AFPHM eBulletin – 3 May 2019

Webinar #4 2019: Welcome to the AFPHM Training Program

Dr Tony Gill, Chair of the AFPHM Faculty Education Committee will provide a detailed overview of the AFPHM Training Program for all trainees. Dr Gill has a wealth of experience in supporting AFPHM trainees and will provide insight regarding the finer details of the training program. 

Presenter:  Dr Tony Gill 
Date:  Tuesday, 21 May 2019
Time:  3pm AEST
Location: Online

For information on how to join this webinar, please see the event listing on the RACP website

To watch previous webinars, go to our Youtube playlist.

If you are interested in presenting a future webinar, please contact

A message from your President

It is pretty hard to miss the fact that there is a Federal election coming up on 18 May. Elections can provide a great opportunity to highlight important issues and put pressure on political parties. At the same time, it is a time when the media space is particularly crowded. Given the latter you may have missed the fact that on 29 March the RACP put out a media statement highlighting two issues from its pre-budget submission – childhood obesity and climate change. The recommendations in relation to both issues are consistent with what other health organisations are advocating for, and if implemented fully, could make a big difference. 

Planning for our workshop on populism and public health at the forthcoming RACP Congress, together with recent situations in which fake news regarding the election has been promulgated in the media have really highlighted to me the way that fake news can get amplified on social media. This is something that can exaggerate the influence of fake news on our democracy and on rational responses to current issues such as obesity and climate change. This was beautifully expressed in a recent article in The Conversation, which described (amongst other things) false information being posted on Facebook that then got picked up by newspapers, amplifying the impact. Previously, I don’t think I fully grasped the role of social media in tandem with conventional media in promoting fake news, which is why we’re so much more vulnerable to its effects than ever before. Professor Martin McKee, who will be speaking at our populism and public health workshop via video, has written extensively about the impacts of populism on public health, how fake news gets promulgated and how to respond to it. No matter what the issue, we need to get smarter about responding to fake news so that our public health initiatives and messages are not undermined. I’m really looking forward to this session at Congress and then making plans for how we can best respond to protect democracy, our climate and public health.

Associate Professor Linda Selvey
President, AFPHM 


AFPHM Member Spotlight: Dr Clare Huppatz

Dr Clare Huppatz was recently awarded the Western Australia Country Doctors’ Medical Leadership Award. Clare shares her experience working in rural Australia for the past 20 years and involvement in leading public health programs in Western Australia, including the region’s response to the 2016 meningococcal outbreak and the state’s Trachoma Program with us below.

What inspired you to choose public health medicine as a career?
I was inspired to go into public health by studying a Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at James Cook University – the courses and lecturers there were definitely inspiring. I was allured by the promise of potentially being able to help whole populations and not just individuals; the potential to have a bigger impact and not be limited to the number of people I could see in a day as a general practitioner (which was never very many).

What did your work at the WA Country Health Service’s Goldfields branch involve?
I was responsible for the Public Health Unit for six years in the Goldfields, working for WA Country Health. This was a wonderful job, very varied and interesting.  I worked with a terrific team of nurses, health promotion officers, a case management officer and a data entry officer.  My role was to provide leadership to the team, as well as management. I was involved in strategic development and quality assurance activities, as well as day to day program management and operations. 

What challenges did you experience when leading the response to the meningococcal outbreak? 
The 2016 Meningococcal outbreak response was challenging in several ways.  At that time in Australia, there had been no similar outbreaks from which to draw experience, because a meningococcal outbreak is quite unusual. My team in the Goldfields called the Communicable Disease Control Directorate for help – and we pulled together a team of experts from public health and the laboratory, so that together we could manage the response.  

The logistics of the large-scale vaccination response was very challenging, particularly as we were only three weeks from Christmas and wanted to vaccinate people in a hurry.  Fortunately, the local health services including the community health nurses, the hospital, GPs and our local Aboriginal Medical Service, Bega Garnbirringu, were extremely supportive and they all pulled together to give us a hand. 

Managing the communication was a balancing act – I didn’t want to be alarmist, but I did want to ensure that the community took the situation seriously and participated in the vaccination program.  Again, the support from the community was terrific, they responded to the call to vaccinate with great enthusiasm and we got very high vaccination coverage.  

