Western Australia - August 2022

A message from the Western Australian Regional Committee

Welcome to the first eBulletin of the new Western Australian Regional Committee for the term 2022 to 2025. The new Committee has a broad range of representatives from the various Divisions, Faculties and Chapters from across the College.

The Committee is currently developing a workplan for 2022 to 2025, and all members are encouraged to contact the Regional Committee with any recommendations or issues you feel should be a priority for the College in Western Australia. The College’s strategic plan will form the basis of the Regional Committee workplan, and the Committee has expressed a specific interest in highlighting sustainability and environmental issues.

The Western Australian Regional Committee has a number of vacancies, and we encourage all members to consider joining. See all Expressions of Interest for further information.

The Western Australian Regional Committee

The process for the appointment of representatives for Divisions, Faculties and Chapters to the Western Australian Regional Committee for the period 2022 to 2025 has concluded. The members for this term are:

  • Dr PK Loh, AMD
  • Dr Kevin Tan, AFOEM
  • Dr Emma-Leigh Synnott, AFRM
  • Dr Phillipa Edmiston, Trainee Rep PCHD
  • Dr Sophie Alcock, Trainee Rep AMD
  • Dr Tony Mylius, elected member AMD
  • Dr Veronica Hoad, AFPHM
  • Dr Helen Van Gessel, AMD
  • Professor Cathy Choong, PCHD (TBC)

Western Australian Regional Committee Elections

There are a number of vacancies for positions on the WA Regional Committee. The Committee seeks to appoint:

  • One (1) AMD representative
  • One (1) PCHD representative
  • One (1) Faculty or Chapter representative

For more information on these positions and to see the position descriptions, visit this webpage. Nominating as a casual vacancy to join the Regional Committee can be completed online via the WA Regional Committee Expression of Interest form.

If you are interested in the activities of the Regional Committee and the various opportunities to participate in local and national initiatives, please contact the WA Regional Office.

Western Australian Trainees' Committee

The Western Australian Trainees' Committee’s portfolio includes providing a forum for the trainee members of the College in WA to contribute to the functioning of the College. The Committee is the principal organiser of the Basic Training Orientation and the Advanced Trainees' Forum, which are held annually. The Committee is also the principal advocate for Western Australian trainees, and can be contacted for any queries or concerns. The Co-Chairs of the Western Australian Trainees' Committee are Dr Sophie Alcock (Adult Medicine) and Dr Phillipa Edmiston (Paediatrics & Child Health).

Trainees who have concerns about their progression through training should contact the WA Regional Office.

Members in the News - Adjunct Professor Tarun Weeramanthri AM

TarunAdjunct Professor Tarun Weeramanthri AM, was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for his significant service to public health administration. Adjunct Professor Weeramanthri served as Chief Health Officer and was the inaugural Department of Health Assistant Director General, Public and Aboriginal Health Division between 2017 and 2018. He steered the introduction of the Public Health Act 2016, replacing the outdated Health Act 1911.

In 2017, he conducted an independent review of the strategies used to remediate the high lead levels present in the water supply at Perth Children’s Hospital, which contributed to the safe opening of the hospital later that year.

He has a particular interest in innovative public policy, promoting the value of public health, and application of new and old technologies, including the use of spatial data in health. He is the joint specialty chief editor of Frontiers in Public Health Policy, an international open-access journal. In 2014, he was awarded the Sidney Sax Public Health Medal, the highest award given by the Public Health Association of Australia, for his contribution to public health in Australia.

Most recently Adjunct Professor Weeramanthri was lead author on the Climate Health WA Inquiry, a project which will guide the Western Australian Health Sector response to climate change into the next decade.

Member Spotlight - Dr Emma-Leigh Synnott

EmmaDr Emma-Leigh Synnott, FAFRM, has joined the Western Australian Regional Committee for the term 2022 to 2025. See her personal reflection below.

On completing secondary school, I moved to Sydney to pursue veterinary science at the University of Sydney. During my studies I developed a better appreciation of the formal concept of ‘one health’ – the interface of health, humans, animals, and the environment – and began to recognise how global issues, such as climate change and environmental health, as well as social systems and structures, impacted humans and their wellbeing.

