PCHD Council 2014 mid-year communiqué

Read about the latest key activities of the Paediatrics & Child Health Division (PCHD) Council for the first half of 2014.

Dear Fellow and Trainee Members,

In line with the College election cycle and Annual General Meeting in May, Dr Nicki Murdock started her term as the President of the Paediatrics & Child Health Division (PCHD) and Dr Sarah Dalton started her term as the PCHD President-Elect.

At the PCHD Annual Meeting Dr Nicki Murdock thanked the immediate-past PCHD President, A/Prof Susan Moloney on behalf of the Division for the enormous amount of work she achieved over the last four years on the Council.

Dr Murdock also set out a number of priorities for the next two years. They are:

  • giving advocacy a bit more fire, whilst remaining measured
  • delivering excellent CPD to our Fellows
  • ensuring revalidation delivers for patients but works for us too
  • continuing to work on the governance of the College to make it more efficient, streamlined and modern

The last point is pertinent to the role of the Division within the College; it is essential that the Division is robust and efficient. The recent article penned by Kevin Forsyth 'Coming of age: Is it now time for paediatrics to form its own college?' questions whether a standalone Paediatric College should be established. Some years ago the Division Council supported the establishment of a paediatric specialty society and subsequently a working group independent of the College was established to address this. The Division Council will discuss these matters at its forthcoming planning day in September; and Dr Murdock will then submit a response to the article in the capacity as President of the PCHD.In the meantime the Division remains very active on a number of fronts as follows.

Education & training

  • The AMC review is underway and I met representatives at the College Congress. Members of the Division are contributing in various ways including the recent National Examination Panel Calibration Day and Clinical Examinations.
  • Implementation of the education governance review is underway. The working group includes the Chair of the PCHD Education Committee (PDEC), Dr David Thomas.
  • The Basic Curriculum Review is an important initiative for the College. In conjunction with the review the members of the Division’s Chapter of Community Child Health are developing a suite of Entrust able Professional Activities (EPAs) for the associated Advanced Training program in readiness for piloting in early 2015. This is to ensure continuity and consistency between the two programs.


  • A project officer was appointed in March and in liaison with the AYAM Committee (AYAMC) is preparing the submission to the AMC for AYAM to be recognised as a field of specialty practice. Over 120 physicians recently completed the workforce survey that provides essential data on current and future practice in this field.
  • It is of note that A/Prof Simon Clarke retired as the Chair of the AYAMC in May this year having fulfilled three terms of two years each. It is under the guidance of A/Prof Clarke that AYAM has a voice within the College, and the new incumbent Dr Andrew Kennedy is sure to continue the great work of his predecessor.
  • Recently the College CPD Committee determined to decommission the Paediatric Self-Assessment Portal. Division Fellows are contributing to improving learning opportunities via the College so that professional development needs are met.

Policy & advocacy

  • Prof Chris Baggoley, Australian Chief Medical Officer (CMO) again attended the annual Division Council meeting with paediatric specialty society representatives in February. Since then the Division has:
    • provided input to the Sudden Cardiac Deaths in Young Australians
    • provided advice to the Standing Committee’s work on involuntary or coerced sterilisation of intersex people in Australia
    • nominated A/Prof Susan Moloney as the RACP representative to the Australian Governments CT Scan Project Reference Group. This follows on from College activity with the CMO on this matter last year.
  • Ms Megan Mitchell, the National Children’s Commissioner, based with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) attended a function with the Division Council, paediatric specialty societies and key RACP staff in February.
  • The Division continues to contribute to College advocacy on the health and wellbeing of refugees including a letter to the government to note the College’s displeasure with the closure of the Independent Health Advisory Group for refugees, as well as Dr Karen Zwi representing the RACP (PCHD) at the HRC national inquiry in to the impact of immigration detention on children in March.
  • On behalf of the Division Council, A/Prof Susan Moloney in her capacity as PCHD President submitted comments to the RACP Ethics Review; an important undertaking of the College.
  • The Division has contributed to a range of topics including restricted birthing practices, mental health, intellectual disability, bed-sharing and co-sleeping, end-of-life care, infant formula, alcohol, gastrostomy tubes, imaging referral guidelines, stem cell therapy, and most recently the initial consultation phase of the National Child and Youth Strategic Framework for Health.
  • For more information, please see 2014 Policy & Media Outputs.


