AFPHM eBulletin – 1 April 2021

A message from your President

I would like to encourage you all to read and disseminate our new document ‘Public Health Physicians: Protecting, Promoting, and Improving Health for the Whole Community’. This was produced primarily by our Faculty Policy & Advocacy Committee (FPAC), in consultation with many others. Its context is primarily Australian; FPAC will be working on an additional document with a focus on Aotearoa New Zealand over the next few months. The document provides an overview of what public health physicians do, how we are trained and the types of roles that we undertake within the health system. It can be found on the College website

There is considerable work within the College on the review of the Constitution. I encourage you to engage with this process, so that we have a strong Faculty voice throughout it. The College has recently released a consultation paper that briefly explains the background to the review and where we are currently in the process. In particular, it looks at different governance models for the future College. Responses to this phase of the consultation are due by email to by close of business Friday, 9 April 2021. I will be putting in a response on behalf of Faculty Council. 

Another important document that is now open for consultation is the draft National Preventive Health Strategy. The closing date for comment is 19 April 2021. 

March has seen the resumption of the Faculty’s Pacific webinars, in collaboration with the Pacific Community and the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine. We hosted an excellent update session on vaccination, with speakers: Dr Rob Grenfell, Dr Peter McIntyre and Dr Hayley Cash. Another excellent session: for me it was particularly interesting to hear about the vaccine roll-out in the US northern Pacific Islands, the challenges they have experienced and their work-arounds. 
You may be interested in the following items that have crossed my desk in the last month or two. First, an editorial in Nature on ‘How epidemiology has shaped the COVID pandemic’; second, a link sent to me by a Fellow – an interview by Sir Simon Wessely (a British psychiatrist with an interest in epidemiology) with the Archbishop of Canterbury that explores social deprivations and the value of public health in the community.

Finally, I would like to again remind you about the RACP Congress sessions, particularly those that have a public health focus. The first of these will be part of the Brisbane event, with presentations and a panel discussion on Climate Change in the Pacific on 29 April. Please check out the full program. Also, the Gerry Murphy Prize (6 May) and John Snow Scholarship (13 May) national competitions will be held by Zoom as part of Congress. Your attendance supports our trainees and medical students presenting on public health issues – and the event is much more vibrant and engaging with a good audience. 

Professor Robyn Lucas
AFPHM President 

AFPHM monthly webinar – April 2021

Professor Peter McIntyre will be presenting at April’s webinar on the topic ‘Measuring the public health impact of vaccines – from principles to practice’. 

Professor McIntyre has clinical qualifications as a paediatrician specialising in infectious diseases and as a public health physician. His research has focused on measuring the burden of vaccine-preventable diseases and the impact and effectiveness of vaccines.

He was Director of the Australian National Centre for Immunisation Research from 2004 to 2017. Since 2019, he's been a Professor at the University of Otago and a member of the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts for immunisation of the World Health Organization (WHO).

This online webinar will be held on Monday, 12 April from 12.30pm to 1.30pm AEST.  As usual, there will be the opportunity for AFPHM trainees to stay online after the webinar to network.

For more information and to register, please visit the event webpage.

Expressions of Interest for AFPHM trainees

  • Deputy Chair AFPHM Faculty Trainees’ Committee (FTC)
    We are currently seeking expressions of interest for the role of Deputy Chair of the FTC. This role also holds an ex-officio position on AFPHM Council. 
    A description of the role and the details for how to apply can be found on the RACP website.
  • AFPHM Faculty Assessment Committee (FAC)
    The FAC is currently seeking AFPHM Fellows for three vacant positions. Details of the position and how to submit an application can be found on the RACP website.
  • College Trainees' Committee (CTC)
    The CTC is currently seeking an AFPHM trainee for the position of AFPHM Trainee Representative.  More details on the position, as well as how to apply can be found on the RACP website

Introducing the Public Health Learning Advisor

We are pleased to advise that Jennifer Desrosiers has recently started with the College in the role of Public Health Learning Advisor in a part-time capacity equivalent of one day per week.

As the Public Health Learning Advisor Jen will support Fellows and trainees in public health medicine to develop learning contracts at the commencement of each term and learning contract reports at the end of each term. Jen will maintain documentation to assist reviews, set meetings and assist with trouble-shooting issues in liaison with AFPHM staff.

Jen has significant knowledge and experience with public health practice and workplace-based training for adult learners. She taught public health undergraduate and postgraduate papers to MB ChB students and conducted public health research and she has also co-ordinated community-based placements for MB ChB students, and worked closely with the District Health Board to ensure training requirements for public health registrars were on track. She is currently completing a PhD in public health and a concurrent Doctorate in Education. 

