AFPHM eBulletin – 27 July 2018

Sustainable healthcare: focus of discussion at the most recent CPMC meeting 

RACP President Associate Professor Mark Lane led a roundtable discussion regarding environmentally sustainable healthcare during the most recent meeting of the Australian Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges (CPMC). 

Discussion centred on the health risks posed by climate change and extreme weather events, including the additional burden placed on healthcare delivery. The RACP developed a communique which eight medical colleges have signed to highlight their concern about the urgent health impacts of climate change.

The CPMC heard from Dr David Pencheon OBE, Founding Director of the NHS Sustainable Development Unit in England, which succeeded in reducing the carbon emissions of the NHS by 11 per cent from 2007 to 2015, representing a saving of £1.85 billion while also increasing services by 18 per cent. Dr Pencheon cited these landmark developments in the United Kingdom as the first steps in a transition towards a more sustainable and resilient healthcare system, noting that “It is vital for healthcare services to address the nature of energy use of the healthcare sector as well as implementing effective risk management strategies.”

Attendees noted the critical need for more energy efficient operations in Australian healthcare services, with recent findings from the Lancet indicating that Australia’s healthcare system now contributes to more than seven per cent of the nation’s carbon footprint, and that hospitals and pharmaceutical companies were together responsible for two-thirds of this carbon footprint. 

The RACP has been advocating for: 

  1. a national approach to achieve significant carbon reductions in healthcare, including appropriate metrics and measurements of the total carbon footprints of the Australian health sector
  2. the Australian Government to establish Healthcare Sustainability Units, similar to the model used by the National Health Service in the United Kingdom. 

The RACP will continue to play a part in growing the network of health and medical organisations calling for action on climate change.

A message from your President

Last week AFPHM Council Members and Chairs of Regional Committees held the biennial Planning Day followed by a face-to-face Council meeting. At the Planning Day, we noted the significant progress against the previous year’s plans as well as prioritising future activities. Among other things, we discussed the future of public health medicine in the context of decreasing or stagnant investment in public health in many jurisdictions around Australia and declining public health physician positions within government. 

In 2017 the Human Capital Alliance prepared a report for AFPHM entitled Planned and unplanned futures for the public health physician workforce in Australia. This document outlines three potential scenarios for demand for a public health physician workforce – a ‘best guess’ or business as usual scenario based on current trends, and three optimistic scenarios that are unlikely to occur without further advocacy and/or finding new opportunities for employment of public health physicians. 

At our meeting we decided to prioritise advocacy in relation to the role of public health medicine in the public health workforce, to be assisted by a document clearly outlining the benefits of employing public health physicians. We also discussed whether our curriculum is adequately training public health physicians for current and future roles, and decided curriculum review was necessary within the next few years. We also decided to prioritise opportunities for dual training, including with general practice training. 

There were a number of ‘quick wins’ we identified that will hopefully be implemented soon to make it easier to communicate with each other. We also discussed strategies for encouraging greater engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander doctors, and we discussed ways to partner with Pacific Island countries in support of public health. We look forward to being able to do this under the umbrella of a RACP MOU with the Secretariat for the Pacific Community, which will hopefully be in place later this year. This work will be incorporated into a completed plan over the next couple of months.

Finally, at both meetings we discussed how we can engage more fully with our members. We noted that there are very few Chairs of Regional Committees in place at the moment and some jurisdictions (NSW and Tas in particular) have very few Regional Committee members. Regional Committees are important vehicles for engaging with members at regional/jurisdictional level as well as for supporting training. If you would like to join your Regional Committee, please indicate your interest by emailing

Associate Professor Linda Selvey
President, AFPHM

RACP submission to the Australian Parliament’s Senate Select Committee into the obesity epidemic in Australia

The College has made a submission to the Australian Parliament’s Senate Select Committee into the obesity epidemic in Australia. The Inquiry focuses on childhood obesity and the College’s submission  highlights the important recommendations to governments  made in the RACP Position Statement on Obesity (May 2018). The submission introduces the Position Statement and supporting Evidence Review as the College’s key policy work in this area.

The College’s submission will soon be available on the P&A Library and on the Inquiry’s webpage.

Putting public health medicine and training 'on the radar': a qualitative evaluation of a medical student public health scholarship

AFPHM established the John Snow Scholarship (JSS) in 2009 with the aim of improving the profile of public health medicine among medical students and to encourage the ‘brightest and best’ to become public health physicians.  This qualitative study aimed to evaluate the perceived impact of the JSS on recipients, and thereby determine if the aims and objectives of the scholarship are being met.

Marianne Dowsett
Caroline Bulsara
Donna B Mak

Read the full report (PDF 172.35KB)

AFPHM 2018 Oral Exam Instructions to Candidates – now online

The 2018 AFPHM Oral Examination Instructions to Candidates have been published on the Exams page of the RACP website.

