Pot-pourri eBulletin 24 August 2018

President's Message 

The PCHD hosted the Inequities in Child Health Forum on Wednesday, 15 August at the Australian Parliament House. The Forum was well attended by those interested in child health and was addressed by the Minister for Health and Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare. Three child health experts, Associate Professor Sue Woolfenden, Professor Sharon Goldfeld and Professor Ngiare Brown provided some great ‘on the ground’ experience and set out the College’s collaborative plan for equity in child health. The Australian Government announced funding for the creation of an action plan for child health, and warmly invited input from the College. This was a fantastic outcome, but the work has just begun. I’ll keep you updated.

The PCHD Council met in late July to develop the key initiatives for the Division over the next two years. Following updates from relevant College Directorates, the Council outlined their goals for the Division, identified emerging opportunities and challenges and prioritised the activities that could be reasonably achieved within the next two years. The Council is committed to advocating for a focus on the first 2000 days of life. This provides a real opportunity to harness support from primary care providers, the government and other colleges to develop key advocacy messages and effect change. The Council has also voiced strong support for the mental health and wellbeing of physicians. We are looking to identify key activities that will better support our members and embed mental health and wellbeing into the workplace and daily practice. As the workplan is finalised, I will update you on the key initiatives and how these will be implemented over the next two years.

The PCHD Council has one vacant Fellow New Zealand position. I urge interested members to complete an Expression of Interest form if they are interested in joining the Council and being part of the two year pathway described above. This is a great opportunity to be involved in College activities and to inform change and ‘make a difference’. I would like to acknowledge and thank Associate Professor Michael Gabbett for his time on the PCHD Council over the last two years; Michael has contributed to a number of PCHD initiatives and his input was highly valued.

PCHD President-Elect, Clinical Professor Catherine Choong will be attending the sixteenth Asia Pacific Congress of Pediatrics (APCP) in conjunction with the ninth Annual Scientific Meeting of the Indonesian Pediatric Society and the sixth Asia Pacific Congress of Pediatric Nursing 25 to 29 August 2018 in Bali, Indonesia. Catherine will be representing the RACP in my stead and will attend the Asia Pacific Pediatric Association (APPA) Council meeting, of which we are a member. The Division will continue to support this important meeting and its special relationship with the Indonesian Pediatric Society and details of the event will be included in the next Pot-Pourri.

Professor Paul Colditz
President, Paediatrics & Child Health Division


Child health experts and key stakeholders come together in Canberra for the RACP Inequities in Child Health Forum  

On Wednesday last week, the Royal Australasian College of Physicians hosted our Inequities in Child Health Forum at Australian Parliament House in Canberra, where leading child health experts presented to an audience including Members of Parliament and Senators, state and territory Chief Paediatricians and heads of key medical, public health and community bodies.

Australian Federal Minister for Health and Shadow Minister for Health and Medicare spoke at the event, with the Minister for Health announcing funding for the development of a National Action Plan for Children’s Health 2020 – 2030. The Minister stated that the plan “will ensure that we give our Indigenous Australians, our rural Australians, and our younger Australians in more difficult socio-economic circumstances, the best shot at the best life to be the best person that they can otherwise ever hope to be."

Child health experts Associate Professor Susan Woolfenden, Professor Sharon Goldfeld and Professor Ngiare Brown presented on the actions and strategies needed to reduce inequities in health care access and outcomes, and the part that health practitioners and politicians can play in acting as a buffer against cycles of disadvantage. The Forum and its messages received significant media coverage across print, radio, social media and television, helping to promote discussion of an important area for child health and wellbeing.

The RACP President Associate Professor Mark Lane, President of the Paediatrics and Child Health Division Professor Paul Colditz, and senior paediatricians also met with the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer, and other government representatives. 

The RACP will continue its dialogue with key decision makers to ensure high quality, truly universal health care services are available to all children regardless of their postcode.

To find out more about this issue, you can read our Inequities in Child Health Position Statement or its accompanying fact sheet, and access the tools in our online advocacy kit.

You can also listen to Professor Sharon Goldfeld discuss the issue of child health inequities on ABC RN Breakfast as recorded on 15 August 2018.

Discussing disability internationally

RACP Fellows Doctors Tracey Symmons, Anne Drake, Kimberly Oman and Professor Robert Moulds took part in the Internal Medicine Organisation of the Pacific (iMOP) Annual Scientific Conference held in Suva, Fiji on Thursday 23 and Friday 24 August.

