The President's Message - 29 November 2019

Although we’re coming to the end of 2019, there is a lot happening in the College, especially relating to our bi-national Indigenous Strategic Framework.

The Māori Health Committee and RACP Aotearoa New Zealand staff welcomed the whānau of influential New Zealand paediatrician the late Dr Leo Buchanan to the RACP Wellington Office in September. They celebrated the arrival of a pou rākau whakairo (carved wooden pole) created by artist Ihaia Puketapu.

The carving depicts Dr Buchanan at the feet of Tane Mahuta, the Māori God of forests and birds, and is deeply symbolic of Dr Buchanan’s place as a revered physician in our College, and the importance of Māori culture to the RACP.

On the other side of the Tasman on 18 November, our new 'Healing Place' artwork was officially unveiled and is now showcased proudly in the reception area of the College's Sydney office at 145 Macquarie Street. You can scroll down for more detail about the pou rākau whakairo and Healing Place.

Our recent Māori Health Hui (meeting) as a great success. It marked the inaugural hui organised with the specific objective of building the Māori caucus of the RACP – our trainees, Fellows, non-Fellow Committee members and College staff who identify as Māori across Aotearoa New Zealand and Te Whenua Moemoeā (the Dreaming Land – Australia). Further details are included in an article below.

Lead Fellow for RACP Congress 2021-2022

We are currently seeking a Lead Fellow to assist our College to plan and organise Congress 2021 and 2022. I encourage you to apply today to provide strategic leadership to this important event.

Complete your Work Profile

Thank you to the Fellows who have completed their Work Profile in MyRACP when completing their annual subscription fees. My Work Profile is a data set to inform future decision makers when planning for physician education programs.

To those who haven’t completed theirs yet, I encourage you to do so today, as your participation is imperative for its future success.

Kind regards,

Associate Professor Mark Lane
RACP President

The unveiling of 'Tāne Mahuta' and 'Healing Place'

As part of the College's Indigenous Strategic Framework journey, we commissioned an inspiring Māori carving and magnificent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander bespoke artwork to demonstrate our commitment to Indigenous health and celebrate our Indigenous cultures.

'Tāne Mahuta' carved by Ihaia Puketapu

20191105_135441In September, the Māori Health Committee and RACP Aotearoa New Zealand staff welcomed the whānau of Dr Leo Buchanan (1941-2017) to the RACP Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington Office. We celebrated the arrival of Tāne Mahuta, a pou rākau whakairo (carved wooden pole) created by artist Ihaia Puketapu. The carving portrays the pūrākau (legend) of the ascent of Tāne to seek and receive the three kete (baskets) of knowledge. The carving includes a figure representing Dr Buchanan, to recognise his significant achievements as the initiator and founding chairman of the Māori Health Committee. Further work will be undertaken to develop a graphic representation of the pou rākau whakairo Tāne Mahuta to be used on College resources. You are welcome to visit our office to experience our taonga (treasure) the next time you are in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington.

'Healing Place' by Riki Salam of We Are 27 Creative

Healing Place CanvasOn 18 November, the 'Healing Place' was officially unveiled. It is now showcased proudly in the reception area of our Sydney office at 145 Macquarie Street in Sydney. In his opening remarks, Associate Professor Luke Burchill, Chair of the RACP's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Committee (ATSIHC) said "it's an important step for the College in its journey of building cultural competency and advancing Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander health." ATSIHC worked closely with the College's Policy and Advocacy team and with Riki Salam, Principal, Creative Director and artist of WeAre27 in commissioning this artwork.

The diamond shape references the College itself as a great place of learning. The circle at the centre surrounded by U-shaped symbols represents teachers, lecturers, board members, staff and students all of whom are the holders of knowledge and the caretakers that will teach, learn and pass this knowledge onto the next generation. Spiritual Elders from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures surround the College and impart their knowledge of healing, as they guide and protect us.

