AFPHM eBulletin – 18 September 2020

A message from your President

It has been a month of ups and downs – numbers of COVID-19 cases dropping dramatically in Victoria as a result of the hard work in both the health sector and the community, and the great relief that this is occurring. We all continue to watch those numbers, and the numbers in Queensland and New South Wales with considerable interest.

This month I have had the pleasure of working closely with the Presidents of the other Faculties in the College – Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Professor Malcolm Sim) and Rehabilitation Medicine (Dr Greg Bowring) – to prepare a paper on suggested changes to the Constitution as part of the consideration of reform of the Constitution in 2022. 

As part of our ongoing engagement with public health physicians in the Pacific, I co-led a webinar with the Aotearoa New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine for presenters from the Faculty and the Aotearoa New Zealand College to provide perspectives on opening up borders. This was a topic and format requested by the Pacific and I was delighted to be able to work with the Aotearoa New Zealand College on what will now become a regular event. The Faculty presenters were Associate Professor Kamalini Lokuge and Dr Frank Beard, with Professor Michael Baker presenting for the Aotearoa New Zealand College. The next webinar will be in mid-October, where Dr Rob Grenfell will talk about vaccines for COVID-19. 

This month I chaired a webinar for the Gerry Murphy Prize presentations. This was a fabulous evening with eight excellent talks on very diverse topics – from a qualitative evaluation of the John Snow Scholarship scheme to the public health impact of energy sourcing, public health messaging during smoke events, eye health in refugees, evaluation of pharmacist administration of the influenza vaccination, using machine learning to describe a syphilis outbreak, and drug-related harms among dance festival attendees. The winner of the Gerry Murphy Prize 2020 was Dr Alyce Wilson, who spoke on knowledge of danger signs and planning for obstetric emergencies among women in Papua New Guinea. If you were not able to attend, the presentations were recorded and will be available on the Online Congress Series Platform soon – they are very well worth watching. The regional competitions for the Gerry Murphy Prize 2021 will occur during November; I would encourage all trainees to participate.

The John Snow Scholarship presentations are on 24 September 2020. I encourage Fellows and trainees to attend this webinar to support and encourage medical students in their pursuit of topics of interest to public health medicine. 

Professor Robyn Lucas
AFPHM President

Looking for PPE: COVID-19 Manufacturer Response Register

Are you looking to source personal protective equipment (PPE)? The following resource may be able to assist you in meeting your requirements.

The COVID-19 Manufacturer Response Register has been developed by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, in collaboration with the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. It has been established to facilitate capability and demand matching for PPE between Australian businesses and customers in response to the pandemic.

When using the register, members are advised to note the following:

  • Buyers need to do due diligence in establishing the quality of the supply.
  • Find out minimum order for some of the suppliers, as this is not clearly stated in the register.

Go to register

For further information on sourcing PPE in Australia, please visit the RACP COVID-19 webpage > Advice and news > Personal Protective Equipment.

MBS telehealth extended

The Government has today announced a six-month extension of the MBS telehealth items introduced to cover the COVID-19 pandemic. Items used by specialists will continue unchanged.

The RACP recently delivered a survey of its members to the Federal Government that outlined the benefits to patients that have been delivered from telehealth as identified by its members. This was used to advocate for telehealth extension and we are pleased that our constructive discussions with Government have resulted in this outcome.

Gerry Murphy Prize 2021

The Gerry Murphy Prize is awarded annually to the best oral presentation by an AFPHM Advanced Trainee. 

If you wish to compete for 2021, please note that the deadline to submit your intent to participate has now been extended to 9am AEST Monday, 21 September 2020. Please notify your intent by emailing

Gerry Murphy Prize 2020 recipient

Congratulations to Dr Alyce Wilson who was selected as the national recipient of the AFPHM Gerry Murphy Prize 2020 for her presentation entitled ‘Knowledge of danger signs and planning for obstetric emergencies during pregnancy, childbirth and in the postnatal period among women in East New Britain Province, Papua New Guinea’.

