Victoria - December 2022

A message from your Regional Committee Chair

SolomonWelcome to this month’s Victorian Regional Committee eBulletin.

The Victorian Trainee Research Awards night was recently held in October and our winners were announced. It is always gratifying to hear our trainees present their original research on the night. The energy and passion the trainees put into their research is always impressive and inspiring. Join me in congratulating Dr Thalys Sampaio Rodrigues (Adult Medicine Division) and Dr Michelle Scoullar (Paediatrics & Child Health Division) on winning in their categories.

It is great to see COVID-19 finally off the front page of the newspapers and a return to focus on our strained healthcare system. With the recent Victorian elections, it was encouraging to see both political parties committing to major public hospital infrastructure development and refurbishment, particularly in rural and regional Victoria.

As we return to business as usual, it will be interesting to see the delayed health effects of prolonged lockdowns and diminished access to elective surgery. In addition, many have raised concerns about the impact of reduced access to screening tests for metabolic and malignant diseases. This is likely to be exacerbated by ongoing workforce issues in public hospitals and general practitioner shortages, particularly in rural Victoria.

Whilst the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed many vulnerabilities in our healthcare system, I was most astounded by the impact of social media on public health messaging. Overnight, friends and family became experts in vaccine strategies and choices. Everyone had their preferred vaccine (or no vaccine), and no amount of scientific evidence could convince them otherwise. We need to develop better strategies in the future to combat dangerous misinformation readily available online and support unambiguous public health messaging.

Finally, it became apparent to those who were not routinely using telehealth that this is a practical and meaningful way to interact with our patients. Unfortunately, those that would benefit most from telehealth the elderly and geographically isolated members of our community often have the most difficulty accessing reliable hardware and software for telehealth. However, I am sure these issues can be resolved with proper funding and technical support in time.

Season’s greetings to you all.

Associate Professor Solomon Menahem
Victorian Regional Committee 

An update from your Regional Trainees' Committee

It has been great to see a number of new faces join the Victorian Tasmanian Trainees’ Committee over the last few months. Our Committee now has ten members, including: 

  • Dr Hannah Bills (Co-Chair)
  • Dr Kristof Wing (Co-Chair)
  • Dr Sam Grigg
  • Dr Declan Connoley
  • Dr Mandeep Kalsi
  • Dr Lavanya Gupta
  • Dr Manjri Raval
  • Dr James Pho
  • Dr Melanie Yeoh
  • Dr Tarryn Luitingh

We look forward to working with this great group and are currently developing the Committee workplan. Some key areas being considered within the plan include gender equity, communication with the College and trainees, building a more robust trainee network within the College, and coordination between the Trainees’ Committee and other Regional Committees. 

We have also been able to attend some of the university career expos including at Monash University and the University of Tasmania. Below is a summary of the Tasmanian event in August by Dr Kristof Wing, Basic Trainee in Adult Medicine.

Career expoIt was a pleasure to talk with final year medical students at the University of Tasmania about why being a physician is so rewarding. Michael Carney, Kathy Griffiths, Dr Theresa Naidoo, and Dr Kristof Wing entertained and engaged students in formal and informal sessions during the evening.

Drs Naidoo and Wing highlighted their career trajectories and spoke about the road to becoming a physician, as well as the high points of their journeys. The to-be interns were very enthusiastic and caught us over a dinner of delicious channa daal provided by the Tasmanian University Medical Students’ Society (TUMSS).

Questions ranged from the structure of physician training and settings that could take place, to what expected practice patterns might be like. It is apparent that becoming a physician is attractive to many medical graduates, though we did face stiff competition from the psychiatrists and rural specialists! It was apparent that the graduates valued scope of practice, flexibility of training, and flexibility of training setting in the selection of their future career paths. 

We wish you all the best for the end of the year.

Dr Hannah Bills and Dr Kristof Wing
Tasmanian Trainees' Committee Co-Chairs

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