AFRM eBulletin – 21 September 2018

Discussing disability internationally

RACP Fellows Doctors Tracey Symmons, Anne Drake, Kimberly Oman and Professor Robert Moulds took part in the Internal Medicine Organisation of the Pacific (iMOP) Annual Scientific Conference held in Suva, Fiji on Thursday, 23 and Friday, 24 August. 

Effectively tackling disability issues in resource deprived settings was the focus of conference – which was opened by the Fiji Minister of Health, the Honourable Rosy Akbar and drew speakers and delegates from across the Pacific, Australia, New Zealand and India.  

Read more

A message from your President

25th Anniversary of the AFRM

As I mentioned in my previous President's Post, 2018 is the 25th Anniversary of our Faculty. 

The Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine was formally inducted into the Royal Australasian College of Physicians at the College Ceremony held on 28 April 1993 in the Great Hall of the University of Sydney. At the same time that the Faculty was being formed, the Australasian College of Rehabilitation Medicine (ACRM) was winding down. At this time, there were about 213 full Fellows and 18 retired Fellows. Most of the ACRM Fellows accepted the invitation to become Founding Fellows of the AFRM and about 50 took the opportunity of receiving their new testamurs from the President of the RACP during the same ceremony. 
To celebrate our silver anniversary, we have designed an amended AFRM logo which you will start to see appearing on Faculty documents and the website. We are also planning a 25th Anniversary edition of Rhaia which will be published in late November / early December. The theme of the edition will be ‘Celebrating the Past and Looking to the Future’. Watch this space for further information.

We will also be looking for other opportunities to mark this important anniversary.

We have had some remarkable successes over the 25 years of the AFRM and before that with the ACRM and that is definitely worth celebrating. We now also have our sister organisation the Rehabilitation Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand (RMSANZ), and together we will work to continue to promote the great value and significance of our specialty – rehabilitation medicine.

If you would like to read more about the history of rehabilitation medicine please visit the history of rehabilitation medicine webpages.  

Professor Tim Geraghty 
President, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine

IMiA registrations are now open 

The 5th International Medicine in Addiction conference will be held from 1 to 3 March 2019 at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

We look forward to welcoming you to three days of thought-provoking presentations led by local and international addiction specialists and a range of practical workshops – all focusing on behavioural aspects of addiction, stress and addiction and the controversies in prescribing.

To register your attendance, visit Don’t miss out on a discounted Early Bird rate by securing your ticket before the deadline, 30 November 2018.

Poster abstract submissions are now open until Friday, 26 October 2018. This year we are seeking abstracts relevant to the following three themes:

  • behavioural aspects of addiction
  • stress and addiction
  • controversies in prescribing and practice.

Details about how to submit an abstract are on the conference website.

The Australian Association of Developmental Disability Medicine Annual Conference

I had the privilege of presenting at The Australian Association of Developmental Disability Medicine (AADDM) Annual Conference on 6 and 7 September 2018, held at the Aerial Function Centre in Sydney. 

Through professional development and advocacy, AADDM aims to improve the health and wellbeing of Australians with intellectual disability. This year’s conference program focused on the submission about research and innovations in healthcare for people with developmental disability across the lifespan.

I presented on 'Education and advocacy on disability issues – current activity in the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP)'. 

With the introduction and progressive rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which began in July 2013, we have seen that the NDIS has contributed to an increased awareness and understanding in the general community of the issues facing people with disabilities (including developmental disabilities) in Australia. 

Since July 2013 there has also been an increase in disability-related and focused activity within the RACP, in both the areas of education and policy and advocacy. 

The RACP is currently in the process of updating learning, teaching and assessment programs and associated requirements for Basic Training programs, including how trainees are selected into Basic Training. The aim of the curriculum review is to continue to improve physician training, and ultimately patient care and patient outcomes.

There has been a substantial effort for the RACP to increase the breadth and prominence of disability in the clinical knowledge guides in the Basic Training curriculum. Disability is listed as a key specific issue which Basic Trainees should be able to identify and be aware of the impact on diagnosis and management. Trainees are required to understand potential disadvantages arising from disability or ageing and how to assist persons in achieving their full rights in society. 

The RACP has developed the ‘NDIS Guides for Physicians and Paediatricians’ to support RACP members in understanding the implications of contemporary disability sector reforms. 

Another important opportunity for the health system is to respond to the changing needs in the transition of young people with complex and chronic disability needs from paediatric to adult health services.

As AFRM Fellows would be aware, developmental and intellectual disability remains a component of the AFRM curriculum and I informed conference delegates that I felt that it was an important part of the curriculum and an area on which rehabilitation medicine physicians should be more focused and could contribute significantly.

Professor Tim Geraghty 
President, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine

Convenient online learning opportunities 

Diagnostic error and cultural responsiveness are the focus of two Qstream courses RACP members can register to undertake throughout November and December.

