Chapter Chat – April 2017

Message from the Chair – a new start

Welcome to the new and re-energised version of Chapter Chat. This new look allows you to access Chapter Chat from your smart phone or iPad (or similar device). The Committee will be able to gauge which items are of interest to you so that we can continually improve the e-newsletter. 

This is part of the Chapter Committee’s efforts to keep you aware of activities of the Chapter.  You will see below that there are a number of important initiatives of the Chapter Committee including the organisation of this year’s Satellite Day which is for the first time aligned with a Neurodevelopmental and Behavioural Paediatric Society of Australasia meeting.

The Committee is keen to know how it can become more relevant to the needs of members. We recently discussed how we might achieve this with the Member Services Manager and Communications Manager of the College. In doing so, we will be cognitive of the broader College narrative, ‘Specialists.Together’, as well as work the Paediatrics & Child Health (PCHD) Council is undertaking on engagement and communication.

We will ask the questions: What is our reason for being? What are we trying to achieve? Key messages and the value of Chapter membership will be explored and ultimately a clear, succinct sense of purpose that resonates for the majority will be defined. This will cement a sense of identity, enable us to frame conversations, help guide priorities and decision making, and provide us with ‘marketing’ tools to raise our profile.

In addition we will contribute to a Member Journey Mapping Project the RACP is undertaking. This project aims to obtain a clear view on what it is like being a member of the College at each career stage and identifying how the College creates value at each stage. The project is being done with a view to recognising and prioritising issues and improvement opportunities.

The Committee will be in touch with you in due course and we would appreciate your responses as we plan the future of the Chapter. In the meantime you are always welcome to contact me via

Once again welcome to the new look Chapter Chat!

Dr Chris Pearson
Chair, Chapter of Community Child Health

 What would you like Chapter Chat to be? Do you have a topic you would like addressed or have an item to submit? 

Please submit your ideas, comments, and photos to by the end of August so that they may be considered for the next edition (November/December 2017).

Chapter Satellite Day 2017 – three weeks to go

Only three weeks until the 2017 Chapter Satellite Day. Register now.

The program reflects the theme of ‘Trauma’ and covers child protection, child development and behaviour, and child population health.

Dr Anne Smith, the Director at the Victorian Forensic Paediatric Medical Service based at the Royal Children’s Hospital will deliver a plenary session titled ‘Battered babies, noxious neglect and the epigenetic effects of maltreatment: How the concept of ‘child protection has evolved over time'.

Dr Georgia Paxton, Head of the Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne Immigrant Health Service, will present on the need to protect child refugees and Dr Chidambaram Prakash will cover the impact of trauma on mental health in childhood. 

Professor Raimond Gaita, author of Romulus, My Father – a book based on his early life which was also made into a feature film - will join us to discuss his experiences. Professor Gaita is Professorial Fellow at Melbourne Law School and the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne.

Following a viewing of the film, attendees will have the opportunity to discuss the adversities his family faced as immigrants and the effect of mental illness within their family. 

As always, don’t forget to bring your competitive edge for the ever popular Child Population Health Cup Challenge.

This year’s Satellite Day aligns with the Neurodevelopmental & Behavioural Paediatric Society Australasia (NBPSA) meeting themed Trauma and the Developing Brain on Saturday, 6 May. 

Book a seat at the table for the joint Chapter/NBPSA dinner when you register.

Date: Sunday, 7 May 2017
Venue: Vernon Collins Room, Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne
Cost:  Fellow $100, trainee $75,  Allied health professionals $75, Dinner $75
Registration: Visit
Check out this year’s RACP Congress program – there are many fantastic sessions of interest to Community Child Health including the Rue Wright Memorial Award presentations. 

The Chapter Annual Meeting will be held on Monday, 8 May during the morning tea break. Please email items for the agenda to 

In addition, the PCHD Annual Meeting will be held during the lunch break on Tuesday, 9 May. Catering will be provided outside the rooms for these meetings. 

Families and Whānau – Strengthening our practice

Welcome to the first of a series of discussion articles. This one is on ‘Families and Whānau’. I encourage you to be involved – please submit your comments to the question posed, or ideas for future questions/discussion to 

The Chapter Committee has been considering whether sufficient consideration is made of the impact of family upon a child or adolescent in the work of Community Child Health paediatricians and paediatricians in general. 

Specifically, how can we strengthen our practice by taking into consideration a patient’s family during our assessment and treatment?

It is not news to you that a functional family is of great importance to the wellbeing of the family’s children whereas a dysfunctional family is likely to negatively affect the physical and emotional wellbeing of the children. A family’s influence on the child is likely the most important determinant of a child’s development.