Dr Alyce Wilson is a Public Health Registrar and Senior Dr Alyce WilsonResearch Officer working in global maternal, child health and nutrition at the Burnet Institute. She is a medical doctor with additional qualifications in nutrition and dietetics, obstetrics and gynaecology and public health. Alyce is also a lecturer within the Department of Medical Education at the University of Melbourne and continues to work clinically at the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne. Alyce has a broad range of experience in conducing translational and operational research, public health program design, implementation and policy development, within maternal, child health and nutrition programs in Australia and internationally.
The Gerry Murphy Prize is awarded annually for the best oral presentation by an AFPHM Advanced Trainee. Visit the Gerry Murphy Prize webpage for more details.

Have your say on an important part of the new programs for Advanced Training

Have your say and review the proposed common learning, teaching and assessment (LTA) programs and provide your feedback by completing the feedback form before 9am (AEDT), Monday, 12 October 2020.

The LTA has been developed to establish a baseline across all Advanced Training programs.

Your expertise and feedback are vital to help ensure the common LTA programs for Advanced Training are robust and appropriate.

More information about the Advanced Training Curricula Renewal Project is available on the RACP website.

Important information about CPD in 2020

The Medical Board of Australia (MBA) has stated that AHPRA will not take action if you cannot meet the CPD registration standard when you renew your medical registration in 2020.

The Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) announced that all general and vocationally-registered doctors are exempt from recertification program requirements until Sunday, 28 February 2021. Doctors returning to practice from 26 March 2020 are not required to enrol in the Inpractice or College program until Sunday, 28 February 2021.

Additionally, the MCNZ confirmed that doctors will not be audited for compliance with recertification programs between March 2020 and February 2021.

These relaxed requirements were announced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and apply to the CPD you are expected to undertake in 2020 and to your renewal declaration in the year that covers 2020 CPD.

In line with this regulatory advice, we will not be monitoring or auditing your 2020 CPD record, however it will remain open if you wish to record your CPD activities undertaken throughout 2020.

We know many of you will complete a multitude of CPD activities this year, whether upskilling in the use of telehealth for virtual consultations, reviewing online mental health resources, or vaccine development for those in immunology and infectious diseases research. The innovation we are currently seeing from our medical profession is perhaps the ultimate CPD.

In line with regulatory advice the College will resume monitoring and auditing CPD records in 2021.

If you have any queries relating to your CPD requirements, please don’t hesitate to contact us:

Update on Faculty exams

Thank you to everyone who has been involved or impacted by the postponed AFPHM 2020 exams.

The exams have been rescheduled and the new dates are now available on our website.

The Faculty Assessment Committee and College staff are working on contingency planning for all Faculty exams. We know that COVID-19 is impacting regions differently and that this will continue to evolve between now and the scheduled exams. We are monitoring COVID-19 in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand carefully, and we are preparing multiple contingencies to try and provide candidates with the best options possible.

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 are open from Thursday, 1 October to Monday, 30 November 2020.

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

John Snow Scholarship

Medical students currently enrolled in a medical school at an Australian or Aotearoa New Zealand university are encouraged to apply for the AFPHM John Snow Scholarship

Regional finalists will be selected and invited to do a presentation relating to public health as part of the RACP Congress or AFPHM Annual Scientific Meeting. The John Snow Scholarship is awarded to the best medical school student presentation among the regional finalists.

The National winner will receive $1,500 (AUD) to attend either the RACP Congress or AFPHM Annual Scientific Meeting in the following year.

Applications for the 2021 John Snow Scholarship are open until Friday, 30 October 2020.

Attend the online event on Thursday, 24 September 2020 where this year’s selected regional representatives are presenting:

Date: Thursday, 24 September 2020
Time: 5.30pm to 7pm (AEST) / 7.30pm to 9pm (NZST)

Register online

Presenter Title
Carla De Angelis The incidence of Acute Rheumatic Fever in Indigenous adults in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia
Zi Long Chow Patterns of pollen sensitisation and seasonal allergic rhinitis in Hobart, Tasmania
Malindu Fernando Discontinuation of contact precautions for hospital patients with drug-resistant healthcare associated infections – When is this a consideration?
Caris House Influenza and Pertussus Immunisation in pregnant women – A retrospective document audit at an outer metropolitan general practice
Jessica Medland Public health and clinical approach to prevent childhood burn injuries in Kenya
Roshan Selvaratnam The unintended harm of improving the detection of foetal growth restriction to reduce stillbirth

Te Hui ā-Ataata mō te Waiora o ngā Tauira Mahi
Trainees' Wellbeing Webinar: What's in your toolbox?

