Pot-pourri eBulletin 26 June 2020

President's Message

Congratulations to Fellows in the PCHD who have been recognised in the 2020 Queen's Birthday Honours – it is wonderful to see dedicated service to child health and medical research in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand being given due recognition. A full list of the award recipients can be found on the RACP website.  

Last week, the new PCHD Council held its first meeting since the May election. A wide range of paediatric sub-specialties is represented on the Council with a good balance between paediatricians working in public and private health sectors. The current COVID-19 pandemic and conditions resulting from global warming affect the entire community, with particularly heavy burdens of the consequences of these twin global emergencies being borne by young people.  Our work over this term will have to take account of these threats to the mental and physical wellbeing of our patients and ourselves as paediatricians. Key issues for consideration and further work raised in Council within this context included the continued provision of high-quality educational experiences for trainees and supervisors, a concerted and sharpened focus on achieving real improvements in the health outcomes of  Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Māori people, increasing support for PCHD members in adapting to paediatric and adolescent healthcare delivery by telehealth and development and consolidation of our relationships with other international paediatric Colleges. The PCHD Council will meet again in August for our planning day, where we will explore these ideas in more detail and agree on tangible goals with measurable outcomes. 

Associate Professor Asha Bowen and more recently Dr Sadasivam Suresh are the paediatric representatives on the RACP COVID-19 Expert Reference Group, and we were fortunate to have Dr Bowen attend our Council meeting to speak to the latest developments. The National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce has developed Living Guidelines with updates reviewed weekly by the RACP COVID-19 Expert Reference Group. I would encourage you to read these and would like to thank Dr Bowen for her involvement in this important initiative

You may have seen that the RACP Online Congress Series was launched last week. Following the cancellation of Congress, it was agreed to deliver sessions in a number of different formats. I draw your attention to the podcast ‘Essential Ethics in Paediatrics’ led by Professor Lynn Gillam, Professor John Massie and Dr Chris Harris. Other paediatric sessions will be available in virtual formats, and I would encourage you to subscribe to the updates. The Chapter of Community Child Health Satellite Day has moved to a digital format with two webinars held this month. Further webinars will be released throughout the year.

Clinical Professor Catherine Choong
PCHD President

Expressions of Interest: Paediatric Emergency Medicine Representative to College Council

The College Council is seeking expressions of interest to fill the position of Paediatric Emergency Medicine Representative. The successful applicant would commence immediately, serving a two-year term. More information about the position may be found on the RACP website.

The RACP Board established the College Council in 2015 to act as its peak advisory body on strategic and cross-specialty issues. In this capacity, the College Council responds to issues referred to it by the Board, and also raises issues to the Board that the College Council feels need consideration. More information about College Council may be found on the RACP website.

Please submit the EOI form (downloadable from the link above) and your current CV to council@racp.edu.au by no later than Friday, 17 July 2020.

New advice about the Paediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome - Temporally associated with SARS-COV-2 (Kawasaki-like disease)

In May, reports began to emerge overseas about a condition in children which was provisionally named Paediatric Inflammatory Multisystem Syndrome - Temporally associated with SARS-CoV-2 (PIMS-TS) or alternatively Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) associated with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). It was referred to in the media as a syndrome similar to Kawasaki disease.

In response to this, the College has endorsed a statement which was developed by the Paediatric Active Enhanced Disease Surveillance network, as part of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance. The statement affirms that the condition is rare and that there have been no cases in Australia. In the unlikely event that cases are found in Australia, the statement provides guidance about what is known about the disease, recommendations for how to treat a possible case, and details of who to contact if a clinician needs further information.

Thank you to the Paediatric Fellows who were involved in developing the statement, including Associate Professor Asha Bowen.

Read findings from RACP voluntary member survey on telehealth in Australia

In May 2020, the RACP conducted a voluntary survey of all its practising Australian-based members on their use of the new Medicare Benefits Schedule telehealth attendance items introduced for COVID-19. A summary report is available, highlighting the impacts of the new telehealth items and outlining key findings and recommendations. 

Learn more

Congress Online Series

Congress is now online

Last week, Professor John Wilson AM, RACP President launched the RACP Online Congress Series. This is a first of its kind for the College and members, as we are delivering the series entirely online. From June to December, you can join live webinars and access on-demand content including videos, podcasts and past recordings.