Completing my veterinary degree in 2004, I returned to the University of Sydney to study human medicine, graduating in 2008 with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery, and in 2016 I was granted entry into the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine (AFRM).  

During my medical training I continued to pursue interests in sustainable development and sustainability. This included being an active member and organiser of local community groups which looked at actions for sustainability in urban environments. I was also an active member of the New South Wales branch of Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA).

In early 2017, I was accepted to the position of Consultant Physician in rehabilitation medicine at Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) in Perth. I quickly joined local activities, aware of the importance of health leadership in global and local conversations on sustainability and sustainable development. This included hospital-based local action across the Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospital Group (FSFHG), such as commencing discussions with South Metropolitan Health Service (SMHS) executives regarding our own sustainability initiatives and strategy. It also included joining the state-wide activities of the WA branch of DEA and participating in the WA health forums on climate change for the WA Sustainable Health Review, and the subsequent Climate and Health WA Inquiry.

Between 2017 to 2020, I was involved in ongoing advocacy and movements, building in health leadership on climate change and environmental sustainability. In 2020, following a period as the Acting Medical Director of Service 6 (allied health and rehabilitation services), I was appointed to the position of Medical Lead for Climate Health and Environmental Sustainability at FSFHG.


The RACP Trainee Research Awards 2022 are closing soon

Trainees and first year Fellows, this is your chance to be recognised for your research.

Would you like to have your research published in the Internal Medicine Journal or the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health? And to present alongside recognised researchers at RACP Congress 2023? This is your chance.

The RACP Trainee Research Awards are open and accepting submissions. Winners will be selected from each Australian state/territory and from Aotearoa New Zealand, and will be invited to present at next year’s Congress. Winners will also receive complimentary registration and travel to Congress, have their abstracts published in the Congress supplement of the journals, and present at a local awards event.

Trainees and new Fellows undertaking post-Fellowship training with the RACP are encouraged to apply.

For information about the awards and how to apply, visit the RACP Trainee Research Awards webpage. Submit your application by Wednesday, 31 August 2022, 5pm AEST.

Apply now

The Adult Medicine competition will be held as part of our Annual Trainees’ Day on 3 December 2022 at the University Club of Western Australia. The Paediatrics & Child Health competition will be held at the Annual Scientific Symposium hosted by Perth Children’s Hospital, date TBC.

Recent events

NAIDOC Week activities

NAIDOC2 SMALLRACP members and staff recently celebrated NAIDOC week attending a smoking ceremony, Welcome to Country and flag raising ceremony at Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital.

Dr Shirley Bowen, FAChSMH, preside over a flag raising ceremony which acknowledged the traditional custodians of the land upon which the North Metropolitan Health Service operates.

Local Aboriginal Elder Betty Garlett performed a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony.

My Health Record/Electronic prescribing

The College has recently completed a series of webinars in collaboration with the Australian Digital Health Agency to provide members with the latest information on My Health Record and electronic prescribing.

Topics included:

  • Digital health tools: My Health Record and electronic prescribing update
  • My Health Record in the time of COVID-19
  • Introducing electronic prescribing to specialists
  • Advance care planning
  • Continuity of care: secure messaging.

MedCon 22

Medcon 22 hosted by the AMA (WA) was held at the Crown Towers on 23 to 24 July 2022. Medcon is an opportunity for whole of sector and Cross-College collaboration, in addition to being an excellent networking opportunity. Several RACP members, Fellows and trainees presented at the event:

  • NourDr Shirley Bowen FACShM, who presented on conflict management.
  • Dr Bradley McDonald, PCHD, who presented a patient’s perspective of ICU.
  • Dr PK Loh, FRACP, who presented and facilitated sessions in association with RACMA.
  • Dr Emma-Leigh Synnott, FAFRM, who presented on mitigating the environmental impact of healthcare, in association with Doctors for the Environment Australia.

The closing plenary talk was given by RACP trainee Dr Daniel Nour (photographed), 2022 Young Australian of the Year, who presented on Street Side Medics.

Upcoming events

Conversations with the Board

President Jacqueline Small and the Board are keen to hear from members and have conducted a series of events both in person and virtually.