  • The PCHD Research Committee, chaired by Prof Paul Colditz provided comments to the RACP Ethics Review ensuring the paediatric research perspective is voiced.
  • The College is working with the Division to securely and appropriately provide Fellows contact details to the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit (APSU) to provide support to the important surveillance and research on rare disease.

PCHD Awards 2014

  • Dr Jane Harding presented ‘The life-long legacies of perinatal management’ at the College Congress and was presented the 2014 Howard Williams Medal.
  • The Wiley New Investigator Award: Dr Andrew Hardy - Procedural and resuscitation requirements for paediatricians working in a non-tertiary centre: Implications for training.
  • Best Poster Prize in Paediatrics & Child Health: Dr Rachel Noovao - Investigating Fragile X Syndrome in Paediatrics - can we rationalise our current practice?
  • Rue Wright Memorial Award: Dr Caroline Mahon - Increased Incidence of Pleural Empyema in New Zealand Children: A Retrospective Review of Paediatric Empyema and Parapneumonic Effusion in South Auckland 1998-2012.

College Awards – Paediatrics

  • RACP Trainee Research Award for Excellence in the field of paediatric medicine: Dr Marie Rauter - Findings from comprehensive health screening of children in out-of-home care: The health of 4-6 year olds in southern Tasmania compared to peers
  • RACP Exam Medal 2013 for the PCHD is Dr Christine Mincham
  • John Sands Medal 2014: Dr Johan Morreau and Dr Roger Tuck


  • The paediatric component of the College Congress in May was well received with topics including obesity, epigenetics, neonates, respiratory, adolescent & young adult medicine, neurology, infectious diseases, and dermatology. The paediatric working group led by Dr Catherine McAdam did a sterling job in pulling the program and related activities together.
  • The PCHD Annual dinner was held Monday 19 May 2014.
  • The Chapter of Community Child Health Satellite Day had an excellent program and included a presentation from Russell Wills the New Zealand Children’s Commissioner.
  • The Division congratulated the following paediatricians who received Australian Queen’s Birthday Honours:
    Officer (AO) in the General Division
      Professor Heather Elizabeth Jeffery FRACP - For distinguished service to medicine and tertiary education in the field of paediatrics, and to improved maternal and child health in rural and remote Australia and in developing countries.
    • Professor Terence Michael Nolan FRACP FAFPHM - For distinguished service to medicine as a leader in the field of epidemiology and population health, to policy development and advisory roles in immunisation, and to education.
    • Professor Ingrid Eileen Scheffer FRACP - For distinguished service to medicine in the field of paediatric neurology as a clinician, academic and mentor, and to research into the identification of epilepsy syndromes and genes.
    • Professor Martin Silink AM FRACP - For distinguished service to medicine in the field of paediatric endocrinology as a clinician, researcher and administrator, and to international leadership in diabetes care and advocacy.
    Member (AM) in the General Division
    • Professor Nadia Badawi FRACP - For significant service to paediatrics and neo-natal intensive care medicine as a clinician and researcher, and to the promotion of research into cerebral palsy.
    • Dr James Allan Mawdsley FRACP - For service to community health.
  • Dr Jacqueline Small attended the ARACY AGM in March on behalf of the PCHD President.
  • The table of contents of the Journal of Paediatrics & Child Health are now sent electronically to recipients.


Membership of the PCHD Council

  • The Council welcomed Dr Nicola Murdock to her first term as President, and Dr Sarah Dalton to the position of President-Elect.
  • Dr Nicola Murdock and Prof Paul Colditz were nominated by the Council as the Division RACP Board representatives.
  • The Council welcomed: Dr James Hodges, Trainee Representative; Dr Melanie Fentoullis, Trainee Representative; Dr Andrew Kennedy, Chair AYAMC; and Dr Jeff Brown - Chair, NZ PCHD Committee.
  • The Council bade farewell to Dr Sandra Johnson, Dr Gary Brown, A/Professor Simon Clarke, Dr Adrian Trenholme, and Dr Angela Wilson.
  • The Division Council membership is available on the PCHD website.

Council Meetings

  • The Council met 27 and 28 February 2014, as well as via teleconference 18 June 2014.
  • The Council is scheduled to meet 4 and Friday 5 September 2014, as well as via teleconference 12 November 2014. The PCHD 2014 Annual meeting was held Tuesday 20 May.
  • PCHD Committee communiqués

    For information on key activities of the PCHD Committees, please visit their pages:

    Have a wonderful time over the festive season! I look forward to representing the Paediatrics & Child Health Division again in 2015.

    Dr Nicki Murdock, President
    Paediatrics & Child Health Division
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