Pathways lead inwards from the top and bottom of the artwork guiding people to this place of healing and learning. The circular motifs represent stars, helping people to navigate from different places and different Country. The circular pathway represents the Creation Spirit and the traditional knowledge that it brings to the people and to the College. It protects, guides and imparts its Culture and understanding of healing on Country. The organic branches represent traditional foods and bush medicines like lilly pilly and yam vine. They depict traditional practices and knowledge.

An artwork combining 'Tāne Mahuta' and 'Healing Place' will be developed next year to acknowledge both cultures. Also, keep an eye out for the upcoming RACP Quarterly, which will further showcase 'Tāne Mahuta' and 'Healing Place'.

RACP Māori Health hui 2019

Ehara taku toa i te toa takitahi, engari he toa takatini
My strength is not that of an individual, but that of a collective

This whakataukī (proverb) was used to frame our 2019 Māori Health Hui. The hui (meeting) marked the inaugural Māori Health Hui organised with the specific objective of building the Māori caucus of the RACP – our trainees, Fellows, non-Fellow Committee members and College staff who whakapapa (identify as, descend from) Māori across Aotearoa New Zealand and Te Whenua Moemoeā (the Dreaming Land – Australia).

With the establishment of the Māori caucus through whanaungatanga (relationship-building), manaakitanga (kindness and connection) and awhi (embrace, surrounding), our 2019 included a noho marae (overnight stay in the marae) where attendees strengthened their connections, and sense of collective.

To begin our hui, we heard from Kereama Pene, Apostle for Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland for the Ratana Church. At 16, Kereama was arrested during the invasion of Takaparawhā (Bastion Point), the traditional lands of Ngāti Whātua o Ōrākei (where our hui was held). In his late 50s, Kereama has been on site at Ihumātao (near the Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland airport) – the location of a current protest movement against land confiscated from Māori in the 1860s, and the proposed site of a residential development. This underscored the lived experiences of colonisation as being a reality for Māori today.

Our 2019 Hui program had three pou (pillars);

1) To site our kōrero (conversations) within the current landscape

Learn from the findings and recommendations of the Waitangi Tribunal’s Hauora report as part of WAI 2575 – the Health Services and Outcomes Kaupapa Inquiry, among other systems-level reviews, reports and inquiries, such as the Health and Disability System Review.

Attendees heard from Dr Heather Came and Rev Dr Hirini Kaa, who noted the Waitangi Tribunal had been critical of the health system’s collective failure to facilitate and enable positive health outcomes for Māori, and looked at the ways in which Māori health equity and surface appeals to tino rangatiratanga (self-determination) had failed to be embedded in the application and implementation of policy

2) To reflect the movement towards centering Te Tiriti o Waitangi and health equity in the Aotearoa NZ health system internally in the RACP 

How can the College’s process of constitutional reform honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the tricultural reality of a bi-national college?

To ensure that the kōrero considered the opportunities for acknowledging Te Tiriti and Indigenous peoples in both Aotearoa NZ and Te Whenua Moemoeā, and also took into consideration the complexity of developing a constitution for a trans-Tasman College constituted under Australian legislation, the Māori Health Committee invited Kāhui Legal managing partner Kiri Tahana and solicitor Lana Underhill-Sem to offer legal expertise and perspective on models for the RACP to consider in its review of the College Constitution. 

3) To learn from innovative programs using a kaupapa Māori (Māori values and knowledge) approach to achieving positive health outcomes for whānau (families)

How can we incorporate Indigenous practices and spaces, reflect on our biases towards achieving cultural safety and be actively engaged learners? Dr Diana Kopua FRANZCP and Mark Kopua, tattooist and carver lead Hui attendees in a wānanga (workshop) on Mahi a Atua (Work of the Gods). Mahi a Atua is a practice, approach and a philosophy using pūrākau (Māori foundational narratives) to work with people experiencing mental distress with their whānau. Mahi a Atua shows what can be achieved when treatment methods are designed with Māori at the centre.

