AFPHM eBulletin – 20 August 2021
A message from your President
This week has been huge, with progressive lockdowns due to rising infections with the delta variant of COVID-19 in much of eastern Australia, along with the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report from Working Group 1 on the physical science of progress on climate change. The Sixth Assessment Report from Working Group II that includes health impacts is due early in 2022. The Faculty continues to advocate for public health approaches to the COVID-19 response through our membership of the RACP Expert Reference Group, and to advocate on climate change, and particularly the threats to health and public health, through our Faculty Policy and Advocacy Committee.
Recently, I joined President John Wilson AM, President of the Paediatrics and Child Health Division, Cathy Choong and Chairs of all Regional Committees in asking Health Minister Greg Hunt for the release of the Preventive National Obesity Strategy for an urgent final review and action. The letter to Mr Hunt expresses our concern that the much-delayed strategy is at risk of becoming obsolete and ineffective if not acted on in a timely manner. The letter also notes that work on the Obesity Strategy's treatment aspects should proceed as the second phase of this critical undertaking. Similar letters have been issued to all Australian health ministers and Shadow Health Minister Mark Butler. The letter is part of the College's ongoing efforts to tackle the challenge of obesity in a timely and resolute manner. The letter to Mr Hunt is available on the College website.
You will recall that at RACP Congress this year, there was a session on the release of the document outlining the role of public health physicians ‘Public Health Physicians: Protecting, Promoting, and Improving Health for the Whole Community’. The release session, with some great speakers talking about careers across the range of public health medicine, had been available only to registrants for Congress but has now been made available on the College’s public YouTube page. Enjoy!
Next month will see the launch of the RACP Online Community (ROC), to improve connections across the Faculty and the College for Fellows and trainees. Announcements, events and EOIs will be posted on the ROC as soon as they are available, rather than waiting for our monthly eBulletin. You will receive an email alert from the ROC when new content is posted, improving the timeliness of our work. I am hoping the ROC will be a place that we can share ideas for CPD, special interest groups such as researchers in public health, and connect with Fellows and trainees within and across our regions in a way that has not previously been possible.
Finally, I would like to remind you (again) that at least one Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) workshop needs to be completed by the end of 2021 for supervisors to remain eligible to supervise trainees. Each of the SPDP workshops (1-3) are now offered as an amended version more relevant to AFPHM and/or AFOEM, with facilitators from AFPHM or AFOEM (as well as the clinical versions). Several workshops are planned at different times of the day and days of the week between now and the end of the year. I am facilitating several workshops – this is also a great chance for me to meet our Fellowship (given restrictions on travel!).
In these very uncertain times, I hope you can stay safe both physically and mentally. I am in awe of our many Fellows and trainees who are at the public forefront of the pandemic response, so adeptly navigating the politics, public anxiety, media and so on. You are amazing – thank you.
I would like to finish on a high by welcoming Dr Sarah Khanlari as a New Fellow since my last post. Please welcome and congratulate her.
All the best
Emeritus Professor Robyn Lucas
Your College, your voice. We’re listening
There’s still time to share your thoughts about the College via our Member Satisfaction Survey (MSS).
Please complete the survey and have your say so we can understand your overall satisfaction with the College and identify areas for improvement. The survey closing date has been extended by two weeks and will now close on Monday, 30 August 2021. The survey should take no longer than 15 minutes. This is your chance to tell us how we’re doing and have your say.
The survey is being conducted by EY Sweeney, an independent contractor. They will provide aggregated results back to us and any individual comments are not identified as coming from a specific member – your survey responses are anonymous.
How you can access the survey
On Tuesday, 27 July, you should have received an email containing the survey link from email@example.com. You should have also received a reminder email from them on Friday, 13 August with a link to complete the survey. If you didn’t receive these emails, contact us. Further information about the survey is available on the RACP website.
Find out more
Workplace Report (WPR) and Advanced Training Research Project (ATRP) – Submission round opening soon
The final WPR/ATRP submission round for 2021 opens on Wednesday, 1 September 2021 (9am AEST) and closes on Wednesday, 29 September 2021 (11.55pm AEST). Trainees who commenced the program prior to 2017, are required to submit 3 x WPRs over the course of training. Trainees who commenced the program from 2017 onwards, are required to submit 2 x WPRs and 1 x ATRP over the course of training.