If you have any further queries regarding the 2018 AFPHM Oral Examination, please contact

ANZCA’s PM10 Statement on Medicinal Cannabis

The Faculty of Pain Medicine (FPM) of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) has recently updated its statement on medicinal cannabis named PM10 Statement on 'Medicinal Cannabis' with particular reference to its use in the management of patients with chronic non-cancer pain, following a consultative forum.

Compared with the 2015 statement, there are no changes to its position fundamentally, that is – the current evidence base is insufficient to demonstrate the efficacy of cannabinoids in pain management among patients with chronic non-cancer pain and to support their clinical use in this context. This position is also bolstered by a recent landmark systematic review, on which the development of TGA’s document on guidance for the use of medicinal cannabis in the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain in Australia is based. 

Additionally, the background notes of the FPM’s 2018 statement include a brief summary of new evidence. 

Members of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine

There are 15 positions to be filled by way of expressions of interest to the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine:

  • one position open for the Chair of FPAC
  • three positions open for members of FPAC
  • one position open to all trainees of the AFPHM; which will be the Chair of the Faculty Trainees’ Committee
  • one position is open to a medical practitioner who is an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person
  • one position is open to a medical practitioner who is Māori
  • one position open for the Chair of AFPHM ACT Regional Committee
  • one position open for the Chair of AFPHM NT Regional Committee
  • one position open for the Chair of AFPHM SA Regional Committee
  • one position open for the Chair of AFPHM TAS Regional Committee
  • one position open for members of the AFPHM TAS Regional Committee 
  • one position open for the Chair of FPAC AFPHM VIC Regional Committee
  • one position open for the Trainee Representative of AFPHM NZ Regional Committee
  • one positions open for members of the AFPHM NZ Regional Committee. 

Before nominating for the role, candidates must familiarise themselves with the following documents:

Position descriptions:

To nominate, submit a completed an Expression of Interest Form and your resume by email to

Exciting line-up for Northern Territory event

Join colleagues from across Australia for a critical look at healthcare and vulnerable populations at the 2018 Northern Territory Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM).

Featuring a keynote address from Young Australian of the Year in the UK, Dr Geordan Shannon, the ASM brings together experts from Australia and abroad to share ideas, acquire new knowledge and develop unique insights that will help improve your practice.

Find out more

$60,000 on offer for Travel Grants for 2019

If you’re thinking of taking up study overseas or a research fellowship overseas there are currently several travel grants being offered for 2019 including:

  • Bushell Travelling Fellowship in Medicine or the Allied Sciences – $30,000 
  • Robert and Elizabeth Albert Travel Grant to further international collaboration in research – $10,000
  • Dr Helen Rarity McCreanor Travelling Fellowship to support research and international collaboration in the field of human genetics, epigenetics or genomic studies – NZ$10,000.

Applications are now being accepted for the regional competitions for the Gerry Murphy Prize

If you know a medical student who’s interested in public health medicine then be sure to tell them about the AFPHM John Snow Scholarships.

Visit the RACP Foundation webpage for full details of all Awards and Prizes offered by your Faculty and the College. For more information about the eligibility criteria or the application process, please contact  RACP Foundation  or phone +61 2 9256 9639.

Grants on offer

Up to $10,000 in professional development funding is offer to RACP Fellows who live and work in rural and remote Australia. 

The grants are being offered as part of round three of the the Support for Rural Specialists in Australia Program.

RACP social media channels 

The RACP has recently launched their very own Instagram page. This platform will be used to feature images and stories from around the College, with the aim of sharing our unique history, values and achievements. We would like to encourage all members of the College to follow us under the handle @theracp, and welcome you to invite colleagues, family, friends, and anyone else with an interest in the College to do the same. 

If you’re not already following us on our existing social media channels, please like/follow us via the following links:

Additionally, if you have any content you would like to put forward for consideration please email

Making a connection podcast out now

In this Pomegranate Health episode, US-based physician Associate Professor Danielle Ofri discusses where breakdowns in doctor-patient communication occur – often in the first 10 or 20 seconds of a consultation. Dr Ofri suggests ways for physicians to listen better, be understood and promote adherence.

Read more

Evolve updates


Are you currently planning to undertake research as part of your Advanced Training? With 20 Evolve Top 5 Lists currently available, the recommendations to drive high-value, high-quality care offer an opportunity to undertake research across specialties. Find out more about Evolve by visiting or contacting

Clinical Champions 

Are you interested in being involved in policy & advocacy within RACP? The Evolve initiative offers an opportunity to advocate for high-value, high-quality care in your specialty. Find out how you can become an Evolve Clinical Champion by contacting or visit for more information.  

How to have difficult conversations 

Three training resources are available, which provide examples of how to include the Evolve Top 5 List recommendations in difficult conversations between:

Conferences and events

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 RACP events list at any time to see what events are coming up.

AFPHM contact details

AFPHM Faculty enquiries (including Council and committees):
Executive Officer, AFPHM
Phone: +61 2 9256 9622

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

AFPHM Oral Examination enquiries:
Caroline Greenaway, 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
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