The President's Message - 30 July 2015

Passing of Past President Priscilla Kincaid-Smith

It is with sadness that I announce the passing of Past President, Professor Emeritus Priscilla Kincaid-Smith AC CBE FRACP on Saturday, 18 July 2015.

The first female President of our College, Professor Kincaid-Smith (1986-1988) made a significant contribution to the advancement of medicine in Australia. She also served on the Council of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians for twelve years. A renowned specialist in kidney disease, she forged a career in Nephrology at a time when there were very few women in medicine.

Professor Kincaid-Smith was born in South Africa, and graduated from Medicine in 1950 from the University of Witwatersrand. In 1958 she moved to Australia where in the 1960s she famously established the causal link between headache powders and kidney damage and campaigned strongly against their use. She also made substantial contributions to research on the link between the kidneys and high blood pressure. In 1975, she was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire "for services to medicine".

There were many firsts for Professor Kincaid-Smith; she was the first female Professor of the University of Melbourne, the first female President of this College, and the first female President of the World Medical Association. With three children of her own, she laid the groundwork for generations of female medical practitioners to come, illustrating that women could have a family and a successful medical career.

In 1988 Professor Kincaid-Smith was awarded the Companion of the Order of Australia. The prestigious ‘Professor Kincaid-Smith Oration’ was established in 1993 in recognition of her contributions to medicine and to the College, and is delivered at RACP Congress every year by an orator of international standing.

Her memorial service, that celebrated Priscilla Kincaid-Smith’s impact on medicine, our College and her life, was held on Saturday, 25 July and was attended by several Past-Presidents, many Fellows and our College CEO, Linda Smith. Our thoughts are with Professor Kincaid-Smith’s family at this time.

Let’s talk about the future of our College

The College’s greatest asset is you - our Fellow and Trainee Members - and I am committed to working with all members to strengthen our College, a College that honours our past and embraces the future.

Our organisation is diverse, vibrant and busier than ever. I know that ​many of you are passionate about being part of this College, and excited about its future. I know ​some of you have concerns and seek certain improvements in your College and I want to ensure that you, our members, have the opportunity to be heard by, and engage with, your Board on these matters.

To enable that engagement, I would like to invite you to one of two gatherings with the Board in Melbourne and Sydney in the coming months. The first of these is scheduled for Wednesday, 23 September in Melbourne, and the other will be held on Wednesday, 2 December in Sydney. We encourage all available members to attend and participate in these discussions. The Board is looking forward to meeting with many of you and sharing free flowing discussion on all issues and subjects that are important to you.

 Details of these meetings can be found on the College’s event calendar.

Endorsing International Conferences Policy

Our Divisions, Faculties and Chapters often seek opportunities to bid for international conferences with the endorsement of the RACP. As this process can be lengthy and complicated, the College has released an Endorsing International Conferences Policy, which provides structure and guidance and will allow all requests to be fairly and equitably assessed.

Further information about this policy can be found below in this eBulletin, and will be communicated in forthcoming bulletins to all Divisions, Faculties and Chapters.

Laureate Professor Nicholas Talley
RACP President

Past Presidents’ Portraits Unveiled

One of the College’s special traditions is to have portraits of our Past Presidents displayed in the 145 Macquarie Street building in Sydney.

Last week I had the privilege of recognising the contributions of two of our recent Past Presidents, Professor John Kolbe, President of the College from 2010 to 2012, and Associate Professor Leslie Bolitho, who served from 2012 to 2014, at an unveiling of their portraits.

These two works have been painted by renowned South Australian portrait artist, Robert Hannaford. Mr Hannaford has painted numerous distinguished Australians over the years, including the likes of Donald Bradman, and former Prime Ministers Paul Keating and Bob Hawke, and has been a finalist in the Archibald Prize every year his works have been submitted, as far back as 1991.

Our two Past Presidents spoke of the technical skill of Robert Hannaford and the process of their portraits being developed over several days. We hope that you will enjoy viewing the portraits in the Fellows' Room on your next visit to the College’s 145 Macquarie Street offices.

Pomegranate Podcasts

The second Pomegranate podcast has been released which focuses on the role of family and religion at end-of-life. In the program, guests Dr Andrew Watkins and Dr Peter Saul discuss strategies for cross-cultural communication, and examine why these may sometimes clash with a professional preference for autonomy.