Participants are emailed case studies based on real-life clinical scenarios at spaced intervals. The case studies are designed with the aim of challenging physician thinking and enhancing professional practice.

The courses will run throughout November and December and take as little as five minutes a day, two to three times a week to complete via email. 

Read more

Participate in a questionnaire about transition of young people from children’s to adult services for Botulinum toxin A (BoNT-A) injections in NSW

Are you a clinician who works, or has recently worked in an adult or paediatric (spasticity management) BoNT-A service in NSW or ACT? If so we would be grateful if you could help improve the understanding of clinicians’ experiences of the transition of young people who need Botulinum toxin A (BoNT-A) injections by completing the questionnaire in the link below.

Botulinum Toxin-A Transition Project Questionnaire 

Alternatively, you can copy and paste the following link into your web browser:   

Completing the questionnaire will require approximately 15 minutes. The questionnaire is part of a project funded by the NSW Agency of Clinical Innovation to improve the experience for young people who need Botulinum toxin A injections as they transition from children’s to adult services. 
Ethics approval has been attained, approval number: HREC/18/SCHN/248). 

Closing date of the questionnaire is set to 11.59pm, 30 September 2018. 

Please feel free to contact Anne de Groot (project officer) via email if you have any questions about this study. 

Faculty Prizes and Indigenous Health Scholarships

The Adrian Paul Prize is open to AFRM trainees and Fellows in the first year of Fellowship. The $1000 prize is awarded for the best scientific work in the field of rehabilitation medicine that is submitted as part of the AFRM training program. Applications close Monday, 1 October 2018.

Applications for the 2019 scholarships in the RACP Indigenous Health Scholarship Program are open from Monday, 1 October to Friday, 30 November 2018. The scholarships are valued at up to $40,000. They  provide a funded pathway through basic, advanced, Faculty or Chapter training and are offered to medical graduates, junior doctors or trainees who identify as being of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, Pacific Islander heritage, or Māori. The following are available for 2019:

Faculty training:

  • Indigenous Health Scholarship for Rehabilitation Medicine.

Basic, Advanced or Chapter training:

  • RACP Indigenous Health Scholarship
  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Scholarship
  • New Zealand Indigenous Health Scholarship.

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 at or call +61 2 9256 9639.

AFRM Expressions of Interest – Regional Committees

Expressions of Interest are being sought for several opportunities within AFRM Regional Committees.

The AFRM Regional Committee has been established to:

  • advise the Faculty Council on matters relevant to the Faculty in their region
  • promote rehabilitation medicine in their region
  • respond to new and emerging rehabilitation medicine issues relevant to the Faculty as they arise provided the issue is approved by the Faculty President or Faculty Council prior to work commencing
  • work with other relevant appropriate College bodies and staff in relation to training and continual professional development and contributing to policy and advocacy matters
  • the activities of the Committee must be consistent with the College’s Strategic Directions document or any successor document.

For further information please visit:

Refugee and asylum seeker health 

The RACP has recently been active in advocating for child detainees at the Nauru immigration detention facility who are seriously unwell to be immediately transferred to Australia.

media statement was released on 28 August and was picked up by radio.  Associate Professor Karen Zwi, a paediatrician and senior Fellow of the RACP, provided a statement saying that “The conditions, circumstances, and duration of offshore processing have damaged peoples’ health, particularly the health of children and their families.”

For those who wish to read more about refugee health, a recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO) is available: A rapid review of evidence-based information, best practices and lessons learned in addressing the health needs of refugees and migrants: report to the World Health Organization (2018).

New Ethical Guidelines 

The 4th edition of the Guidelines for ethical relationships between physicians and industry are now available. These voluntary guidelines, developed by the RACP Ethics Committee, revise previous editions of the guidelines and seek to support health professionals in identifying, assessing and managing conflicts of interest. 

Read more 

Pitch to icare foundation for a share in $100k

icare foundation’s third 'Pitch In' has just been launched, with the call going out for small not-for-profits in the prevention and post-injury care space to apply for a share of $100,000 at two live crowdfunding events in November.

For more information please visit icare's website.

Have your say on the new Basic Training programs

Learning, teaching, and assessment

Detail about the new Basic Training programs is now available for review on the RACP website until 2 October 2018. This includes information about how the curriculum standards will be taught, learned, and assessed.

Fellows and trainees have been working in partnership with RACP staff to develop these proposed programs. Your feedback can help ensure that the new Basic Training programs are feasible and fit-for-purpose for implementation across Australia and New Zealand. As this is a public consultation, individuals outside the College who are interested in Basic Training are welcome to give feedback. You are invited to share the consultation to your wider network, if appropriate.

Have your say on the future of Basic Training.

