New South Wales/ Australian Capital Territory - April 2021

Adrian Lee

I hope you had a wonderful and restful break, given the challenging year that was 2020. It is truly incredible and a testament to you all on how we have managed to overcome so many obstacles and adapt to our new world. I am truly grateful that the beginning of 2021 has started on a much more positive note.

The people in priority groups who are at a higher risk of COVID-19 have begun to receive their first dose of vaccine in February 2021. The RACP is encouraged by the beginning of the vaccination rollout, a great achievement in Australia’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

As we draw closer to the end of the 2020 examinations and look towards the 2021 exams, I would like to thank all the Directors of Physician Education (DPEs) and consultants, for their efforts to support the trainees. Much has been discussed about the difficulties that candidates continue to face this year – no doubt this continues to be challenging for the examiners, consultants and DPEs around the state.

I would also like to thank the Committee members for their flexibility and dedication for planning events during these challenging times. The Medicare compliance webinar was a great achievement, where we were able to present to members nationally. The event was well-attended and an informative experience for the entire membership. We are planning some excellent events for 2021 including more in the Medicare series, medico-legal, financial, wellbeing and genetics events and we look forward to continuing to increase the value and relevance of membership to Fellows and trainees throughout NSW and ACT.

I would like to take this opportunity once again to remind you that your College is here to support you during what continues to be a difficult time. Please use our external support provider, Converge, if you need help, which is a free and confidential service. Please write to us at if you have a particular area of interest or concern that we can help to address.

Dr Adrian Lee
NSW/ACT Regional Committee Chair

NSW/ACT Trainees' Committee Co-Chairs message

Welcome to a rapid start to 2021 and what is set to be an eventful but exciting year. As new Co-Chairs for the NSW/ACT Trainees’ Committee we would like to thank the prior Co-Chairs Dr Aimee Wiseman and Dr David Martens for their tireless work in supporting the Committee and NSW/ACT trainees in the last few years. It has been a pleasure working with you both. We would also like to thank the efforts of members Dr Richard Arnold, Dr Amelia Fernandes, Dr Nicholas Holt, Dr Ash Quadir (who have all ended their tenure recently) for their valuable contribution.

The first order of business is to welcome and introduce six new members to the NSW/ACT Trainees’ Committee: 

  • Dr Zac McPherson
  • Dr Nichola Sandys
  • Dr Lauren Shepard
  • Dr Anika Tungusova
  • Dr Emily Walsh
  • Dr Stella Watson

We are very pleased to have them join us, providing a fresh perspective and valuable skill set to our team. The following article will talk a bit more about our membership and what we do. 

With new committee members, we are also excited to be reviewing our 2021 work plan and setting new priorities. We aim to provide innovative and exciting events, advocate for excellent and consistent communication, quality training opportunities, fair assessment processes and transparency of official College policies and how they impact trainees being a key focus for us. We would love to hear from you about what really matters.

Many of you will be sitting your Divisional Clinical, Faculty and Chapter Examinations soon. We know how stressful exams can be at the best of times, and the uncertainty around the delivery of the exam only heighten those feelings. Please reach out for support if you need it and let us know if you have are any concerns you would like us to raise with the College.

Again, thank you to all trainees who have expressed their concerns to the committee regarding the ongoing impact of COVID-19 on training and wellbeing. We take your feedback very seriously and do our best to advocate on your behalf. Please email us if you have any specific issues you would like us to raise.

Zoe Stephenson Head shot  Vanessa Wong head shot

Dr Zoe Stephenson and Dr Vanessa Wong
NSW/ACT Trainees’ Committee Co-Chairs

The NSW/ACT Trainees’ Committee

The NSW/ACT Trainees’ Committee represent the interests of all trainees, and ensures colleagues feel engaged, supported and feedback is considered. We hope to enhance the trainee experience, providing opportunities for trainees across various training sites to interact and participate in College initiatives. The committee play a vital role as part of the College and reports to the NSW and ACT Regional Committee.

The committee meet six times per year to discuss current issues affecting RACP trainees and is responsible for:

  • improving the trainee member experience and engagement
  • trainee advocacy in matters of recruitment, education, progression through training, formal assessment, supervision, support, and secondment
  • appointment of trainee representatives to other College committees.

We have one vacant position for a Faculty or Chapter member on the committee, if you are interested in joining us please submit your application via the expression of interest process.

