Pot-pourri newsletter 30 June 2017

President's post

Every now and then it’s important to pause and recognise the outstanding achievements of our peers. I would like to acknowledge all members of the College who were recognised in the Queen’s Birthday honours earlier this month, in particular the paediatricians who are highlighted later in this bulletin. 

Last month I made mention of Refugee Week, 18 to 24 June. Five paediatricians have been profiled on social media for Refugee Week. I encourage you to read these profiles of our committed colleagues and support their important work towards the improved health of refugee children and young people.

Last week the Paediatrics & Child Health Division (PCHD) Council held a successful two day meeting. The first day focused on matters pertinent to the Division, including support for the College’s health and wellbeing strategy for trainees and Fellows. The PCHD Council also discussed the Division’s identity, direction and adaptability in a changing environment. The PCHD Council remains committed to ensuring a robust Division with a strong paediatric voice in the College. The second day was a joint meeting with Paediatric specialty societies which focused around an advocacy workshop as well as discussion on further engagement and activities under the Model of Collaboration. Thank you to the specialty society and Advanced Training Committee representatives in attendance. The insights and outcomes from the meeting provide a solid understanding to pursue future opportunities and continued collaboration.

This week, facilitated by the College, the Paediatric Society of New Zealand conducted two webinars, on paediatric palliative care and paediatric neurology. The webinar recordings will be available to view from 11 July. 

A number of College awards are now open; please see the related article in this bulletin. I would like to highlight the Howard Williams Medal, named after an exceptional paediatrician and recognising a person who has made an outstanding contribution to paediatrics and child health in Australia or New Zealand. Nominations for the Howard Williams Medal 2018 are now open. Also open are the RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence, this competition is held to select State, Territory and New Zealand representatives to present their research work in Sydney in May 2018.  

Finally, congratulations to the trainees who recently passed the clinical examination. At this time I’m also thinking of those who did not receive their desired result and I extend my support and best wishes to each of you.
Dr Sarah Dalton
PCHD President

New information about Adverse Childhood Events

All paediatricians, particularly those with an interest in child development, are aware of the Adverse Childhood Experiences studies that show a linear correlation between the number of significant adverse events in childhood and poor mental and physical health in adult life. As Australians who care about the health of Australian Aboriginal people we are also concerned about the gap in lifespan between ​Aboriginal and non-aboriginal adults.

A ground breaking study by Professor Tony Broe and his team from the Aboriginal Health and Ageing Research Group shows that adverse childhood experiences in ​Aboriginal children have a correlation with later life dementia as well as a range of other mental health problems, including suicide attempts. Childhood trauma appears to be an important factor in the high dementia rates as well as the lifespan gap seen in Aboriginal people.

This new work highlights the need for paediatricians to focus on ​Aboriginal child health in its broadest sense, looking at improving the lives as well as the health of these vulnerable children.

A summary of the study is below. View ​the full study from The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry online

Professor Kim Oates

Childhood Stress and Adversity is Associated with Late-Life Dementia in Aboriginal Australians

Published with permission from Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) & School of Medical Sciences, University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW

Recent Australian studies show that both urban and remote Aboriginal people have high rates of late-life dementia – three to four times higher than the non-Indigenous population and amongst the highest in the world; dementia incidence is also high and onset occurs at an earlier age. Dementia types are the same as those found in studies of older people world-wide – most commonly Alzheimer's disease and secondly vascular brain disease - with other causes uncommon and alcohol related dementia rare (in contrast to stereotyped expectations). Increased dementia rates coincide with rapid ageing of Aboriginal populations (as with world populations generally) despite the persistence of the 10 year gap in life expectancy and high numbers of Aboriginal young people compared to non-Indigenous Australians.

In the seminal Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study in the US, retrospectively reported child adversity was associated with poor mid-life mental (anxiety, depression, suicide) and physical health outcomes (cigarette use, stroke, heart disease, diabetes). These results have been replicated in numerous studies around the world, with mounting evidence that childhood adversity, particularly abuse and emotional neglect, affect early-life brain growth and development. Links between childhood adversity and late-life cognitive outcomes are also emerging, however primarily in relation to depressive symptoms and not for dementia diagnosis. 