You may submit your WPR, cover sheet
, separate abstract and any other supporting documents via the AFPHM Advanced Training Portal
Advanced Training Research Projects (ATRP)
You may submit your ATRP, cover sheet
and a Turnitin Similarity Report to firstname.lastname@example.org
. These are not
to be submitted via the AFPHM portal.
If you have any questions, please contact us at Publichealth@racp.edu.au or call 1300 697 227.
AFPHM National Training Day Series
To round off the AFPHM National Training Day Series, the final session will take place on Tuesday, 24 August from 12pm to 1.30pm AEST.
Session 3 will focus on ‘Policy development’ and will be presented by Professor Kate Conigrave and Dr Malcolm Dobbin. For more information on this session please visit the event webpage
Register for session 3 now
Practising rural and remote medicine offers opportunities, career progression and a lifestyle simply not available in Australia’s big cities. You can watch a fascinating new series of short videos In our Own Words, about the critical role our Fellows and trainees fulfil in providing healthcare to small towns, the regions and remote Australia, via the Specialist Training Program (STP).
The STP is a funding initiative of the Australian Government Department of Health. There are around 900 STP-funded training positions across Australia, managed by 13 medical colleges. The RACP currently manages around 380 positions.
With funding from the Commonwealth Department of Health, we’re increasing awareness and understanding of the Program. Our members tell their own stories, what it has meant to them and the communities they serve.
We will be releasing these to you weekly over the coming months. The videos will be available on the RACP website, where we have created a new mini-site information about the program.
Neil Hamilton Fairley Medal
Nominations for the Neil Hamilton Fairley Medal for 2022 are now open. This medal is awarded by the RACP every five years to recognise an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of medicine. The medal was last awarded to Professor Roger Reddel in 2017.
This award is open to RACP Fellows as well as individuals outside the College. However the nominee must be nominated by a Fellow of the College to be considered.
Details on the application process and selection criteria are available on the website. Nominations close on Tuesday, 31 August 2021.
Gerry Murphy Prize
AFPHM Advanced Trainees are encouraged to submit an abstract for the 2022 Gerry Murphy Prize. Trainees across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand have the opportunity to present on public health issues at regional competitions hosted by the AFPHM Regional Committees. The best presenter from each regional event will go on to compete for the Gerry Murphy Prize at the Population Health Congress 2022.
Applications close Thursday, 30 September 2021. Visit the Gerry Murphy Prize webpage
for more details.
John Snow Scholarship
The John Snow Scholarship provides opportunities for medical students to increase their appreciation of public health medicine as a medical specialty and potential career path. Medical students currently enrolled in Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand medical schools are encouraged to apply.
Selected representatives from each region across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand will be invited to present at a virtual event hosted by the Faculty in 2022, and will receive $250 cash and online registration to the Population Health Congress 2022. The overall winner will receive $1,500 cash. Please see the website for further details.
Applications close Tuesday, 12 October 2021.
Applications close Tuesday, 31 August 2021 at 5pm (AEST).
Are you a trainee or a first year Fellow who would like to be recognised for your research? This is your last chance to submit your abstract for the 2021 RACP Trainee Research Awards.
This prestigious event is held annually and open to all Divisions, Faculties and Chapters. A winner from Adult Medicine and a winner from Paediatrics & Child Health will be selected from each Australian state/territory and from Aotearoa New Zealand.
The best presenters from each Australian state/territory and from Aotearoa New Zealand are invited to be part of the 'Research and Innovation stream' at RACP Congress 2022, with complimentary registration and travel. Abstracts are also published in the Congress supplement of the Internal Medicine Journal or the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health.
For information about application, eligibility, selection criteria and process, the abstract submission guideline, the prize details and a list of past winners please view the webpage. Submit your application by 5pm (AEST) Tuesday, 31 August 2021.
College Medals and Awards
Nominations are now open for the following College and Fellowship Awards. They acknowledge outstanding contributions and achievements made by Fellows and trainees in their respective fields.
We encourage you to nominate for the following medals:
- The John Sands Medal recognises a Fellow who makes a significant contribution to the welfare of RACP and its members.
- The College Medal is aligned to the College motto hominum servire saluti. It is awarded to a Fellow who makes a significant contribution to medical specialist practice, healthcare and/or health of community through physician activities.
- The International Medal recognises a member who has provided outstanding service in developing countries.
- The Medal for Clinical Service in Rural and Remote Areas recognises a Fellow who has provided outstanding clinical service in rural and remote areas of Australia or Aotearoa New Zealand.