If you have any concerns or items you would like to raise, please email us

Advanced Training Curricula Renewal update

Thank you to everyone who participated in the 2020 consultation on the proposed common learning, teaching and assessment (LTA) programs for Advanced Training (AT). Your feedback was used to refine the programs and ensure they are robust and appropriate. The common LTA programs for Advanced Training have now been finalised.

The common LTA programs will establish a baseline for learning, teaching and assessment across all AT programs. As each specialty undertakes their program-specific curricula reviews, they will build on the common LTA programs to meet the needs of their specialty.

This year, in collaboration with Curriculum Advisory Group, we will continue to support the first six specialty groups to undertake the development process:

  • Cardiology (Adult Medicine)
  • Cardiology (Paediatrics & Child Health)
  • Gastroenterology
  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Nephrology
  • General Rehabilitation Medicine.

Find out more 

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Last chance to register for RACP Congress 2021

For those wishing to attend the Sydney face-to-face event on Friday, 7 May, time is running out to secure your ticket. Online access to the RACP Congress 2021 sessions will be available only to those who register so do not miss the opportunity to hear from expert voices across a broad range of topics.

Remember that when you purchase your face-to-face ticket, you can also live stream the entire RACP Congress 2021 program so register now to ensure you can join the opening sessions in Brisbane.

You will also hear from renowned speakers on topics such as:

  • Genetic discovery and translation in neuromuscular diseases
  • Our digital health future, today
  • Artificial intelligence: Ready or not here it comes
  • Building a solution space for Indigenous health at the RACP: Transformations, challenges and opportunities
  • Advancing Women in Healthcare. 

Find out more

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RACP Foundation Research Awards

Congratulations to the Fellows from New South Wales and ACT who have been awarded RACP Foundation Research Awards for 2021.





Arnott Research Entry Scholarship in Cancer Research

Dr Dennis Shen Han Chan

University of Sydney / Department of Medical Oncology, Royal North Shore Hospital

The evaluation of functional imaging in the management of neuroendocrine tumours

RACP AFRM Research Establishment Fellowship

Dr Pearl Esther Jin Joo Chung

Woolcock Institute of Medical Research

The use of quantitative electroencephalography in sleep to measure the neurological recovery following severe traumatic brain injury in post-traumatic amnesia.

RACP Research Establishment Fellowship

Dr Tracy Dudding-Byth

University of Newcastle / Hunter New England Health

FaceMatch PhenGen Project

Jacquot Research Entry Scholarship

Dr Sebastian Hultin

University of Sydney / Westmead Institute of Medical Research

Chronic allograft fibrosis and acute rejection biomarker study

Jacquot Research Establishment Fellowship

Dr Simon Jiang

Australian National University

Investigating the genetic and molecular basis of autoimmune kidney disease

RACP Research Establishment Fellowship

Dr Ameneh Khatami

University of Sydney / The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Designing optimal phage cocktails for kids with cystic fibrosis: DOCK-CF

RACP Research Establishment Fellowship

Dr Sradha Srinivasa Kotwal

The George Institute for Global Health

Improving clinical trial access and developing personalised medicine capacity for patients with chronic kidney disease

Basser Research Entry Scholarship

Dr Robyn Laube

Macquarie University

Pregnancy in inflammatory bowel disease

Jacquot Research Entry Scholarship

Dr Tom Nevlin Lea-Henry

Australian National University

Investigating the genetic basis of chronic kidney disease in Tiwi Islanders

Jacquot Research Entry Scholarship

Dr Yan Jun Li

University of Sydney

The gut microbiota and innate immunity as a novel target for therapy in kidney disease

The Sir Roy McCaughey Research Establishment Fellowship

Dr Sudarshini Ramanathan

University of Sydney / The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Establishing consensus diagnostic criteria and therapeutic guidelines in antibody-associated demyelination

RACP Fellows Research Entry Scholarship

Dr Dinesh Selvakumar

University of Sydney / Westmead Institute for Medical Research

Overcoming the electrical instability of pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocyte related engraftment arrhythmias

Jacquot Research Entry Scholarship

Dr Anushree Tiku

University of New South Wales / George Institute for Global Health

Urate lowering therapy and chronic kidney disease

Jacquot Research Establishment Fellowship

Dr Ying Wang

University of New South Wales / George Institute for Global Health

Improving acute kidney injury outcomes

The Foundation would like to express its appreciation to the Grants Advisory Committee as well as other Fellows whose generous contribution of time and expertise have made the review process for these awards possible.

