a great experience, because we looked after international as well as national operations which led me to working within Asia, the US, the UK and Europe.
In 2001 I went to work for Tyco Fire and Security as the Manager for Health and Safety initially in Australia and then based in the USA for three years heading up the health and safety function for Fire and Security globally. After a major Tyco restructure, I returned to Australia to support the integration of health and safety management during the amalgamation of Australasia with Asia to form an Asia Pacific division.
Although for the last 30 years I have focused on health and safety management and not clinical occupational medicine I've found my medical background is invaluable because you're taught how to analyse, to diagnose and to pull things apart until you find a solution which is a great way to approach health and safety in an organisation.
Farhan: You've had an interesting career, what would you suggest to others in terms of career prospects?
Maggie: I think a career like mine was a lot more common going back 20, 30 years, where a lot of organisations employed an occupational physician in a medical model that often encompassed overseeing the safety function as well. Throughout the 1990s organisations moved away from employing medically qualified professionals and tended to outsource occupational medicine services replacing the internal roles with other health and safety professionals.
Farhan: Can you please talk on organisational approach to (mental) health and wellbeing in occupational medicine?
Maggie: There's a huge drive within organisations to spend a lot more time looking at the wellbeing of their staff, focusing not just on their physical health and safety but managing the issues that cause stress in the workplace.
Organisations are realising that promoting mental health initiatives leads to healthier and happier staff who feel supported and appreciated. There is an opportunity for occupational physicians, to be able to step in and provide help and advice in that area.
Farhan: What message do you have for trainees and fellow occupational physicians?
Maggie: I like to repeat what was said to me by Dr Bob Wilson, the occupational physician whom I replaced at Boral. I remember him saying “If somebody comes to me and asks me what I need to do to be a good occupational physician, I tell them to go out and work in the world. Go out and get a broad experience as a doctor in all sorts of different situations and then consider occupational medicine”. You then bring your experience of life to the role which leads to you understanding where people come from and what makes them tick. Set out to get that experience, get embedded within organisations at least for a period of time, so that you can observe the workplace as it really is.
Health Benefits of Good Work™ Webinar – register now
The Health Benefits of Good Work™ Signatory Steering Group (SSG) together with AFOEM Fellows will run a webinar on COVID-19 and returning to the office. This session will be of particular interest to employers trying to keep their employees and clientele safe as restrictions are eased.
Chair: Keith Govias
Speakers: Associate Professor Margie Danchin, Dr Warren Harrex and Lindsay Carroll.
We will examine:
- the medical perspective on vaccines
- the view of workers and employer associations
- how to apply vaccinations and the Health Benefits of Good Work™ to your risk control planning
- communication and consultation with workers and members of the community.
The webinar will take place on Tuesday, 30 November.
RACP Congress 2022 launches
RACP Congress 2022, A Climate for Change, will be taking place both in-person and virtually, in Melbourne and Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland from 12 to 14 May 2022.
This three-day event will feature a range of speakers, panel discussions and workshops exploring the factors that are driving a growing desire for change and what can be done to bring about positive, lasting change. Australasia’s premiere specialist event should not be missed.
Visit the RACP Congress website to explore the program and register to attend. Book before the end of December to secure your early bird pricing.
RACP Indigenous Health Scholarships
The Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine is proud to offer the 2022 Indigenous Australian and Māori Health Scholarship for Rehabilitation Medicine as part of the RACP Indigenous Health Scholarship Program.
The Program aims to support those medical graduates and current trainees of the RACP who identify as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or Māori on their chosen career path to becoming a physician. The scholarships provide a funded pathway through Basic, Advanced, Faculty or Chapter training in Australia and/or Aotearoa New Zealand.
Several scholarships are available for 2021, including:
- College Indigenous Australian and Māori Health Scholarship
- Indigenous Australian and Māori Health Scholarship for Paediatrics & Child Health
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Scholarship
- Aotearoa New Zealand Māori Health Scholarship
- Aotearoa New Zealand Pacific Islander Health Scholarship.
Applications close Tuesday, 30 November 2021. Further details on these scholarships are available on the RACP Foundation webpages.
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 the 2022 RACP Congress 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 Monday, 31 January 2022. Visit the RACP website
for further details.
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 on Monday, 31 January 2022.
ANZSOM Annual Scientific Meeting
ANZSOM is pleased to announce Victoria Park as the venue for the 2022 Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM).