- The Mentor of the Year Award recognises a Fellow who has made an outstanding contribution to mentoring or provided a high level of support and guidance throughout training.
- The Trainee of the Year Award recognises a trainee who has made an outstanding contribution to College, community and trainee activities.
- The Eric Susman Prize is awarded by the College to a Fellow for best contribution to the knowledge of internal medicine.
Successful nominees are presented a medal at RACP Congress and receive full Congress registration, travel and accommodation.
Full details are available on the RACP Foundation webpage.
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 by enrolling in our Research Projects
online course. It’s designed to support trainees through 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.
RACP Online Learning Resources
are free for members and count towards Continuing Professional Development
Training requirements reminder
We would like to remind all trainees of the following AFPHM training requirements and when to submit.
Learning Contracts and Reports
Due to the impacts of COVID-19, the deadlines for the following have been extended:
- Learning Contracts will be accepted within eight weeks of commencing a training position.
- Learning Contract Reports will be accepted within 10 weeks of completing a training position.
You can download a Learning Contract, a Learning Contract Report or see the Program Requirements for more information.
Please note that failure to adhere to College deadlines may result in periods of training not counting towards your training time in accordance with the Progression through Training Policy.
Please contact us if you have any questions about your training requirements and if you would like assistance with the content of your Learning Contract or Report, please contact the AFPHM Learning Contract Advisor.
AFPHM mentorship guidelines
In accordance with the requirements for Advanced Training in Public Health Medicine, trainees must have one mentor (minimum) over the course of training. An AFPHM mentor is a formal mentoring relationship and their role is to guide the overall professional development of the trainee as they move through the AFPHM training program.
The AFPHM Education Committee (FEC) has been working to provide some guidance to trainees and Fellows on AFPHM mentorship and has now published some guidelines on the College’s Advanced Training Supervision webpage. Trainees and Fellows can refer to these guidelines when choosing a mentor or throughout the training experience.
Expressions of Interest for AFPHM committee roles
Vacancies on the AFPHM Education Committee (FEC)
The FEC has two vacancies and are seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI) from public health medicine Fellows to join as the Physician Education Lead and Accreditation Lead. The FEC oversees the Advanced Training program in public health medicine.
The calls for interest for each position can be found on the College’s EOI page: Physician Education Lead
and Accreditation Lead
. The position descriptions have also been provided in these pages.
Fellows who are interested are invited to submit an EOI form and CV to PublicHealth@racp.edu.au
by COB Friday, 27 August 2021. For any questions, you can contact Lanica Roventa on the same email.
Calling all public health medicine trainees
The Faculty Training Committee (FTC) is looking for a Trainee Representative from AFPHM. The Committee oversees Advanced Training in public health medicine.
Details of this position and how to submit an application can be found on the RACP website
Upcoming Supervisor Professional Development Program session – Learning Environment and Culture Work
We invite you to a supervisor training workshop, Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) 2: Learning Environment and Culture – specifically for non-clinical members.
The session will be three hours and will cover the following topics:
- Establish an environment for learning
- Use effective tools for teaching and assessment
- Model professional behaviour
- Set goals and plan for learning.
Date: Thursday, 14 October 2021
Time: 5pm to 8pm (AEDT)
Location: Zoom (virtual)
Facilitator: Dr David Goddard
Registration: Register online before Thursday, 7 October 2021 (places are limited)
*Please note you will receive an email after registration containing your specific Zoom link to access the workshop.
As a reminder, you can claim CPD credits. If you are currently enrolled in the College’s MyCPD program, you can claim credits for this workshop under Category 2, at a rate of three credits per hour.
For more information about the SPDP, visit the College website or contact the Supervisor Learning Support unit at email@example.com.
The results of the 2020 Physician Training Survey are now available to RACP members through an interactive reporting dashboard. You can access the dashboard through your MyRACP login.
View the Physician Training Survey 2020 Summary Report for an overview of the key findings for all physician trainees and educators and how they compare to those from 2018.
The survey results indicate that most trainee and educator respondents were satisfied with their overall training experience in 2020 and would recommend their workplace training setting to others. However, it is evident that last year, service provision took priority over education compared to previous years and educational opportunities were reduced. Ongoing issues regarding workload, wellbeing and workplace culture were highlighted once again, with increased rates of burnout, bullying, harassment and discrimination. While some of the concerning findings may be temporary impacts of COVID-19, the results highlight ongoing systemic issues that need to be addressed.
