AFOEM eBulletin – 29 June 2018

First Health Benefits of Good Work (HBGW) Australian Signatory Steering Group (SSG) Industry Forum for 2018

The Australian SSG organised a HBGW Forum in Brisbane on Thursday, 7 June 2018 which was the first of two bi-annual forums to be held in 2018.

Once again, the organising committee of SSG arranged high quality speakers. This was another amazing forum, with diversity, knowledgeable speakers and inspiring messages.  Denise Cosgrove from New Zealand chaired the meeting and there were about 125 attendees.

Dr Graeme Edwards discussed the position statement ‘What is Good Work?’ and restated the importance of simple tools such as active listening. Sara Pazell, an occupational therapist with a PhD in ergonomics reframed manual handling as an opportunity for physical conditioning, with the concept of ‘hire to retire’ with net benefit. Derek Borean, the CEO of Altius Group stressed the importance of psychological safety as a major factor underpinning high performance teamwork, while Morag Fitzsimons from WCD – Workers’ Compensation Solutions spoke about older workers and retirement planning being more than just financial planning. Melanie Mayne-Wilson from the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) noted Board members were currently focusing on earning trust from both employees and the community and now needed a ‘social licence to operate’. She stated feedback from both customers and exiting employees are very cheap ways of improving performance. Keith Govias, the national WHS manager at the Reject Shop discussed the issues faced in retail by quite young workers with management responsibilities, particularly while working in an open workplace where customers do not necessary comply with acceptable interpersonal practices. Dr Rob McDonald discussed culture change at BHP with the need for skills training for peer support for RUOK conversations. Rob Willmett from the Department of Jobs and Small Business leads the Employer Mobilisation Project of the Collaborative Partnership and provided an overview of the status of this initiative. 

In post forum discussions, Keith Govias observed, as a new convert, that the consensus statement is one of the few proactive bridges between employers and the medical practitioner. He wondered whether future research and engagement programs need to better explore the GP and employer relationship.

The SSG is planning HBGW forums for 2019 to be held in Darwin and Hobart.

Dr Warren Harrex
FPAC Chair and HBGW Executive Committee Chair

A message from your President

The major event since the last newsletter has been the previously announced HBGW Signatory Steering Group (SSG) forum in Brisbane held on Thursday, 7 June. Dr Warren Harrex, Chair of the SSG and Dr Graeme Edwards represented our Faculty at this important meeting, aiming to further develop and disseminate our Faculty’s initiative. For an excellent summary of the event I encourage you to read Warren’s report in this eBulletin.  Thank you to Graeme Edwards for his local organisation of this meeting on the Faculty’s behalf.

A reminder that AFOEM Council’s planning day will be on Thursday, 2 August followed by a face-to-face meeting on Friday, 3 August. I again encourage you through your State Councillors to raise matters that are important to you at these meetings. There is some urgency to receive input as the Planning Day will determine our activities for the next two years.

For those of you interacting with Faculty administration staff you may notice some changes in personnel as some staff who have been on extended leave return to work with us and others move on to new areas. I would like to welcome and introduce you to Joanne (Jo) Goldrick who is now Acting Manager Faculties. Jo has taken on this role following Wynne’s departure, and will be with us until Pip Warnes’ return (expected to be mid-August). I have had the pleasure of meeting Jo, and look forward to working with her during this transition phase. Victoria Patterson, AFOEM Executive Officer, will be leaving this week. On behalf of the Faculty I would like to extend our sincere thanks to Victoria for so ably carrying out the role, for her professionalism, support and commitment and wish her all the best in her new endeavours. 

Dr Beata Byok, 
President, AFOEM

Professor Malcolm Sim ​the new President-elect

I am very honoured to be the new President-Elect of AFOEM for the next two years and President after that.  As many of you will know, I have had a long and active involvement with AFOEM including being past Director of ​Training, Chair of the first Examination Committee and a member of various working groups, so I am looking forward to this more senior role.  

Due to my longstanding interests and experience in education and training at Monash, I am keen to develop further training opportunities for AFOEM members, not just for trainees but also post-Fellowship.  With my researcher hat on, I also want to explore ways to increase the research profile and capability of AFOEM, especially the translation of research findings into better occupational and environmental medicine (OEM) practice.  

Over the past 10 to 15 years I have developed a wide range of international collaborations and I think that AFOEM has a major role to play in building OEM capacity internationally, especially in the Asia Pacific region.  My other main hat over the next three years will be as Chair of the Organising Committee for the next International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH) Congress in Melbourne in March 2021, which will be a great opportunity to showcase AFOEM capability and achievements to an international audience.

I am looking forward to working with the new President, Beata Byok, AFOEM Council, Regional Committees and all of our Fellows and trainees in the future development of AFOEM and its role within the College. 

