AFPHM eBulletin – 16 October 2020

A message from your President

It has been a month of highs and lows. On 24 September, the Faculty hosted the finals for the John Snow Scholarship presentations. Six recent medical graduates from across Australia gave outstanding presentations on a very diverse range of topics. One of the special features of the John Snow Scholarship written and oral submissions is the requirement for a reflection piece and a consideration of how the work fits with the AFPHM competencies. It was very well worth attending – if you missed it, a recording will be available on Friday, 23 October. 

Then came the budget. I had high hopes of some recognition of the importance of investment in building the public health workforce, including public health physicians. Instead I came away again wondering why it seems so hard to convey what public health is, and that it is not synonymous with public hospitals. If we can’t get that recognition during a global pandemic – with recent estimates published in the Medical Journal of Australia (MJA) that the Australian public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic may have saved 16,000 lives – then I don’t know when it will happen. Faculty Council and the Faculty Policy and Advocacy Committee will continue to work on advocacy around the importance of public health physicians for health challenges now and in the future – 2020 has given us a taste of what can be thrown at us!

To finish on a high, I have been involved with a small group, led by Dr Peter Hill, planning the AFPHM component of the 2021 RACP Congress. Congress 2021 has an exciting theme and delivery approach that is being kept under wraps until its launch later this month. I can tell you that AFPHM will host four sessions including on sustainability of the public health workforce, on adapting to the future, and on epidemiological modelling to drive public health decision making. The Redfern Oration will be given by Dr Josephine Aumea Herman, an outstanding Fellow of our Faculty who is currently Secretary for Health for the Cook Islands and Chair of the Pacific Heads of Health. 

I wish you all well for the coming month. In Canberra I hope we will be welcoming some gentle warmth before the onslaught of summer. 

Professor Robyn Lucas
AFPHM President

Become a Public Health Medicine Regional Education Coordinator

The Faculty Training Committee (FTC) in Public Health Medicine has four vacancies open to Fellows residing in NSW, NT, SA, Tasmania or Victoria. For more information on the descriptions and details of how to apply, please visit the College website

AFPHM National Training Days

The AFPHM National Training Days will now be held in November. Tune in to the first (of three sessions) to be held on Thursday, 5 November from 5.30pm  to 7pm AEDT (7.30pm to 9pm NZDT) to hear Professor Michael Ackland and Dr Miranda Harris speak on the very important topic of 'Exams and Exam Preparation'.

Register now

AFPHM monthly webinar

The AFPHM Monthly Webinars resume in November.  Listen to Dr Becky Freeman speak on the topic of ‘Strengthening Public Health Messages using Mass Media’ on Wednesday, 18 November from 11.30am to 12.30pm AEDT. 

Register now

Reminder to register: Minister Hunt is in the room – join our virtual member Town Hall with the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health

5pm to 6pm (AEDT), Monday, 19 October 2020 (new time), via Zoom

Don’t forget to register for Monday’s virtual Town Hall meeting to discuss a range of topical health policy issues hosted by the RACP President, Professor John Wilson AM and President-Elect Dr Jacqueline Small. We’re also excited to welcome the Hon Greg Hunt MP, Minister for Health to join us to speak directly with you, our members.

Please register via Eventbrite and you will be sent the Zoom link ahead of the event. If you have a question for the Minister, please provide it during the registration process via Eventbrite. We can’t guarantee that we’ll have time to ask every question, but we hope to cover all the main themes.

Register now

2020 Physician Training Survey

The 2020 Physician Training Survey will open on Thursday, 22 October.

This is your chance to help strengthen RACP training programs and the workplace experiences in the settings in which you work and train. With the impacts of COVID-19 on training throughout this year, it’s more important than ever that we understand your experience.

The survey will open to trainees and educators across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand and includes, for the first time, public health and occupational and environmental medicine trainees and educators. 

The survey is completely anonymous. Your participation helps us build robust data so we can make evidence-informed improvements to training. This includes support for your health and wellbeing. 

For information about the survey, including confidentiality and how you could win an iPad in the prize draw, please visit the Physician Training Survey webpage.

The Physician Training Survey has been approved by the Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) – Concord Repatriation General Hospital of the Sydney Local Health District 2019/ETH12472.

If you have any concerns or complaints about the conduct of the research study, you may contact the Executive Officer of the Ethics Committee at or on +61 2 9767 5622.

John McLeod Indigenous Australian and Māori Health Scholarship in Public Health Medicine

The Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine is proud to offer the 2021 John McLeod Indigenous Australian and Māori Health Scholarship in Public Health Medicine as part of the RACP Indigenous Health Scholarship Program.

The program is an opportunity for those who identify as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Māori or Pacific Islander to receive support throughout their Basic, Advanced, Faculty or Chapter Training in Australia and New Zealand. 

