AMD Newsletter 31 May 2019

President's Post 

Deliberative democracy 

Before I start this post, I would like to convey my congratulations to everyone who was involved with the recent Congress in Auckland. Please read 'AMD award winners' article for further details.
Australians have just gone through another election, which in this case produced an unexpected result, the implications of which we will discover over time. Naturally, a wide range of issues was discussed during the campaign, in relation to which there were differing opinions. Although there was little consensus on the actual issues, however, it was widely agreed that a sense has developed in the community of cynicism towards politicians and political discourse and a feeling that many of them focus more on personal ambitions and rivalries than on the welfare of the people they are supposed to be serving. It is possible that it is this disengagement from politics that explains the recent wild unpredictability of opinion polls, not just in Australia but around the world. 

The disaffection of the electorate with politicians and the political institutions is relevant to the RACP in that it raises the question of the state of democracy in the contemporary world. There is a widespread feeling, in the College as well as in our wider society, that the general population (the voting public and the RACP membership) are excluded from decision-making and do not feel that their needs or concerns are being heard or that their interests are being served. 

As we move into a process of constitutional reform in the RACP, as discussed in a previous post, one question we can ask is whether it is actually possible within an organisation such as this to maintain a genuine democratic framework. The model with which we are working at the moment – which everyone accepts is imperfect – is that of an elected board that controls the whole organisation. This model has some major deficiencies: it is in reality simply not possible for a group of nine people to oversee effectively every aspect of such a complex, multi-faceted organisation; in a professional association success is measured not merely by commercial results but also by less tangible outcomes such as engagement and mutual support; and in any case actual control, including policy direction, often rests with the management, rather than the board.  

If the present model of democracy is not perfect there are others on which we can call that have been widely discussed in the academic and popular literature. These include arrangements for “deliberative democracy”, which have been applied in multiple settings around the world over several decades. There are also “citizens’ juries”, which have become popular across Europe (and are already practised in Australia), “participatory budgeting”, as applied in many parts of Brazil, citizens’ panels, consensus conferences and deliberative forums of various kinds. Another alternative, which was used in Australia in 2017, is that of the plebiscite, to stimulate debate and gauge the feelings of a community on particular issues. 

Of these models, probably the most interesting is deliberative democracy, many of the key ideas of which were developed in Australia. The underlying idea is that representative, efficient decision-making should be underpinned by an institutional process that guarantees open, inclusive communication in which multiple voices can be heard. This would generally entail the creation of forums of “citizens”, who come together in their communities or work places and make recommendations to a panel that is charged with distilling them and transforming them into practical policies. The debate that occurs in such forums is expected to be civil, magnanimous and respectful of difference. 

Deliberative democracy has been applied in a number of European countries, including most notably Ireland. We have experienced it ourselves in Victoria in relation to the community-wide debates about voluntary assisted dying. In the College we have had wide consultations in the development of the Guidelines for relationships with industry and on other issues. As mentioned, the plebiscite on same-sex marriage in Australia generated wide engagement and fertile debate that brought in many sections of the community.

As we consider how we would like our College to function, and what we feel we need to do to ensure that it is experienced by its members as receptive to our needs, it will be important to consider whether any of the models discussed above are applicable to our purposes, in whole or in part. If not, maybe we can invent our own novel approach that allows the right balance to be struck between effective decision-making and democratic engagement.  

Professor Paul Komesaroff FRACP AM
President Adult Medicine Division
Telephone: +61 (0)417 55 26 59

If members are interested, references can be provided to the academic literature regarding the models discussed in this post. As always, I am keen to receive comments, thoughts, and suggestions about the ideas contained in this article.

AChAM President’s Report

Thank you to all those who provided feedback on the AChAM Committee’s draft Addiction Medicine Evolve List of low value clinical practices. The Committee will be reviewing the feedback at its upcoming meeting in June and will be publishing the final list shortly after.  

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the AChAM Research Project Prize winner, Dr Xiu Lim. Dr Lim received this award at the recent RACP Congress in Auckland for her research project titled Hepatitis C knowledge, readiness for treatment, subsequent patient experience and side effects of direct acting antivirals. Well done Dr Lim!

