AFPHM eBulletin – 5 March 2021

A message from your President

There seems to have been a lot happening in public health and the Faculty during February. Last night I listened to an excellent webinar on COVID-19 vaccines. Vaccines and the vaccine rollout will have been front and centre for many of you in the past weeks. On 17 March we will begin our Pacific Public Health Webinars for 2021 with a vaccine update.

Within the Faculty, there has been a lot of work happening on organising sessions for RACP Congress; I very much encourage you to keep an eye on the program and attend as many sessions as you are able. In the first AFPHM session we will have some proffered papers and launch an exciting new document, developed by the Policy & Advocacy Committee, that clearly explains and highlights the training, specific expertise and roles of public health physicians. You will be able to see more about this document below. Other sessions will include the Gerry Murphy Prize and John Snow Scholarship presentations, Climate Change in the Pacific, the Redfern Oration and a session on COVID-19 epidemiological modelling and public health decisions. You can view the latest program updates on the RACP Congress website.

I would like to take this opportunity to encourage Fellows to undertake the three modules of supervisor training. The College will require all supervisors to have completed one of the Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) workshops by the end of 2021, and all three of them by the end of 2022. I am one of the few to have already completed all three workshops; despite having been an academic supervisor for many years, I found them engaging and I learnt a lot from them. SPDP 1 and 2 are quite clinically focused, but many of the supervision skills discussed are generic and it is a great opportunity for our Fellows to educate our clinical colleagues on public health medicine. There is a specific public health medicine version of the SPDP 3 workshop. This provides an excellent opportunity to refresh your understanding of the AFPHM training program as well as an opportunity to network and catch up with colleagues you may not have seen for a while. At the moment, all of the SPDP workshops are available online via Zoom. Trainees, please encourage your supervisors to take part.

One of the Congress sessions will be on CPD – and particularly Category 2 and 3 activities that are sometimes challenging in public health medicine. Participation in the SPDP workshops can be claimed under Category 2 (Reviewing Performance), and Supervision itself under Category 3. It may be possible to organise for one or more SPDP workshops to be organised as part of dedicated CPD days that I know some of the Regional Committees are organising. 

Finally, I would like to remind Regional Committees that the President’s Awards for 2021 will be for contribution to public health medicine within each state or territory and Aotearoa New Zealand. Nominations are due by 8 March. This is an opportunity to recognise Fellows or trainees (and their teams) who have made an outstanding contribution to public health medicine during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to reading the nominations. 

Professor Robyn Lucas
AFPHM President

Best wishes to our exam candidates 

We’d like to wish all the AFPHM Oral Exam candidates all the best for your upcoming exams.

The exam will be held from Tuesday, 9 March to Wednesday, 10 March 2021 in a range of locations.

We have 20 candidates attempting this year’s exam which will be held via video-conference.

Don’t forget the RACP Support Program is available to all members including exam candidates. This free, 24/7 hotline is available to you for confidential counselling, coaching and support for workplace and personal issues.

Public Health Physicians: Protecting, Promoting and Improving Health for the Whole Community

The AFPHM is pleased to launch a new document titled Public Health Physicians: Protecting, Promoting and Improving Health for the Whole Community.

This document articulates the value of public health physicians, credentialed as Fellows of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine (FAFPHMs), to the contemporary public health workforce and their capacity to contribute to the broader health system. It is intended to inform health system decision-makers in their strategic and workforce planning by describing the skills, expertise and roles of public health physicians. It highlights that public health physicians ensure effective leadership, advocacy and better health outcomes by articulating that: 

  • Public health physicians are medical specialists with a duty of care for populations rather than individuals. 
  • Public health physicians are trained to solve complex health problems and make sound evidence-based decisions at a systems-level. They are trained to lead complex change management, including health promotion and disease prevention, systems reform, strategic planning and performance monitoring required to meet heath needs. 
  • Public health physicians lead policy reforms and interventions to transform population health in ways that are evidence-based and cost-effective.
  • Protection of public health is a key role of government and public health physicians work across government portfolios. 

The document clearly outlines the broad range of training, expertise and impact of public health physicians, including their unique skills in: 

  • leading, collaborating and finding solutions for complex population health challenges
  • supporting populations and health systems
  • integrating medical and public health expertise
  • creating and leading evidence-based health systems and public health interventions
  • ensuring equity in health policies
  • statutory health protection and disease prevention.

AFPHM members are encouraged to promote and circulate this document to their networks and within their workplaces. 

Please note AFPHM is currently developing a suite of resources to accompany this document, including videos and an infographic, and showcasing profiles of public health physicians.

CPD peer review tool customised for public health 

Multisource feedback is a peer review process encouraged by the Medical Board of Australia. It is a category 2 MyCPD activity and attracts three credits per hour. In 2019 six public health Fellows trialled a multisource feedback tool developed by the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine (NZCPHM). The overall response was positive with five of the six participants identifying potential areas of practice for change. The report of the trial included the following:

"Participants found a variety of elements ‘most valuable’. These included: ‘getting feedback’; ‘finding out what others really thought of me’; ‘sitting down to debrief the report with someone else’; ‘the opportunity it provided for reflection and for self-reflection’ including ‘having to rate myself against the criteria’."