To equip you with strategies for finding the joy in medicine, you're invited to the Trainees' Wellbeing Webinar. This free online event will be held on Thursday, 15 October from 6pm to 9pm (NZDT) or 4pm to 7pm (AEDT). 

The webinar will bring together trainees from Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia to share inspirational ideas and practical strategies to help you at work. With an industry-leading keynote speaker, thought-provoking panel discussions, interactive breakout discussions and elements of Tikanga woven throughout the webinar, you won’t want to miss this event.

Register now

Free webinar – physician wellness in the era of COVID-19

Wednesday, 30 September 2020, 8am AEST, online

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists are pleased to invite all medical professionals to this free webinar presented by Dr Michael Myers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has made, and continues to make, a seismic shift in the wellbeing
of physicians worldwide. In this webinar, Dr Myers will discuss the myriad of ways in which
physicians have been impacted.


RACP Online Congress Series

The 2020 Online Congress Series continues throughout the rest of the year and is available on the Online Congress Series platform for you to access at any time. Register now to attend the upcoming live webinars.

The Gender Equity in Medicine panel discussion

Date: Thursday, 24 September 2020
Time:12pm to 1pm (AEST) / 2pm to 3pm (NZST)
Chair: Professor Christine Bennett AO, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Head of Campus, Sydney, The
University of Notre Dame Australia

Register now

The AFPHM John Snow Scholarship Finals

Date: Thursday, 24 September 2020
Time:5.30pm to 7pm (AEST) / 7.30pm to 9pm (NZST)
Chair: Professor Donna Mak, Head of Population and Preventive Health, School of Medicine, University of Notre Dame, Perth, Western Australia

Register now

Heart disease management update across the life continuum

Date: Tuesday, 6 October 2020
Time: 6pm to 7pm (AEDT) / 8pm to 9pm (NZDT)
Chair: Dr Yong Shen Wee, Cardiologist at Prince Charles Hospital, Brisbane

Register now

Online Congress Fringe Experience

We recognise how important it is to take time out for your health and wellbeing. Many healthcare professionals do extraordinary things outside of medicine and we are showcasing them again this year in the Online Congress Fringe Experience.

We hope you enjoy the latest meditation by Dr Susannah Ward and violin performance by Dr Hecham Harb.

Workplace Report (WPR) Assessors 

The Faculty Training Committee is seeking interest from Public Health Fellows to join the assessor panel for marking WPRs for Advanced Trainees in Public Health Medicine.

We understand that the workload of AFPHM Fellows has been severely impacted by COVID-19 and appreciate any assistance with assessing WPRs.

Trainees require two WPRs assessed as a pass in order to be eligible for the rescheduled 2020 oral exam.

Assessing WPRs can also earn Continuing Professional Development (CPD) credits.

The final 2020 WPR submission round opened on 15 September and will close on 15 October 2020.

If you can assess any WPRs in September and/or October, please contact

Workplace Report (WPR) submission round is open

The final submission round for 2020 opened on Tuesday, 15 September (9am AEST) and closes on Thursday, 15 October (11.55pm AEDT).

Due to the impacts of COVID-19, this submission round has been extended.

What to submit?

You need to submit your WPR, cover sheet, separate abstract and any other supporting documents via the AFPHM Advanced Training Portal

Please note that Advanced Training Research Projects (ATRP) are not to be submitted via the AFPHM portal. You need to submit an ATRP cover sheet and a Turnitin Similarity Report to

More information

Please find more information in the WPR Guidelines available on the AFPHM Advanced Training Portal.
If you have any questions, please contact us at or call 1300 697 227.

New marking form

The Faculty Assessment Committee (FAC) has revised the marking form for assessing Workplace Reports (WPRs).