The Chapter Committee will hold its next meeting at the College on Friday, 21 June 2019. If you have any feedback, questions or comments for us, you can get in touch with the Committee via our secretariat at

Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Australasian Chapter of Addiction Medicine

AChPM President’s Report 

The AChPM Committee met via teleconference on 17 May 2019, with discussion centred around determining the Chapter’s current policy and advocacy priority. The Chapter Committee identified opioid prescribing for palliative care patients as an increasing problem and an area to focus our advocacy efforts. Other topics of discussion at the meeting included the RACP workforce survey project and the potential introduction of a Chapter award through the RACP Foundation.

The Palliative Care Clinical Studies (PaCCSC) and Cancer Symptom Trials (CST) Trials Management Committee (TMC) of the University of Technology Sydney is seeking expressions of interest from Advanced Trainees in Palliative Medicine to join the TMC. The TMC has overall responsibility for the development, review, and oversight of issues specific to the program of clinical research endorsed by PaCCSC/CST. Trainees with a particular interest in clinical research in palliative care and cancer symptom management are encouraged to apply for the position by submitting a one-page expression of interest detailing your interest along with your CV to Linda Brown, National Manager at

The AChPM Committee will next meet via teleconference on Friday, 16 August 2019. If you have any feedback or comments for the Committee, please do not hesitate to contact us through our secretariat at

With kind regards,
Professor Greg Crawford
Australasian Chapter of Palliative Medicine

AChSHM President Report 

I would like to take this opportunity to formally congratulate the two winners of the 2019 AChSHM Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Sexual Health Medicine, Professor David Templeton and Associate Professor Marcus Chen.

Professor David Templeton was granted the award for his significant contribution to education and training. Professor Templeton has shown dedication to education and training in sexual health medicine over the last two decades. Professor Templeton has been the Chair of the Training Committee in Sexual Health Medicine for the past two years and was an active member of the committee for several years prior to this. He has convened and chaired the annual Trainees’ Day since 2016, an event highly valued by Advanced Trainees. Professor Templeton continues to strive for high-quality education and training for trainees of the Chapter and the medical community more broadly and is a very worthy recipient of this award.

Associate Professor Marcus Chen was granted the award for his significant contribution to research in sexual health medicine. Associate Professor Chen has published 260 papers in peer reviewed journals in the field of Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) with 140 of these published in the last five years. His research has been influential in a number of areas of STI policy and clinical practice, including syphilis screening in men who have sex with men, partner notification for STI/HIV, gonorrhoea testing and antenatal screening for chlamydia. Associate Professor Chen’s contribution to research in sexual health medicine is impressive and worthy of recognition with this award. 

Applications for the AChSHM Research Entry Scholarship are open. The scholarship is valued at up to $40,000 for one year and aims to encourage and support the promotion of research in the field of sexual health medicine. All AChSHM Fellows and trainees are eligible to apply, with applications closing on Monday, 15 July 2019.

The Chapter Committee will next meet at the RACP Sydney office on Friday, 14 June 2019. If you have any feedback or issues you would like to raise with the Committee, please don’t hesitate to contact us through our secretariat at

Associate Professor Catherine O’Connor
Australasian Chapter of Sexual Health Medicine

Announcement - Lead Fellow Congress 2020

Following a highly successful Congress 2019, I am pleased to announce that Professor Don Campbell has been appointed to the role of Lead Fellow for Congress 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Professor Campbell is a recent past President of the Internal Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand (IMSANZ) and is currently President-elect of the Adult Medicine Division. 

With his interest in and commitment to health system design and fostering medical leadership, Don regards Congress as a unique annual opportunity for College members to meet and be stimulated and challenged to continually strive to achieve better health outcomes for all New Zealanders and Australians.

Congress 2020 will explore how quickly medical science is developing. How can we predict where we will be in five or ten years? How do we keep up when science is changing so rapidly? How do we design a system that puts the patient first? How do we retain the humanity and empathy in what we do; for our patients and for each other? 