Applications for the 2022 funding round will open on Monday, 3 May 2021. Upwards of 50 awards up to a total value of $2.5M are available across the different categories: 

Applications for the following other award categories will open Tuesday, 1 June 2021:

Tenable only in New South Wales, The Sir Roy McCaughey (Research Establishment) Fellowship is valued up to $75,000. Most awards are open to Fellows and trainees across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. Please refer to the RACP Foundation website for information on specific eligibility requirements for each award.

AChPM Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Discipline of Palliative Medicine

Nominate a Fellow for their outstanding contribution to Palliative Medicine. The award includes a cash prize of $500 and a certificate formally presented at the ANZSPM Conference in September 2021. Please see the website for further details. Nominations close 30 June 2021.

AChSHM Jan Edwards Prize

The Jan Edwards Prize is awarded for the best research-based abstract oral presentation by a registered AChSHM trainee. The prize includes $500 and a certificate. For further details and to apply please visit the website. Applications close 31 May 2021.

Medicare Q&A webinar

We were pleased to work with the Medicare Compliance Education team recently to promote the ‘Introduction to Medicare compliance, record keeping and support’ session held on 17 March. Members from across Australia were invited to ask questions and attendees were very engaged. Mr Alex Taylor, Director of Risk Treatment Section at the Benefits Integrity and Digital Health Division of The Department of Health and Dr Laila Tabassum, Assistant Director – Compliance Education Section of the Benefits Integrity and Digital Health Division held a very informative presentation.

Common themes of the questions included, Medicare billing and record management, MyHealth records, Medicare compliance, physician requirements, rights of private practice, ABF funding and support to new consultants.

If you are interested in receiving the slide deck and Q&A document, please reach out to us at as this webinar was not recorded.

Keep an eye out for further events curated by the NSW/ACT Regional Committee later on this year.

Surviving and thriving in Basic Training webinar

Have you begun Basic Training but still feeling a little uncertain? Not sure whether you have everything to get you started or all of your requirements? Hosted by the NSW/ACT Trainees’ Committee the event Surviving and Thriving in Basic Training is a great introductory event to get you started on the right track.

Held on Saturday, 15 May from 10am to 12pm AEST via Zoom, we have a jam-packed session, including valuable tips and tools to support you on your journey. There will be opportunities to ask all your questions and learn more about the experiences available to you in physician training.

The program includes:

  • hearing from other Adult and Paediatric trainees about their basic training experience
  • College expectations of training and requirements of trainees
  • understanding assessment requirements
  • exam preparation
  • where to find support and maintaining your mental health and wellbeing.

There are limited spots available, so RSVP by Friday, 7 May to avoid disappointment. A recording of this webinar will be made available to those who cannot attend on this date.

We look forward to seeing you there.

Register now

A most unusual patient for a Rockhampton general paediatrician

1. Dr Sunday Pam and Primate Keeper Blair Chapman and Gandli

Dr Sunday Pam, a paediatrician based at Rockhampton Hospital, received a call from Rockhampton Zoo for the treatment of an unlikely patient. Below is Dr Pam’s account of treating the chimpanzee patient, Gandali.

I received a call on 1 December 2020 – it was the head of an allied health department, with an explanation that their request was ‘weird’. I was silent. “Are you still there? Pop your seat belt on” he said. “I have been asked by the Zoo Manager to get you to see a 10-month-old infant chimpanzee following possible severe injuries from a fall.” I could not laugh, cry, or even speak. My silence betrayed me. He continued, “Human doctors generally see them instead of veterinarians because they are closer to humans.” Reference was made to a local human subspecialist who sees the adult chimps. In this case, the local vets had been consulted and declined.

My mind went to ‘what about registration regulations?’ I was reassured that this was not an issue for the above reasons. I was asked for my number to give to the lovely zoo manager, a few minutes later she called. I was again reassured and now I was getting interested, but cautiously. I was invited to name my fee and to decide how I would be paid. I quickly declined and told her that it would be my contribution to the local zoo.

Having heard the story and the behaviour of the animal, I suspected an intracranial bleed and recommended a quick CT. This would need to be under general anaesthetic. The vets, doctor and nurse were willing to give the general anaesthetic but not make any decisions on the health of Gandali.

At 7pm, my recipe-style cooking was interrupted to head to the radiology outfit in town for the celebrity CT. On arrival, I had difficulty touching the animal due to fear of zoonoses. The pictures will show me standing far away from Gandali. My physical examination with gloved hands, was similar to what I would do for a child with the same history. It was based on symmetry to rule out lateralising signs. There were none, however, there were bruises on the head, ear, and arm on the same side. This reinforced my suspicion and confirmed my request for the CT.