As the whakataukī to frame the hui suggests, to have the diversity of expertise and experience from both sides of Te Tai-o-Rehua (the Tasman Sea) in attendance throughout the two days was a gift that is not lost on those who participated. The information shared by the knowledgeable speakers, along with the many informal conversations resonated, sowed seeds and advanced thought and actions to help us in both our own wellbeing and our collective work moving forward.

The kōrero at the hui contributed greatly to grow the individuals and the College, setting us firmly on the path to ensuring that Māori Fellows, trainees and staff feel a sense of whanaungatanga, manaakitanga and awhi within the College and that Indigenous health equity remains a key priority in all that we do.

An attendees' perspective of RACP Māori Health Hui 2019

Note: The Māori kupu (words) below use the spelling of the Kāi Tahu Iwi (tribe) from Te Waipounamu (the South Island).

“Kiwis and Aussies are basically the same” someone advised me just after I got back to Sydney from the Hui. This is perhaps slightly true from a Western perspective, but it’s a mono cultural view. Aotearoa is an archipelago in the South Seas that has a distinct Polynesian identity. And that identity is embedded in marae throughout New Zealand. Its uniquely Kiwi.

As the call came out from within the wharenui at Ōrākei, I was acutely aware that it had been 14 years since I had been on a marae.  For a decade and a half, I have lived in Sydney, away from my previous life of hui hopping around marae in Te Waipounamu.

Although I do not whakapapa (descent, lineage) to Ōrākei marae, I was instantly connected when I entered the wharenui by identifying with two carvings that were my ancestors, Paikea and Ruawharo. That whakapapa connection to these tipuna (ancestors) gave me a sense of belonging. I chose Paikea over Ruawharo and placed my luggage under Paikea the whale rider to mark out my sleeping space in advance.

The marae is a different world to Australia and I was wondering how my Aussie colleagues were feeling in this context. It would be a foreign domain for some and perhaps a different world. One of those differences that becomes apparent is how the marae becomes instrumental in challenging the western concepts of hierarchy. College staff, trainees, Fellows, Senior Leadership Group members and Board members are suddenly living together and we are influenced by new values and belief systems to interact with each other. We therefore begin to relate to each other on a more personal level. It is this whakawhanaukataka (relationship building) that sets the scene for honest and sometimes vulnerable face-to-face dialogue. A good place to be as we work together on an indigenous kaupapa (initiative).

So, if I was to choose a highlight of the hui, I’m going with the evening whakawhanaukataka session. Because to listen to each of person speak from the heart and fluctuate between laughter and tears is surely one empowering pathway to good health and wellbeing.

RACP My Work Profile - homepage banner

My Work Profile

Many Government decisions on workforce are based on anecdotal data. As a response to this we are updating our records to assist our future decision making for physician education programs.

Did you know the hours you work, the professional activities you are engaged in and where you work impact the paediatrics and adult medicine workforce?

When you pay your annual College subscription fees, you’ll find My Work Profile on the payment confirmation page that will take you to your own work profile, or you can access it in MyRACP.

MyRACP supported internet browsers are Microsoft Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Safari.

How does My Work Profile benefit you?

Workforce data will be made available to you and will help:

  • New Fellows decide which geographic area to work in Australia and New Zealand
  • New Fellows choose between private or public practice
  • you understand how your work hours compare with your peers
  • the RACP and stakeholders including government policy-makers make better workforce decisions, based on current data
  • Fellows understand activities they are undertaking; research, administration or clinical
Having trouble completing your Work Profile? The MyRACP supported internet browsers are Internet Explorer Edge, Chrome, Firefox and Safari. Please note Internet Explorer 11 is not compatible because it’s an end of life browser and has security concerns.

Hear what others have to say about My Work Profile

For more information, please read the My Work Profile FAQs. For details on what data will be collected and how it will be stored, please read the Privacy Statement.

Complete today
 

RACP Congress 2020

Balancing medical science with humanity

RACP Congress brings our membership together to explore the big issues that are relevant to all specialists. Experts also present clinical and specialty sessions for each Division and Faculty.

The RACP Congress 2020 shared interest program includes the Emerging role of microbiome.