The College has now arranged, with NZCPHM approval, for access to the tool (please note there is a fee attached). For more detailed information and enrolment please contact

AFPHM President’s Extraordinary Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Public Health in 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 put enormous pressure and demands on public health physicians and trainees across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. To acknowledge the outstanding contributions made by its Fellows, trainees, and their teams during this period, the AFPHM has introduced the Extraordinary Awards. Visit the award webpage for more information and the nomination form.

Nominations close Monday, 8 March 2021.

Save the date: AFPHM QLD CPD/Training Day 

For all AFPHM Fellows and trainees, the Queensland Regional Committee will be holding a continuing professional development (CPD) day on Saturday, 15 May. This will be held over Zoom. Please add the date to your diary, more details including the program will be sent closer to the date.

An additional CPD/Training Day will be held later in the year on 14 August.
The AFPHM Queensland Regional Committee is a small committee dedicated to assisting trainees and Fellows in Queensland. If you would like to be part of this committee, please contact the Chair, Aaron Hollins via the Faculty office to discuss further, email

Save the Date – Aotearoa New Zealand AFPHM Members Meeting

Date: Rāapa 21 Paenga-whāwhā Wednesday, 21 April 2021 
Time: 10am to 11.30am (NZST)
Format: Hui-ā-ataata / Zoom 

On behalf of the Aotearoa New Zealand AFPHM Committee Aotearoa New Zealand AFPHM members are invited to their 2021 members meeting:

  • an agenda will be emailed out two weeks prior to the meeting
  • a formal calendar invitation will be provided to those who RSVP their attendance.

If you would like to raise an item for discussion on the agenda, or have a question, please email the office –

RACP Congress 2021

RACP Congress 2021 is proud to announce Dr Monkol Lek will be speaking about genetic discovery and translation in neuromuscular diseases in Sydney this year.

Dr Lek has three undergraduate degrees in computer engineering, bioinformatics and physiology from the University of New South Wales. He has worked on some of the largest human genetics projects, including playing a lead role in the Exome Aggregation Consortium (ExAC) project. He also had an opportunity to work on using cutting-edge genomic technologies to improve the diagnosis rate of rare neuromuscular diseases, using a cohort from Australia, and played a leadership role in the Broad Center of Mendelian. In 2018, he started his own lab in Yale as an Assistant Professor, with the goal to also work on translating genetic discoveries into patient specific genetic therapies.

Find out more about Dr Lek and our other speakers, visit the RACP Congress 2021 website.

RACP welcomes commencement of the Australian Government’s COVID-19 vaccination rollout

Frontline border protection, quarantine, aged and healthcare workers began receiving the first COVID-19 vaccines in Australia on 21 February 2021. The RACP welcomed the commencement of the vaccination program as an incredible achievement in Australia’s battle against the global COVID-19 pandemic.

RACP President Professor John Wilson AM said “Australia is in this position today thanks to the hard work of our frontline workers, state and federal governments, and the everyday Australians who have been doing the right thing and following the advice of health experts.”

Professor Wilson noted that the vaccines being rolled out have been rigorously assessed by the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and Australians should have confidence in the vaccines.

He noted that the RACP is glad to see essential healthcare workers, hotel quarantine workers and aged care and disability residents and workers at the top of the priority list when it comes to getting vaccinated. These groups are at high-risk of contracting the virus and should be prioritised.

Professor Wilson’s comments were reported in 147 online news articles and two radio interviews which were broadcast 178 times across Australia.

The RACP is continuing to support our members during the vaccine rollout through:

Register for the COVID-19 Vaccine Webinar

Join us on Wednesday, 10 March from 6pm to 7.30pm NZDT / 4pm to 5.30pm AEDT for the Aotearoa New Zealand focused session of the COVID-19 Vaccination Series brought to you by RACP and the New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine (NZCPHM).

With a focus on the Aotearoa New Zealand COVID-19 vaccinations rollout across the community, this session will also explore up-to-the-minute news, research and further details of the vaccine. 

Register now  

Continuing Professional Development 


Due to the impact of COVID-19 we can confirm that it’s not mandatory for Fellows to record Continuing Professional Development (CPD) activities in MyCPD for 2020, although it’s encouraged where possible.

Your 2020 MyCPD record will remain open until mid-April if you wish to record your activities retrospectively. This extension (from the usual 31 March deadline) will be applied to allow for the Easter holidays. After the extension expires in mid-April, a 2020 MyCPD certificate of completion will be emailed to those who have recorded a minimum of 100 recognised credits.


The Medical Board of Australia and The Medical Council of New Zealand have decided that medical practitioners will need to resume meeting CPD requirements from 2021. We acknowledge the complexity of your changed environment and are here to support you in completing valuable and achievable CPD this year.