The Pomegranate podcasts will continue to explore the challenges doctors face in end-of-life decision making throughout August. ‘Recognising Death’, the first episode of the RACP’s new CPD podcast Pomegranate, debuted on the College’s website in June. Made by, and for, physicians, the peer-reviewed program features Fellows from across specialities and divisions speaking on issues that matter to them.

Episodes of Pomegranate can be streamed or downloaded at, with an iTunes launch planned for August. The College welcomes feedback, requests for topics to cover, and expressions of interest from Fellows interested in providing peer review on future episodes. Members are invited to direct all inquiries and comments to

International Medical Symposium 2016

The College is excited to announce the International Medical Symposium 2016, to be held on Friday, 11 March 2016, at the Amora Hotel Jamison, Sydney. This event is hosted by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) in association with the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) and the Australian & New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA).

This is the fifth in this series of meetings and expands on 2015’s theme, the future of the medical profession.

Themes for discussion will include:

  • future roles and responsibilities for doctors: who is the doctor of the future?
  • doctors and performance at work
  • diversity in the profession and medical practice
  • how does ageing affect physicians and their patients?

Confirmed keynote speakers include:

  • Professor Olle ten Cate, well known medical educationalist and Professor of Medical Education, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • Professor David Sinclair, Director of Medical Genetics at Harvard Medical School, Boston and University of New South Wales, Sydney.

Further details of the program and speakers will soon be made available on the Symposium’s website.

Division, Faculty and Chapter Planning Days

The Divisions, Faculties and Chapters (DFaC) Councils recently held their annual planning days at the College. These were led by each DFaC President and supported by their Councillors, with discussion across the breadth of College activities including education, research, CPD, fellowship, governance, policy and advocacy, New Zealand and Australian regional issues. The planning days are a key opportunity for Councils to set their strategic priorities for the year; aligning them with the strategic goals of the College.

Each DFaC has developed an activity plan that focuses on achieving tangible outcomes that support, foster and promote their specialities. Some of these activities include:

  • strengthening ties in the international health community
  • establishing a research base
  • expanding the Health Benefits of Work Agenda workforce projections
  • scoping engagement opportunities in Indigenous communities
  • implementation strategies for Global Health and networking of training positions
  • developing the relationship with the International Society for Social Paediatrics and Child Health (ISSOP) and the Chapter of Community Child Health
  • implementing the Model of Collaboration between specialty societies and the College
  • identifying opportunities to encourage trainees to undertake rural training to improve their skills and knowledge

The Councils are supported by RACP staff in delivering the outcomes and 2016 is already shaping to be a very busy and productive year.

For more information on the Division, Faculties and Chapters of the College, visit the College website.

Working Party Appointments

I am pleased to announce the members of the Climate Change and Health Working Party and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Working Party.

Climate Change and Health Working Party

Climate Change and Health Working Party will be leading the College’s global campaign, aiming to bring doctors from around the world together to call for meaningful action on climate change in the lead up to the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP21) later this year. 

The nine Fellows and trainees appointed to the Climate Change and Health Working Party are: Dr George Laking (Chair), A/Prof Marion Carey, Dr Kate Charlesworth, Prof Charles Guest, A/Prof David Harley, Dr Karen Kiang, Dr Lloyd Nash, A/Prof Linda Selvey and Dr Ashwin Swaminathan.

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Working Party

The NDIS Working Party will lead the College’s involvement with and contribution to the implementation of Australia’s NDIS.

The nine Fellows and trainees appointed to the NDIS Working Party are: A/Prof Robyn Wallace (Chair), Dr Steve de Graaff, Dr Robyn Horsley, Dr Jennifer Anne Kynaston, Dr Kathryn Langdon, Dr Robert Leitner, Dr Jacqueline Small, Dr Elizabeth Thompson and Prof Graham Vimpani.

I wish to take this opportunity to also thank all members who took the time to express their interest in each Working Party.

Policy on Endorsing International Conferences

The College is frequently asked by its Divisions, Faculties and Chapters to consider endorsement of major international scientific meetings. Our College is a busy and thriving organisation, and due to the increasing frequency of these submissions, the College Board has approved a new policy to assist with this process.