Given the role physicians must play in the current healthcare crisis post COVID-19, the Online Congress Series is being delivered free for all members this year. Visit the Congress website to learn more about upcoming webinars.

Professor Catherine Crock AM opens Congress with her keynote address on 'Balancing science with humanity: how kindness restores the whole in medicine'

Log in to the RACP Online Congress platform using your username and MIN to view the opening keynote address on-demand – one not to be missed.

Trainee Selection and Recruitment Guide

Local selection into Basic and Advanced Training should be rigorous, fair and transparent. To encourage this goal, and with input from Fellows and trainees, the College has produced Guidelines for Training Providers on Local Selection for Training.

Visit the RACP website for more information.

RACP Foundation Research Awards – Applications closing soon

Don’t miss your chance to apply for funding for 2021 under the following award categories:

Applications for Research Entry Scholarships, Research Development Scholarships, and Travel Grants are due on Monday, 13 July 2020.

Please refer to the RACP Foundation webpage for information on specific eligibility requirements for each award.

Howard Williams Medal

The Howard Williams Medal recognises a member of the Paediatrics & Child Health Division who has made an outstanding contribution to improving the health of children and young people in Australia and/or Aotearoa New Zealand. Nominations close Monday, 10 August 2020.

College Medals and Awards

Nominations open Wednesday, 1 July 2020 for College Prizes. They acknowledge outstanding contributions and achievements made by Fellows and trainees in their respective fields.

We encourage you to nominate for the following medals:

  • The John Sands Medal recognises a Fellow who makes a significant contribution to the welfare of the RACP and its members.
  • The College Medal is aligned to the College motto 'Hominum servire saluti'. It is awarded to a Fellow who makes a significant contribution to medical specialist practice, healthcare and/or health of community through physician activities.
  • International Medal recognises a member who has provided outstanding service in developing countries.
  • Medal for Clinical Service in Rural and Remote Areas recognises a Fellow who has provided outstanding clinical service in rural and remote areas of Australia or Aotearoa New Zealand.
  • Mentor of the Year Award recognises a Fellow who has made an outstanding contribution to mentoring or provided a high level of support and guidance throughout training.
  • Trainee of the Year recognises a trainee who has made an outstanding contribution to College, community and trainee activities.
  • The Eric Susman Prize is awarded by the College to a Fellow for best contribution to the knowledge of internal medicine.

Successful nominees are presented a medal at the RACP Congress and receive full Congress registration, return economy airfares and up to three nights’ accommodation.

Full details are available on the RACP Foundation webpage.

Trainee Research Awards 2020

Applications for Trainee Research Awards open from Wednesday, 1 July to Monday, 31 August 2020. Trainees and New Fellows undertaking post-Fellowship training are encouraged to apply.

The Trainee Research Awards provide a valuable opportunity for trainees to present their research at an Australian regional or Aotearoa New Zealand event. The best presenters from each local event are invited to be part of the Research and Innovation stream at the 2021 RACP Congress.

Please send your abstract submissions or inquiries by email to your respective regional RACP offices.

Read RACP Quarterly online

RACP Quarterly is our member magazine featuring healthcare and medical news. In Issue Two 2020 we move to our new online platform for this magazine.

After feedback from many of our members about the ongoing carbon footprint of printing and postage of the hard-copy magazine, we intended to transition at the end of this year to an online only publication. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to re-evaluate our plans and bring forward the move to an online only publication for the RACP Quarterly magazine from now and into the future.

In this issue we feature the RACP Fellows recognised in the Australia Day 2020 Honours and the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2020 in both Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. Congratulations to the recipients – these awards highlight the outstanding work RACP members do and the importance of that work in local, national and international communities.

This issue also features a range of articles in response to the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • How are our hospitals and members dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic?
  • Supporting trainees through the pandemic
  • The race to find a vaccine
  • New Telehealth items for physicians and their patients
  • The demand for access to Personal Protective Equipment during COVID-19
  • Physicians leading the way on opioid treatment during a global pandemic.

Other highlights in this issue include ‘On the frontline of Australia’s worst bushfire season on record’, ‘Guidelines for ethical relationships between health professionals and industry’, ‘Navigating healthcare the Māori way’ and ‘Turning back the clock on heart attacks’.

Read RACP Quarterly Issue Two 2020 online now. 

Access previous editions of RACP Quarterly on the RACP website.