Other scholarships available under this program for 2021 include:

  • College Indigenous Australian and Māori Health Scholarship
  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Scholarship
  • Aotearoa Māori Health Scholarship
  • Aotearoa New Zealand Pacific Islander Health Scholarship
  • Indigenous Australian and Māori Health Scholarship for Paediatrics and Child Health.

Recipients of these scholarships receive the following support:

  • RACP training fees for the duration of the selected training program
  • examination fees
  • annual attendance at either RACP Congress, relevant scientific meeting or trainee days
  • AUD$2,500 cash assistance at the beginning of the Scholarship
  • other support as advised in the letter of offer.

Applications close on Monday, 30 November 2020.

Further details on these scholarships are available on the RACP Foundation website.

Gerry Murphy regional competitions

The Gerry Murphy Prize is awarded annually to the best oral presentation by an Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (AFPHM) Advanced Trainee.

Trainees across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand have the opportunity to present on a contentious public health issue at regional competitions hosted by the AFPHM Regional Committees.

The Prize is made possible through a generous bequest by the late Dr Gerry Murphy FAFPHM.

Support your trainees by watching them compete in the Gerry Murphy Prize regional events over Zoom in November.  Dates and registration details are below:

Region Date  Time 
Western Australia  Wednesday, 4 November  5.30pm to 7.30pm AWST 
South Australia  Tuesday, 10 November   7pm to 8.30pm ACDT 
New South Wales  Wednesday, 11 November  5.30pm to 7.30pm AEDT 
Australian Capital Territory  Wednesday, 11 November  Commencing 5.30pm AEDT 
Victoria  Tuesday, 10 November  5.30pm to 7pm AEDT 

Victorian Gerry Murphy regional competition guest speakers

Professor Brett Sutton – 'What COVID-19 means for the future of public health'

Professor Jodie McVernon – 'What COVID-19 taught us about ourselves'

Prof Jodie McVernonProfessor Jodie McVernon is a public health physician and epidemiologist. She has extensive expertise in clinical vaccine trials, epidemiologic studies and mathematical modelling of infectious diseases, gained in Oxford, London and Melbourne. 

For the past 15 years she has been building capacity in infectious diseases modelling in Australia to inform immunisation and pandemic preparedness policy. She has led nationally distributed networks of modellers informing responses to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic and the current COVID-19 pandemic.

RACP Online Congress Series: Future COVID-19 Symposia

A special three-part COVID-19 Symposia series has been included in this year's Online Congress Series. 
2020 has been a challenging year for healthcare and our community. Over three sessions we will explore the complexities of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our focus will be on clinical aspects of COVID-19 and will involve clinicians who have been treating COVID-19 patients, experts in epidemiology, drug therapy, vaccines and research.

Register now for the second and third symposiums. The recording of symposium one will soon be made available via the Congress Online Learning Series

Symposium one: COVID-19 – Emerging patterns: in illness and in therapies

Our understanding of COVID-19 and its clinical course, especially post-acute, continues to develop. We know that many chemicals can kill viruses like COVID-19 in the lab. However, ensuring they are safe and effective for patient use is a completely different process. Before we can design any drug therapy trials, we need knowledge of drugs, pharmacology and a clinical understanding of the physiology of COVID-19.

Held on 15 October 2020, Chair, Dr Jacqueline Small was joined by our panel: Mr Karl Schurr, Professor Greg Dore, Professor Jennifer Martin and Dr Philip Britton.

A recording will be available via the Congress Online Learning Series shortly.

Symposium two: Vaccinations: What we know and where we're going

Thursday, 22 October 2020

5.30pm to 7pm (AEDT), 7.30pm to 9pm (NZDT)
Chaired by RACP President, Professor John Wilson AM, the panel will address emerging vaccine contenders, safety, strategies for the elderly population and implementation of population vaccination programs: 

  • Professor Terry Nolan will discuss the science of vaccines and describe the front runners in COVID-19 vaccine development. 
  • Professor Kristine Macartney will provide an overview of safety concerns, delivery methods and implementation strategy.
  • Professor Tony Cunningham will present a vaccine strategy for the elderly population and discuss therapeutic treatments for the very sick and elderly in the absence of a vaccine. He will look at efficacy results in people over 60 years of age and why their response is different to younger people.
  • Associate Professor Margie Danchin will ask the difficult questions about vaccine program effectiveness. Which groups should be prioritised? Why mandatory vaccination should wait. How do we achieve high uptakes rates on an Australian, Aotearoa New Zealand and global scale?

There will be time for Q&A at the end of the presentations.

