AFPHM Council Communiqué October 2019

Read the highlights of key issues discussed as part of the 2019 AFPHM Council meetings.

AFPHM Workplan 2018-2020

The Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (AFPHM) Council is working on the items identified in the 2018-2020 AFPHM Council Workplan, with a focus on education renewal, workforce development and reinvigorating our advocacy profile. The Faculty is working closely with Education Services to renew the Faculty Training program. The AFPHM has also made significant progress in reinvigorating its regional committees and Faculty Policy and Advocacy Committee.

Value Proposition and Faculty Narrative

The AFPHM Council recently finalised the AFPHM Value Proposition and Narrative Toolkit. The selected tagline for the Faculty is ‘Health for All: Prevention, Promotion, Protection’. This will be available for our AFPHM members to use for raising our specialty’s profile. Please contact the Faculty office via if you would like more information.

RACP Congress

The AFPHM Congress Working Party developed the AFPHM Stream at the RACP Congress, held in Auckland from 6 to 8 May 2019. The focus for the overall Congress was ‘Impacting health along the life course’. The AFPHM Stream included sessions on ‘Populism and Public Health’ and ‘Rural and Remote Populations and Health’, as well as the annual John Snow and Gerry Murphy Prize competitions.

Planning for the 2020 RACP Congress in Melbourne from 4 to 6 May 2020 is currently underway. Our AFPHM Congress Lead Fellow is Associate Professor Peter Hill. The AFPHM Congress Working Party is developing the topics and currently considering speaker suggestions for the AFPHM Stream. 

AFPHM Foundation activities

Our AFPHM trainees participated in their regional Gerry Murphy Prize at the end of 2018. The finalists of each region were invited to participate in the National Gerry Murphy Prize held at the RACP Congress in May 2019. Dr Elizabeth Peach was the National Recipient of this year’s prize, presenting on ‘Unintended pregnancy and family planning use among antenatal attendees in East New Britain, Papua New Guinea’.

Several submissions were received from medical students across Australia and New Zealand for the AFPHM’s John Snow Scholarship. Finalists from each region were invited to present at the National John Snow Scholarship at the 2019 RACP Congress. The National Recipient was Ms Sabrina Yeh, who presented on ‘Antibiotic Prescribing Patterns in Two Diverse Paediatric Communities’.

Professor Lynne Madden was awarded the President’s Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Faculty at the 2019 AFPHM Dinner. Through her ongoing support and leadership to our Faculty members, Professor Madden has made significant contributions to our Faculty through supervising our trainees, being involved in Committees, and most importantly, through her role as the AFPHM President from 2016 to 2018.

Our AFPHM trainees are currently participating in their regional Gerry Murphy competitions, and our Committee members will soon be reviewing applications received for the John Snow Scholarship.

Nominations are currently open for the AFPHM President’s Award for Outstanding Contribution. Further details on the Faculty’s awards, scholarships and prizes are available on the RACP website.

Future of the Faculty

The Future of the Faculty Report prepared in July 2017 details key recommendations to achieve 'An Ideal Faculty in 2030'. The recommendations of this report were examined in the Future of the Faculty Progress Report. In December 2018, the RACP Board accepted the three recommendations contained within the Future of the Faculty Report. Several pieces of work have commenced to support the recommendations outlined in the Future of the Faculty Report, including the devolution of policy and advocacy work and formalising relationships with international bodies, particularly the Pacific Community (SPC).

The AFPHM is continuing to move forward and achieve the recommendations outlined in the Future of the Faculty Report. Discussions with the Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM) and the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine (AFRM) have been held this year to further facilitate this work.

‘Role of Public Health Physicians in the Health System’

The AFPHM Policy and Advocacy Committee (PAC) have developed a document titled the ‘Role of Public Health Physicians and Public Health Approaches in the Health System’. This will be presented to the AFPHM Council for review and approval, prior to being released to the wider AFPHM membership. This document has been written for health workforce planners and decision-makers responsible for developing and implementing workforce strategies. It describes the skill set of Public Health Physicians and presents examples where this medical specialty provides an essential service to promote and protect the health of the Australian public.

The Pacific Community (SPC)

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by the RACP and the Pacific (SPC) in September 2018, to formalise the projects and work between our organisations. A Public Health Dialogue meeting was held in June 2019 with public health leaders from Pacific Island Countries, New Zealand and Australia. Five key areas were explored during this meeting, including; the adoption of a relevant competency framework, research capacity building and the establishment of a Pacific College of Public Health. Recommendations have been identified along with key actions to enable change.

RACP Online Communities Project

The Online Communities Project Team is continuing consultations with College Bodies. An outcome of the consultation will be consolidated and reported back to the RACP Fellowship Committee. The project is moving ahead, with a pilot likely to commence next year. Our AFPHM Trainees’ Committee members have volunteered to be involved in this pilot to ensure the platform meets the needs of our Faculty members.

Curricula Renewal

The Curricula Renewal process for our Advanced Training program has commenced. Our FEC has provided input to a series of questions about the AFPHM curriculum, including its ongoing relevance to public health medicine. The renewed curricula will be a competency-based medical education framework, focusing on practical, workplace-based learning, subject to ongoing evaluation and improvement. This will ensure our graduates continue entering the workforce as highly competent public health physicians, demonstrating best practice.

CPD and MSF trial

The Medical Board of Australia (MBA) is strengthening Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for medical practitioners across Australia. A focus being to encourage medical practitioners to be aware of peer review and measure the outcomes of their work.

The RACP CPD team have been working with our Faculty Education Committee (FEC) in Public Health Medicine to ensure the CPD changes are relevant and meet the needs of AFPHM Fellows. Several examples related to public health work have been added to the RACP’s CPD Framework. The FEC have also been actively involved in a Multi-Source Feedback (MSF) Trial through the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine.

Associate Professor Linda Selvey, Chair
Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine
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