Learning Contract Report Competencies template

The AFPHM Faculty Training Committee (FTC) has introduced the Learning Contract Report Competencies form as a training tool. The tool is designed to help trainees plan their training by assisting them to track the competencies they’ve attained over the course of their Advanced Training in public health medicine. 
You can find the Learning Contract Report Competencies form under ‘Forms and resources' on the AFPHM webpage.

Why attend RACP Congress 2021?

Exclusive access to all RACP Congress content

RACP Congress 2021 sessions will only be available to those who register. Aside from being able to live stream all sessions, registration includes six months of exclusive access to all sessions so you can watch them at your leisure. 

For those who are attending one of the face-to-face events, your ticket includes access to the entire Congress event via our live stream and the ability to access all Congress content for six months. 

Along with a growing list of speakers, another great session coming to you at RACP Congress includes:

  • COVID-19 Vaccine: Reflections on the cost of speed presented by Professor Julie Leask and Dr Peter Hill. 

Make sure you visit the RACP Congress website to see the latest additions to the program.

Important information for those attending Congress in person

For those who are attending a one-day face-to-face event in their local city, whilst all the RACP Congress venues have a COVID-19 VenueSafe plan, if a face-to-face event has to be cancelled, those who have purchased a face-to-face ticket for that city will be switched to a virtual ticket and will be refunded the difference in cost.

Pacific Public Health Webinar Series

AFPHM, the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine, the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and RACP continue to support the Pacific through its COVID-19 Pacific Public Health Webinar Series. 

The March webinar (access passcode: bC5e^at&) provided an update on COVID-19 vaccines, a briefing from the North Pacific where vaccination rollouts have begun and a summary of the different strains of COVID-19. As always a lively Q&A session was held at the end of the panel presentations. The webinar series will continue through 2021 with topics chosen and developed by the Pacific public health clinicians across the 26 South Pacific Nations and Territories and support by the Colleges and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.  

Australian Government Department of Health update: COVID-19 Health Response – Extension of COVID-19 specialist telehealth items until 30 June 2021

As part of Australia’s COVID-19 health response the Government will extend the COVID-19 specialist telehealth items in their current form, for a further three months, from Thursday, 1 April 2021 to Wednesday, 30 June 2021. Further information about the extension of Australia’s COVID-19 health response is available via the Prime Minister of Australia’s media release.

The Department continues to review the ongoing role of COVID-19 telehealth in supporting patients during the pandemic and plan a longer term arrangement for MBS specialist telehealth in consultation with peak medical professional groups, including the RACP.

Updated PREP 2022 program requirements and COVID-19 interim changes now available online

The updated COVID-19 2021 interim changes and PREP 2022 program requirements are now available on the relevant Basic Training and Advanced Training speciality pages.

Basic Training

Please check the eligibility criteria of each 2021 COVID interim change to see if they apply to you.

There are no changes to the PREP 2022 program requirements for Basic Training in Adult Internal Medicine and Paediatrics & Child Health.

Advanced Training

Please check the eligibility criteria of each 2021 COVID-19 interim change to see if they apply to you.

The updated PREP 2022 program requirements apply to all trainees registered in a PREP program in 2022.

PREP trainees and their supervisors should familiarise themselves with the updated 2022 program requirements for their specialty to ensure you are following the correct requirements for each training year.

Gender Equity in Medicine Reference Group

The Gender Equity in Medicine Reference Group (GEMRG) is seeking new members – all trainees and Fellows with a background in gender equity are encouraged to apply. 

More information can be found on the RACP website.

AFPHM Oral Examination – change to the eligibility deadline

The AFPHM Oral Examination is a summative assessment that trainees are required to sit towards the end of training after completing at least 29 units of training. Trainees will now be required to complete 29 units of training by 31 December of the year they plan to sit the examination.

The new date gives more time for trainees who commence training mid-year and would otherwise not meet the deadline in their third year of training and would have to wait to sit the oral examination the following year. 

Please refer to the Public Health Medicine Program Requirements for further information about examination eligibility. 

SMS subsidy extension

On behalf of the Commonwealth Department of Health, the Australian Digital Health Agency advises that the SMS subsidy funding currently applied to the sending of electronic prescription tokens will be further extended from Wednesday, 31 March 2021 to Wednesday, 30 June 2021.

The Department and Agency are keen to work with the health sector to establish an ongoing model to support the provision of electronic prescriptions to consumers. To enable this consultation to occur, the extension of the SMS subsidy funding to Wednesday, 30 June 2021 will allow for further consideration on future funding arrangements.