Please review the 2021 MyCPD framework to ensure you are familiar with your requirements and explore the College’s CPD resources in the MyCPD Interactive Handbook and the Online Learning Resources platform.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact the CPD Team if you have any questions or feedback – we’re here to help.

AU: 1300 697 227 or
AoNZ: +64 4 460 8122 or

Log in to MyCPD

Webinar: RACP statement on Indigenous child health in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand – where to from here

The RACP is hosting a webinar on Thursday, 11 March 2021, 4.30pm to 5.30pm (AEDT) / 6.30pm to 7.30pm (NZDT).

This webinar will explore the key concept and recommendations contained in the recently released RACP statement on Indigenous child health in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. This is an opportunity for participants to ask questions and explore the next steps in healthcare for Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori children.

Speakers will include:

We encourage RACP members, health professionals and any interested individuals to attend and share this event widely with your networks.

Register now

Te Rā o ngā Tauira Mahi o Aotearoa Niu Tīreni 2021
Aotearoa New Zealand Trainees’ Day 2021

It's important to take time away from your daily life to reflect on your career, learn new skills and build connections with your peers. To help you achieve these goals, you're invited to the Aotearoa New Zealand Trainees’ Day. Held on Rāhoroi Poutū-te-rangi | Saturday, 27 March at the Millennium Hotel in Rotorua. You'll hear from a diverse range of speakers and receive invaluable networking opportunities. Attendance costs may even be reimbursed – ask us how.

Associate Professor Rinki Murphy works at the University of Auckland and is a Diabetologist at Auckland District Health Board and Counties Manukau Health. Her session 'Why do research as a clinical trainee?' will outline various opportunities to experience different types of health research during specialist medical training which may motivate you to embark on an academic clinical career.

Supervisors, please encourage trainees to attend the Aotearoa New Zealand Trainees' Day.

Register now

Watch the video to hear what Associate Professor Murphy has to say about why you should attend this important event.


Introduction to Medicare compliance, record keeping and support webinar

You are invited to a Medicare webinar on Wednesday, 17 March 2021 from 6.30pm (AEDT) / 8.30pm (NZDT) by the Medicare Benefits Integrity and Digital Health Division. The webinar will cover how to meet compliance standards and record-keeping, and how to best utilise support services for Medicare. This webinar will not be available as a recording.

Topics include:

  • introduction to the overarching compliance approach of the Division
  • case studies (de-identified)
  • record-keeping requirements
  • accessing support services.
Register now

Artificial intelligence for healthcare webinar

You're invited to an interactive webinar on Tuesday, 16 March from 6pm (AEDT) / 8pm (NZDT). Associate Professor Clair Sullivan FRACP, Dr Olivier Salvado and Professor Enrico Coiera will answer your questions as they cover key topics including:

  • bias
  • implementing artificial intelligence (AI) models into clinical practice
  • privacy issues
  • other technical and cultural challenges of AI. 

Tune in to Medflix

Access the RACP’s extensive collection of powerful and engaging educational videos all in one place. Browse the Medflix video library for videos covering a range of clinical and professional topics, including the VicFEAT and Continuing Education series, as well as all the videos from our online courses.

The College joins a call for new national Clinical Practice Guidelines for the management of overweight and obesity

In the past decade the number of Australians living with obesity has more than doubled from 2.7 million in 2007-08 to over six million people today. We now have 900,000 more Australians living with obesity. Obesity affects all sections of society, but rates are higher in those with relative socio-economic disadvantage and lower levels of educational attainment, those living in regional and remote areas, and among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.  

It is the time to do something significant about an issue that, one way or another, affects everyone. It has become one of Australia’s most important equity challenges and most expensive preventable national health problems. New clinical guidelines are an essential step towards making health professionals up to date with the best practice approaches to dealing with obesity.  

On World Obesity Day 2021, the College and other key medical, specialist and consumer bodies issued a call for official clinical guidelines on how to assess, help and manage people with obesity. See the news section of the RACP website for more on this important initiative.  

Evolve Webinar Series 2021: Considering equity in reducing low-value care

Date: Tuesday, 16 March 2021
Time: 5pm to 6pm (AEDT) / 7pm to 8pm (NZDT). 

As physicians act to reduce low-value care through implementing Evolve and Choosing Wisely recommendations, they must take care that these recommendations do not increase existing inequities for Māori.

Join Professor David Tipene-Leach and Dr Derek Sherwood as they discuss key findings from the Choosing Wisely Means Choosing Equity report, including why considering equity in this context is so important and messages for physicians on their role in reducing healthcare inequities.

Register now

Updating our skills in psychiatry

The Committee of Chairs of the Medical Colleges of Victoria are hosting a webinar on updating our skills in psychiatry on Saturday, 27 March. You are invited to attend and engage with leading experts in the field who will be presenting on anxiety, depression, addiction issues, psychiatry in the elderly including an update from the Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System.

All members are encouraged to register for the webinar, which is hosted by the RACP Victorian Regional Committee.

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

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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