These are just some of the themes that will challenge our thinking.

Congress 2020 is being held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from Monday, 4 May to Wednesday, 6 May. Register your interest to attend today.

Associate Professor Mark Lane
RACP President


Congratulations Professor Colditz

Congratulations go to Professor Paul Colditz, who is the recipient of the Queensland Metro North Hospital and Health Service Researcher of the Year award.

Professor Colditz is the President of the Paediatrics and Child Health Division (PCHD), a past Board Director and current Chair of the RACP Research Committee. He has an extensive research career which has had an enormous impact on improving health outcomes for preterm babies both in Australia and internationally.

Our Research Committee is in capable hands.

AMD award winners

The 2019 RACP Congress was recently held in Auckland and I would like to take this opportunity on behalf of the AMD to congratulate members who were recipients of awards conferred at the College Ceremony and at Congress: 

College Medal
Associate Professor John “Will” Cairns OAM FAChPM
Professor Stephen Clarke OAM FRACP FAChPM

The Eric Susman Prize
Professor Ranjeny Thomas

RACP Trainee of the Year
Dr Cameron Gofton

AMD Bryan Hudson Medal
Dr Nicholas Montarello

Best Poster Prize in Adult Medicine (Fellow)
Dr Dharmenaan Palamuthusingam

Best Poster Prize in Adult Medicine (Trainee)
Dr Budhima Nanyakkara

RACP Trainee Research Awards (Adult Medicine)
Dr Jack Yu, SA recipient
Dr Nathan Klose, QLD recipient
Dr Karen Waller, NSW recipient
Dr Michael Thompson, TAS recipient
Dr Sam Salman, WA recipient
Dr Jessica Fairley, VIC recipient
Dr Johanna Birrell, NT recipient
Dr Brian Corley, NZ recipient

I would also like to thank Professor Yati Soenarto for her Priscilla Kincaid-Smith oration and Professor Suresh Sundram for his Cottrell Memorial Lecture. Both of these orations were thought-provoking and inspiring contributions to the Congress 2019 program. 

Preparations for Congress 2020 in Melbourne are already underway with our newly appointed Congress Lead Fellow, Professor Don Campbell, and we are calling for expressions of interest for an AMD member to contribute to the planning for Congress 2020 in Melbourne.

Professor Paul Komesaroff FRACP AM
President Adult Medicine Division

Internal Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand newsletter

The new Internal Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand's (IMSANZ) May newsletter is now available with updates on the 8th Australian and New Zealand Symposium of Perioperative Medicine.

RACP Congress 2019 

RACP Congress 2019 took place from 6 to 8 May 2019 at the Aotea Centre, Auckland, New Zealand. While we are still collating feedback the initial responses have been extremely positive with 86 per cent of attendees saying RACP Congress gets better every year and more than half rating RACP Congress as their go-to educational forum. 

Listen to what 2019 attendees have to say about Congress and why you should mark your calendar to attend RACP Congress 2020 in Melbourne from 4 to 6 May next year. 

Be the RACP Congress 2020 Committee AMD Representative

Auckland recently hosted a highly successful RACP Congress 2019. The vast majority of members who attended rated Congress 2019 as one of the best meetings they had attended this year, with some going so far as to describe it as "best Congress ever" – we encourage you to view the highlights from Day 1 and Day 2.

Congress 2020 will be held in Melbourne 4 to 6 May, and we are seeking expressions of interest from AMD Fellows for the role of AMD Representative on the Congress Program Committee (CPC).           

The AMD Representative will lead the development of the Adult Medicine stream and will work with the Congress Lead Fellow, Professor Don Campbell and other CPC members and College staff to implement the agreed Congress themes and develop shared interest sessions. This is a key opportunity for AMD members to shape the topics and discussions for next year’s Congress.

The AMD Representative will:

• coordinate all content within the adult medicine stream, while linking to the purpose, goals and key themes of Congress
• collaborate with the Congress Lead Fellow and other CPC members to optimise shared interest sessions and broader Congress program through identifying notable speakers, significant topics and innovative delivery formats
• attend the CPC fortnightly planning meetings via teleconference
• participate in email correspondence outside of meetings regarding suggestions and opinions of speakers and sessions
• actively promote Congress to members.

