Pot-pourri eBulletin 31 May 2019

President's Message

The recent RACP Congress in Auckland was a fantastic success. It was great to see many of you enjoying the varied sessions and the sharing of new ideas and research. Energy and optimism were in abundant evidence. A highlight was Professor Lex Doyle’s Howard Williams Oration ‘A career in neonatal research – really?’ His oration will be available online soon for those who missed it.

The Early Childhood: Importance of the Early Years Position Statement was launched at Congress and I would like to thank Dr Pat Tuohy and the working group for their efforts with putting this vital document together.  In its statement, the College puts forward a number of recommendations for governments, policy makers and practitioners to improve early childhood development in Australia and New Zealand. It has a strong focus on parental and infant mental health, nutrition, early childhood education and social welfare. The Congress shared session ‘The first 1,000 days – the window of opportunity for long-term health’ was the first step in advocating for the early years and I look forward to seeing this continue successfully into the future.

I would like to again congratulate the PCHD Award winners:

Rue Wright Memorial Award
Dr Peter Vuillerman “Maternal gut microbiota during pregnancy and allergic disease in the offspring: a birth cohort study.”

Best Poster Prize
Dr Elaine Zaidman “Impact of health literacy of parents on the health outcomes of children with chronic disease: A systematic review.”

2018 Examination Medal in Paediatrics & Child Health
Dr Fran Gehrman

PCHD Trainee Research Award presenters
Dr Martin Hansen from the NT
Dr Aaron Ooi from NZ
Dr Natalie Morgan from VIC
Dr Valentina-Maria Milosescu from QLD
Dr Cathryn Poulton from WA

The calibre of presentations across each award category as well as the free paper session and Research and Innovation Sessions was very high. I encourage all members to submit their research to RACP Foundation to share and explore new ideas at Congress 2020.

I recently attended the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health Conference where I met with RCPCH President Professor Russel Viner, Vice President of Education and Professional Development Dr Camilla Kingdon, Vice President of Curriculum, Training and Assessment Dr David Evans and Registrar and Senior Executive Dr Mike Linney.

It was a vibrant meeting with a special focus on the challenges paediatrics faces, optimisation of health service delivery and plans for the future. One impressive feature was how effectively RCPCH has incorporated the voice of children. The loudest audience applause was for four young people who addressed the opening plenary session about their experiences in the health system and their hopes for the future. It was especially pleasing to see several RACP Fellows receive awards – our President Associate Professor Mark Lane and Professor Elizabeth Elliott.

I return with new ideas to add to my advocacy for research and to how we can effectively and safely engage the voice of children.

Professor Paul Colditz
President, Paediatrics & Child Health Division

Trainee involvement in position statement development

The College’s position statement on Early Childhood: The Importance of the Early Years was launched at Congress 2019, tying in with the College’s shared session on 'The First 1,000 Days'. The launch was the culmination of many hours of consultation, collaboration and co-operation by the statement’s working group, comprised of:

  • Dr Pat Tuohy (Chair)
  • Associate Professor John Eastwood
  • Dr Katrina Hannan
  • Dr Vanessa Sarkozy
  • Dr Lydia So
  • Dr Simon Rowley
  • Dr Nitin Rajput

Research, policy and editorial assistance was supplied by Ms Yvonne Gritschneder, Ms Louise Hardy, and Ms Veronica Le Nevez from the RACP Policy and Advocacy team.

Dr Katrina Hannan and Dr Lydia So volunteered their time and energy to the working group while undertaking the PCHD training program. We asked them to comment on the process – would they recommend other trainees becoming involved in policy and advocacy opportunities?

Dr Katrina Hannan (Victoria)
Participation in this working group was a great opportunity to get an insight “behind the scenes” of the creation of such a document; the careful planning, revision, multiple stages of consultation and approval process. It has been a privilege to be guided by and learn from the very experienced members of the team with expertise in policy and advocacy. Being involved has made me realise that with support from hard-working P&A staff at RACP, these impressive documents are written by passionate, generous Fellows who donate their time and expertise, often while managing a heavy clinical workload. It was a lengthy process from initial discussion to completion and I am very pleased that I was able to contribute to this important initiative during my training.