The CT was preceded by celebrity pictures with the sick animal. Finally, Gandali was under general anaesthetic and the CT completed without further ado. The CT showed as normal, later confirmed by the radiologist. Again, my reading of the image was purely on principles of symmetry and appearance in the human child. I cleared my chimpanzee patient of severe intracranial bleed. Gandali returned to the zoo that night.

By the next morning, I had become a celebrity Chimp Paediatrician, that I had never trained for, with only the very basic principles of medicine delivered by me.

Dr Sunday Pam FRACP

 2. Gandali in MRI 3. Gandali MRI 4. Chimp Gandali Sedated

Image one (at start of article): Dr Sunday Pam and Primate Keeper Blair Chamma and Gandli, Image two: Chimp Gandali in MRI, Image three: Chimp MRI, Image four: Chimp Gandali sedated.

Black Dog Institute's Shift App

The Black Dog Institutes Shift App is a free, easy-to-use app, designed to help Junior Medical Officers (JMOs) working in NSW to safeguard their mental health and manage the demands of their profession.

Developed by Black Dog Institute, in collaboration with JMOs and leading clinicians, Shift delivers essential mental health and wellbeing skills across a range of topics including depression, anxiety, burnout, shift work, sleep, diet and exercise, exams and interviews, and bullying. There is also an activity developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

RACP contributed to the efforts of recruiting participants recruitment for the acceptability and feasibility evaluation. Reported results are

  • participants report a reduction in depressive symptoms of about 1.5 points after one month of using the Shift app
  • 86 per cent agree it is easy to use
  • 73 per cent agree new activities are easy to find
  • 57 per cent rate this app overall as high
  • 57 per cent would recommend this app.

Shift is now available from the App Store and Google Play and promoted through the Ministry of Health and Black Dog Institute as a support mechanism for JMOs. For more information about Shift, please visit the Black Dog Institute website.

If you or a colleague require support, you have the RACP Support Program available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The RACP Support Program is a fully confidential and independent help line free for Fellows and trainees.

The RACP places the utmost importance on the wellbeing of its members. It can be difficult to balance the pressures of the workplace, interactions with colleagues and personal relationships. If you are having a hard time, we encourage you to contact Converge to organise a free session.

Improvement Science Program

To help our Advanced Trainees and New Fellows develop skills in improving the processes of care that their patients receive, a partnership was formed between the RACP and the Clinical Excellence Commission the statutory body responsible for quality and safety in NSW. The aim is to teach RACP members the methodology to undertake quality improvement in their workplace.

The 2021 Cohort 10 commenced a 12-month workplace-based program in March recently with a face-to-face workshop via Zoom. The aim is to guide participants to learn and apply improvement science methodology, to undertake their own local clinical improvement project and enhance the safety and quality of the care provided by their teams.

Advanced Trainees will raise a problem that concerns them in the workplace. The workshop helps them refine their proposals into manageable projects and teaches them how to use the tools needed for a quality improvement study. They then return to their workplace, gather an interdisciplinary team, undertake a thorough diagnostic of the problem, generate and test possible solutions, implementing the ones that work. They then measure what the effect is and put strategies in place for the process to be sustained in an ongoing manner.

Benefits of the program include: 

  • applying a proven methodology to improve local care processes
  • learning a contemporary approach to improvement using driver diagrams
  • a deeper understanding of quality and safety, in areas of increasing importance in clinical care and medical management
  • develop valuable clinical leadership skills
  • opportunities to publish and/or present a project at national and international forums.

Participants report a high level of satisfaction with the program and some, who are now consultants, have gone on to undertake further projects to enhance the quality of care and experience of their patients.

Congratulations to recent graduates of the 2020 Cohort 9:

  • Dr Amanda Johns and Dr Kenny Lee from Rehabilitation & Pain Service, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
  • Dr Melissa Pearson from Paediatrics, Tamworth Rural Referral Hospital  
  • Dr Leah Finney and Dr Alexander Hawkes from General Paediatrics, Northern Beaches Hospital, Sydney

Good luck to the 13 Advanced Trainees and New Fellows of the 2021 Cohort 10 who commenced the 12-month program in March. 