The successful candidate is appointed by the AMD Executive Committee.

To apply, submit an expression of interest form and your CV to


RACP supports OraTaiao’s call for action on climate change and health

Climate change is one of the most significant public health challenges of the 21st century. It is also an opportunity for public health. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will have health co-benefits, including changes to diet and physical activity levels. In New Zealand, the government introduced the landmark Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill in May 2019 to transition to a zero carbon society by 2050. 

The RACP is a strong advocate for evidence-based, equitable climate action policies, and recently supported the Revised Call to Action on Climate Change and Health from OraTaiao, the NZ Climate and Health Council. OraTaiao is focused on raising awareness and taking action on the health challenges and health opportunities climate change presents. 

OraTaiao and the RACP recognise that in Aotearoa NZ, action on climate change will mean a whole-of-society transition founded on the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi/The Treaty of Waitangi - partnership, participation and protection.

Apply for Research Awards and Travel Grants

Apply now for research funding for 2020 offered through the RACP Foundation. Upwards of 50 awards with a total value of $2.5 million are available across the different categories: Career Development Fellowships, Research Establishment Fellowships, Research Entry Scholarships, Research Development Scholarships, and Travel Grants.

The RACP Queensland Motor Accident Insurance Commission (MAIC) Research Awards offers a total of $200,000 for 2020 to promote research capacity and capability to improve knowledge on:
    • medical conditions or illnesses which cause or contribute to road traffic crashes (RTC’s) 
    • medical treatments or approaches that improve health outcomes for people involved in RTCs 
    • rehabilitation of people who sustain a temporary or permanent disability through RTC’s
    • improving longer term outcomes of people injured in RTC’s including pain management, community re-integration, psychosocial, mental health and vocational outcomes.

The RACP MAIC Research Awards are normally tenable in Queensland unless there is a demonstrable benefit to the state of Queensland from the research being undertaken elsewhere in Australia. These awards are available under three categories: Career Development Fellowships, Research Establishment Fellowships and Research Entry Scholarships.

The College International Grant – Asia Pacific Region (Developing Countries) worth up to $10,000 is also available to medical graduates or specialists from outside Australia or New Zealand who intend to further their knowledge in fields of medical education and research. The application must be sponsored by a Fellow of the RACP and submitted before Wednesday, 31 July 2019.

Full details for these opportunities are available on the RACP Foundation website. Email the RACP Foundation to sign up for updates.

Internal Medicine Journal May issue now available

The Internal Medicine Journal (IMJ) May issue is now available. The Editor’s choice for the month is a personal viewpoint entitled "Conflicts of interest: new thinking, new processes” by  Paul Komesaroff, Ian Kerridge and Wendy Lipworth.

The key highlights from the issue are:
1. Drug-induced acute interstitial nephritis and corticosteroids
2. Wearable devices for cardiac arrhythmia detection
3. HIV Patients 25 years on
4. The handover room in acute medicine 
5. PET/CT for infections 
6. Novel agent usage in multiple myeloma

Women & Leadership Australia grants

This is the final call for all women currently working in the health care sector to express their interest in the current financial year scholarship funding available through Women & Leadership Australia.
This opportunity provides women with funding of between $3,000 and $7,000 to undertake a range of leadership development programs commencing later this year. 
To ensure equitable access to the grants, the funding window has been extended until Friday, 21 June 2019. It is important to note that it is uncertain when these grants will be available again. More information and initial expressions of interest are available on the Women & Leadership Australia website.

My Health Record Survey

The My Health Record (MHR) is a secure online summary of an individual’s health information. Over 90 per cent of Australians have a MHR, and healthcare providers authorised by their healthcare organisation can access MHR to view and add to their patients’ health information. 

PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting (Australia) has been engaged by the Australian Digital Health Agency to review the private specialist sector landscape and develop an understanding of the key opportunities and barriers around driving further adoption of MHR.