Dr Lydia So (NSW)
I agree with Katrina’s comments. Being involved in creating a position statement that is aimed at policy makers and multiple stakeholders is very rewarding. We can be trainees who focus on pulling people out of the river one at a time, or we can learn how to directly target upstream factors. For anyone who is interested in policy and advocacy work, it is a privilege to learn from the team of dedicated and incredibly hard-working staff and Fellows. It has been a detailed and engaging process. I am grateful for and have enjoyed the opportunity.

If you would like to be involved in policy and advocacy activities being undertaken by the College, please see the Expressions of Interest page, or contact Paed@racp.edu.au or Policy@racp.edu.au to enquire about available opportunities.

2019 Research Excellence Awards

Congratulations to our current Paediatrics & Child Health Division President Professor Paul Colditz and all other winners in the recently announced Research Excellence Awards 2019. Professor Colditz was awarded Researcher of the Year for his 'contributions to the improved care of preterm babies [which] have been unparalleled in Queensland and internationally.' His work on neonatal seizures informed Queensland Clinical Guidelines on treatment of this condition. Professor Colditz's research underpins advances in the evaluation and interpretation of function of the neonatal brain with important therapeutic outcomes.

Research is a vital component of our paediatrics and child health work, and we are always happy to have the opportunity to highlight any and all successes by our PCHD members and their colleagues. If you know of any such stories in your city or region, please contact Paed@racp.edu.au so we may bring these to our community’s attention. Let’s hear those positive stories!

Clinical Professor Cathy Choong
PCHD President-elect

RACP Congress Highlights

RACP Congress 2019 took place from 6 to 8 May 2019 at the Aotea Centre, Auckland, New Zealand. While we are still collating feedback the initial responses have been extremely positive with 86 per cent of attendees saying RACP Congress gets better every year and more than half rating RACP Congress as their go-to educational forum. 

Listen to what 2019 attendees have to say about Congress and why you should mark your calendar to attend RACP Congress 2020 in Melbourne from 4 to 6 May next year. 

Vox pops day two

Announcement – Lead Fellow Congress 2020

Following a highly successful Congress 2019, I am pleased to announce that Professor Don Campbell has been appointed to the role of Lead Fellow for Congress 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. Professor Campbell is a recent past President of the Internal Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand (IMSANZ) and is currently President-elect of the Adult Medicine Division.

With his interest in and commitment to health system design and fostering medical leadership, Don regards Congress as a unique annual opportunity for College members to meet and be stimulated and challenged to continually strive to achieve better health outcomes for all New Zealanders and Australians.

Congress 2020 will explore how quickly medical science is developing. How can we predict where we will be in five or ten years? How do we keep up when science is changing so rapidly? How do we design a system that puts the patient first? How do we retain the humanity and empathy in what we do; for our patients and for each other?

These are just some of the themes that will challenge our thinking.

Congress 2020 is being held at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre from Monday, 4 May to Wednesday, 6 May. To register your interest to attend visit the event website.

Associate Professor Mark Lane
RACP President

Be the RACP Congress 2020 Committee PCHD Representative

The Paediatrics and Child Health Division (PCHD) is seeking expressions of interest from PCHD Fellows to join the RACP Congress Program Committee.

Auckland recently hosted a highly successful RACP Congress 2019. The vast majority of members who attended rated Congress 2019 as one of the best meetings they had attended this year, with some going so far as to describe it as "best Congress ever" – we encourage you to view the highlights from Day 1 and Day 2.

Congress 2020 will be held in Melbourne 4-6 May, and we are seeking expressions of interest from PCHD Fellows for the role of PCHD Representative on the Congress Program Committee (CPC).