Through the Physician Training Survey, the RACP:
- supports individuals by providing confidential support to respondents who raised wellbeing concerns through the RACP support program
- drives improvements in training settings by providing feedback and identifying settings with results that indicate potential concerns and asking the training setting’s executives to respond to the feedback
- informs systemic change by using results in the development of strategic approaches to improve physician training and the culture of medicine.
We thank all trainees and educators who took part in this important activity.
About the Physician Training Survey
Eligible RACP trainees and their educators were asked to reflect on their training experiences during Term 3 in Australia and Quarter 4 in Aotearoa New Zealand. 21 per cent (n=1675) of trainees and 17 per cent (n=907) of educators responded to the survey. The survey explored topics aligned to the Training Provider Standards. We also sought feedback on the impacts of COVID-19 on training.
The survey is independently administered by research company ENGINE, ensuring we receive anonymous survey data only. Data is not reported where there are less than five participant responses.
Further details about the Physician Training Survey are provided on the RACP website.
For some people, COVID-19 can cause symptoms that last weeks or months after infection, which is referred to as post-COVID-19 syndrome or ‘long COVID’. The RACP will be convening a set of webinars to inform members across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, on understanding the impact of long COVID and how to manage both the short and long-term practicalities in daily life.
Understanding and managing long COVID
Thursday, 2 September 2021, 5pm to 6.30pm (AEST) / 7pm to 8.30pm (NZST)
This webinar will help participants understand the impact of long COVID and how to manage matters in the early phase. Attendees will have a better understanding of how to investigate and diagnose long COVID, and how to manage patients in the sub-acute phase of their disease.
The RACP President, the Presidents of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine and the Paediatrics & Child Health Division and the Chairs of all Regional Committees have asked the Australian Minister for Health and Aged Care, The Hon Greg Hunt for the release of the Preventive National Obesity Strategy for an urgent final review and action.
The letter to Minister Hunt stresses the College's concern that the much-delayed strategy is at risk of becoming obsolete and ineffective if not acted on in a timely manner. The letter also notes that work on the Obesity Strategy's treatment aspects should proceed as the second phase of this critical undertaking.
Similar letters have been issued to all Australian health ministers and Shadow Health Minister Mark Butler. The letter is part of the College's ongoing efforts to tackle the challenge of obesity in a timely and resolute manner.
Read letter to Minister Hunt
End of Life Law for Clinicians (ELLC) has launched 10 new and updated online training modules for medical practitioners, nurses, allied and other health professionals and medical students. The training can be accessed for free at the ELLC online training portal. Some of the topics covered include:
- the role of law in end-of-life care
- capacity and consent to medical treatment
- withholding and withdrawing life-sustaining medical treatment
- Advance Care Planning and Advance Care Directives
- substitute decision-making for medical treatment
- legal protection for administering pain and symptom relief
- children and end-of-life decision-making
- futile or non-beneficial treatment
- emergency treatment for adults
- managing conflict.
The modules include clinical case studies, vignettes of clinicians sharing their end-of-life experiences, legal cases and interactive learning. For further information please visit the ELLC online training portal or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This new online course has been designed to help physicians and trainees better understand the RACP’s Medical Specialist Access Framework and take steps to apply its principles in their daily practice, with the aim of addressing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s inequitable access to specialist healthcare by connecting stakeholders involved in delivering specialist medical care. The course focuses on steps that individual practitioners can take, highlighting successful case studies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accessing specialist care.
On 9 August 2021, we acknowledged International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The theme of the Day was ‘Leaving no one behind: Indigenous peoples and the call for a new social contract’. In Australia, a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is a form of social contract, which provides a structure for Australian organisations to support the national reconciliation movement, formalises efforts to achieving reconciliation and is endorsed by Reconciliation Australia.
We are pleased to launch our second Reflect RAP: July 2021 to July 2022, which is a strategic initiative of the RACP Indigenous Strategic Framework Priority 4 focused on fostering a culturally safe and competent College. The development of our RAP has an important role in supporting our Indigenous Strategic Framework’s commitment in Australia to:
- reducing health inequities between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander physicians
- creating a culturally safe College for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Our RAP focuses on relationships, respect, opportunities and governance. We encourage all members based in Australia to read and learn more about our latest Reflect RAP and look into how they can contribute to RAPs in their own workplaces.