The Endorsing International Conferences Policy will ensure that requests from all specialties of the College can be assessed within a framework of fairness, equity and good governance. It provides structure and guidance in relation to the steps to be followed when requesting endorsement.

The recent success of our Australasian Faculty of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (AFOEM) in winning the bid to host the 2021 International Congress on Occupational Health (ICOH) illustrates the winning combination of a Fellow-led, cross-College collaboration when developing a detailed business case and bid. ICOH is held every three years, and the latest conference, which was held in Seoul, attracted over 4,000 delegates, with six days of presentations and events.

Winning the bid to host the conference in Melbourne in 2021 is a great achievement for the Faculty and an opportunity for the College. AFOEM worked in conjunction with the College to ensure ​the bid aligned with College values and processes. It was the College’s strong endorsement of the bid, backed by the Board that was cited as a key factor in securing the Congress in 2021.

The assessment principles outlined in the Policy on Endorsing International Conferences include alignment with strategic objectives of the College, meeting financial objectives, identification of possible risks, relevance to members, positive impact on College reputation and brand, etc. The RACP Policy on Endorsing International Conferences is available to download, and will also be distributed in upcoming editions of the Divisions and Faculty eBulletins.

Expressions of Interest

EOI: College Trainees' Committee

Due to a number of representatives finishing their training, the CTC is seeking applicants from trainees who are interested in becoming a member of the College Trainees' Committee (CTC).  Expressions of interest are sought for the following positions:

  • a trainee from New South Wales (PCHD or Faculty)
  • a trainee from the Northern Territory
  • a trainee who identifies as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
  • a trainee who completed their primary medical degree in a country other than Australia or New Zealand.

The CTC provides a forum for the views of all trainees and ensures advocacy on behalf of trainees in key matters such as selection into training, assessment and the overall education of trainees.

Trainees are the future of the RACP and the CTC encourages all trainees to become involved in College activities.
Trainees who are interested in applying for membership of the CTC are invited to submit their Expression of Interest form by 5.00pm (AEST), Friday, 31 July 2015.

More information about CTC including the by-laws of the Committee can also be found here.
Please email your completed EOI form and CV to

​Conferences and Events

RACMA E-dgy Issues Webinars, various dates in 2015

The Royal Australasian College of Medical Administration in conjunction with the Rural Health Continuing Education Stream is hosting a set of E-dgy Issues webinars based on contemporary and ‘e-dgy issues’ that are current to health services. The programs provide doctors in rural and remote areas opportunities to enhance their CPD and sustain best practice in medical leadership and management.

August 2015 – Conquering fragmented rural mental health and other specialist medical services (telehealth)
October 2015 – Ageism, sexism, bullying, respect or un-esteemed collaborations between medical professionals. Are we duplicating what is taught in medicine?

For enquiries regarding the E-dgy Issues Program contact Carmel at

Medico-Legal Society of Queensland Annual Conference, 28 and 29 August, Surfers Paradise

The conference theme, A Claim Cycle: The Crossroads of Law and Medicine, encapsulates the program scenario depicting Lance Pharmstrong, an unfortunate cyclist who had an accident enroute home from work.  His civil claim is still unsettled over three years down the track. Join colleagues and friends and follow the complexities and meandering nature of the life cycle of this claim.

Venue: Marriot Hotel, Surfers Paradise
Date: Friday, 28 to Saturday, 29 August 2015
Registration: Please visit the online conference registration booklet.

Masters of Clinical Leadership Program, 31 August to 4 September 2015, Melbourne

Deakin University’s Medical School provides the Master of Clinical Leadership – a Master’s program for clinicians who want to develop their leadership and management skills.

All core units are in the Master’s program but they are also available to clinicians wishing to undertake an intensive professional development opportunity.

Venue: Deakin University’s Management Centre, Geelong
Date: Monday, 31 August to Friday, 4 September 2015
Registration: Visit the Deakin website,  email Associate Professor Grant Phelps, or phone +61 418 504 252.