The PCHD Representative will lead the development of the Paediatrics stream and will work with the Congress Lead Fellow, Professor Don Campbell and other CPC members and College staff to implement the agreed Congress themes and develop shared interest sessions. This is a key opportunity for PCHD members to shape the topics and discussions for next year’s Congress.

The PCHD Representative will:

  • coordinate all content within the paediatrics stream, while linking to the purpose, goals and key themes of Congress
  • collaborate with the Congress Lead Fellow and other CPC members to optimise shared interest sessions and broader Congress program through identifying notable speakers, significant topics and innovative delivery formats
  • attend the CPC fortnightly planning meetings via teleconference
  • participate in email correspondence outside of meetings regarding suggestions and opinions of speakers and sessions
  • actively promote Congress to members

The successful candidate is appointed by the PCHD Executive Committee.

To apply, submit an expression of interest form and your CV to paed@racp.edu.au

Car seat safety: Are Australian children safe? – The Royal Children’s Hospital National Child Health Poll  

The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) National Child Health Poll is a quarterly, national survey of Australian households shedding new light on the big issues in contemporary child and adolescent health – as told by Australian parents.

In the most recent RCH Poll 'Car seat safety: Are Australian children safe?' Australian parents were asked a series of questions about their knowledge, attitudes and behaviours in relation to use of child restraints and booster seats when travelling in the family car.

This poll revealed there is a significant knowledge gap about safest practice recommendations for child car seats, resulting in many children not travelling in the safest restraint or position in the car.

Two thirds of children (63 per cent) aged seven to 10 years travel in an adult seatbelt without a booster seat, even though the majority of these children are below the recommended height to safely use an adult seatbelt. Almost half of children (47 per cent) aged between seven and 12 years travel in the front seat of the car, doubling their risk of being injured in a crash.

Children between six months and two years of age are being put at risk too, with more than half (53 per cent) of polled parents turning their children to travel forward-facing earlier than the recommended two years of age.

Adult seatbelts are designed to safely restrain a person of at least 145cm in height. Booster seats protect those children who are less than 145cm tall, by lifting them up so that the seatbelt fits better across their shoulder, chest and hips. Extending booster seat use by older children until they reach a height of at least 145cm may be a way of reducing child death and disability from road traffic crashes.

To view the full findings of this poll, please visit the RCH National Child Health Poll website

2019 Queensland Fellows’ and Trainees’ Forum

All Queensland Fellows and Trainees are invited to the 2019 Queensland Fellows’ and Trainees’ Forum on Saturday, 29 June at the Queensland Children’s Hospital in South Brisbane. Register today for this free member event which is presented by the RACP Queensland Regional Committee.

Topics include:

  • financial wellbeing: tax efficiency and reducing financial stress
  • medico legal
  • clinical ethics
  • medical stewardship

Please visit the event page for more information and to register.

Acute Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease in Queensland

Momentum is gathering for more to be done to prevent transmission of Group A Streptococcus, Acute Rheumatic Fever (ARF) and Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) at every level. 

ARF and RHD remain significant health concerns for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, particularly in northern Queensland. In response to this, the Queensland Minister for Health launched the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Rheumatic Heart Disease Action Plan 2018–2021. The Action Plan and additional information on ARF and RHD, including clinician and patient resources are available on the QLD Health website

Some other groups in Queensland are disproportionally affected by these diseases including Pacific Islanders, Māori, refugees, migrants from developing countries and those who live in poverty or overcrowded housing.

Since September 2018, RHD has become a notifiable condition. Under the Public Health Act 2005 and Public Health Regulation 2018, doctors must now notify these diseases. 

The process of notification for these diseases requires the diagnosing clinician to complete either an ARF of RHD notification form and send it to the Queensland RHD Register and Control Program via fax (1300 429 536) or email. Alternatively, you can send it to your local Public Health Unit (PHU).