New Pomegranate podcast: Ep59: Essential Ethics in Paediatrics 

The ethical questions that come up in paediatrics can appear overwhelming to begin with. When can a child be said to have cognitive capacity and bodily autonomy? For those who don’t, where does the guardianship of the parent give way to that of the medical professionals? When might treating one child have implications for the resources available to others? And what about not treating or vaccinating a child, if that is what the parents want?

All of these issues are tackled in the Essential Ethics podcast, produced within the Children's Bioethics Centre in Melbourne. The Centre was established at the Royal Children’s Hospital to promote the rights of young patients and to support families and clinicians facing some vexing ethical questions. The Essential Ethics podcast takes a case-based approach to demonstrate how dilemmas in clinical ethics can be worked through in a systematic way. A couple of these are presented as part of the RACP Online Congress Series program.

In the first story discussed, a child with autism spectrum disorder is suspected of having COVID-19, but the mother refuses testing as it will distress him for little gain.

The second, real life case, is that of a 16-month-old boy born with a developmental abnormality of the lower leg. In the most severe cases the recommended clinical management involves amputation, but this boy’s deformity can be corrected through a number of involved surgeries. Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Chris Harris describes the confronting course he had to take. He is interviewed by paediatric respiratory physician Professor John Massie and clinical ethicist Professor Lynn Gillam. They are respectively the Clinical Lead and Academic Director of the Children's Bioethics Centre and both have Professorial appointments at the University of Melbourne.


  • Professor Lynn Gillam (Academic Director, Children’s Bioethics Centre, University of Melbourne)
  • Professor John Massie FRACP (Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, University of Melbourne)
  • Dr Chris Harris FRACS (Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne).

Fellows of the RACP can claim CPD credits via MyCPD for listening to this episode and reading the resources.

Subscribe to Pomegranate Health in Apple iTunesSpotify or any Android podcasting app.

Listen to podcast

Supporting prevention and management of COVID-19 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, the Lowitja Institute and The Australian National University are working together to provide practical and timely advice for primary healthcare teams supporting prevention and management of COVID-19 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia.

An expert committee guiding the work is providing recommendations for healthcare workers operating in Aboriginal community-controlled health services and other primary care settings.

The first set of recommendations was released on National Sorry Day 2020, a day to acknowledge and recognise members of the Stolen Generations as part of an ongoing process of healing. Visit the NACCHO website for updates.

Supporting the health of people with disability during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Commonwealth Department of Health has prepared a range of fact sheets for health professionals regarding supporting the health of people with disability during the COVID-19 pandemic. In her capacity as President of the Australian Association of Disability Medicine, President-elect Dr Jacqueline Small was part of the advisory committee which developed the resources and which has continued meeting to oversee the implementation of the plan.

The fact sheets complement the recently released Management and Operational Plan for People with Disability and associated resources. 

Open letter to Food Forum Ministers: It is time for a clear, visible health warning label on alcohol products 

For over a decade, the College and other medical and public health bodies have advocated for effective, mandatory labelling of alcohol products with pregnancy-related warnings. Responsible Ministers from all jurisdictions are yet again preparing to debate this urgent matter. The decisive meeting is planned for mid-July 2020. 

In March 2020, the Ministers delayed approving the evidence-based labelling scheme recommended by Food Standards Australia and New Zealand to allow for a review of the use of the colour red in the warnings. Best evidence clearly shows that the colour red is essential for the label to be noticed, trusted and understood as a warning. It is also clear that the alcohol industry has used the issue to further delay the mandatory implementation of clear and visible labelling of alcohol on the market.

Our close collaborators at the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education have launched a timely online letter urging the Ministers to finally endorse the implementation of appropriate health warnings on alcoholic products across Australia. The College is a strong supporter of the letter.

The industry and the decision-makers have had enough time. As the letter states, “watering down the label through changes to its colour, size or wording would be risking the health and wellbeing of thousands of Australians for years to come". 

Please sign the online letter and share it with your networks and on social media. It only takes a couple of minutes and is part of a wider campaign to persuade the Ministers to do the right thing, at last. 

Helpful resources for completing your MyCPD

The MyCPD Interactive Handbook was launched in December 2019 to provide Fellows with an easily accessible way to understand their CPD requirements, and as a repository for links to all available online resources. All Fellows are encouraged to access the Interactive Handbook via the RACP Online Learning platform.

Evolve case studies 

To support the implementation of Evolve and Choosing Wisely recommendations in clinical practice, we have developed two case studies depicting clinical scenarios in which recommendations on reducing low-value care apply. These case studies explore a clinical scenario based on one of the Evolve recommendations on low-value care.