It should be noted that SMS costs are specific to the provision of electronic prescription tokens to patients on their mobile phone. Alternatives exist for prescribers and dispensers to send electronic prescriptions to patients via email or through mobile applications that do not incur these SMS costs. The Active Script List, once implemented across Australia, will also provide health professionals an option for token management that will not incur the SMS charges. Innovations across the digital landscape will undoubtedly also offer other alternatives as more digital health initiatives become a reality over time.

New online course: Physician wellbeing in challenging times

Physicians often fail to put on their own oxygen masks when dealing with the challenges and stresses that come with practising during a pandemic. This new online course explores in-depth how to better support your own wellbeing, as well as the wellbeing of your staff and colleagues through compassionate leadership. The course covers concepts, strategies and tools to help you mitigate the impact, set healthy boundaries, prevent burnout and build support networks during a crisis.

Telehealth: Is it helpful or does it damage the patient relationship and increase your stress?

All Australian members are encouraged to attend this topical telehealth webinar being held on Monday, 12 April 2021 at 7pm (ACST). Hosted by Avant Mutual, you'll understand your telehealth responsibilities, learn strategies to mitigate your risk and hear some of the most common pitfalls and complaints. 

Webinar – Using health data for practice reflection: Changing expectations on the role of data in professional development

The Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (Digital Health CRC) is kicking off a series of virtual events covering hot topics in the field of practice analytics. The first webinar will be held on Wednesday, 21 April 2021 from 9am (AEST) and will explore the potential use of health data for practice reflection and professional development. The event will consider how this aligns with the Medical Board of Australia’s Professional Performance Framework. The panel will include Anne Tonkin (Medical Board of Australia Chair), Professor John Wilson AM (RACP President), Adjunct Professor Julian Archer (Executive General Manager for Education, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons), Dr David Rankin (Director Clinical Governance and Informatics, Cabrini Health) and chaired by Tim Shaw (Director of Research, Digital Health CRC).

Register now

Submission to the NSW Government’s 'Regulation to support Real Time Prescription Monitoring (RTPM)' consultation paper

The RACP welcomes the Commonwealth Government and the NSW Government’s actions towards implementing Real Time Prescription Monitoring (RTPM) of targeted high-risk medications as a way of reducing harm from prescription medicines.

This submission led by the Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine outlines potential unintended consequences of RTPM and makes recommendations to the NSW Government to ensure it meets its goal of reducing harm from opioid and other prescription medicines that can cause dependence. These recommendations include implementing wider service planning, increasing funding for addiction medicine and other evidence-based alcohol and drug treatment services, training and education for prescribers and ongoing monitoring and evaluation of RTPM.

Learn more

Pomegranate Health podcast

Ep68: Gendered Medicine – Pain

Gender can be considered a social determinant of health in the different pressures and expectations it puts on women and men. For example, the taboos around menstruation are so profound that many young women are dangerously naive about their own reproductive health. Meanwhile, endometriosis, chronic fatigue syndrome and other conditions associated with chronic pain have a stigma around them that means self-reports are often not taken seriously by health professionals. Historic notions of hysteria have a more profound impact on medical thinking than we might imagine, and in this podcast we ask what can be done to erase these.


  • Gabrielle Jackson (Associate News Editor Guardian Australia, Author Pain and Prejudice)

Listen to podcast

Subscribe to email alerts or search for ‘Pomegranate Health’ in Apple PodcastsSpotifyCastbox, or any podcasting app.

Fellows of the RACP can claim CPD credits for listening and learning via MyCPD. For a transcript and further references please visit our website. 

Evolve ‘Top-5’ recommendations on low-value practices in nephrology

On World Kidney Day 2021, the RACP and Evolve launched the latest Evolve ‘Top-5’ recommendations on low-value practices in nephrology.

Kidney function and kidney disease impact human health across an array of systems and specialities. The new Evolve recommendations on low-value practices in nephrology span and interact with a wide range of conditions, populations and disciplines.

Learn more about the newest recommendations

FASD update: Senate inquiry report and launch of the Australian Registry

Recently, the Senate Community Affairs References Committee into Effective approaches to prevention and diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) handed down its final report. The report includes 32 recommendations covering the prevention, diagnosis and management of FASD.

Key recommendations stress the need to:

  • improve data collection on FASD, including a national prevalence study and research into the cost of FASD in Australia
  • introduce Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) items that cover the range of clinical practices involved in FASD assessments, diagnoses and treatments
  • include FASD in the Australian Government list of recognised disabilities
  • screen children and young people within the child protection and youth justice systems for FASD
  • engage with First Nation organisations to improve access to the National Disability Insurance Scheme for people in remote Australia and the development of community-led projects to prevent and manage FASD.