Register now

Symposium three: COVID-19: Redesigning healthcare systems

Thursday, 29 October 2020
5.30pm to 7pm (AEDT), 7.30pm to 9pm (NZDT)
Join the panel:

  • Professor Don Campbell, Medical Director of the Hospital Without Walls and Staying Well Program, Northern Health
  • Professor Graeme Maguire, Head of the General Internal Medicine unit at Western Health Melbourne
  • Dr Jade Tamatea, member of Te Rōpū Whakakaupapa Urutā, the National Māori Pandemic Group
  • Mr Ben Gauntlett, Disability Discrimination Commissioner for the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Chair: Dr George Laking, RACP President Aotearoa New Zealand.

To discuss:

  • community support from a Victorian perspective
  • innovative models of care for different patient groups such as inpatients, and those in ICU
  • Indigenous community led decisions, the Aotearoa New Zealand experience
  • equity and human rights especially for people with disabilities.

Register now

Pomegranate Health podcast Ep63: the WHO’s biggest test

During the COVID-19 crisis there has been some criticism of the World Health Organization (WHO) as to whether it declared a pandemic soon enough or covered up for China’s failings.

But few commentators have explained the role and responsibilities the WHO shares with its member states in dealing with a pandemic. A prototype of the International Health Regulations (IHR) was conceived during the cholera epidemics of the mid 1800s, and the most current version of the IHR was formalised in 2005 in response to SARS. Associate Professor Adam Kamradt-Scott has documented the political and social factors that have accompanied the implementation of the IHR.

In this podcast we consider how the unprecedented scale of the current pandemic and the mixed response from member states has challenged the viability of the WHO.


  • Associate Professor Adam Kamradt-Scott (University of Sydney, United States Studies Centre)

Fellows of the RACP can claim CPD credits via MyCPD for listening to this episode and reading the resources at the website. Subscribe to Pomegranate Health in Apple PodcastsSpotify, any Android podcasting app or our email alerts list.

Online Supervisor Professional Development Program

Don’t miss your chance to register for Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) 3, our last online course of the year. Running from Monday, 19 October to Monday, 23 November 2020, this work-based learning and assessment is a five-week, online facilitated course. The program covers important topic areas including the learning and assessment cycle and determining trainee performance and progression based on evidence of learning and achievement. This is a great opportunity for those who enjoy learning with peers through discussion and shared experiences and prefer time flexibility.

Note that supervisors are required to complete:

  • one SPDP workshop by the end of 2021 (an extension of 12 months)
  • all remaining workshops by the end of 2022.

Please visit the SPDP webpage for more information, or contact us to register with your full name and MIN. RACP Online Learning resources are free for members and count towards Continuing Professional Development requirements.


EndoActive is a health promotion charity providing information about endometriosis and raising awareness about the disease. There is a free series of 20 videos now available: Endometriosis: Shared Perspectives on the EndoActive website. The downloadable Videos Resource Guide summarises each video with a brief resumé of each presenter. 

The video series assists healthcare professionals to better understand endometriosis and provides guidance about effective methods of management and treatment. Most of the videos include short introductions of the patient experience – perspectives on the specific topic of women living with endometriosis. 

These evidence-based educational resources are now free, thanks to a grant from the federal Department of Health, who have endorsed the content. They can be streamed, downloaded or embedded in your own digital environment. The series and associated activities won a Prime Award for Best Public Health Initiative.

Upcoming RACP Victorian Regional Committee webinars

Climate change: What can we do?

Saturday, 24 October, 10am to 12.30pm AEDT (12pm to 2.30pm NZDT), online.

This webinar will discuss topics such as zoonoses and pandemics, as well as bushfires and emergency medicine. 

Register now

Investigations in medicine

Saturday, 7 November, 9am to 5pm AEDT (11am to 7pm NZDT), online. 

This webinar will cover: 

  • ECG and electrophysiology
  • cardiac catheters
  • echocardiography
  • endocrinology
  • haematology
  • gastroenterology
  • respiratory
  • rheumatology
  • allergy
  • neurology
  • blood films. 

Register now

Research Projects and Research Supervision: online courses for trainees and supervisors

Each trainee is responsible for completing their own research project. Trainees can learn about conducting a research project via our Research Projects online course. It’s designed to support trainees with a detailed walk-through of the research process.

A trainee’s experience can be greatly enhanced by a supportive and informed supervisor. The Research Supervision online course helps supervisors who want an update on research project requirements and the research process in general.

We understand you are busy and on-the-go, and that’s why our online courses are designed to enable you to dip in and out, or just do the parts that are relevant to you.

RACP Online Learning Resources are free for members and count towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.

New Medical Specialist Access Framework case studies

Two new Medical Specialist Access Framework case studies have been released – ‘ANTAC and the Ngangkaṟi Healers of Central Australia’ and ‘Regional specialist services in the Kimberley’. The Medical Specialist Access Framework is a guide for health sector stakeholders to promote and support equitable access to specialist care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The case studies demonstrate successful approaches to increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander access to specialist care across Australia in various health settings.