For further information about these diseases, Queensland Health guidelines, resources for health professionals and fact sheets for patients are available on the communicable disease control guidance website

The Australian Guideline for Prevention, Diagnosis and Management of ARF and RHD (2nd edition) and other resources are available on the RHD Australia website

RACP supports OraTaiao's call for action on climate change and health

The RACP sees climate change as one of the most significant public health challenges of the 21st century. Climate change is also an opportunity for public health: reducing greenhouse gas emissions will have health co-benefits, including changes to diet and physical activity levels. In New Zealand, the government introduced the landmark Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill in May 2019 to transition to a zero carbon society by 2050.

The RACP is a strong advocate for evidence-based, equitable climate action policies, and recently supported the Revised Call to Action on Climate Change and Health from OraTaiao, the NZ Climate and Health Council. OraTaiao is focused on raising awareness and taking action on the health challenges and health opportunities climate change presents.

OraTaiao and the RACP recognise that in Aotearoa NZ, action on climate change will mean a whole-of-society transition founded on the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi) of partnership, participation and protection. Read more about the work on the OraTaiao website.

Upcoming Continuing Professional Development (MyCPD) Sessions

Following the release of the Medical Board of Australia’s Professional Performance Framework, a new 2019 MyCPD Framework came into effect in January.

The simplified Framework strengthens CPD by engaging Fellows in a range of CPD activities from three categories:

  1. Educational activities (1 credit per hour)
  2. Reviewing performance (3 credits per hour)
  3. Measuring outcomes (3 credits per hour)

We are holding two separate MyCPD information sessions in Canberra and Sydney to help you understand what the changes mean for you and why we have made them. There will also be opportunities to ask any questions you may have and speak directly to a member of our CPD team. The Canberra session is on Thursday, 18 July and the Sydney session is on Thursday, 25 July. Both events will be held in the evening at 6pm to 7.30pm.

For more details and to register, please see the below event pages:

The Kids' Cancer Project Research Establishment Fellowship

Apply now for The Kids' Cancer Project Research Establishment Fellowship worth up to $180,000 ($90,000 per annum for two years), offered by The Kids' Cancer Project through the RACP Foundation.

These and other research awards and grants offered by the RACP Foundation are available to Paediatric Fellows and trainees across the different categories:  Career Development Fellowships, Research Establishment Fellowships, Research Entry Scholarships, Research Development Scholarships, and Travel Grants.

The Paediatrics International Grant – Asia Pacific Region worth up to $10,000 is also available to medical graduates or specialists from outside Australia or New Zealand who intend to further their knowledge in fields of medical education and research. The application must be sponsored by a Fellow of the RACP and submitted before Wednesday, 31 July 2019.

Full details for these opportunities are available on the RACP Foundation website. Email the RACP Foundation to sign up for updates.

College Learning Series – call for lecture reviewers

The College Learning Series is starting to receive recorded lectures for its Paediatrics stream, and is seeking to expand its editorial group.

Interested Fellows and Advanced Trainees who would like to support the clinical quality assurance process by undertaking lecture reviews are invited to email CLS@racp.edu.au for further information and to apply.

2019 Divisional Clinical Exam survey

All candidates who sat the recent Divisional Clinical Examination (DCE) in Paediatrics & Child Health should have received a follow up survey on Tuesday, 28 May.

Please complete this three to five minute survey by Tuesday, 4 June 2019 to help us improve our assessment processes and enhance the examination experience for future candidates.

All candidates will receive their pass/fail result for the DCE on Thursday, 6 June, 2019.

If you have any questions regarding the survey or the RACP 2019 DCE, please contact Assessment and Selection via email or phone 1300 MY RACP (1300 697 227) or +61 2 9256 5444 for outside of Australia.

Medico Legal: A physicians update 

Worried about legal matters but don’t know where to turn? As we move through the technology era, social media and online interaction is evolving to play a huge part in the way we interact with patients and other professionals. In addition to this, physicians continue to face legal issues in both civil and disciplinary matters. Join us in Sydney on Saturday, 29 June from 9.30am to 12pm for an informative and insightful workshop in collaboration with Avant Mutual. You’ll be able to learn about your legal and professional obligations from our experienced speakers. 

To find out more visit the event webpage.