The Committee also urges reforms to address the broader culture of alcohol use that contributes to higher-risk consumption, including the introduction of marketing, pricing and taxation measures set out in the National Alcohol Strategy.

The report references the RACP submission to the Senate inquiry into FASD and discusses the testimony offered on behalf of the College by Professor Elizabeth Elliott.

FASD Australian Registry (FASDAR)

In related news, the FASDAR was launched recently. The FASDAR aims to maintain a central database of cases to help develop a greater understanding of FASD, inform new research and support families. FASDAR invites all health professionals who look after Australian families with children under 15 years with a FASD diagnosis to inform them about the FASDAR.

For more information, visit the FASDAR website.


Keep up-to-date with RACP events

We understand there’s a lot going on at the College and that it can be difficult to keep informed about all of the upcoming RACP events. To help make life easier, we’re introducing a new monthly event digest, which highlights the key RACP events that are coming up in the next two months. It also helps you plan ahead, by saving the date for events that will be held later in the year.

We’re hosting more online events than ever before, which is a window of opportunity for you to virtually attend events from all over Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. You will still be informed about RACP and industry events in our regular communications and can access the RACP events listing webpage at any time. This is a condensed monthly digest to make life easier for you.

You can expect to receive the event digest on the first Wednesday of each month, with the first one launching on Wednesday, 7 April 2021. Keep an eye out for it, which will feature the above banner image. We hope this makes your life that little bit easier and we look forward to seeing you at our next event.

Recap of World Obesity Day 2021

On World Obesity Day 2021, we joined a range of leading health organisations in a joint statement to call for new clinical guidelines for overweight and obesity. An evidence-based approach to supporting people with obesity will help improve people’s health and quality of life, reduce harmful stigma and decrease wasteful investments in ineffective approaches. The initiative was covered by the Sydney Morning HeraldThe AgeBrisbane Times and WA Today, as well as segments on ABC 24 and WIN News.

On 4 March 2021, our partners at the Obesity Collective hosted a series of rapid talks by speakers from across Australia who explored the many health, social and personal facets of obesity. We invite members to watch the talks at the Obesity Collective website.

A new More than meets the eye’ campaign was also launched to mark World Obesity Day. The campaign is designed to tackle one of the less known drivers of obesity and psychological harm – weight stigma. The campaign is based on focus group research completed by the Collective and the University of Sydney. The first video in the campaign shares the story of Emma whose history with obesity stigma echoes the experience of millions of Australians. Please share her story and our call for obesity guidelines with your professional networks and on social media.

Enrol in the new developing effective teaching skills QStream course

Fellows and trainees of all specialties are invited to enrol in this new Qstream course, which has a mid-May start. The course is designed to provide practical strategies to help you enhance your teaching skills and effectively balance teaching with a busy workload.

You'll access in-depth case studies with questions that are sent directly to your inbox at spaced intervals over a three-week period. Each question takes just ten minutes to complete, and participants are encouraged to discuss the case studies and share opinions with others through secure, online discussion forums.

The course is designed to enhance your knowledge in adult learning, provide practical strategies to incorporate effective teaching skills into day-to-day settings, and encourage self-reflection and peer discussion.

Artificial intelligence for healthcare webinar now on Medflix

Tune in to Medflix and watch the recording of the recent Artificial intelligence for healthcare: your questions answered webinar. Associate Professor Clair Sullivan FRACP, Dr Olivier Salvado and Professor Enrico Coiera hosted an interactive panel discussion covering key topics including how physicians can implement artificial intelligence (AI) models into clinical practice, and other technical and cultural challenges of AI.

Watch recording

Useful AFPHM training resources

A reminder to all AFPHM trainees, the following resources are available for your training:

Other resources you may be interested in, include:

Career opportunities 

View all positions vacant.

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. 

Events and conferences

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.

AFPHM contact details

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

AFPHM Faculty enquiries (including Council and committees):

Melanie Matthews, Executive Officer
Phone: +61 2 9256 9622

Public Health Learning Advisor:
Jennifer Desrosiers

AFPHM Education and Training enquiries:
Education Officer
Phone: +61 2 8247 6286

AFPHM Oral Examination enquiries:
Examination Coordinator, Assessment and Selection Unit
Phone: +61 2 9256 9681

AFPHM training site accreditation inquiries:
Site Accreditation Unit

Phone: +61 2 9256 9674

AFPHM CPD enquiries:
Professional Practice
Phone: +61 2 8247 6285

AFPHM Aotearoa New Zealand enquiries:
RACP Aotearoa New Zealand Office
Phone: +64 4 472 6713

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