RACP members are encouraged to read the Medical Specialist Access Frameworkthe case studies and use the Guide for Physicians to implement these tools in your workplace and professional practice. Please share the Medical Specialist Access Framework and case studies with your networks.

An invitation to engage with the Obesity Collective  

In 2019, the College joined the Obesity Collective, a platform for individuals and organisations across the community to take on the obesity challenge together, with empathy and from a whole-of-society perspective. We invite members to explore the key activities of the Collective: its system activity mapping sets out current obesity-related actions and opportunities for action, the frequently updated Obesity Evidence Hub, the advocacy of the peer-led Weight Issues Network and the ongoing campaign to shift away from shame and blame towards a better understanding of the obesity challenge.  

The Obesity Collective has recently issued a statement on the Healthy at Every Size® (HAES) movement. The Collective supports most of the principles of HAES and believes it is possible and positive for people to take steps to improve their health at any size, that equitable access to healthcare should be available to people of all sizes and that there is an urgent need to reduce societal weight bias and stigma to prevent harm to physical health, mental health and wellbeing. The Collective also acknowledges that obesity is a serious public health issue and advocates for respecting the diversity of people’s wishes for support in managing their health and weight. Read the Collective’s full statement.

Notable to early career professionals, the Emerging Leaders of the Collective are gearing up for their next event, ‘Systems thinking for healthier environments’, on Tuesday, 24 November 2020. The Emerging Leaders recently hosted their first virtual event, 'Obesity as a systems challenge'; presentations from Ms Jane Martin, Professor Stephen Simpson, Associate Professor Michael Talbot and Ms Clare Mullen are available for viewing on Obesity Australia's website.   

Find out more about the Collective

End-of-year funding available for women’s leadership development

Women & Leadership Australia (WLA) has residual funding available to support the development of female leaders across Australia’s healthcare sector.

The initiative is providing women with grants of between $1,000 and $5,000 to enable participation in one of three programs that cover such things as elements of a successful team, communication, presence and influence, driving performance, problem solving and decision making, and progressing diversity and inclusion.

The scholarship funding is provided with the specific intent of providing powerful and effective development opportunities for healthcare sector women.

The funding needs to be allocated by the end of 2020.

Find out more and register your interest by completing the Expression of Interest form on WLA’s website by Friday, 4 December 2020.

End of Life Law for Clinicians: Supporting end-of-life and palliative care practice 

The End of Life Law for Clinicians (ELLC) national training program has been extended to June 2023. ELLC is a free training program funded by the Department of Health that delivers education to clinicians about the law at end-of-life. The program for clinicians and medical students focuses on the law relating to end-of-life decision-making, including the law about decisions that happen in the last days and months of life, as well as earlier Advance Care Planning (ACP). The next phase of ELLC will deliver updated modules tailored to medical practitioners, medical students, nurses and allied health professionals. New content will be produced for clinicians working with specific populations at the end of life. These will focus on care for older people, people living with disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people who identify as LGBTIQA+, and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Workshops and webinars will commence in 2021. 

Further information about ELLC can be found on CareSearch Blog. You can register for the ELLC training modules or contact to join the ELLC mailing list. 

In a related development, the recently updated Factsheet for clinicians – Informed consent in health care from the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care provides information for clinicians on the key principles for informed consent, how to obtain informed consent, principles for assessing legal capacity and legal obligations. Members might also be interested in a recent article in the Internal Medicine Journal that sets out key recommendations for policy and practice in the system-wide implementation of ACP, to enable a more ethical, coordinated and person-centred response in the COVID-19 context. 

Summer specials at commercial prices

Get ready for summer with this month’s specials from The Good Guys Commercial. Find household essentials like reverse-cycle air conditioners, washing machines and vacuums. Upgrade your TV and make life easier with commercial prices on kitchen appliances.

Available online 24/7, The Good Guys Commercial will deliver your products to your door and even arrange installation. Register for your free account through your benefits portal and talk with the dedicated Member Advantage commercial team today. 

Register for your account online

Terms and conditions apply.

Newly released guidance for the management of early breast cancer

Cancer Australia has released a new evidence-based resource for health professionals to guide the management of patients with early breast cancer in Australia. Guidance for the management of early breast cancer comprises approximately 200 recommendations and practice points underpinned by the current evidence-base to assist health professionals and patients engage in shared decision-making and support the delivery of best practice patient-centred care for people with early breast cancer.

Medicinal cannabis: new materials from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) on access pathways

The TGA has developed new communication materials to help consumers and health professionals understand access pathways for medicinal cannabis in Australia including videos and printable infographics. This new material is available from the TGA Medicinal Cannabis webpage.

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:

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.

Career opportunities

Public Health Registrar, Maari Ma Aboriginal Corporation/National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Canberra, ACT.  Applications close 31 October 2020.

For 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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