This online survey will only take 10 minutes and seeks to gain a better understanding of private practice workflows and the views of specialists and practice staff towards the MHR. 

All survey responses will remain anonymous.

Please contact Jen Vo-Phuoc or Nick Dimitropoulos from PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting if you would like any further information.

Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine

The Australian and New Zealand Society of Palliative Medicine (ANZSPM) is a society for medical practitioners training and working in palliative medicine. 

They are a society for medical practitioners, aiming to improve health outcomes by working with and influencing the system and community around the person with a life-limiting illness. ANZSPM facilitates professional development and support for its members, promotes the practice of Palliative Medicine and advocates for those who work in the field of palliative medicine. Membership includes member rates on the biennial conference and other major events, at least two trainee days per year, networking opportunities with other members and free individual membership of European Association for Palliative Care thanks to ANZSPM’s national association membership.

ANZSPM offers a discount membership for trainees of $195 per year (NZD$185 for NZ trainees). To join, visit the ANZSPM website. 

Reporting measures for Acute Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease 

Momentum is gathering for more to be done to prevent transmission of Group A Streptococcus, Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF) and Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) at every level. 

ARF and RHD remain significant health concerns for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly in northern Queensland. In response to this, the Queensland Minister for Health launched the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rheumatic Heart Disease Action Plan 2018–2021. The Action Plan and additional information on ARF and RHD, including clinician and patient resources are available on the QLD Health website.

Some other groups in Queensland are disproportionally affected by these diseases including Pacific Islanders, Māori, refugees, migrants from developing countries and those who live in poverty or overcrowded housing.

Since September 2018, RHD has become a notifiable condition. Under the Public Health Act 2005 and Public Health Regulation 2018, doctors must now notify these diseases. 

The process of notification for these diseases requires the diagnosing clinician to complete either an ARF of RHD notification form and send it to the Queensland RHD Register and Control Program via fax (1300 429 536) or email. Alternatively, you can send it to your local Public Health Unit (PHU).

For further information about these diseases, Queensland Health guidelines, resources for health professionals and fact sheets for patients are available on the communicable disease control guidance website.

The Australian Guideline for Prevention, Diagnosis and Management of ARF and RHD (2nd edition) and other resources are available on the RHD Australia website

MSD Hubert Stuerzl Memorial Educational Award 2019

The Cooperative Trials Group for Neuro-Oncology (COGNO) is pleased to call for applications for the MSD Hubert Stuerzl Memorial Educational Award 2019.

The purpose of this award is to encourage education and training in the field of Neuro-Oncology and will provide up to $15,000 for the successful recipient to:
    • attend an international Neuro-Oncology scientific meeting
    • undertake a Neuro-Oncology Preceptorship during 2019-2020.

The Award is open to applications from individuals with a clear interest in the field of Neuro-Oncology and includes:
    • Advanced Trainees in Medical Oncology, Neurology, Radiation Oncology, Neurosurgery, Pathology or Radiology
    • Medical Oncologists, Neurologists, Radiation Oncologists, Neurosurgeons, Pathologists or Radiologists of no more than five years standing who are enrolled in full-time or part-time post-graduate research (PhD or MD).

Please check the COGNO website regarding the eligibility criteria, application requirements and selection criteria.

Applications should be submitted by email by Friday, 5 July 2019.

The Doctor Dash

The Doctor Dash this Sunday, June 2 2019 promotes the benefits of exercise and raises awareness for the good mental health of doctors, medical students, nurses and other health professionals. 

You can participate anywhere in the world in your own time, at your own pace and in your Crazy Socks 4 Docs.

Conferences and Events 

2019 QLD Fellows’ and Trainees’ Forum
Medico Legal: A Physicians Update
Continuing Professional Development Information Session (Canberra)
Continuing Professional Development Information Session (Sydney)
Medical Education Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting
ANZCA 2019 Rural Special Interest Group meeting

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. 

Career opportunities

Applications are now being sought from medical graduates interested in Clinical Forensic Medicine Registrar positions in 2019.

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