The Western Australian Regional Committee will host a meeting on Saturday, 3 December as the closing session of our Annual Trainees Day. All members are encouraged to attend in person or via Zoom. For more information, please contact RACPWA@racp.edu.au.

A second conversation with the Board session is planned during the Annual Rural Physicians Workshop 5 to 6 November 2022. We would encourage any member with a particular interest in remote and rural practice to attend this focused session.

Rural Physicians Weekend

The 10th Annual Rural Physicians Weekend will be held on 5 to 6 November 2022. The weekend is an opportunity for members with a particular interest in remote and rural practice to network with peers, receive clinical updates from metro based specialists and share stories from their unique perspective.

In person attendance at the Perth offices are prioritised for those currently practising in remote and rural settings in WA.

All other interested members are encouraged to join via Zoom. Interested members can contact the Regional Office.

Trainees’ Day 2022

Trainees’ Day 2022 will be held on Saturday, 3 December at the University Club of Western Australia. The program will focus on Basic and Advanced Training issues, research opportunities and professional development. The day represents an excellent opportunity to network with peers and colleagues. Information on the program and registration details will be released soon.

Online learning and resources – included in your RACP membership

online learningAccess an extensive collection of online learning resources designed to support your professional development and lifelong learning needs via the RACP Online Learning platform

A selection of our newest resources include the advocacy for physicians online coursegenomics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, the digital health CPD primer, the cultural safety curated collection, and the medical standards for driving curated collection.

Fellows, don’t forget to claim CPD credits for time spent on RACP Online Learning.

You can also listen to our College podcast — Pomegranate Health — an award winning podcast about the culture of medicine.

Join the conversation on the ROC

ROCDon’t forget to log in to the ROC and join the conversation. The RACP Online Community (ROC) is a secure online forum where RACP Fellows and trainees can post topics and questions and start discussions with other members.

The ROC has a range of easy-to-use features to help you find and connect with your colleagues including:

  • Member Directory - allows you to search by name, location, Division, Faculty, Chapter, and/or specialty. It is the perfect way to chat directly with other members and expand your network of contacts across the membership.
  • Special Interest Directory - is a searchable database of members' special interests, their speaker presentations, published papers, and books. Simply fill in your special interest profile and explore the directory today.
  • Mentor Match – is an innovative tool that allows you to connect with other members, based on your mentoring preferences and professional goals. Register as a mentor or mentee and kickstart your mentoring relationship.

If you are new to the ROC, please take a moment to review our ROCTips. Our ROCTips are designed to help you navigate the ROC and answer any questions you may have. For more information regarding the ROC, please email Member Services.

Health and wellbeing

How are you?

Mental health copy Studies show that doctors are more hesitant to access support services than non-medical professional due to a fear of appearing weak or incompetent. This is not the case. Did you know the College has a wealth of free resources to support member wellbeing?

A host of support options for you and your colleagues is available on this webpage. You also have the option of numerous support services offering around-the-clock confidential phone support, strategies for self-care, eLearning resources and podcasts. Additionally, College members have shared their personal mental health journeys with the aim of providing support and reducing the stigma.

Help is available to you in many different ways. Please visit this webpage to see the range of supports available to you. You are never alone.

Access support

Western Australian Regional Office

The RACP Western Australian Regional Office has relocated to 216 Stirling Highway in Claremont, and will operate in accordance with any COVID-19 restrictions in place.

In the coming months, many regularly scheduled fora have transitioned to virtual meetings, including AFOEM trainee presentations, CPD sessions, and specialty education meetings. Many members are finding this format more convenient and conducive to a better work-life balance. Should members wish to set up virtual meetings with colleagues, we will happily facilitate these. Please contact us if you would like us to facilitate virtual meetings.

If you would like help arranging an event please contact the local office at RACPWA@racp.edu.au.

More news and events

News and updates from the College


Upcoming conferences, events and training

Save the date

  • New Fellows Forum — 13 October, 7pm to 8.30 pm AEDT
  • The RACP Health Reform Summit — 19 October, 9.30am to 4pm AEDT
  • Tasmanian Annual Physicians Conference and Tasmanian Trainee Research Awards — in person on 11 November

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