Register to participate in the new Ethics eLearning Resource

Ethics lies at the very heart of what it is to be a physician and is as relevant now as it was when first discussed two and a half thousand years ago. The Ethics eLearning Resource focuses on the sorts of ethical issues that are a constant feature of health care, and it also addresses some of the ideas that underpin ethics, such as the relationship between ethics and the law and the difference between ethics and rights.

The aims of this resource are to:

  • encourage discussion and broaden thinking about the main ethical issues facing physicians
  • encourage reflection on appropriate courses of action in situations that may be ethically challenging
  • challenge participants’ understanding of, and attitudes towards, ethics
  • model ethical practice
  • and help participants reflect on their own and their profession’s ethical commitments.

eLearning@RACP is free for RACP members and counts towards Continuing Professional Development requirements.

If you have questions about eLearning@RACP please email digital.learning@racp.edu.au.

Family Violence and Health Policy Practice Forum

You are invited to attend the Family Violence and Health Policy Practice Forum on Thursday, 6 June at 8.45am - 1.30pm AEST. Held at the Melbourne Town Hall, the event is hosted by the Department of Health and Human Services, Family Safety Victoria, the Safer Families Centre and the Melbourne Research Alliance to End Violence Against Women and their Children.

The forum provides a unique opportunity for health care providers and practitioners to come together with other practitioners, policy makers, researchers and domestic violence survivors in a coordinated effort to address domestic and family violence.

Evidence shows that 80 per cent of women experiencing abuse seek help at some point from health services. A healthcare provider is likely to be the first professional contact for survivors of intimate partner violence or sexual assault. Women experiencing or at risk of abuse also identify health-care providers as the professionals they would most trust with disclosure of abuse.

While health services and professionals do their very best to identify and respond to family violence there is evidence of a lack of cohesion and consistency in the way health professionals respond to family violence and there is no health system-wide approach. This is a common theme throughout the world. We know there is a great deal of work being done in Victoria to transform the health sector response, but we also know there is a need for integration across health and human service settings.

Family violence and health expert from Canada, Professor Nadine Wathen is co-leading the development of guidance and curriculum for Canadian health and social services practitioners through the VEGA project. Within the context of the Victorian family violence reform in health, our forum will explore Nadine’s work in bringing sectors together for trauma and violence-informed care. Interactive panels will discuss the concept of an integrated health system response to family violence for all members of the family, including how to respond to children. Panel presenters include leading researchers, policy makers, survivors, and practitioners.

For more information and to register, visit the event website.

My Health Record Survey

The My Health Record (MHR) is a secure online summary of an individual’s health information. Over 90 per cent of Australians have a MHR, and healthcare providers authorised by their healthcare organisation can access MHR to view and add to their patients’ health information.

PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting (Australia) has been engaged by the Australian Digital Health Agency to review the private specialist sector landscape and develop an understanding of the key opportunities and barriers around driving further adoption of MHR.

This online survey will only take 10 minutes and seeks to gain a better understanding of private practice workflows and the views of specialists and practice staff towards the MHR.

All survey responses will remain anonymous.

Please contact Jen Vo-Phuoc or Nick Dimitropoulos from PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting if you would like any further information.

Women & Leadership Australia grants

This is the final call for all women currently working in the healthcare sector to express their interest in the current financial year scholarship funding available through Women & Leadership Australia.
This opportunity provides women with funding of between $3,000 and $7,000 to undertake a range of leadership development programs commencing later this year. 
To ensure equitable access to the grants, the funding window has been extended until Friday, 21 June 2019. It is important to note that it is uncertain when these grants will be available again. More information and initial expressions of interest are available on the Women & Leadership Australia website.

The Doctor Dash

The Doctor Dash this Sunday, 2 June 2019 promotes the benefits of exercise and raises awareness for the good mental health of doctors, medical students, nurses and other health professionals. 

You can participate anywhere in the world in your own time, at your own pace and in your Crazy Socks 4 Docs.

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”.

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.

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

Close overlay