Can you describe what your work entailed when leading the trachoma program for WA?
For about five years I have led the WA Trachoma Program for WA Country Health Services. In doing this, I was Chair of the WA Trachoma Reference Group, a multidisciplinary group that provides oversight to the trachoma activities across four regions, with a view to ensuring those activities meet the needs of the communities and the trachoma elimination program.  For this role, I worked with a very dynamic and supportive team, made up of regional trachoma leads, a program manager from our WACHS Central Office, the Environmental Health Directorate and a representative from the Aboriginal Health Council of WA. I am very grateful to Western Australia Country Health Service (WACHS) senior executive for giving me the opportunity to take on that role and for giving me scope within it to do what I felt was important.

What has been the most rewarding part of your career to date?
I’ve been very fortunate to have public health jobs that I have really loved and that have given me terrific opportunities. I 'cut my teeth' in public health at the Hunter New England Population Health Unit and from that experience, I gained an understanding of what a really great public health unit can be like. I was privileged to work at Nindilingarri Aboriginal Health Service in Fitzroy Crossing, WA, where I learned from a wonderful mentor and boss and was given opportunities to start up a range of new health promotion programs.  And most recently, working for WA Country Health Services in the Goldfields I was given wonderful opportunities to develop the public health unit, manage programs and provide leadership in various ways. In each of these jobs, I was significantly challenged by the roles, but I worked hard and did my best. I was given opportunities to achieve things that I felt were important and I gained enormously from the experience – that is very rewarding.

How would you describe your current work as the Senior Medical Advisor for the Communicable Disease Control directorate at the Department of Health?
It’s shaping up to be another great job and one that I think I’ll really enjoy. It’s a specialised public health disease control role, which is highly varied. I work across the notifiable communicable diseases, sexual health, immunisation and hospital associated infections. There will be many challenges and I’m sure it will be highly rewarding. 

What does receiving the WA Country Doctors’ Medical Leadership Award mean to you?
The WA Country Doctors’ award means a great deal to me. I did a lot of my training, both undergraduate and post-graduate, in the country and I’ve spent most of the past 20 years working in rural Australia. This is a wonderful end to a long association with country work and life, and a great end to my job with WACHS.

What improvements are you hoping to see in Australia’s public health sector over the next 10 years?
I hope there is more emphasis on health promotion and health promoting behavioural change that has a meaningful impact on chronic disease risk factors – I think some policy development in that area will be key. I hope to see positive inroads in the response to climate change. I really hope to see dramatic improvements in Aboriginal health and closing of the gap in morbidity and mortality for Aboriginal people. 

What advice do you have for trainees hoping to work in public health medicine in rural Australia?
Just do it. Like most things in life, choosing the less well defined and in many ways ‘harder’ path, like going bush, has a high likelihood of reaping the greatest rewards – that’s what I found. 

RACP’s 2019 Australian Government Election Statement 

The RACP’s 2019 Australian Government Election Statement outlines our priority policy areas across the key themes of sustainability, equity and prevention, and spells out recommendations for future-proofing the Australian healthcare system. 

A suite of materials has been prepared to support Australian member advocacy around our election statement and is accessible from the RACP election campaign page. These include letter templates to be used to write to Members of Parliament or to your local newspaper, social media champion kits, and fact sheets on key priorities. 

Please feel free to use these materials to make your voices heard right up to and including 18 May, and to share your experiences with us, whether via social media or by emailing

Seeking AFPHM representatives for committees

Are you willing to represent your colleagues and be a voice for the Faculty? Would you like to be part of creating positive change within the Faculty? 

The Faculty is currently seeking Expressions of Interest for the following positions on: 

  • AFPHM Council
    The AFPHM Council invites Fellows who identify as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and/or Māori to submit an Expression of Interest to join the AFPHM Council. This is a chance to advocate for and support AFPHM members across Australia and New Zealand.
  • Members, AFPHM Regional Committees
    If you are interested in supporting and advocating for your local colleagues within the Faculty, please consider submitting an Expression of Interest form and your CV to, for one of the vacant member or Chair positions on your local AFPHM Regional Committee.
  • AFPHM Northern Territory Regional Education Coordinator
    This is an opportunity for AFPHM Fellows residing in the Northern Territory to further their leadership experience by supporting local trainees, supervisors and mentors progress through the AFPHM Training Program. Please submit an Expression of Interest form and your CV to if you are interested in applying for this position.
  • AFPHM South Australian Trainee Representative
    If you are interested in supporting and advocating for the AFPHM trainees within your region, please consider submitting an Expression of Interest form and your CV to

Represent the College on the Australian Gun Safety Alliance

The RACP joined the Australian Gun Safety Alliance earlier this year and we are now seeking a member to represent the RACP on the Alliance.
The Alliance's objectives are to:

  • ensure a safer community for Australian children 
  • have all jurisdictions comply with the National Firearms Agreement 
  • increase public awareness of the poor compliance by all Governments 
  • hold governments to account for their non-compliance
  • contribute to a balanced public conversation about the importance of a strong gun safety framework. 