The Microbiome describes the genome of all the microorganisms that live in or on vertebrates. Emerging research and evolving technology focuses on the intestinal ecosystem and body surfaces in general. We will explore how our environment influences the expression of the microbiome and how the microbiome influences human health and disease.

Genomics will be presented by Professor John Christodoulou, Chair Genomic Medicine, Department of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne. Professor Christodoulou is also the Co-Leader of the Brain and Mitochondrial Research Group and Director of the Genetics Research Theme at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne.

Tackling the complexity of child and adolescent obesity is Professor Louise Baur AM – Howard Williams Medal who is the Professor and Head of Child and Adolescent Health at the University of Sydney and Head of Children’s Hospital Westmead Clinical School.

For more information on the program, speakers, abstract submission, accommodation and registration visit the event website.

Register now
 

Fringe experience RACP Congress 2020

We’re looking for talented members to lead extra-curricular experiences for delegates at RACP Congress 2020 in Melbourne. Do you have a special interest outside of medicine you'd like to share? Perhaps you are a talented photographer, a meditation guru, singer, author or a Melbourne enthusiast. Volunteer to lead a session at the RACP Congress Fringe Experience.

Launched in 2019, the Fringe Experience is an opportunity for our members to display their diverse gifts in the arts, including theatre, dance, music, readings, performance art, painting, sculpting and photography.

We are looking for people to take the lead on a range of activities. There is no limit, tell us what you can do. Some suggestions include:

If you are:

  • a local who knows the lane ways of Melbourne or a history buff with a few tales to tell
  • in the know about the best places to get coffee or that secret restaurant
  • a keen photographer with an eye for the best locations.

…then volunteer to lead a guided morning walking excursion.

Why not:

  • share your yoga or pilates skills
  • put delegates through their paces at a bootcamp
  • lead the group through the streets or parks of Melbourne on an early morning run.

…volunteer to run one of our health and wellbeing sessions.

If art and music are your thing:

  • lead a band or conduct a choir
  • choreograph a dance piece
  • run a water-colour class.

…the sky’s the limit. Tell us what you would like to do and we will try to make it happen.

You can submit for more than one interest at any time before or after the Congress program. Schedule times include early mornings, late afternoons or during break times. We will try our best to accommodate requested times where possible but cannot guarantee your preference.

As a volunteer, you’re responsible for:

  • acquiring any necessary rights or permissions for your participation
  • providing equipment, costumes, props and cues for your chosen activity
  • transportation and display of any materials and equipment.

Apply

To apply, email a brief proposal of your Fringe Experience showcase, including your preferred days and times, and any supporting materials by email.

Terms and conditions

The RACP is unable to give assistance towards any transportation, Congress registration, accommodation and travel expenses of a Fringe Experience volunteer. The RACP is not liable for any damage or loss of property incurred during Congress. We advise volunteers to be responsible for the appropriate supervision of their property during use or display as part of their Fringe Experience activities.

For any enquirers about the Fringe Experience at RACP Congress 2020, please email us.

RACP Congress seeks Lead Fellow for 2021-2022

Following the success of Congress 2019 in Auckland and the highly anticipated Congress 2020 in Melbourne, we are currently seeking a Lead Fellow to assist our College to plan and organise Congress 2021 and 2022.

The Congress Lead Fellow position is an exciting opportunity to provide strategic leadership shape the Congress program and collaborate with leading influencers in the Internal Medicine community.

Apply now
 

Be part of the change to improve physician mental health

We’ve partnered with the Black Dog Institute and are looking for supervisors to join the Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) as part of the development of an online mental health training program.  The program will give supervisors the skills to better manage and support the mental health needs of trainees.

Your involvement

As a part of the RCT you will be asked to complete:

  • four questionnaires over six-months
  • the online HeadCoach for Physicians program:
    • consists of nine modules (less than 10 minutes each)
    • can be completed over three-weeks at your own pace
    • can be completed on your computer, tablet or phone.

Join

Register for the RCT today on the HeadCoach for Physicians website or email any questions you may have.

