AFPHM eBulletin – 1 May 2020

A message from your President

This is my last President’s post as I step down as AFPHM President on 4 May, when Professor Robyn Lucas will assume the role. The handover ceremony would normally take place at our annual meeting at the RACP Congress, so this post is my opportunity to say farewell and acknowledge our work over the past two years.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank a number of AFPHM Council members who are also not continuing on Council. I also say thanks to those who will be joining AFPHM Council for the next term. I would like to thank all of my fellow AFPHM Council members for the work that you have done and your commitment to our organisation. We are small in number, but we are large in impact.

The past two years have flown by. In that time, the RACP has continued to make climate change a priority for its policy and advocacy work, which is becoming increasingly important as global average temperatures continue to rise. We made some progress on implementing recommendations of the ‘Future of the Faculty report’, although there are some areas where we haven’t yet made the gains we hoped for. We have strengthened our relationship with our colleagues in the Pacific. Our policy and advocacy work is growing thanks to Professor Jeanette Ward’s leadership and a great Faculty Policy & Advocacy Committee. The Committee is now finalising a document that will hopefully be a useful advocacy tool for our future workforce. The College Curricula review hasn’t yet had a large impact on our own curriculum but I anticipate that this review will be an opportunity to further strengthen our education and training and ensure that it meets future needs for a public health medicine workforce. In the meantime, our Faculty Education Committee, Faculty Training Committee and Faculty Assessment Committee, together with our Regional Education Committees continue to do amazing work in education, assessment and training.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge and thank the RACP staff who support AFPHM Council. It has been a great pleasure to work with all of them. We could not do our work without the support of the RACP staff and I have found all of them to be very committed to obtaining the best outcomes for our members. 

Thank you and best wishes,

Associate Professor Linda Selvey
AFPHM President 

Faculty office

RACP staff are continuing to work online to support our members during the COVID pandemic. We will advise when our offices will reopen as soon as the information is available. Further information is available on the RACP website’s dedicated COVID-19 page

As a professional medical college whose aim is to help physicians deliver excellent healthcare, it's our responsibility to put the safety of our members and the community we serve above all else.

We'll share regular updates from the Australian Government, Department of Health and the Aotearoa New Zealand Ministry of Health.

Clarification on new Australian telehealth items

We have received the following clarification on the new telehealth items from the Department of Health:

  • Both recognised specialist and consultant physician practitioners practising in pain and palliative medicine, sexual health medicine and addiction medicine are able to bill consultant physician telehealth services (91824, 91825, 91826, 91834, 91835 and 91836).
  • Occupational and environmental health medicine physicians are eligible to bill specialist telehealth services (91822, 91823, 91832 and 91833).
  • Sexual health medicine, addiction medicine practitioners are able to bill telehealth services to prepare and review a management plan (92422, 92423, 92431 and 92432).
  • Public health physicians are able to bill telehealth services (92513-92516 and 92521-92524).

If there is uncertainty, Services Australia can advise practitioners of their eligibility to claim the new telehealth items and can be contacted on 1800 810 586.

RACP Congress 2020

In light of the cancellation of Congress 2020, the Congress Program Committee will shortly be launching an online Congress Program Series, which is free to members and will include webinars, live presentations and podcasts, released over a period of six months and launching in June. The program will include topical and important public health issues in Global Health Security and a session on 'Healthy futures, healthy cities'.

The Congress Program Series will Include highlights such as the Redfern Oration delivered by AFPHM member, Professor Tony Capon, Director of Monash Sustainable Development Institute. 

Registration will open from Mid-May and keep an eye on the Congress website for more details coming soon.

College facilities remain closed for face-to-face meetings

The College continues to follow advice from the Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand Governments and recommendations for social distancing, hence all RACP offices remain closed for onsite meetings. Members will be advised when these circumstances change.

Seeking AFPHM Representatives for Committees

Expressions of Interest are currently open to all AFPHM members for the AFPHM Council, Policy & Advocacy Committee, Regional Committees and the Trainees’ Committee. This is an opportunity to become more involved in Faculty activities and meet other members.

Further details are available on the RACP website.  

If you have any queries, please contact the Faculty Office via

Apply for Research Awards and Travel Grants

Applications are now open for Career Development Fellowships, Research Establishment Fellowships, and Research Entry Scholarships which provide research funding for 2021 through the RACP Foundation. Upwards of 50 awards with a total value of $2.5M are available across these award categories and includes Travel Grants.