Effectively tackling disability issues in resource deprived settings was the focus of the conference, which was opened by the Fiji Minister of Health, the Honourable Rosy Akbar, and drew speakers and delegates from across the Pacific, Australia, New Zealand and India. 

“Where is disability preventable in low resource settings and can we enable people to have a life worth living, that is meaningful and can enable enhanced participation in society?” Dr Symmons asked in her key note address. She also noted that disability should not be regarded as just part of the human condition, that needs to be accepted and endured and that we should not be looking at disability as being dichotomous – disabled or not disabled. 

Dr Symmons said while the Pacific region is known for cyclones, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes and other natural disasters, the real challenge was resource limitations.  Limitations in the health sector related to human resources, procurement, health facilities and supplies as well as the challenges of helping communities isolated by environment and geography access health care. 

While noting the key challenge she called on the region to take proactive measures to minimise the effects of disabling conditions, and to limit the impact of these conditions on the lives of people living in the Pacific.   She noted that a tidal wave of non-communicable diseases has been sweeping the region, resulting in individuals losing limbs, sustaining strokes and becoming weaker from cancer and respiratory diseases.   The region also experiences conditions rarely seen in resource rich settings, such as Potts disease, tuberculosis, meningitis, leprosy, tetanus, effects from neonatal sepsis and limited antenatal care, and effects of rising road related trauma in a setting that has few mechanisms for injury reduction.   She noted examples of good work happening in the region and asked “Can more be done?”

RACP Fellow Dr Anne Drake also attended the conference and spoke about infectious complications arising from disability. Dr Kimberly Oman attended and spoke about the prevention of disability in patients with advanced HIV. Professor Robert Moulds led a team during a debate about the topic Older and Wiser vs Younger and Bolder. 

Specialists from Apollo Hospital in India made several case study presentations on cardiac, oncology and dialysis related matters. Final year Masters of Medicine internal medicine candidates from Fiji National University presented their research findings. Trends and childhood cancer outcomes, stemming from a paediatric oncology twinning program between Fiji and New Zealand hospitals, was the focus of one of the presentations.

Save The Date notice and call for topics for RACP Congress 2019

RACP Congress 2019 will be held at the Aotea Centre from the 6 May to 8 May in Auckland, New Zealand.

Planning is underway but we are seeking your views on potential topics that are aligned with the overall theme ‘Impacting health along the life course’. These topics will be considered by the PCHD Council before progressing through to the Congress Program Committee.

Please note that a PCHD representative is required for the RACP 2019 Congress Organising Committee. More details are available via the Expressions of Interest listing below. 

Please send your ideas to paed@racp.edu.au

Advances on Developmental Disorders: From Research to Policy to Practice 

Location: Acton, Australian Capital Territory
Venue: Centre for Mental Health Research, The Australian National University
Date: 3 September 2018, 9:00am to 1:00pm

What are the policy and practice implications of the advances of research in developmental disorders?

Over three per cent of Australians have a developmental disorder. These conditions are associated with significant problems in physical and mental health and have a major impact on carers and society.

Major changes and improvements have happened during recent years including the release of new classification of developmental disorders in the WHO international classification of diseases (ICD-11); the advances in the genomics of autistic spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities; or the progress in new interventions and policies.

This international workshop will provide an update on several of these developments and revise their implications for Australia.

For full details please visit the website.

Trainee Research Awards Reminder

Deadlines  for abstract submissions for Trainee Research Awards events are fast approaching. 

Trainees across Australian states and territories, and New Zealand can take part.

Learn more

Apply or Nominate for College Awards and Prizes

Recognise an outstanding colleague or apply for a career-enriching opportunity through the different Awards and Prizes offered by RACP. Nominations are now open for several prestigious College awards and prizes, including:

Trainees are also encouraged to apply for the RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence. Regional awardees will be invited to attend and present at the 2019 RACP Congress in Auckland. They will also have the opportunity to have their abstract published.

Visit the RACP Foundation webpage for full details of all awards and prizes offered by your Division For more information about the eligibility criteria or the application process, please contact RACP Foundation at Foundation@racp.edu.au or call +61 2 9256 9639.

Pot-Pourri submissions welcome

To submit an article for publishing in Pot-pourri, please email paed@racp.edu.au. The article should be no more than 350 words. If you would like to submit an image with your article, it would be assumed that you have received appropriate permission to use the photo and it needs to be of high resolution, above 300 dpi. Please note that articles may need to be edited by the RACP Communications Team.

Update your details with the college

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Career Opportunities

There are no career opportunities advertised this month.

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