Situated just two kilometres from Brisbane City, Victoria Park is a unique precinct boasting breath-taking views of the parklands and Brisbane city, together with spacious and airy conference facilities, a driving range and putt putt mini golf course and a relaxed dining experience at the family friendly bistro. This is just what we need to relax, learn and connect with our colleagues.
So register now for the ASM, being held from Sunday, 20 March 2022 to Wednesday, 23 March 2022.
- Accommodation: While there is no accommodation onsite at Victoria Park, there are plenty of options nearby and around Brisbane CBD.
- Registration: Registrations are open and the early bird closing date has been extended to Monday, 20 December 2021.
- Program: The full program for the ASM is now available.
- Call for papers: Submissions are invited for papers to be presented at the 2022 ASM. This is an excellent opportunity to share your work or research with colleagues and to progress good practice in occupational medicine at this major educational event.
RACP Regional and Rural Physicians Working Group – we’re underway
A key objective of the Regional and Rural Physicians Working Group (RRPWG) is to achieve a sustainable physician workforce to meet the needs of our populations irrespective of where they live. The working group includes consumer, trainee, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori representatives, along with members from each College Division and Faculty and chaired by College Council representative, Professor Nick Buckmaster.
The working group has now had two meetings and has started the process of identifying the issues relevant to the training of physicians in rural, remote and regional Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, including:
- what defines a regional, remote or rural training experience?
- perceptions about general physician vs sub-specialist physician status
- 'carrots and sticks' to encourage regional and rural training rotations
- consumer competition law and its impact on planning based on trainee numbers
- the negative aspects of reliance on 'Fly-In Fly-out' physician services
- allied health support for regional, remote and rural physicians
- RACP's role? Serving the needs of physicians or repository of knowledge and expertise for medical practitioners generally
- College input in specialist diploma-level courses for general practitioners
- imbalances between funding and training supervision availability.
I have been able to explain some of the issues confronting the maintenance of AFOEM Fellow numbers in regional Australia, drawing on my experience with the Tasmanian AFOEM workforce:
- Funded industry-based AFOEM training positions have essentially disappeared – those trained under that system have retired or are about to retire.
- Difficulties with access to training funding, such as STP funding.
- Specialist training conducted outside the hospital system has low priority for state health departments; other stakeholders, including WorkCover, seem disinterested.
- Loss of critical mass of AFOEM Fellows locally jeopardises future regional training.
- The Tasmanian Foundation for Occupational Medicine (TFOM) – a local initiative.
The working group has also contributed to a list of stakeholders and will put forward names of speakers for the RACP Congress in 2022 to discuss the issues in a broader forum.
I am keen to receive input from rural, regional and remote occupational and environmental physicians, particularly trainees.
Please email AFOEM@racp.edu.au.
AFOEM member – RACP Regional and Rural Physicians Working Group
Expressions of Interest: AFOEM Faculty Assessment Committee (FAC) Chair
Expressions of interest are open to AFOEM Fellows to chair the AFOEM FAC. The position will commence in December 2021.
Chair of the AFOEM FAC
- Interested Fellows will need to address the following pre-requisites: Unconditional AHPRA or MCNZ registration as an occupational and environmental medicine physician.
The term of the position is for two years from the date of appointment.
The AFOEM FAC key responsibilities include:
- chairing all FAC meetings and working party meetings
- overseeing the coordination of the AFOEM written and practical examinations
- engaging in continuous quality improvement of all assessments
- participation in the annual working parties that write examination questions for all the AFOEM written and practical examinations.
The FAC meets three times a year, all via videoconference during COVID-19, plus the working party meetings via videoconference throughout the year.
Applications close: Friday, 26 November 2021
The FAC looks forward to receiving your interest.
Become a mentor
We’re excited to announce Mentor Match is open via the ROC
(RACP Online Community). Mentoring is a mutually beneficial relationship between two people with the goal of professional and personal development.
We invite you share your knowledge, expertise and advice with other members by registering as a mentor. Watch this short video
to see how easy it is to participate.
Once we have 100 registered mentors, we’ll invite members to register as mentees.
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care’s Launch of the national standard for acute anaphylaxis
For member information, The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) is launching the first national Acute Anaphylaxis Clinical Care Standard.
Wednesday, 24 November, 1pm to 2pm AEDT
Webcast event and panel discussion
The host, Associate Professor Amanda Walker, and a panel of experts will discuss key areas for improvement addressed by the standard including prompt recognition of anaphylaxis, appropriate treatment and safe discharge and follow-up care.