Evolve is seeking enthusiastic Fellows and trainees to partner with us in developing case studies for more specialties. The aim of the case studies is to support Fellows and trainees to build an understanding of low-value care within their specialty and act as a tool for clinical educators and supervisors. Email evolve@racp.edu.au to get involved.

New, free 24/7, 365 days a year, confidential mental health counselling service 

Doctors and medical students around Australia now have access to free, confidential telehealth mental health services through the new Drs4Drs Support Service, which has been established by Doctors’ Health Services Limited (DrHS).

The Drs4Drs Support Service provides crisis support, as well as non-urgent mental health support, and complements services provided by the network of state-based doctors’ health advisory services that are also funded by DrHS. 

Corporate mental health provider, Converge International, will deliver the Drs4Drs Support Service, deploying mental health professionals who are experienced in helping people work through workplace issues, conflict management, relationship concerns, financial problems, legal matters and lifestyle issues. 

All services funded by DrHS are completely confidential. DrHS does not receive any information that could identify anyone using this service, as they appreciate patient privacy is paramount and provide the option of anonymity.

DrHS is a subsidiary of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), established with funding from the Medical Board of Australia to provide health and wellbeing support to medical students and doctors.

The Drs4Drs Support Service is funded by a grant from the Federal Department of Health, allowing participants to have up to three free telehealth counselling sessions.

Accessing the Drs4Drs Support Service is simple. Doctors and medical students can call 1300 374 377 (1300 DR4 DRS) or visit Drs4Drs.com.au – a national one-stop-shop for wellness and support resources for the medical profession.

College endorsement of the Declaration of Istanbul on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism

The College recently developed a Statement on Organ Trafficking condemning the trafficking in organs, including removing organs from living or deceased donors without valid consent or authorisation. As a further step to demonstrate support for ending organ trafficking, the RACP Ethics Committee has led the work of formal RACP endorsement of the Declaration of Istanbul on Organ Trafficking and Transplant Tourism

The Declaration aims to provide ethical guidance for professionals and policymakers on how the benefits of transplantation can be maximised and shared equitably with those in need, without reliance on unethical, harmful and exploitative practises. The Declaration outlines 11 key principles to eliminate trafficking of organs and establish ethical frameworks for the legitimate sourcing of organs for transplantation.  

The College is pleased to formally endorse the Declaration and is committed to upholding the principles of the Declaration in all our activities and supporting our members to do the same.

International Society for Social Paediatrics and Child Health (ISSOP) ebulletin

Sign-up for the latest ISSOP ebulletin. ISSOP promotes knowledge of social paediatrics, to stimulate research in this field, to disseminate such knowledge at meetings and to work together with national and international agencies.

‘COVID-19 Unmasked’ – Invitation for parents of children and young people to take part in an online research survey

COVID-19 has brought change to every part of our lives. Health concerns, home schooling, isolation, cancelled events, not seeing friends and family, and the list goes on. Sadly, some families have lost loved ones, and many parents are concerned about long-term effects of the pandemic on the economy and their family’s financial security. In addition to the recent Australian bushfires, floods and drought, COVID-19 has added another layer of challenges and complexity as well. 

Infant and child psychologists and psychiatrists from the Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health, Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service and researchers from several Australian universities, have launched a research survey called 'COVID-19 Unmasked'. The purpose of this online research questionnaire is to help build a picture of how COVID-19 and other recent disruptive events have affected young children, their parents, and family life. 

The purpose of this online research questionnaire is to help build a picture of how COVID-19 and other recent disruptive events have affected young children, their parents, and family life.
Your participation and/or support in promoting this survey is really important because we know very little about how disruptive community events like pandemics and natural disasters affect the mental health and emotional wellbeing of babies and pre-schoolers over the long-term. Right now, we have a unique opportunity to find out more. By taking part in the online survey, we can gather a wealth of information to help us understand the types of responses that young children aged one to five years old have, so we can learn how to better support their mental health and emotional wellbeing now, and into the future following other stressful events. 
Your responses will help the group collect and develop evidence based resources in the future that will help parents, educators, health services and other professionals respond more effectively when events like this happen.
The group needs as many caregivers of children aged one to five years old as possible throughout Australia to complete an anonymous online survey four times over the next year. Each survey only takes about 20 minutes to complete. Participation is completely voluntary, and participants can choose to stop at any time. 
Please help by sharing this survey link with families you work with, colleagues or through your networks. The link is: is.gd/covid19_unmasked
Have you have you heard about our latest addition to the Birdie’s Tree resources developed by QCPIMH?

