AFPHM eBulletin – 5 February 2021

A message from your President

I would like to wish you all a Happy New Year – though the year already seems to be well underway. I hope you have had a chance for a break after what 2020 threw at us.

We are urgently seeking Regional Education Coordinators (RECs) for Victoria, the Northern Territory and Tasmania (actually, a whole committee for Tasmania!). Of course, I realise that AFPHM Fellows who could take up an REC role are amongst the busiest doctors in Australia during this COVID pandemic. The Faculty is working to provide assistance with the recent recruitment of someone to assist trainees to develop their (particularly the first) Learning Contracts. We will be able to provide you with more detail about accessing and using this assistance over the next few weeks as that person is set up and ready to go. Also, the REC role can be shared by two Fellows if that makes it more manageable. It’s really important to provide this support for our trainees during their training. You do need to submit an Expression of Interest, but this is not onerous and I’m happy to assist if that helps. Further information is available on the RACP website regarding these Expressions of Interest.

A small group of Fellows have been working with Associate Professor Peter Hill on the AFPHM program for Congress 2021. We have a fantastic line up of sessions and speakers, with a mix of virtual and face-to-face sessions, the latter in several locations. There will be more detail on this once the program is completely finalised, but I would encourage everyone to register and join as many of the Congress sessions as you can.

I encourage you to read the College’s Indigenous Strategic Framework, and consider your own cultural competence or level of cultural safety and the resources available on the College website to strengthen this. The RACP has already undertaken considerable work to build staff cultural safety and is focusing on strategies to increase and support Indigenous trainees across the College training programs. I am very keen for this to also be a focus for AFPHM; this is a key component of our Council’s work plan for the next two years. 

As you will be aware, the oral examination will take place twice in 2021. The 2020 examination was deferred until 9 and 10 March 2021 – for this sitting of the oral examination, there will be no supplementary examination offered, and a fail will not be counted toward the total number of sittings allowed. The 2021 oral examination will be held as usual toward the end of 2021, hopefully face-to-face. 

I would like to finish by congratulating Professor Emily Banks, an AFPHM Fellow who was awarded an AM in the Australia Day Honours 2021. 

Professor Robyn Lucas
AFPHM President

Faculty EOIs

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

AFPHM Training Committee – Regional Education Coordinators

  • VIC Regional Education Coordinator
  • NT Regional Education Coordinator
  • TAS Regional Education Coordinator

Please submit an Expression of Interest form and your CV to by 12 February 2021.

AFPHM Education Committee – Advanced Trainee Representative

Please submit an Expression of Interest form and your CV to by 26 February 2021.

AFPHM President’s Award for Outstanding Contribution – Trainee Commitment

Nominations have been extended to Monday, 15 February 2021. Completed nominations must be received by this date in order to be considered.

Nominate an Advanced Trainee of the AFPHM for the AFPHM President’s Awards for Outstanding Contribution to recognise their notable contribution to the Faculty in trainee commitment.

AFPHM Monthly Webinar

In our monthly AFPHM Webinar for February, hear Professor Peter Leggat speak on the topic of ‘International Health Regulations (IHRs) and Yellow Fever: Vaccine Centres and Providers’.

This session reviews the IHRs, the accreditation of yellow fever vaccination clinics and focuses on the new training requirement for yellow fever vaccinations.

Professor Peter Leggat AM, ADC, is Professor and Co-Director, World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Vector-borne and Neglected Tropical Diseases, College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, James Cook University, Australia. He is President-Elect of the International Society of Travel Medicine, President of The Australasian College of Tropical Medicine and a member of the AFPHM Council. A former Fulbright Scholar, he has published more than 500 journal papers and more than 90 book chapters. Peter also holds the post of Honorary Aide-de-Camp to the Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia, as a Colonel in the Army reserves.

To find out more details and to register, please view the event webpage.

Workplace Reports and Advanced Training Research Projects – AFPHM needs more assessors

We are seeking interest from Public Health Fellows to join the assessor panel for marking Workplace Reports (WPRs) and Advanced Training Research Projects (ATRPs) 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 and ATRPs.

Trainees require two reports (either WPR or ATRP) assessed as a pass before 31 July to be eligible for the oral exam.

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

Please contact us at if you are able to mark any WPRs and ATRPs in the upcoming submission round. 

Pacific Public Health Webinars

The Pacific Public Health Webinars continued through to the end of December with two successful sessions held to wrap up the 2020 series. There has been resounding support for these webinars from the Pacific with close to 90 people attending each session.

The links to the last two webinars of 2020 (with passcodes) are as follows:

A schedule of webinars for 2021 is being co-designed with the Pacific and the 2021 Pacific Public Health Webinar series will commence on 10 February with a PNG Case Study on how they managed a COVID cluster outbreak.

Workplace Reports and Advanced Training Research Projects submission round – 15 February to 15 March 2021 

The first submission for 2021 opens on Monday, 15 February (9am AEDT) and closes on Monday, 15 March 2021 (11.55pm AEDT).