Full details and how to register can be found on their website
Selection into training assessment pilot: What are the attributes of a good physician?
Selection into Basic Training can be highly competitive. We are collaborating with five paediatric and child health training networks and an external test provider to pilot whether a pre-interview assessment tool can help to ensure the most suited applicants proceed in the selection process for Basic Training.
The pilot will trial the use of an online test called 'Casper', a test to measure a candidate's ability to reflect on and communicate responses to interpersonal and professional dilemmas, in-line with the attributes outlined in the RACP selection criteria and professional practice framework.
We are seeking input from a broad range of people who interact with physicians and paediatricians on the types of behaviours that represent good professional practice from physician and paediatrician trainees. Although the settings involved in the pilot are all within paediatric and child health training networks the outcomes of the pilot will be evaluated to determine if the tool is fit for purpose for use in the RACP context more broadly, including in adult internal medicine and Aotearoa New Zealand.
Therefore, we are also seeking input from members involved in Adult Medicine Training Programs.
Complete this short survey
to have your say on the types of behaviours that represent high-quality professional practice by physicians and paediatricians. This short video
will guide you through what to expect from the survey. Responses are anonymous and are open until mid-December 2021.
Share the survey
with your physician and non-physician colleagues and patients to help us gain perspectives from a broad range of people in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.
Your insights will be used to align the test with the context and performance expectations for RACP Basic Trainees.
The pilot will be run with applicants for Basic Training at participating pilot settings in mid-2022. More information is available on the RACP website
Pomegranate Health Podcast
Episode 75: Feeling Guilty – Medical Injury Part 2
In the last episode we talked about what patients or their families want to hear after a iatrogenic injury. Despite best practice standards for open disclosure, this occurs far less often than it should. The reluctance from health practitioners to be more transparent is in part due to a misplaced fear of exposure to liability, but perhaps the greatest barrier to incident disclosure is culture of medicine itself. The historic tropes of the infallible physician and the heroic surgeon are still strong today. Though team-based practice has become the norm, many doctors find it hard to admit to a mistake, not just to patients and colleagues but even to themselves. This podcast explores the guilt that can come about from having caused harm, and the cognitive dissonance this creates in one’s professional identity as a healer.
- Associate Professor Stuart Lane FCICM (Nepean Hospital; FMH lead for Education, University of Sydney)
- Professor Simon Willcock FRACGP (Program Head of Primary Care and Wellbeing at Macquarie University; Clinical Program Head of Primary and Generalist Care, Wellbeing and Diagnostics at MQ Health)
Written and produced by Mic Cavazzini DPhil. Music licenced from Epidemic Sound includes ‘Far Away from Home’ by John Glossner, ‘Illusory Motion’ by Gavin Luke, ‘Heart of the River of the Sun’ by Lama House and ‘Struck By You’ by Seroa. Music courtesy of Free Music Archive includes ‘Harbor’ by Kai Engel. Image licensed from Getty Images. Additional voiceovers by Michael Pooley.
Visit the RACP website for a transcript and supporting references. Fellows of the College can claim CPD credits for listening to the podcast and reading supporting resources.
Subscribe to email alerts or search for ‘Pomegranate Health’ in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox or any podcasting app. Fellows of the RACP can claim CPD credits for listening and learning via MyCPD.
Join the Working Group: Providing Healthcare to Patients with Cognitive Disability
Expressions of interest are being sought from RACP members and subject matter experts to join a working group to develop a new online learning resource on providing healthcare to patients with cognitive disability. The resource is being developed in response to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. It will address recommendations to improve the education and training of health professionals in relation to people with cognitive disability.
Find out more and apply by Monday, 22 November 2021.
Doctors' Health and Wellbeing Curated Collection
Doctors' health refers to the overall mental, physical and social wellbeing which enables you to practise effectively, as well as to enjoy your personal life outside of work. Check out the recently updated Doctors' Health and Wellbeing Curated Collection for the most relevant resources, readings, courses, videos and tools on this important topic. The Collection is thematically structured, so you can search and filter for the resources that suit your needs.
Curated Collections are developed based on the contributions and peer review of RACP Fellows and other experts. Don’t forget to claim CPD credits for time spent on online learning resources.
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.
For career opportunities, view all positions vacant on the RACP website.