In this paper we examined potential risk factors for high dementia rates in the total 60 plus population from five representative NSW urban ​and rural Aboriginal Communities (n=336). We measured both standard bio-medical factors and early life factors, including childhood deprivation and trauma (using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ)). Childhood trauma was associated with all cause dementia and specifically Alzheimer's disease in Aboriginal Australians aged 60 to 92 years; childhood trauma was independently associated with anxiety, depression and stress disorder into late-life, as well as with previous attempted suicide. As expected standard mid-life biomedical risk factors examined were also associated with late-life dementia (stroke, head trauma, alcohol, etc.). CTQ scores were associated with other adverse childhood indicators including removal from family and poor childhood health; however there were no significant associations with late-life smoking, alcohol abuse, diabetes or cardiovascular risk factors. 

Childhood trauma is likely to be important in the high dementia rates (and the lifespan gap) in Aboriginal Australians. This links to the role of social determinants of brain growth (parenting, education, social exclusion, emotional neglect) in life-long health disadvantage and the mounting evidence that childhood adversity affects early-life brain growth and development. Post-colonisation issues, ongoing cultural devastation and child removal, parenting and educational opportunities are factors which need to be examined and addressed to tackle poor Indigenous health and premature cognitive decline – as well as the commonly recognised mid-life biomedical risks.

Professor Tony Broe, AM FRACP and Dr Kylie Radford

PCHD members recognised in Queen’s Birthday honours lists

Member (AM) in the General Division

Associate Professor Ann Mary Bye FRACP – For significant service to medicine in the field of paediatric neurology as a clinician, academic, and mentor.

Professor Graeme John Morgan FRACP – For significant service to medicine as a clinical geneticist and paediatrician, to medical education, and to professional organisations.

Medal (OAM) in the General Division

Dr David Robert Starte FRACP – For service to medicine as a paediatrician

Congratulations to those members acknowledged. 

Howard Williams Medal 2018 – Nomination forms available online now 

Nominations are now being accepted for the Howard Williams Medal 2018.  Fellows and trainees are invited to submit nominations for the Howard Williams Medal for a Fellow who has made an outstanding contribution to Paediatrics and Child Health in Australia or New Zealand.

Submissions must address the following key eligibility criteria:

  • education and teaching
  • ​research
  • professional service/leadership
  • policy and advocacy
  • contribution to disadvantaged groups.
The recipient is strongly encouraged to give an oration at Congress as it is an excellent opportunity to connect with colleagues, experts and notable dignitaries.

The closing date for nominations is Monday, 7 August 2017 5pm AEST.

Please visit the Howard Williams Medal page to download the nomination form and for further details.

Healthy Kids for Professionals now live

Resources are available to support health professionals and students to assess and manage children above a healthy weight, and their families.

These excellent resources include: 

  • colour-coded BMI-for-age charts
  • key messages
  • online weight status calculator
  • Weight4Kids online training modules
  • conversation starters
  • videos. 

All are freely available to download and are relevant to all health professionals who see children in their clinical practice​.  

These resources have been co-produced by paediatric clinicians and NSW Ministry of Health staff. While designed originally for NSW-based clinicians, most of the resources are also suitable for use across Australian states, in New Zealand and in other countries.

They are intended for the training and support of:

  • medical students
  • junior and senior doctors
  • General Practitioners
  • basic and advanced paediatric physician trainees
  • dietitians
  • other allied health professionals
  • nurses.
For more information ​and to access these resources vist: pro.healthykids.nsw.gov.au 

Applications open – RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence

Share your research with a wider audience at this competition exclusive to RACP trainees from all Divisions, Faculties and Chapters.

Find out more

Read RACP Quarterly online today

Articles in the June/July issue of RACP Quarterly include:

  • Let's talk about mental illness
  • Understanding variation in ADHD across Australia
  • Artificial arms have feelings too
  • What were you thinking? Cognitive bias and diagnosis

Coming soon – digital Member Advantage cards

From July 2017, all RACP members will have access to a digital Member Advantage card.
Find out more

Register now: online Supervisor Professional Development Program

Registration is now open for the popular RACP Supervisor Professional Development Program, a three-part online training program.  The courses include Practical Skills for Supervisors, Teaching and Learning in Healthcare Settings, and Work-based Learning and Assessment. The courses come highly recommended by previous participants and places are limited. Courses commence in July 2017. 