Full details for these opportunities are available on the RACP Foundation website

Drf Miranda Harris – Sue Morey Medal

Mirander Harris

Dr Miranda Harris has completed Advanced Training in Public Health Medicine and is currently working at the Australian National University’s National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health. Dr Harris has previously worked at the ACT Health Protection Service and the Therapeutic Goods Administration in the areas of health protection, health product regulation and risk management. She undertook medical training in regional Queensland and pursued a career in public health to contribute to long-lasting and equitable health outcomes at the population level. Dr Harris is interested in the environmental determinants of health and health-focused urban design.                                                                                                                           

AFPHM President's Awards for Outstanding Contribution

Vicky SheppardCongratulations to Dr Vicky Sheppard who has been recognised through the AFPHM President's Awards for Outstanding Contribution.

Vicky is a public health physician who has been working for NSW Health since 1999. Vicky’s current role is Deputy Director, South Eastern Sydney Public Health Unit, and is a member of the TGA’s Advisory Committee on Vaccines.

From 2013 to 2019 Vicky was Director, Communicable Diseases Branch, Health Protection NSW. This role included overseeing surveillance of notifiable diseases in NSW, coordinating communicable disease control activities, oversight of immunisation programs, including delivery of the school-based adolescent vaccination program. From July 2017 to June 2019 Vicky was also the Chair of Communicable Disease Network Australia.

Vicky also worked in the Sydney West Area Health Service's Public Health Unit from 2008 to 2013, and prior to that in a range of roles in the NSW Department of Health’s Environmental Health Branch.
Following gaining FAFPHM in 2006, Vicky was the Chair of the NSW Regional Committee from 2011 to 2013.

New Pomegranate podcast: Ep57: The art of telehealth 

COVID-19 has left few people around the world unaffected and health practitioners are among those at the top of the list. Their daily and intimate service to the public inevitably puts them at risk of catching the virus, while social distancing precautions can compromise the work that they do. Dreadful as the viral disease is, the bigger consequences of the pandemic may be on the disruption to routine healthcare.

Consulting patients by video or phone can be a way to keep healthcare ticking over, but many doctors are nervous as they adopt it for the first time. In this podcast we go over some of the bureaucratic and tech support questions that clinicians have been asking during the current crisis. We also discuss the art of building trust with new patients and conducting a physical examination through telehealth.

The guest speakers are oncologist Professor Sabe Sabesan and paediatrician Dr Michael Williams, who have been pioneering telehealth outreach to rural and remote Queensland for more than a decade.


  • Professor Sabe Sabesan FRACP (Director, Townsville Cancer Centre; James Cook University)
  • Dr Michael Williams FRACP (Director, Queensland Paediatric Telehealth Service)

Fellows of the RACP can claim CPD credits via MyCPD for listening to this episode and reading the resources.

Subscribe to Pomegranate Health in Apple iTunesSpotify or any Android podcasting app.

Listen to podcast

Monash University-led COVID-19 Work and Health Study

Monash University’s Insurance and Health Group is leading a study that seeks to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the work and health of Australians who have become unemployed or lost work during the pandemic. This study aims to provide unique and important data that can be used to inform decision making by workers, their employers and government as the pandemic unfolds.

The study is seeking participants who have lost work or become unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic. It involves completing an online survey that takes about 15 minutes, on four separate occasions over a six-month period.

Further information about the study including how to enrol is available on the Monash University COVID-19 Work and Health Study website.

Request for input from members: College submission to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability

Disability and the NDIS has been a key ongoing policy priority for the College and the broader health sector. The Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability (the DRC) was established in April 2019 in response to community concern about widespread reports of violence against, and the neglect, abuse and exploitation of, people with disability.

The DRC’s terms of reference cover what should be done in all settings such as the home, schools, out-of-home care, the justice system, as well as in the disability support system to:

  • prevent, and better protect, people with disability from experiencing violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation
  • achieve best-practice in reporting and investigating of, and responding to violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation
  • promote a more inclusive society that supports the independence of people with disability and their right to live free from violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation.

The DRC has released four issues papers to date: education and learninggroup homescriminal justice system and health care for people with cognitive disability.

The RACP’s Policy and Advocacy team have developed a draft submission which covers a range of areas that the DRC is interested in and that the College has a position on.

Members are encouraged to provide feedback, with particular regard to the sections where it is noted that there are no College positions yet. Please provide feedback to Rebecca Randall, Senior Policy and Advocacy Officer, via by close of business Friday, 8 May 2020. We look forward to receiving your valuable feedback.

Quality and safety resources for members

Quality and safety are central to the delivery of healthcare in Australia and New Zealand. We offer a number of resources to help you create a culture of quality and safety in your healthcare setting. 

Register for the quality and safety online course to learn about developing a preventative mindset and identifying and remediating situations where the quality and safety of patient care may be compromised. 

Refer to the Quality and Safety Curated Collection for a peer-reviewed list of high quality resources on the topic. Or to learn about strategies for communicating effectively with patients about the risks and benefits of treatment options, enrol in the communicating risks and benefits online course.