Your NSW/ACT Member Support Officer update

Judy Rangi headshotA large focus over the past few months has been on scheduling Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) workshops. RACP Supervisors must complete one SPDP workshop by the end of 2021 and all remaining workshops by the end of 2022.
This year we have held several workshops for the SPDP, and they have all been a great success. This would not have been possible without our facilitators who give so generously of their time. I would like to extend a big thank you to the following NSW/ACT SPDP facilitators who have all supported these workshops with enthusiasm and great energy:
  • Dr Stephanie Davis
  • Dr Peter Gale
  • Dr Tony Gill
  • Dr Leah Krishcock
  • Dr Danielle Ni Chroinin
  • Dr Mani Manoharan
  • Dr Michael Noel
  • Dr Marilyn Paull
  • Dr Suganya Vignakaran

Where possible, workshops will be virtual and offered via Zoom. To see all currently scheduled workshops, please visit the SPDP webpage.

If you have completed at least one supervisor workshop in the past and would like to become a facilitator, we have training coming up this July via Zoom. Please email Supervisor Learning Unit to register your interest. 

Basic Training Orientations

As your local Member Support Officer, my role is to provide support and guidance to trainees and Fellows and encourage engagement with your NSW/ACT regional committees. I am continuing to offer all first-year Basic Trainees one-on-one consultations if you would like advice, help or support with our College processes.
In this consult I will share the College Basic Training information, to answer all your needs and questions. If you have any enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact me. I look forward to meeting with you soon.
Jude Rangi

NSW/ACT Member Support Officer

Casual vacancies available

The NSW/ACT Regional Committee has recently had a committee changeover and moved into the 2020-2022 term. There is a position vacant for a member of Faculties who resides in the ACT. If you are interested in applying, please email your expression of interest form.

If you are interested in applying for a Faculty or Chapter trainee position, there is currently an expression of interest form within the NSW/ACT Trainee Committee.

The College Learning Series success story

Since its inception in 2018, the College Learning Series (CLS) has quickly grown, with over 85 per cent of Adult Medicine Basic Trainees now enrolled. With the series providing College members with free access to more than 450 clinically reviewed lectures, the CLS has become a key resource for physician training.

Its success is not by chance, but through the support of more than 200 Fellows – lecturers and clinical reviewers – each with a deep commitment and passion for trainee education and online medical education. At the front, networking with lecturers, finding new speakers, and providing strategic direction on the CLS Committee, are the program’s Regional Coordinators.

RACP Online Learning

Online course: Physician wellbeing in challenging times

Physicians often fail to put on their own oxygen masks when dealing with the challenges and stresses that come with practising during a pandemic. This online course explores in-depth how to better support your own wellbeing, as well as the wellbeing of your staff and colleagues through compassionate leadership. The course covers concepts, strategies, and tools to help you mitigate the impact, set healthy boundaries, prevent burnout, and build support networks during a crisis.

Enrol now

Developing effective teaching skills QStream course

Fellows and trainees of all specialties are invited to enrol in this new Qstream course, which has a mid-May start. The course is designed to provide practical strategies to help you enhance your teaching skills and effectively balance teaching with a busy workload.

You'll access in-depth case studies with questions that are sent directly to your inbox at spaced intervals over a three-week period. Each question takes just ten minutes to complete, and participants are encouraged to discuss the case studies and share opinions with others through secure, online discussion forums.

The course is designed to enhance your knowledge in adult learning, provide practical strategies to incorporate effective teaching skills into day-to-day settings, and encourage self-reflection and peer discussion.

Enrol now


Keep up-to-date with RACP events

We’re hosting more online events than ever before, so have introduced a condensed monthly events digest. The first one was sent to you on 7 April, but you can also read it online.

This monthly communication will be sent to you on the first Wednesday of each month, to provide you with an opportunity to virtually attend events from all over Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. We hope this makes your life that little bit easier and we look forward to seeing you at our next event.

Read the April events digest

Pomegranate Health Podcast: Gendered medicine - Funding and research

podcastThis is the third and final part of the series on gendered medicine. We step back and look at the way that health care and research are funded. It’s been said that the health needs of women are undervalued by our existing fee-for-service model, down to individual item numbers in the Medicare Benefits Schedule. There’s also evidence that diseases predominantly experienced by female patients receive less research investment. Is this blatant sexism or a symptom of structural imbalance, and what do we do about it?


Dr Zoe Wainer BMBS, PhD, MPH (Director of Clinical Governance, BUPA)

Listen now

Don’t miss your chance to become an RACP accreditor

Expressions of Interest are still open for Fellows in the Adult Medicine and Paediatric & Child Health Divisions to join our team of accreditors. As an accreditor, you play a vital role in ensuring the delivery of high-quality workplace training. Your contribution to accreditation can also count towards your annual CPD credits.

Please submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) form by Wednesday, 30 June to

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