Read Reflect RAP
Given the cultural sensitivities surrounding death, it is important that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural beliefs and practices are acknowledged and accommodated during the palliative and end-of-life care journey. The Gwandalan National Palliative Care Project aims to improve the quality of palliative care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. New free education for health professionals who provide palliative and end-of-life care to Indigenous Australians is now available.
The training does not address clinical palliative care content, but rather supports the provision of culturally safe and responsive palliative care by upskilling frontline staff to contextualise care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and deliver services in a way which supports a good ‘finishing up’. Visit Gwandalan to register for the training.
To support you in your important role of providing clear and consistent advice to patients on health conditions where an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine is appropriate, we have provided the grounds for exemption below.
The Australian Technical Advisory Group (ATAGI) advises persons aged 60 and over are eligible for the Pfizer Comirnaty vaccine if they have one of the following conditions:
- past history of cerebral venous sinus thrombosis (CVST)
- past history of Heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT)
- past history of idiopathic splanchnic (mesenteric, portal, splenic) vein thrombosis
- antiphospholipid syndrome with thrombosis and
- contraindications to COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca. This means:
- anaphylaxis to a previous dose or to an ingredient of the vaccine
- thrombosis with thrombocytopenia occurring after the first dose of AstraZeneca or
- other serious adverse event attributed to the first dose of AstraZeneca.
Persons aged 60 years and older must provide a letter from their general practitioner or specialist doctor stating that they have a history of the above conditions to receive an alternative to the AstraZeneca vaccine.
A joint statement is available, ATAGI and the Thrombosis and Haemostasis society of Australia and New Zealand (THANZ) on Thrombosis with Thrombocytopenia Syndrome (TTS) and the use of COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca which advises that the following groups of people can receive the AstraZeneca vaccine as their risk of TTS is not likely to be increased:
- people with a past history of venous thromboembolism in typical sites, such as deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism
- people with a predisposition to form blood clots, such as those with Factor V Leiden, or other non-immune thrombophilic disorders
- people with a family history of clots or clotting conditions
- people currently receiving anticoagulant medications
- people with a history of ischaemic heart disease or cerebrovascular accident
- people with a current or past history of thrombocytopenia.
Please check the Department of Health advice in your jurisdiction for any potential additional eligibilities for the Pfizer Comirnaty vaccine for over 60s, as we are aware that some jurisdictions have additional details, for example Western Australia, Australian Capital Territory and South Australia. We are aware there are plans to align all jurisdiction advice and remove variations, however we do not have confirmation of the timeframe for this, so we encourage you to regularly check your local jurisdiction advice in addition to the Commonwealth advice for potential amendments. We will aim to share further advice when information comes to hand.
The Medical Board of Australia’s Medical Training Survey (MTS) will be running for another month. Eligible participants are all doctors in training, including RACP trainees in Australia.
A survey link is provided after you renew your registration. If you miss it, you’ll find it in your Ahpra confirmation of registration email. We encourage you to complete this important survey and have your say on medical training in Australia.
About the Medical Training Survey
The MTS is a national survey of all doctors in training in Australia. Results provide a snapshot of the quality and experience of medical training in Australia. The survey is independently administered by research company EY Sweeney. The MTS is anonymous and your answers will be handled in line with the privacy policies of the Medical Board of Australia, Ahpra and EY Sweeney. Only de-identified survey data will be provided to Ahpra and the Medical Board of Australia.
Further details can be found by visiting the MTS website. If you have questions regarding the MTS, please email MTS@ahpra.gov.au.
Interested Fellows and trainees are invited to submit expressions of interest to join a working group to develop a new Quality and Safety Spaced Learning course. The Quality and Safety Spaced Learning course will be delivered via Qstream and will comprise of six case study questions. Participants will receive case studies directly to their inbox and can complete them at a time that suits them over a four-week period. The working group will assist in the development and drafting of case study questions.
Find out more and apply by Friday, 27 August 2021
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:
For career opportunities, please see the College website to view all medical 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
Phone: (AUS) 1300 69 7227
Phone: (NZ) 0508 69 7227
AFPHM Faculty enquiries (including Council and committees):
Public Health Learning Advisor:
AFPHM Education and Training enquiries:
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:
Phone: +61 2 8247 6285
AFPHM Aotearoa New Zealand enquiries:
RACP Aotearoa New Zealand Office
Phone: +64 4 472 6713