'Birdie and the Virus' has recently been launched to support families in the specific context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please feel free to also share this link widely. 

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: Plagues, Pandemics and Preventing Panic

While we continue to proceed with caution through these challenging COVID-19 times, in trying to navigate the unknown future – what can the past teach us? Watch Professor David Isaacs, paediatric infectious disease specialist and author of a recent book on the history of vaccines, in conversation with Dr Elizabeth Finkel, as together they shed light on the history of pandemics.

Watch video

University of Otago, Otago Medical School – Freemasons Postgraduate Fellowship in Paediatrics and Child Health

  1. The Fellowships are open to University graduates who intend long-term to pursue work in Paediatrics or Child Health within Aotearoa New Zealand. The Fellowships may be either of the following: 

    (i) Training Fellowships in which the fellow would devote his/her entire time to an approved training programme, which should include research.

    (ii) Research Fellowships (medical or non-medical) which are designed for the fellow to engage in full-time research in clinical or basic medical sciences related to Paediatrics & Child Health.

    (iii) Postgraduate Scholarships intended to provide support to a scholar whose programme of work or research would lead to a higher degree and whose work is within the field of Paediatrics & Child Health.

    (iv) Such other categories of Fellowship that may be agreed to from time to time between the Lodge and University.

  2. Fellowships or Scholarships are to be awarded annually and be for a duration of one year but with provision for a further year. In exceptional circumstances it may be extended for a longer period.

    Applicants are required to provide the following information in 12 point, Arial or Times New Roman font:
  • Name, date of birth and address (work and private)
  • Cover letter that includes how the applicant will use this research for their future training/career/research plans for postgraduate degrees related to the pursuit of work in Paediatrics or Child Health, including an outline of full-time versus part-time and any other background required to set the scene for their proposal.
  • CV using RST format (two pages maximum)
  • Names of referees and their details (provide two)
  • Detailed outline of the planned research or training programme, starting date, together with written approval from the Head of Department in which tenure of the fellowship (or scholarship) is proposed:
    • Scientific Abstract (maximum half-page)
    • Lay Summary (maximum half-page)
    • Significance to Child Health in Aotearoa New Zealand (maximum half-page)
    • Research Proposal (three pages maximum)
      • Background
      • Hypothesis/Aims
      • Methods
      • Statistics (e.g. sample size calculation if relevant)
    • References (typically one page)
  • Letter of support from relevant Supervisor
  • Letter of support from relevant Head of Department

Preliminary information and advice may be obtained from the Head of any Department of Paediatrics and Child Health in the Otago Medical School:

Associate Professor B Wheeler
Dept. of Women’s & Children’s Health
Dunedin School of Medicine
PO Box 56


Professor A Day
Dept. of Paediatrics
University of Otago, Christchurch
PO Box 4345


Professor Dawn Elder
Dept. of Paediatrics & Child Health
University of Otago, Wellington
PO Box 7343


Applications should be sent to the Lead Administrator, Department of Women’s & Children’s Health, Dunedin School of Medicine, PO Box 913, Dunedin 9054.

For Fellowship to be awarded for 2021, applications close on Friday, 17 July 2020.

Conferences and events

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians publishes notices of events and courses as a service to members. Such publication does not constitute endorsement or mandating of any such events or courses. 

IPA-UNICEF-WHO English webinar on 'Adolescent and Mental Health during COVID-19', Monday, 29 June 2020

The Australasian College of Legal Medicine - 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting: Legal Aspects of Child and Adolescent Health, Saturday, 31 October to Sunday, 1 November 2020, Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart, Tasmania

Go to the events list at any time to see what events are coming up.

Career opportunities


Advanced Trainee in Indigenous Child Health for 2021: The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service

The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service is advertising for a 12-month full-time position for an Advanced Trainee in Indigenous Child Health for 2021.This position is fully accredited for RACP Advanced Training in Community Child Health.

Applications are open for all Victorian Paediatric Rural Advanced Training positions for 2021

Please see the College website to view all medical positions vacant.

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

Did you know that you can now update your address details online? Simply Login to MyRACP and go to 'Edit my details'.
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