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

Evolve case studies

To support the implementation of Evolve and Choosing Wisely recommendations in clinical practice, we have launched two case studies depicting clinical scenarios in which recommendations on reducing low-value care apply. These case studies explore a clinical scenario based on one of the Evolve recommendations on low-value care.

Evolve is seeking enthusiastic Fellows and trainees to partner with us in developing case studies for more specialties. The aim of the case studies is to support Fellows and trainees to build an understanding of low-value care within their specialty and act as a tool for clinical educators and supervisors. Email to get involved.

An update from the Obesity Collective 

When our partners, the Obesity Collective (OC), celebrated the first World Obesity Day in early March 2020, the impact of COVID-19 was just beginning to be felt across Australia’s health system, economy and society. Since then, frontline healthcare and community workers, including many members of the OC, have risen to the challenge of dealing with a major national public health emergency.

Across the wider community, COVID-19 related self-isolation and social restrictions pose challenges for healthy eating and activity goals and may affect access to usual care. On a systemic level there is also hope that the current crisis will lead to greater recognition of the value of the healthcare system, preventative health and to appropriate strategic and financial responses to other public health challenges.

There has been emerging evidence (reference 1reference 2) of a link between obesity, chronic diseases and worse health outcomes from COVID-19. The OC believes it is important to be aware of and communicate these observations clearly – it also notes it is critical to do so in a careful and balanced way that minimises risk of stigma, shame and anxiety. This simple one-pager from Obesity Canada is a good example of clear non-stigmatising communications about COVID-19 and obesity.

Obesity CollectiveWe would also like to remind members that the OC Evidence Hub is growing, with the addition of a new chapter on the health benefits of weight loss by Dr Priya Sumithran FRACP, PhD and updated sections on proposed improvements to Health Star Ratingimpact of food marketing on children, new approaches to restricting price promotions and the case for a tax on sugary drinks. The OC will soon launch a brochure offering patient-friendly, fat bias-free information about obesity, its causes, attendant health challenges and whether and/or how to consider weight loss.

OC Emerging Leaders

A group of OC members and volunteers are creating an Emerging Leaders group for younger professionals who are keen to influence the areas of prevention, treatment and communication about obesity and living with obesity. The group aims to raise awareness of stigma, build up the existing network and enhance ways of talking about and dealing with obesity. The OC is hoping to attract more young leaders in health professions as well as other young people who are interested in the challenge of obesity more broadly. To find out more or to express your interest, please email or

Ventilator Training Alliance App

As hospitals are procuring additional ventilators from wherever there may be supply, healthcare practitioners are having to operate a wide range of ventilator models and makes, regardless of the ones they have had prior training on. To serve this gap in ventilator training, the Ventilator Training Alliance formed by the participating ventilator manufacturers has launched the Ventilator Training Alliance App which provides healthcare practitioners easy access to training materials in a timely and convenient manner. The free app, powered by Allego, contains training videos and manuals for all ventilator types by all major ventilator manufacturers including Medtronic.

Together with Medtronic, the app to-date has training materials for ventilators from Dräger, GE Healthcare, Getinge, Hamilton Medical, Nihon Kohden and Philips.

Available offline and online, this app is ready for download worldwide in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

Discounted shopping with your benefits

Australian families are doing it tough with the recent COVID-19 situation and your benefits program can help you and your family save on household essentials and online shopping.

You can save five per cent ordering your WISH e-gift card online through your benefits website, giving you the full buying power of the e-gift card without paying full price. For example, if you order a $300 Woolworths e-gift card with a five per cent discount for $285, you can then use your e-gift card to purchase your entire weekly fuel and groceries up to the value of $300.

Easily available online, you can quickly save hundreds on weekly groceries, fuel and stores accepting WISH e-gift cards. You can even purchase them for your family and friends to use.

Purchase your e-gift cards online and browse the range of other retailers available. Visit your RACP Member Advantage benefits website.

*Terms and Conditions apply; credit card surcharges do not apply to WISH e-gift cards. WISH e-gift cards are typically delivered within 12 hours of purchase.

COVID-19 update from the Medical Board of Australia

See the latest newsletter from the Medical Board of Australia covering the COVID-19 pandemic.

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:

eLearning Module – Cultural Competence

The College has developed a module titled Australian Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori Cultural Competence which is available to all members (login required) via This is a useful module for those wanting a deeper understanding on traditional Australian and New Zealand cultural practices. The module can be completed in your own time and will enhance your clinical practice, particularly when working with Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori communities.

Accredited AFPHM training positions

As a part of the AFPHM training program, trainees are expected to complete their core training in an AFPHM accredited training position.

A list of accredited AFPHM training positions is available on the RACP website.

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

Please see the College website to view all medical positions vacant.

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

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:
Office of the Dean (CPD)
Phone: +61 2 8247 6285

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