More information on the main trial, including information about confidentiality, is available in the Participant Information Sheet.

This research has been reviewed and approved by The University of New South Wales Human Research Ethics Committee. If you have any complaints or concerns about the research project please email or phone +61 2 9385 6222 quoting the number HC190628.

RACP Indigenous Health Scholarships 2020

The RACP Indigenous Health Scholarship Program supports medical graduates and current RACP trainees who identify as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or Māori on their chosen career path to becoming a physician. The Scholarships provide a funded pathway through Basic, Advanced, Faculty or Chapter training in Australia and/or New Zealand. Applications close this Saturday, 30 November 2019.

There are several scholarships available for 2020, including:

  • Basic, advanced or chapter training
  • College Indigenous Australian and Māori Health Scholarship
  • Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Scholarship
  • NZ Aotearoa Māori Health Scholarship

Also offered for Faculty training:

  • Indigenous Health Scholarship for Occupational & Environmental Medicine
  • Indigenous Health Scholarship for Rehabilitation Medicine
  • The John McLeod Indigenous Health Scholarship in Public Health Medicine

Learn more
   

RACP President's Indigenous Congress Prize

Are you a medical student who identifies as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander or Māori? If so, apply for the RACP President's Indigenous Congress Prize. The selected applicant will receive support to attend RACP Congress in Melbourne where you’ll gain educational and networking opportunities, as well as exposure to career pathways within the College.

The prize includes:

  • full trainee or medical student registration for RACP Congress in Melbourne in May 2020
  • return economy airfares to Melbourne
  • up to three nights’ accommodation

Applications for 2020 are now open. Please encourage anyone you know who is eligible to apply before Friday, 31 January 2020.

Apply today
 

Physicians talking about Evolve at the Tasmanian Physicians' Conference

On 8 November, Professor Peter Procopis and Professor Graeme Jones presented at the Tasmania Physicians Conference on Evolve.

As a myCPD Champion, Professor Peter Procopis is passionate about the need for physicians to keep up-to-date through lifelong learning. There are many ways physicians can engage with CPD, with Evolve providing physicians with a trusted resource to support them to keep abreast of best practice and help them reduce low-value care in their specialty. Peter believes these projects, as well as other CPD activities, require advanced planning to not only put the project in place, but also determine if a given activity has been successful.

View Professor Procopis’ presentation slides

Professor Graeme Jones is passionate about reducing low-value care in rheumatology. He has played an important role in helping shine a light on the low value practices through the Evolve initiative and will be sharing his experiences of identifying and implementing Evolve recommendations.

View Professor Jones’ presentation slides

Webinar: My Health Record – Opportunities to better serve the population

Did you miss the recent ‘My Health Record – Opportunities to better serve the population’ webinar? You can now watch Associate Professor Nick Buckmaster, Dr Rosalie Schultz and Carey Doolan’s presentations.

Watch webinar

RACP events you may be interested in

 
IMS banner

Tri-nation Alliance International Medical Symposium

Dr Roger Strasser — June  2019 - 0003We are excited to announce keynote speaker Professor Roger Strasser AM for the Tri-nation Alliance International Medical Symposium (IMS), Providing care to underserved populations, taking place in Sydney on Friday, 20 March 2020.

Professor Strasser is a leader in the global reform of health professional education. Recognising the importance of context and community in medical education and research, Professor Strasser has become one of the world’s foremost authorities on rural, socially accountable medical education, and a sought-after speaker and advisor.

Prior to moving to Northern Ontario in 2002, he was Professor of Rural Health and Head of the Monash University School of Rural Health in Australia and had an international role with the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) as Chair of the Working Party on Rural Practice from 1992-2004.

Now in its ninth year IMS is an annual event that reinforces the strong historical relationship between medical professions from Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Cementing these ties, a formal agreement between the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians, The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists and the Royal Australasian College of Psychiatrists created the Tri-Nations Alliance.