The new form is available on the Public Health Medicine specialty webpage and will be implemented in the first WPR submission round for 2021.

The revisions to the marking form include changing from a numerical assessment to a series of grades (below expected standard, meets expected standard, exceeds expected standard) that are used to address the eight assessment areas of the report. 

The form has been trialled and revised, based on feedback from assessors and from the Faculty Education Committee.

It is designed to be applicable for a variety of types of Workplace Reports.

Call for member feedback: College submission to IHPA Consultation Paper on the Pricing Framework for Australian Public Hospital Services 2021-22

The Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) has released its Consultation Paper on the Pricing Framework for Australian Public Hospital Services 2021-22 and is inviting submissions. The College is intending to produce a submission.

To help us develop a submission we are seeking the views of public hospital physicians. If you are interested in contributing, please download the full consultation paper and send your responses to any of the consultation questions to by close of business Friday, 25 September 2020.

The following are questions that we are particularly interested in seeking feedback from our members on:

Impact of COVID-19

  • What changes have occurred to service delivery, activity levels and models of care in public hospitals as a result of COVID-19?
  • How will these changes affect the costs of these services in the short and long term?

Alternate funding models

IHPA is currently assessing the Victorian HealthLinks program, which uses a capitation model, for inclusion on the General List of In-Scope Public Hospital Services. This program aims to provide an alternative funding model to Activity Based Funding (ABF) and promotes innovative ways of funding care pathways such as chronic care.

IHPA has also conducted some initial analysis of activity data associated with Adjacent Diagnoses Related Groups (ADRGs) to assign ADRGs to suitable funding models (e.g. ABF, bundled payments or capitation payments).

  • What comments do you have regarding the innovative funding models being considered by IHPA?
  • What factors should IHPA consider in its analysis to determine which patient cohorts or ADRGs are amenable to certain funding models?

Participate in the ethics online learning course

Ethics lies at the very heart of what it is to be a physician and is as relevant now as it was when first discussed 2,500 years ago. The ethics online learning resource focuses on the sorts of ethical issues that are a constant feature of healthcare, and it also addresses some of the ideas that underpin ethics, such as the relationship between ethics and the law and the difference between ethics and rights. 

The aims of this course are to:

  • encourage discussion and broaden thinking about the main ethical issues facing physicians
  • encourage reflection on appropriate courses of action in situations that may be ethically challenging
  • challenge participants’ understanding of, and attitudes towards, ethics
  • model ethical practice
  • help participants reflect on their own and their profession’s ethical commitments. 

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

Medical Training Survey

The 2020 Medical Training Survey will be closing soon. This survey is run by the Medical Board of Australia to gather feedback on your experience of medical training this year.

Information about the Medical Training Survey is available on the Medical Training Survey website. The survey link was sent by email from the Medical Board of Australia.

Ensure you are up to date with the latest evidence from Evolve on addiction medicine

The RACP, in partnership with the Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine, has launched the latest Evolve Top-5 recommendations on low-value practices. 

Practitioners of all disciplines, not just addiction medicine specialists, will come across patients who experience substance addiction and may have to play a substantial role in their management.

The newest Evolve Top-5 recommendations ask clinicians to:

  • be aware of the potentially detrimental consequences of deprescribing opioids to people with chronic pain who are opioid dependent (even as they are also aware of the harms of overprescribing of opioids for chronic pain)
  • follow best-practice approaches to elective withdrawal and pharmacological care for substance use disorder by ensuring that support plans and services are available to affected patients
  • be cognisant of the fact that patients and their carers are often in such distress that they might advocate for treatments that are not evidence-based. In such cases, practitioners might refer to off-label use guidelines, seek a second opinion and provide the patent/carer with clear information on such treatment options
  • embrace a universal precautions approach for any medication with a potential for misuse, so that risk assessment, monitoring, clear communications and harm minimisation are all standard components in treating patients who use such medication. 

For more information about the latest Evolve recommendations visit the Evolve website.