SPDP 3 - 'Workplace-based Learning and Assessment’, October, Auckland and Sydney

This 1.5 day ‘train-a-trainer’ event that equips physicians to gain experience in:

  • presenting the Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) workshop ‘Workplace-based Learning and Assessment’
  • preparing and evaluating workshops
  • facilitating discussion and workshop activities.

Workplace-based Learning and Assessment has been developed in collaboration with Dr Gregory Williams and Dr Stephen Robinson to support supervisors with strategies to integrate work-based learning and assessments into the workflow.

In this workshop, participants will:

  • discuss the purpose and importance of work-based learning and assessment
  • analyse the cycle of planning for learning and assessment
  • identify the challenges and solutions associated with work-based assessment in a complex environment
  • draw on evidence of learning and achievement to determine overall performance and progression.

Venue: To be confirmed
Date: Thursday, 1 and Friday, 2 October 2015
Time: 10am - 4.30pm (Day 1) and 9.30am – 1pm (Day 2)


Venue: To be confirmed
Date: Thursday, 22 and Friday, 23 October 2015
Time: 10am - 4.30pm (Day 1) and 9.30am – 1pm (Day 2)

To register your interest, please email the Supervisor Learning Support team at before Friday, 18th September 2015. Please include any dietary and travel requirements in your RSVP.

Australasian Symposium on Perioperative Medicine, 15 to 17 October, Noosa

The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists will host the 4th Annual Australasian Symposium on Perioperative Medicine, themed “The post-operative period: from recovery into the unknown”.

Venue: Outrigger Little Hastings Street Resort & Spa, Noosa, Queensland
Date: Thursday, 15 to Sunday, 18 October 2015
Registration: Please visit the conference website.

Australasian Doctors Health Conference 2015, 22 to 25 October, Melbourne

In line with our theme of “Pathways and Progress”, we will focus on proactive and reactive approaches to optimising physician health. Our two day academic program will appeal to all who have an interest in the health and welfare of our profession. We will discuss and showcase some of the advances in understanding the health of medical professionals and some of the great initiatives in improving welfare and support systems for doctors and medical students.

Venue: Pullman Mercure Albert Park, Melbourne Victoria
Date: Thursday, 22 to Sunday, 25 October 2015
Registration: Please visit the conference website.

International Medical Symposium 2016 – Future challenges for the medical profession, 11 March 2016, Sydney

This will be the fifth year of the International Medical Symposium and will bring together representatives of international and local specialist medical colleges, medical schools, health services and regulators for an inspiring day that will enable challenges to be discussed and new ideas to be explored.

The event is hosted by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) in association with the Royal Australian & New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZCP) and the Australian & New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA). 

Venue: Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney
Date: Friday, 11 March 2016
Registration: Registrations will open shortly.

For more information, please visit the International Medical Symposium website.

Nominate for a variety of RACP Awards

Inaugural Pacific Island Health Scholarship (New Zealand)

As part of its ongoing commitment to Indigenous Health the RACP is pleased to announce the addition of the Pacific Island Health Scholarship to the RACP Indigenous Health Scholarship Program.

In keeping with other Scholarships offered through the Program, the Pacific Island Health Scholarship offers a funded pathway for Basic, Advanced, Faculty or Chapter training which can be undertaken in Australia or New Zealand.

Applications for 2016 RACP Indigenous Health Scholarships are now open. Please contact the RACP Foundation for more information.

The Eric Susman Prize 2015

Fellows are invited to submit nominations for the award of the Eric Susman Prize for the best contribution to the knowledge of any branch of internal medicine.

Nominations close on Wednesday, 30 September 2015.

RACP Mentor of the Year 2016

Fellows and trainees are invited to submit nominations for the RACP Mentor of the Year Award 2016 for a Fellow who has made an outstanding contribution to mentoring or provided a high level of support and guidance throughout training.

Nominations close on Saturday, 31 October 2015.

RACP Trainee of the Year 2016

Fellows and trainees are invited to submit nominations for the RACP Trainee of the Year Award for a trainee who has made an outstanding contribution to College, community and/or trainee activities during 2015 and earlier.

Nominations close on Saturday, 31 October 2015.

Please visit the RACP Foundation website to download nomination forms and for further details about each award.

MERS Update

The Department of Health has provided a situation update on Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS).

The full update can be found here, and was released on ​23 July 2015.


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