Use the new Basic Training curricula standards to support your workplace learning

Earlier this year we launched new curricula standards for Basic Physician Training. These standards will start to be assessed in 2020, when the Knowledge Guides will be used as the basis for the 2020 Divisional Written Examinations.

You can now filter the curricula to see specific content relevant to you and export your filtered results to support workplace learning. Visit the RACP website to try the Workplace Learning Planner.

Please contact with any questions.

New partnership with the Pacific Community 

On Monday, 10 September, the RACP and the Pacific Community (SPC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support health frameworks and projects in the region and enhance capacity building in the health sector. 

RACP President, Associate Professor Mark Lane, said the MoU will see the RACP and SPC work together on programs and initiatives, including some rolled out in partnership with other key health organisations such as the World Health Organization.

Read more

Medicinal Cannabis regulation changes in Queensland

Amendments to the Public Health (Medicinal Cannabis) Regulation 2017 enable all specialist medical practitioners to prescribe medicinal cannabis without Department of Health approval when treating the following classes of patients: persons with chronic non-cancer pain, persons experiencing chemotherapy-induced nausea or vomiting, terminally ill persons with symptoms associated with terminal illness, children with intractable (drug resistant) epilepsy and persons with multiple sclerosis experiencing spasticity. TGA approval is still required for all unapproved medicinal cannabis products through the Special Access Schemes, Category A or B and the Authorised Prescriber pathway.

Read more

Evolve updates


Are you currently planning to undertake research as part of your Advanced Training? The Evolve recommendations offer an opportunity to undertake research in low-value care in specific health priority topics, such as bronchiolitis, polypharmacy and antimicrobial stewardship. Find out more about Evolve and low-value care research opportunities in your specialty by contacting or visit for more information.

Evolve 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. 

Evolve at Conferences

This year, RACP has presented on Evolve at RACP Congress, Choosing Wisely National Meeting, National Medicines Symposium, Australian and New Zealand Society for Geriatric Medicine (ANZSGM), Society of Obstetric Medicine of Australia and New Zealand (SOMANZ) and 
Gastroenterological Society of Australia Australian Gastroenterology Week (GESA AGW) and are looking forward to attending The Australasian Society of Clinical and Experimental Pharmacologists and Toxicologists's Annual Scientific Meeting (ASCEPT ASM) in Adelaide during November. We are inviting specialty societies to express interest in RACP attending an ASM to present on Evolve implementation and/or host an exhibition booth. For more information and to express interest in RACP and Evolve attending your ASM, contact

Bushfire season is approaching, be prepared

Australia is facing the possibility of having a much longer fire season of about six or seven months, with bushfire season officially starting in October 2018 and running through to April 2019.

Now is the time to prepare for the bushfire season. Visit to see Vero bushfire tips on how to prepare.

Visit your RACP Member Advantage website to find out more or give Vero a call on 1800 250 962 for a quote on home and contents insurance.

Trainee 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. 

Register now for September 2018: Go to the events list at any time to see what events are coming up.

Bi-National Training Program (BNTP) 

The AFRM conducts the BNTP on the last Wednesday of every month from February to November. These training sessions are broadcast across Australia and New Zealand. The BNTP sessions use Zoom conferencing to provide trainees with rehabilitation medicine knowledge and information. These sessions are not intended to prepare trainees for the AFRM Fellowship Examinations. 

View event listings

To join the webinar on the day, follow this link to Zoom Software. It is important to log on early and ensure that you turn your webcam off before you join the webinar. Due to the nature of the recordings, if you connect via videoconference, you will appear on the screen. Should you do so, we will assume automatic consent to be part of the recording.

See previous program video and presentation documents.

NSW Lecture Series – Wednesday and Saturday sessions

The AFRM conducts the NSW Lecture Series on the last Wednesday of every month from February to November. These training sessions are recorded and material is available online after each session. Trainees will require their MIN and password to access this material.

The NSW Branch runs monthly training sessions on various Saturday’s throughout the first half of each year. These sessions give trainees practice in the Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE) sessions in preparation for their Fellowship exams.

These sessions are held on a Saturday morning at various hospital locations and led by different AFRM Fellows. Unlike the BNTP and NSW Training, which take place on the last Wednesday of each month, there is no pattern to these events.

View session dates

See previous session video and presentation documents

AFRM contact details 

Member enquiries
Phone: (AUS) 1300 69 7227
Phone: (NZ) 0508 69 7227

AFRM Faculty enquiries (including Council and committees):
Anastasia Barabash, Executive Officer, AFRM
Phone: +61 2 8076 6315

AFRM Education and Training enquiries:
Name: Lanica Roventa, Education Officer
Phone: +61 2 8076 6350

AFRM Examination enquiries:
Name: Vanessa Hall, Examination Coordinator 
Phone: +61 2 9256 5422

AFRM training site accreditation enquiries:
Name: Sonia Tao, Education Officer
Phone: +61 8247 6233
Close overlay