The tasks of the family are to provide for the child’s physical needs, their developmental, behavioural and emotional needs and to provide and teach social relationships.

The physical needs fall into the categories of protection, food, housing and medical care. The developmental, behavioural and emotional needs of the child are met by providing stimulation both developmental and cognitive, guidance by both approval and discipline and, of course, affection.

The provision and teaching of social relationships is achieved by immersing the child in a functional family structure both immediate and extended as well as training the child in effectively negotiating within the school and wider community.

Children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds including migrants, refugees from war zones and asylum seekers, face particular and unique challenges. In addition, there are also genetic and constitutional factors intrinsic to the child that begin to influence the child from birth.

Key family characteristics that can promote the physical and mental health of a child include:

  • family harmony and stability
  • supportive parenting
  • strong family values including cultural identity
  • consistency (firm boundaries and limits)
  • good physical and mental health of the parents and children
  • absence of adversity in the family.

Specific risk factors which can contribute to family dysfunction include:

  •  compromised mental health of parents
  • parents substance abuse
  • family violence
  • jobless families
  • one-parent families
  • families with significant additional caring responsibilities, for example parents or children with disabilities
  • families in financial distress
  • death or serious illness of a family member
  • families in rural and remote communities

Consideration of these aspects of family circumstance, function and wellbeing is an important part of assessing a paediatric patient. The Committee is keen to hear your thoughts - how can we strengthen our practice by taking into consideration a patient’s family during our assessment and treatment? 

Australian National Families Week ‘Stronger Families, Stronger Communities – May 15 to 21

Australia’s biggest celebration of families in all their diversity, over a hundred thousand people get involved in hundreds of community events during Australian National Families Week, an initiative of Families Australia. For more information visit the Australian National Families Week website

Dr Chris Pearson
Chair, Chapter of Community Child Health

Trainees' opinions are encouraged

I am the new Chapter Committee trainee representative – and I am keen to represent trainee views at this forum.

I am currently on maternity leave so can especially relate to any issues faced by trainees trying to juggle work, career and family. I arrived from overseas (U.K) and completed written and clinical exams in 2011 so have experience with overseas issues and adjustment. I am close to completing general paediatrics and community child health, and like many of you, I'm dual training which also brings separate issues. 

Regardless of how minor you feel a point is, it is important that we, as trainees, feel able to express our opinions freely with the ideal of improving systems and processes for individuals and the Chapter of Community Child Health.

Please contact me via with any issues, comments or feelings so that I may bring these to the Committee. I hope to hear from you and see many of you at the Satellite Day 2017.

I would also like to advise you that Dr Emma Cluett recently joined the Chapter Committee as the New Zealand trainee representative – an initiative of the Committee to ensure New Zealand views are heard. You can contact Emma via the same email address.

Dr Kirsten Furley
CCCH Trainee representative

Recognition in the specialty of Community Child Health

Submit your application form and additional documents by 30 September so that your application for recognition in the specialty Community Child Health can get underway this year.  

Some of you will be practicing in community child health however will only have paediatric recognition as you completed RACP training prior to the related Advanced Training being offered. Please consider submitting an application to become recognised in community child health if you are not already – it is important for the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to know how many of us there are.

There is an RACP Recognition in a subspecialty of Adult Medicine or Paediatrics & ​Child ​Health without completion of the relevant Advanced Training program policy and staff can guide you through the process. It may seem long-winded written down – however be assured that gaining recognition is far more straightforward than it may appear. 

Here’s how you do it.

Part one – RACP recognition

  1. Email Laura Eutick, Education Officer at to notify the College that you would like to proceed with specialty recognition.
  2. You will receive the ‘Application for Recognition in a Subspecialty of Adult Medicine or Paediatrics & Child Health’ form. 
  3. Obtain two written references from senior colleagues (they may not necessarily be senior to you) recognised in Community Child Health (CCH). There are very few who are recognised by AHPRA, but the College has recognised some senior practitioners such as the members of the Advanced Training Committee (ATC). The College cannot give you a list of people – you will need to ask around.
  4. Review your CV, highlighting areas that are relevant to training and experience in each of the domains of CCH. This is useful for your referees as well as the ATC in CCH.
  5. Review your CPD and documents that prove you are undertaking CPD in CCH.
  6. Complete your application form and additional documents and return to Laura at the aforementioned email by 30 September. Hard copies may be supplied too – ask Laura about this. 
  7. The ATC in CCH reviews your application. Then the RACP will write to you, hopefully confirming that your training and experience is considered equivalent to the standard set by the ATC.