Professor Malcolm Sim
AFOEM President-elect

New portal for coal mine worker health information

A new web portal will connect miners with relevant and timely information about mine dust lung diseases (MDLD).

The Miners’ Health Matters portal is one of a number of key initiatives in the implementation of the independent Monash University review recommendations and the response to coal workers’ pneumoconiosis.

Miners’ Health Matters has been developed in consultation with miners and their families, the unions, industry, employers and the medical profession to ensure that the Queensland Government is working in the best interests of workers past and present. The portal will empower miners and ex-miners with an opportunity to be informed about the risks of MDLD and the actions being taken by the Queensland Government.

Supervisor Professional Development Program Workshops

The Training Support team is keen to support the AFOEM through the deployment of the Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP). As you may already be aware, it is a requirement that all active Supervisors need to be fully accredited by December 2020, and therefore it is critical for them to complete all three of the SPDP modules. 

Complete your accreditation in 2018; ​Sign-up today for the SPDP modules ​on the website.

For further information on the SPDP, please refer to the ​RACP website or email

Reminder: AFOEM examinations applications closing 9 July 

A reminder that applications are closing soon for all eligible trainees for the following examinations:

  • Stage A Written Examinations – Saturday, 1 September 2018
  • Stage B Written Examinations – Saturday, 1 and Sunday, 2 September 2018
  • Stage B Practical Examinations – Saturday, 17 November 2018 (an additional date of Sunday, 18 November 2018 may be added depending on the number of eligible candidates).

Applications close on Monday, 9 July 2018 at 5pm (AEST) and any applications received after this closing time cannot be accepted. Trainees were notified of the application time frame in the June edition of the AFOEM eBulletin.

To check your eligibility please email Please note, you will need to have satisfactorily completed all requirements for the January to June 2018 training period by the relevant deadlines in order to be eligible. The training handbook provides more information. 
More information on the examination process is also available on the RACP website.

Applications for AFOEM research, study and travel grants close soon

Apply now for ​​the following grants and scholarships:

Add the RACP Foundation to your favourites or email for further information.

View RACP Congress 2018 ​​resources

Videos of selected shared sessions and all presentations from RACP Congress 2018 are now online.

Browse through a range of thought-provoking material to stimulate, challenge and inspire you and your work.

The RACP has permission to share all material with you and if a presentation or video is not available it is because permission has not yet been received.

Access now

Pregnancy and work in the media

This week, Occupational Health Physician and RACP Fellow, Dr Caron Jander, spoke with ABC's Life Matters about pregnancy and work. The Guide to Pregnancy and Work (PDF 3MB) highlights the benefits of a supportive workplace. The Guide supports the Health Benefits of Good Work, an AFOEM initiative that is based on compelling Australasian and international evidence that good work is beneficial to people’s health and wellbeing.

The development of the Guide was led by Dr Caron Jander, FAFOEM, and Dr Robin Chase FAFOEM, with support from the AFOEM Policy & Advocacy Committee, and staff from the RACP Policy & Advocacy Unit.

New AFOEM interest group

Dr Graeme Edwards, would like to pull together and identify a group of OEP’s who have an interest in, or have experience with:

  • Multiple Unexplained Symptom Disorders
  • Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndromes (e.g. Toxic Mould Syndrome) 
  • Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome
  • Central Sensitivity Syndrome.

Through Dr Edwards’ role as the ​RACP’s representative on ARPANZA’s EME Reference Group, he has periodic contact with the federal government Department of Health’s Office of the Chief Medical Officer. He has recently been advised that The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health, Aged Care and Sport has commenced an inquiry into “Biotoxin-related Illnesses in Australia”. The inquiry will examine the prevalence, geographic distribution, diagnosis and treatment of biotoxin-related illnesses. 
As cases frequently overlap with the range of 'Multiple Unexplained Symptom Disorders', Dr Edwards would like to identify those amongst our membership with an interest or experience in these or related phenomenon.
Could you please indicate by email to if you have an interest in this area of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. A simple “Yes” will suffice. A brief description of your interest would be helpful. If there is an appetite to create a special interest group, ​Dr Edwards will let you know.
If anyone has a particular interest, in the details of the parliamentary inquiry, information can be found on the Parliament of Australia website.

Please note, no formal request has been made of the RACP or Faculty to consider making a submission. If you feel this would be appropriate and especially if you are willing to contribute, please contact Claire Celia (Senior Policy Officer, Policy & Advocacy Unit, RACP) or Dr Warren Harrex (Chair, AFOEM’s Policy ​& Advocacy Committee). 