Register now

Join the Library, Collections and Cultural Heritage Committee

Our College held a History of Medicine Library re-opening event on 24 October to celebrate the completion of the remediation work and to showcase our extensive library collection. Tours of the Library and building at 145 Macquarie Street in Sydney were held and some of the Library’s collection was displayed in the Council, Edward Ford and Fellows rooms for members to view.

Our Library collection which includes rare books, extensive archives, a small assortment of medical artefacts and numerous photographs, is an extraordinary resource for anyone exploring the past. There is now a readily accessible online catalogue with which to find these ‘treasures’.

Following on from the success of our Library re-opening event, we are currently seeking to establish our new Library, Collections and Cultural Heritage Committee (LCCHC) and have opened up expressions of interest for Fellows and trainees who are interested in being involved. The LCCHC will oversee our College’s History of Medicine Library Collection and provide guidance on how to improve the use and engagement with the Library and its collection.

Apply today

RACP, ACEM and ACCRM declare climate change as a health emergency

On 21 November 2019 the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), the Australasian College of Emergency Medicine (ACEM) and the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) all declared climate change as a health emergency. The declarations follow the release of the 2019 Lancet Countdown report on climate change and health earlier this month and the Australian Medical Council’s climate health emergency declaration earlier this year.

Our media release comes as Australia is experiencing numerous emergency level bushfires, causing tragic loss of life and property. This increase in bushfire frequency and intensity is one of the consequences of climate change that scientists have warned about.

You can share our media release and sign this petition from Doctors for the Environment Australia to join calls urging the Australian Federal Government to recognise climate change as a public health emergency and to take urgent climate action accordingly.  

Internal Medicine Journal

The editor's choice for the November edition of the Internal Medicine Journal is an original article titled 'The cost of screening for lung cancer in Australia' by Henry M. Marshall, Nicola Finn, Rayleen V. Bowman, Linda H. Passmore, Elizabeth M. McCaul, Ian A. Yang, Luke Connelly and Kwun M. Fong

Key highlights from the issue include:

  • Biologic agents in the management of uveitis
  • Why we should stop performing vertebroplasties
  • Calcium metabolism in type 1 myotonic dystrophy
  • Time to treatment in acute stroke halved
  • New therapies for castration-resistant prostate cancer
  • Healthcare resource allocation: ethics

Read now
 

Trainee selection experiences

The College is currently running a short, anonymous pulse survey, asking trainees to share their selection experiences from the last nine months. If you are a trainee, please complete the survey via the email link you received on Tuesday, 26 November. If you work with or supervise trainees, please encourage them to take part. The survey closes Monday, 9 December 2019.

Every year we receive a small mix of informal and formal feedback about different experiences during selection. While the RACP is not involved directly in the recruitment and selection of trainees, we would like to be aware of their views. A summary of the results will be shared with all members on the RACP website and with key committees across the College.

If you have any questions please email Member Services or call 1300 MYRACP (1300 697 227)/+61 2 9256 5444 (for outside Australia).
 

Pomegranate Health Podcast

marrabinyaEp53: Marrabinya — A hand outstretched

Marrabinya is a Wiradjuri word meaning 'hand outstretched'. It’s the name of a service in the Western New South Wales Primary Health Network which financially supports Indigenous Australians to attend specialist consultations. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples receive specialist medical care 40 per cent less often than non-indigenous Australians. It’s easy to imagine communities out in the red desert and blame culture clash or the tyranny of distance, but most Indigenous Australians live in cities or regional communities. The Marrabinya staff explain how socioeconomic factors and institutional biases can accumulate to prevent Aboriginal patients from receiving the care they need.

Marrabinya is an exemplary model of principles that RACP has formalised in the Medical Specialist Access Framework. Indigenous leadership, cultural safety, person and family-centred approach and a context-specific approach can all contribute to great gains in the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Guests
Marrabinya Executive Manager Donna Jeffries and chronic care link staff Desley Mason, Kym Lees, Possum Swinton, Sandra Ritchie, Melissa Flannery, Joanne Bugg, Jacob Bloomfield and Gaby Bugg.