Part two – Medical Board of Australia  (MBA)/AHPRA recognition

  1. Download the MBA specialty registration form.
  2. Note that there is not a separate form for field of specialty practice - use the specialty recognition form, number ASPC-30. 
  3. Send in the completed form along with witnessed copies of your FRACP certificate and your RACP letter and the indicated payment.
  4. Await your email from the state office of AHPRA acknowledging registration in the specialty field of practice of CCH. 

Child development and behaviour

The RACP is developing a Model of Collaboration with around 50 specialty societies including the Neurodevelopmental and Behavioural Paediatric Society of Australasia (NBPSA).  

It is the intention of the College, and in particular the Chapter, that we have a close collaboration with NBPSA.  With this in mind Dr Lakshman Doddamani recently joined the Chapter Committee as the NBPSA representative so we can have clear lines of communication. In the same way the Chapter and NBPSA have developed a weekend program prior to the RACP Congress to foster this special relationship.

The NBPSA was founded in 2012. It grew from a meeting, of like-minded doctors, working in neurodevelopmental and behavioural paediatrics, who wanted to develop better clinical and professional supports for clinicians and ultimately, to improve the quality and availability of services for children and families living with these conditions. Membership of the Society includes doctors with a specialist focus on developmental-behavioural, neurodevelopmental or community child health. 

You can check out the benefits of membership at the NBPSA website, including the events that NBPSA organises which are just some of the benefits of membership.

Chapter network – our community

Through the RACP, the Chapter is a member of:

Through the RACP, the Paediatrics &  Child Health Division is a member of:

Welcome to our new Chapter members

It is always great to have new members of the Chapter and we are pleased to welcome the following:

  • Dr Keith Badloo
  • Dr Jamie Cheah
  • Dr Nadia Coscini
  • Dr Lakshman Doddamani
  • Dr Mindi Fernando
  • Dr Sowmya Gandham
  • Dr Suzie Gardner
  • Dr Monica Hong
  • Dr Constanze Knebel
  • Dr Debbie Lenko
  • Dr Shobi Maruthayanar
  • Dr Te Aro Moxon
  • Dr Shin Yi Ng
  • Dr Eli Shmerling
  • Dr Cate Rayner
  • Dr Suzi Riess
  • Dr Jin Russell
  • Dr David Yousseff

Do you know someone who might like to join the Chapter? Refer them to the Becoming a Chapter member page.

Your Chapter Committee – Our responsibility

The Chapter Committee is the authoritative source of advice within the College in connection with Community Child Health. 

Remaining 2017 Committee meetings:

  • 3pm to 5pm Wednesday, 17 May via teleconference
  • 10am to 4pm Friday, 29 September in Sydney
  • 3pm to 5pm Wednesday, 15 November via teleconference

To raise matters with the Committee email

Report on the evidence: Promoting social and emotional development and wellbeing of infants in pregnancy and the first year of life

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) will soon be releasing its new Report on the Evidence: Promoting social and emotional development and wellbeing of infants in pregnancy and the first year of life

Some of our colleagues (Professor Harriet Hiscock, Dr Sue Packer and Dr Shanti Raman) were part of the expert committee that worked on this report, which summarises the findings of a comprehensive and challenging evaluation of the evidence. 

The evaluation looked at the effectiveness of interventions (including programs or messages) delivered during pregnancy or in the first postpartum year that are designed to promote the social and emotional development and wellbeing of infants by influencing parenting/caregiving practices and behaviours. As readers are aware, this is a complex research topic, but one with a very important outcome for us to focus on.  

The Report has been prepared for governments and other policy makers, researchers and service providers who work with parents, to use when developing policies, or designing and planning programs for parents or caregivers. It also provides helpful suggestions for us to improve the quality of research. A plain language summary has also been developed to provide an easy to read and condensed resource for stakeholders.  

The Report, plain language summary and details of the project and committee can be found on the NHMRC website

Dr Chris Pearson, Chair of the Chapter of Community Child Health will formally announce the Report’s release at our upcoming Chapter Day in May. 

​Get involved – expressions of interest

Take part in RACP activity or be an RACP representative to an external group.

Check out the many and varied calls for expressions of interests

Take part – conferences and events

View a list of upcoming community child health related events.

View all events.

Submit an event of interest for Chapter members to

Contribute – surveys, research

Would you like members to contribute to surveys or research? Do you have research outcomes that you would like to share? Contact for information on how to submit these to Chapter Chat.

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