The Alliance counts the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine (ACEM), the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Society (ANZICS) and the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) amongst its current supporters.

The Alliance holds quarterly teleconferences for about one hour and has ad hoc Special Interest Groups which meet at the convenience of interested members.

If you are interested to represent the College on the Alliance, please email your CV and some information about your interest and expertise in the area of gun safety to by Friday, 31 May 2019.

Consultation on RACP revised conflicts of interest policy 

The College is currently undertaking a consultation on its revised Conflict of Interest Policy, which contains significant new revisions and additions. The deadline for feedback is 13 May 2019. If you are interested in providing your feedback to this consultation, please contact

eLearning Module – Cultural Competence

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

Pomegranate Health Podcast: Medical fitness to drive

Are you a physician concerned about a patient's fitness to drive?

Our latest Pomegranate Health Podcast speaks to a GP, a neurologist and an occupational therapist about how to confront patients about reducing or ceasing driving, and where responsibilities lie in reporting to the Driver Licencing Authority.

Update: Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register in Queensland

Amendments to the Public Health Act 2005 which will establish a Notifiable Dust Lung Disease Register were passed through the Queensland Parliament on 3 April 2019. The new provisions are expected to start later this year, after supporting Regulations have been made by the Governor in Council. For further information, please see the Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 and support material.

Save the Date – AFPHM National Training Days

The AFPHM is hosting the AFPHM National Training Days for all AFPHM trainees across Australia and New Zealand. 

Date: Saturday, 15 to Sunday, 16 June 2019
Location: RACP Melbourne Office, Level 2, 417 St Kilda Road, Melbourne
RSVP: by Friday, 31 May 2019

An email will be sent to all AFPHM trainees with details on registration and the program in the coming week. 

Read RACP Quarterly online

Articles in the March/April 2019 edition include:

  • Blood stem cell therapy brings hope to people living with Multiple Sclerosis
  • Massive funding injection giving hope to people with Parkinson’s
  • Physician burnout – a crisis in healthcare
  • Innovative approach aiming to reduce obesity in Māori communities 

Accredited AFPHM training positions

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

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

Get the latest electrical devices with member advantage in Australia

The Good Guys Commercial are your answer to accessing the latest and the best in smart devices, toasters and barista-style coffee machines for your home and much more, right at your fingertips.

Member Advantage has taken out the guesswork and made it easy for you to access these time-saving offers, all in one place.

Through your benefits program, get member-exclusive pricing on over 4,000 products with 24/7 online shopping and flexible delivery options*.

To find out more, visit your RACP Member Advantage website or call 1300 853 352.

*Terms and conditions apply. 

Register to participate in the new ethics eLearning resource

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 two and a half thousand years ago. The ethics eLearning 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 resource 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
  • and help participants reflect on their own and their profession’s ethical commitments.

eLearning@RACP is free for RACP members and counts towards Continuing Professional Development requirements.

If you have questions about eLearning@RACP please email

Free breakfast special offer for RACP members with Millennium Hotels

Be it corporate travel to Auckland, a conference or event in Wellington, a unique cultural experience in Rotorua, a romantic winter getaway in Queenstown or a well-deserved family holiday in the sparkling Bay of Islands, there is a Millennium, Copthorne or Kingsgate hotel to suit your travel need. With staff that are committed to providing a high standard of service and value, you’ll always enjoy a stay at a Millennium Hotels and Resort New Zealand hotel.

To warm you up this winter, take advantage of Millennium’s tasty deal exclusively for RACP members – get free breakfast each morning of stay per guest when booking along with 20 per cent off The Flexible Rate*. 

As they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and whether you’re a muesli fan or a toast and marmite person, we’ve got you covered. 

To find your special promotion code, visit your RACP Member Advantage website or call 1300 853 352 or +64 800 453 244 for more information.

*Available at 13 hotels across New Zealand and valid for bookings made between 8 April 2019 and 31 May 2019 for stays between 8 of April 2019 and 30 September 2019. Offer is subject to availability. T&C’s apply.

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.

Career opportunities

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

AFPHM contact details

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

AFPHM Education and Training enquiries:
Anusha Kumar, 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

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