TSANZ Occupational and Environmental Lung Disease short course 2018

The Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) run a one-day course on Occupational and Environmental Lung Disease, which I think is a 'must attend' event for those training in, or working in occupational and environmental medicine. 

I attended the course two years ago, and found that the program gave a broad overview of occupational lung disease together with discussions about the complexities in the medico-legal environment, advice on understanding radiology reports (particularly the ILO system) and a reminder of the history of occupational lung disease, to remind us what can happen if we fail to remember the importance of prevention. 

I attended the course just before my exams, and found it to be a great opportunity to consolidate my lung disease knowledge. Just a few short months later, I found myself working at the Department of Natural Resources and Mines in Queensland on the project to reform the respiratory health assessment process, and the content from this course was a great update prior to starting that important role, and the contacts proved very useful to form an important, expert network.  

The faculty of the course consists of experts in thoracic medicine, radiology and occupational medicine, and the course provides a great opportunity to network with colleagues that you may be referring to, or asking for advice from in the future and vice versa. The topics include:

  • occupational hygiene and the prevention of occupational lung disorders in the mining industry
  • pneumoconioses
  • asbestos-related disorders including mesothelioma
  • work-related airways diseases (asthma, laryngeal dysfunction COPD)
  • occupational COPD
  • medicolegal report writing and workers compensation systems explained + discussion
  • environmental influences on lung disease
  • and more.

The prevention and management of occupational lung disease requires close networking between us and our colleagues in thoracic medicine and radiology, and TSANZ are allowing AFOEM and ANZSOM members access to the TSANZ member rates for the course.  

I would encourage you to attend, whether for an introduction to occupational lung disease, an update or an opportunity to network. 

You can find out more, and register on the TSANZ website.

Dr Clare Wood FAFOEM

Funding grants for women's leadership development

Women & Leadership Australia (WLA) is administering a national initiative to support the development of female leaders across Australia’s health care sector. 

The initiative is providing women working in the sector with grants to enable participation in a range of leadership development programs. 

The leadership development programs are part-time and delivered nationally via WLA’s blended learning model. Scholarship funding is strictly limited and will be awarded based on a set of selection criteria being met.

Expressions of Interest 
Find out more and register your interest by completing the Expression of Interest form before 7 September 2018:

Find a consultant page on RACP website

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

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

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

ANZSOM NSW/ACT Branch Weekend August Meeting

Join your colleagues this August for a weekend getaway and educational event. The program on Saturday features a tour of the National Gallery of Australia, gin and vodka tasting from a boutique local distillery with canapes, followed by the conference dinner.

On Sunday, there will be presentations from a variety of speakers as well as a buffet breakfast, morning tea and lunch.

Please visit the website to register and for more information.

Expand your end-of-life care knowledge

To help you improve your skills in end-of-life care, the RACP is offering free access to an online course on the topic.

The course begins on Wednesday, 18 July.

For more information visit the event webpage.

Medico-Legal Society of Queensland Annual Conference 

This year’s Medico-Legal Society of Queensland Annual Conference will be held on 17 and 18 August 2018, at the Surfers Paradise Marriott Resort. This year's theme is HIGH Society: the Misuse of Opioids.  The conference program addresses this ‘hot and topical’ subject from both medical and legal perspectives, focusing on:

  • pharmacological issues, ranging from initial prescribing within hospitals to GP clinics
  • legal requirements for prescribing opioids 
  • dependence v addiction v abuse 
  • pain management
  • psychiatric perspective
  • experiences ‘at the coal face’ in GP clinics and emergency departments
  • the legal and regulatory framework in which practitioners operate
  • legal action taken by aggrieved patients and families
  • future management options.

A stimulating exchange of knowledge and viewpoints is anticipated during the Q&A segments and two open forums.  Highly acclaimed Courier-Mail Cartoonist, Sean Leahy, will deliver the conference after-dinner address.

The registration brochure is available on the website and the registration form may be completed on screen, saved as a PDF file and emailed to the secretariat. The early bird registration deadline is Monday, 16 July 2018.

Further information is available on the Medico-Legal website or you can email or call +61 7 3871 0595.

Expressions of Interest

You can now go to the Expressions of Interest page at any time, to find out if there are any opportunities that are of benefit to you.

Career opportunities

View all ​positions vacant

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. 
View all occupational and environmental health medicine events.

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

AFOEM contact details

AFOEM Faculty enquiries (including Council and committees):
AFOEM Executive Officer
Phone: +61 2 8076 6351

AFOEM Education and Training enquiries:
Georgina Kempton, Education Officer
Phone: +61 2 8247 6268

AFOEM Examination enquiries:
Examination Coordinator, Assessment and Selection Unit

AFOEM training site accreditation inquiries:
Site Accreditation Unit

AFOEM CPD enquiries:
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