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
WPR Submission Round 2: 18 May to 15 June 2021
WPR Submission Round 3: 1 to 29 September 2021

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 Workplace Reports marking form

Reminder that last year, the Faculty Assessment Committee (FAC) revised the marking form for assessing Workplace Reports (WPRs).

The new form is available on the public health medicine specialty webpage and will be used to assess all WPRs submitted from 2021 onwards.

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 the Faculty Education Committee.

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

RACP Congress 2021

The start of 2021 has brought with it a flurry of activity for RACP Congress 2021 as sessions continue to be finalised, the list of speakers grows, and each city is working hard to ensure the face-to-face events are as engaging and enjoyable as they have ever been. 

The Division and Faculty program has been announced 

Featuring a combination of live webinars, and on demand events, the Faculty programs will no doubt be a highlight of Congress. The program will present a range of both Faculty specific and more general topics. Sessions include:

  • Climate change in the Pacific 
  • Sustainable health: Is it truly sustainable?
  • Achieving equity: Charting a practical course

To find out more about the program dates and time, as well as speaker bios, College events and the face-to-face events in your local city, visit the RACP Congress 2021 website.

Don’t miss out on your CPD credits

Whether you attend in-person or virtually, attendance at RACP Congress 2021 can be claimed as CPD credits. The RACP provides the MyCPD program as an online service to Fellows to assist in meeting mandated continuing professional development (CPD) requirements.

Improving your experience with the RACP website

We are undertaking an extensive project to help you to find the information you need on the RACP website. The project is being delivered in two stages and will enhance and improve your experience in navigating our online services.

To help us improve the navigation on the RACP website, you’re invited to participate in this short online RACP Member Card Sort activity. Card sorting is a method that designers use to understand how people group information. The activity will take around 10 minutes.

  • Your responses will be kept confidential.
  • This activity is for RACP members only. Please don’t share the activity link with non RACP members.

Your time is appreciated and will go a long way to help us develop a website that meets your needs.  

If you have questions about the project or need assistance with the activity please email Member Services

Digital health

A series of digital health webinars has been developed to help you better understand digital health initiatives. The webinars cover My Health Record, available systems and compliance requirements. To find out more and to register visit this RACP webpage.

The webinars have been developed by the Australian Digital Health Agency, who are responsible for the delivery of Australia's National Digital Health Strategy. The Strategy's key pillars include driving innovation, education and workforce development, enhanced models of care, interoperability and data quality, medicines safety, My Health Record and secure messaging.

Find out more

More evidence for minimum unit pricing of alcohol – join our campaign for a minimum price in Western Australia

The Northern Territory has the highest rates of alcohol-related harm in the country. In recognition of this grim statistic, the NT Government became the first and, so far, the only jurisdiction in Australia to introduce a minimum unit price (MUP) for each standard drink of alcohol.  

A new study by Wright et al. on alcohol-related intensive care unit admissions to Alice Springs Hospital adds to the growing pool of evidence for the effectiveness of price-related interventions in minimising harms of alcohol. The study shows a nearly 40 per cent reduction in harmful alcohol use after alcohol reforms, including MUP, were introduced in 2018.

Both modelling and recent empirical research from Scotland shows that the heaviest drinkers and those with the lowest incomes are the biggest beneficiaries of the health gains attributable to MUP – heavy drinkers prefer the cheapest beverages and since they drink more alcohol, they also respond to price changes. A January 2021 study shows that the introduction of MUP in Scotland and Wales shifted purchases from higher to lower strength products – the alcohol by volume of beer dropped by two per cent and of cider by seven per cent.  

Australian governments know that policies aimed at reducing alcohol availability via increasing pricing and reducing access save lives and dollars. The introduction of MUP and associated reforms in the NT indicated that the Government recognised the high price paid by its citizens and its budgets for alcohol-related harm. However, the NT Government’s recent bypassing of the usual liquor licensing process in favour of Endeavour Drinks Group’s push to open a ‘big-box’ Dan Murphy’s store within walking distance of three ‘dry’ Aboriginal communities shows that commercial pressures are already undermining progress.  

The RACP actively advocates for MUP and other evidence-based alcohol harm reduction policies. In 2021, we will be asking for member support as we push for MUP in Western Australia as part of our pre-election campaign. Learn more about the RACP campaign for MUP in our information sheet on the intervention.   

RACP Statement on Indigenous child health in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand

We have released a landmark statement on Indigenous child health in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand, providing concrete steps that paediatricians, health professionals and the healthcare system can take to improve the health of Indigenous children in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

Dr Danny de Lore, Māori paediatrician, led the RACP working group that worked closely with Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori people to develop a statement that provides tools and actions for health professionals to ensure more equitable health outcomes for Indigenous children in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.