Subscribe today
Fellows of the RACP can claim CPD credits via MyCPD for listening to this episode and other Pomegranate Health podcasts. Be the first to find out about new Pomegranate Health podcasts by subscribing in Apple iTunes, Spotify or any Android podcasting app

Listen now
 

Discover your online learning options today

We understand you’re busy and on-the-go, so discover our quality online education. Accessible anywhere and optimised for mobile on-the-go learning, access a range of online learning courses, resources, lectures, curated collections and podcasts. Developed by members, for members, the interactive nature of our online learning resources enable you to learn from your peers. RACP Online Learning Resources are free for members and count towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements. 

Watch now

MyCPD Champion: Professor Michael Ackland

Professor Ackland_myCPDThe Medical Board of Australia (MBA) changes to how Fellows undertake Continuing Professional Development (CPD) come into effect over the next few years. We are preparing Fellows for these changes by updating our MyCPD Framework, to reflect the direction the MBA is heading with its changes. As the new MyCPD Framework comes into effect, Fellows incorporating the changes into their practice and lifestyles speak to us about their approaches to CPD.

Professor Michael Ackland is a distinguished public health physician who took time out to answer our questions about CPD.

Why is CPD important to you?

CPD provides me with a basis for ongoing professional education, learning, skills development as well as an opportunity to reflect on my professional competence – especially as I approach the latter part of my career.

It is also clearly important as a requirement for maintaining my medical registration and will almost certainly provide a critical indicator of my ‘use-by-date’ on the path to full retirement.

How have patients benefited from your CPD activities?

I am not in clinical practice now – but as a significant contributor to public health education at both Monash University and within the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine Advanced Training program, CPD provides an incentive to check, or at least keep track of the fact, that I am keeping on top of my professional competence. Especially in the roles I have in coordinating the oral exam question writing process for the Faculty, as well as in my role as Lead Fellow Accreditation.

The peer review group that I have hosted for close to 20 years is the most significant professional development process for me that is actually driven by MyCPD. In my former role as Acting Chief Health Officer (A/CHO) for Victoria, I benefited from peers reviewing my critical thinking and analysis skills in public health.

Now that I have semi-retired, I am able to reciprocate that function with other colleagues, including the current A/CHO and other senior public health physicians in Victoria. 

What are some of the CPD activities you choose to do and why?

Teaching and Advanced Trainee Supervision and Coaching because it is a robust learning exercise to prepare teaching and learning materials in public health at any level. It requires a review of current evidence and literature and this is reinforced by delivering the material to students. Supervision of trainees provides a lively interface with exceptional ‘students’ in public health medicine and offers a two way exchange of knowledge and wisdom.

I attend conferences because materials presented are generally very stimulating and provide a review of current issues in public health, as well as an exposure to debates and discussion about current and sometimes controversial issues. These include refugee health and climate change. The collegiate benefits – such as formal and informal engagement with RACP colleagues – from attending conferences are not able to be substituted by any other activity that I am exposed to.

The committee work I do in public health physician education and accreditation is highly valuable learning experience. It provides a unique exposure to current and developing teaching and learning strategies in public health medicine

I also write exam questions and in doing this there are no shortcuts to knowing your facts and the key principles of public health practice across the curriculum.This may be the most important CPD activity of all for me. I also take part in Peer Review Groups.

How do you meaningfully plan your CPD activities and measure their outcomes?

My CPD activities are planned around the circumstances of my current professional role in semi-retirement. This may be limited by default, but I do my best to seek out and become involved in a range of professional development activities (as above) that will be of personal interest and of benefit to me professionally.

The outcomes are largely based on my own judgement and the feedback I get from colleagues – both in formal peer review settings and informally in my workplace at Monash University where I am frequently engaged with public health academics in the teaching, research and policy spaces.

Why is reviewing performance and measuring outcomes important?

I need a mechanism to check that I am still competent in my profession – especially since I am no longer employed in public health medicine full-time. This is important at these latter stages of my career –  though the CPD system becomes potentially more challenging with the passage of time, especially from the outcomes measurement perspective. 
 

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