Find out more

Advanced Trainee Selection and Matching (ATSM) service - Applications open from 3 July 2017 

The ATSM service is an online documentation and numerical preference system that electronically matches eligible applicants to Advanced Training positions at RACP accredited training sites.

Visit the ATSM webpage to view application dates for participating specialties and apply for positions for the 2018 calendar year. 

International Society for Social Pediatrics and Child Health (ISSOP) e-bulletin No.27, May 2017

ISSOP is an interdisciplinary, non-governmental, non-profit making, scientific body open to all child health professionals. 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. 

The ISSOP e-bulletin No.27, May 2017 is now available online.

Victorian Paediatric Rural Advanced Training positions

All positions for 2018 Victorian Paediatric Rural Advanced Training are now open for applications. Information is available here.

Please contact the individual sites directly for any queries.  Applications close Thursday, 20 July and combined interviews will be held in Melbourne on Monday, 24 July.

Vote for the Fellowship Marks – a new member benefit coming soon

In the next few weeks we will be inviting all members, including trainees, to vote for a new Fellowship Mark for RACP members.

For some time members have wanted a visual device that shows they belong to the RACP, for use on their own stationery, electronic communications or signage. 

Use of the College ​Crest is restricted to College related business only. The Mark will not replace the ​Crest. It will be optional for your use in a personal professional capacity.

In consultation with member groups, the Fellowship Committee and the Board, three Fellowship Mark options have been designed.

The Board has now asked that the three designs be put to a Membership vote.

Look out for an email soon, asking you to rank the three Mark designs in order of favour.

RACP Foundation awards and prizes

Fellows and trainees are invited to submit nominations for the Howard Williams Medal 2017 to acknowledge a Fellow who has made an outstanding contribution to Paediatrics and Child Health in Australia or New Zealand.

Apply now for the RACP Trainee Research Awards for Excellence competition which ​are open to all trainees in the Divisions, Faculties and Chapters. 

These are competitions held annually to identify and acknowledge the best trainee research presentations in both adult and paediatric medicine. 

Nominations are also being accepted for several awards and prizes, including:  Visit the Division and Faculty webpage of the RACP Foundation for full details of all Faculty Awards.

PhD Scholarship, “Using Big Data to examine the health and wellbeing of people with intellectual disability”, UNSW Sydney

Applicants with core strengths in data analysis and/or health inequalities/health services are sought for the prestigious UNSW Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme. For more information, go to the UNSW website.

Applications close Friday, 21 July 2017.

Freemasons Postgraduate Fellowships in Paediatrics and Child Health for 2018

This Fellowship/Scholarship is made available by the Freemasons of New Zealand who have provided postgraduate fellowships in Paediatrics and Child Health since 1988.

Purpose: to fund research and research training aimed at improving child health in New Zealand 

Value: medical graduates: remunerated at medical Assistant Lecturer/Lecturer level 
other graduates: remunerated at level appropriate for University Research Fellows and 
postgraduate scholars 

Eligibility: University graduates who intend long term to pursue work in Paediatrics or Child Health within New Zealand.

Tenable: Christchurch, Dunedin or Wellington Clinical Schools for one to two years

Closing Date: Friday, 21 July 2017 
For more information please contact Lucy Gray on phone: + 64 3 470 9758 or via email: wch.admin@otago.ac.nz 

Career Opportunities

New South Wales

Paediatrician Staff Specialist: Bega, Pambula
Reference number: 16259
Closing date: Friday, 21 July 2017


Paediatrician: Cairns Private Hospital (Ramsay Health Care), North QLD 
Reference number: Jun17


Paediatric Registrar Position: The Victorian Aboriginal Health Service 2018
Closing date: Friday, 14 July 2017
This position is fully accredited for Advanced Training in Community Child Health and also for the developmental and psychosocial component of paediatric training.

Please contact VAHS HR Advisor Merindah Brown on merindah.brown@vahs.org.au or +61 3 8459 0903 for the position description. 

Applicants should send their application with curriculum vitae and details of two referees to Dr Niroshini Kennedy via email ​to niroshini.kennedy@vahs.org.au 

Expressions of Interest

You can now check the Expressions of Interest page at any time, to find out if there are any opportunities that are of benefit to you.​
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