The statement calls on physicians to:

  • recognise the strength and resilience of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander people and Māori communities
  • understand how privilege and institutional racism operates within healthcare systems and be open to naming it.

All RACP members are encouraged to read the statement and implement the key messages in their practice and workplace.

Learn more

Pomegranate Podcast – Boosting Public Health in the Indo-Pacific

Ep67: Boosting Public Health in the Indo-Pacific

This is the fourth and final part in our series on Global Health Security. Australia’s Indo-Pacific Centre for Health Security was launched in 2017 to provide development assistance to health services as far-flung as Fiji, Cambodia and Timor L’este. Its mission is always tailored to the needs of the partner government. In Indonesia it has provided training to the veterinary sector to foster antimicrobial stewardship. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic was a sudden shock to the development agenda and has forced a rapid redeployment of resources. Since recording this interview there has been an additional $500 million dollar commitment to fund doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and technical assistance to the Pacific and Southeast Asia.

Listen now

RACP Fellows can claim CPD credits for listening to this episode and reading the resources on the website. To be the first to hear about the latest episodes of Pomegranate Health, subscribe in Apple PodcastsSpotify, any Android podcasting app or join our email alerts list.

Invitation to participate in Aotearoa New Zealand End of Life Choice Act Workforce Survey

The End of Life Choice Act 2019 (the Act) comes into force on 7 November 2021 in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

The Act gives people who experience unbearable suffering from a terminal illness, and who meet all the criteria for assisted dying set out in the Act, the option of legally asking for medical assistance to end their lives. The Act includes safeguards to ensure anyone seeking this assistance is making an informed decision of their own accord. 

The Aotearoa New Zealand Ministry of Health has established a new team to manage the implementation and oversight of the Act and is developing a work programme to manage all aspects of implementation.

Further information on the Act can be found on the Aotearoa New Zealand Ministry of Health's website

Implementation of the assisted dying service – workforce survey

One of the first priorities for the Ministry of Health's End of Life Choice Act team is to better understand the views of Aotearoa New Zealand health practitioners with a specified role under the Act, in relation to assisted dying. A short survey has been designed to give them an early indication of workforce knowledge, understanding and attitudes towards the Act.   

Learning about the number of health practitioners who may choose to have a role in the assisted dying service, the settings they currently work in and any specific concerns they may have in relation to the Act will help inform the design, planning and implementation of the system.  

Health practitioners have a right to conscientiously object to providing assisted dying services. It’s important to note that any response to this survey is not a confirmation of a choice to either participate in, or opt out of, the service. The results will help inform their approach to workforce development for an assisted dying service. Responses will not be individually identified by the Ministry.  

The survey can be accessed online. The survey is optional and closes on 28 February.

More information about the implementation of the Act will be shared over the coming weeks. In the meantime, any questions regarding the survey or the implementation of the Act can be directed to

Low-value care during the COVID-19 pandemic

During COVID-19 it is more important than ever to reduce practices that may cause unnecessary harm or pose unnecessary risk of transmission. Evolve has shared recommendations and resources that are particularly relevant to physicians during this pandemic. View relevant recommendations on TwitterFacebook and LinkedIn or search for #RACPEvolve.

COVID-19 has encouraged us to stop and reflect on what tests, procedures and practices are essential, and when it might be in the patients’ best interest to watch and wait. Do you think COVID-19 will change how we deliver medicine in the future? Read more in the latest edition of RACP Quarterly on pages 6 to 8.

If you are interested in shaping Evolve and being a leader in reducing low-value care email to join the Evolve Policy Reference Group.

New Telehealth online course

Access all of the information and tools you need to prepare for and conduct culturally competent and patient-centred telehealth consultations in this new Telehealth online course. We understand you’re busy, so we’ve made sure RACP Online Learning Resources are accessible anywhere and optimised for mobile on-the-go learning. Our courses are designed to enable you to dip in and out, or just do the parts that are relevant to you.

Evolve Webinar Series 2021

This year, Evolve will host a series of webinars that will explore interesting topics relevant to low-value practice.

The inaugural webinar will feature Professor Ian Scott who will be presenting on ‘Cognitive biases in clinical decision making’. The webinar will be held on Tuesday, 16 February 2021, from 6pm to 7pm (AEDT)/8pm to 9pm (NZDT).

Behavioural science tells us that our decision making is influenced by biases, and physicians are not immune to this. Join Professor Scott in a discussion about the cognitive biases that physicians experience in their clinical decision making and how this can play a role in the continued delivery of low-value care.  

Register for the Evolve webinar

Are you ready for active ingredient prescribing? 

On 1 February 2021 regulatory changes came into effect bringing mandatory active ingredient listings on medicines, with some exceptions. 

The NPS MedicineWise active ingredient prescribing information hub contains a number of resources and useful links, including a fact sheet for prescribers outlining what you need to know and do to be ready for these changes, including ensuring your prescribing software is up-to-date. 

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

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