Get involved with Evolve

If you want to be more involved in shaping Evolve, consider joining the Evolve Policy Reference Group. The RACP regularly consults, collaborates and partners with Fellows and trainees in the Evolve Policy Reference Group. The group plays an important role in leading and shaping Evolve to make it more relevant and fit-for-purpose. Email to find out more.

Palliative and end-of-life care during the COVID-19 pandemic

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Australian palliative care clinicians are facing the likelihood of significant challenges to the delivery, availability and quality of palliative care for existing patients, new patients with diseases other than COVID-19, and those who might die from COVID-19.

report written for the Australian COVID-19 Palliative Care Working Group, of which the RACP is a member, has been published by Palliative Care Australia to guide a greater understanding of the challenge of the pandemic for the delivery of palliative care.

The report describes the role of palliative care in supporting various patient journeys during COVID-19, including the importance of Advance Care Planning, the ethical considerations that may arise if resource allocation or rationing become necessary, the principles that govern the distribution of finite resources and the practical realities of how such principles are implemented.

The report says Australia has not yet comprehensively addressed these issues and invites Australian governments to take the lead in working with clinicians and communities to create the much-needed guidelines for difficult decision-making during a disaster or pandemic.

In a related development, the Australian College of Critical Care Nurses has issued a Position Statement intended to guide critical care nurses in facilitating next-of-kin presence for patients dying from COVID-19 in the intensive care unit (ICU). The statement endorses practices aimed at facilitating family visitation in critical care where resources such as Personal Protective Equipment and staffing permit it.

Your Member Advantage insurance offers

As a valued member you can access insurance from Vero.

Vero has two levels of home and contents insurance cover to protect your home, contents and valuables. Compare the options below and choose the best cover for you:

Secure Home Extra Insurance cover for your home and contents in the case of insured events such as storms, fire, flood, theft, burglary, and vandalism. You can upgrade to Secure Home Elite Insurance to also include accidental damage cover.

Visit your Member Advantage benefits website for more information.

This may contain general advice and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Conditions and Exclusions apply. A Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) is available for this product and can be requested when you call for a quote or can be downloaded from the Vero website: You should consider the PDS before deciding whether to buy any of these products. The insurer is AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 trading as Vero Insurance.

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:

COVID-19 Australian Frontline Healthcare Worker Study Information

Future proofing the frontline: Investigating psychosocial and mental health needs of frontline health workers during COVID-19 and beyond

The research team, which represents multiple universities and healthcare organisations, and importantly includes frontline healthcare workers, is undertaking a research survey to investigate the extent of mental health, psychosocial and workplace issues experienced by frontline health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. As frontline health staff work in stressful environments under usual working conditions, it is crucial that they understand the additional burdens that crises such as pandemics generate and how best support programs can respond to these events.

From this study, they hope to understand the strategies and mental health services used and desired by frontline health workers in times of crisis. They will use this information to make recommendations to address these needs during future crisis events. This survey is open to all healthcare workers in Australia and explores the important social, occupational and mental health effects experienced by frontline health workers during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Data collected will remain anonymous, unidentifiable and will only be accessed by the investigators of this study. The study has received ethics approval from the Melbourne Health Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC 2020.241).

Access survey

The research team is aware that asking health workers to reflect on the changes that have occurred during the pandemic may cause some distress, and they encourage health workers to seek support if this is the case.

The RACP Support Program is a fully confidential and independent help line available 24 hours, seven days – free for Fellows and trainees. The research team also recommends the telephone support lines, web-based resources and apps offered by the following organisations:


Please feel free to contact the research team if you would like further information or would like to discuss the project. The team thanks you very much for your support.

Associate Professor Jane Munro, MBBS FRACP MPH MHSM
Head of Rheumatology
The Royal Children’s Hospital
Murdoch Children's Research Institute

Professor Karen Willis
Co-lead Investigator
Allied Health Research Consultant
The Royal Melbourne Hospital
La Trobe University

Associate Professor Natasha Smallwood
Co-lead Investigator
Consultant Respiratory Physician
The Royal Melbourne Hospital
University of Melbourne

Career opportunities

For career opportunities, please see the College website to view all medical positions vacant.

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.

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. 

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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