The President's Message – 31 January 2020

In this first President’s electronic bulletin for 2020 I’d like to welcome everyone to a new year and celebrate our 17 Fellows who have been recognised in the 2020 Australia Day Honours lists. These awards highlight the outstanding work RACP members do and the importance of that work in local, national and international communities. You can read the full list of those honoured in the article following my message.


Many of you will be aware of the rapidly developing situation regarding the Novel Coronavirus outbreak, which originated in Wuhan, China. It is important to remain aware to stay safe. On Tuesday morning, at the request of the Australian Chief Medical Officer and Australian Department of Health, your College distributed an important communication to all Australian members with information regarding the virus.

To find out more about the coronavirus, please read:

We are ready to assist New Zealand authorities should they request us to do the same for New Zealand members. As this is an evolving situation, these documents may be updated in the coming days and weeks.

The Australian bushfires

As the bushfires and hot weather continue, our thoughts are with those who have been affected by this unprecedented disaster. Your College released a media statement on the bushfires earlier this month and we recognise that the full extent of the health impacts are not yet known.

We’ve had many members contacting us to ask how they can help. I encourage members who can assist to contact the relevant rural doctors’ organisation coordinating your state’s health workforce response. For more information, please visit these websites NSW Rural Doctors Network, Rural Workforce Agency Victoria and Rural Doctors Workforce Agency (SA)

We will continue to ensure you are receiving the most up-to-date advice on these important issues.

Kind regards,

Associate Professor Mark Lane
President, RACP

Australia Day Honours

Congratulations to the 17 RACP Fellows who have been recognised in the 2020 Australia Day Honours lists. The Australian Honours system is the nation’s way of acknowledging and celebrating extraordinary individuals, those who have served their communities and achieved amazing things. We are extremely proud of our members' accomplishments.

Companion (AC) in the General Division of the Order of Australia

  • Professor Bruce Gregory Robinson AM, FRACP
    For eminent service to medical research, and to national healthcare, through policy development and reform, and to tertiary education.

Officer (AO) in the General Division of the Order of Australia

  • Professor Rachelle Buchbinder FRACP
    For distinguished service to medical education in the fields of epidemiology and rheumatology, and to professional associations.
  • Professor Peter McIntyre FRACP, FAFPHM
    For distinguished service to medicine, and to medical education, to child and adolescent health, and to professional bodies.
  • Professor Robert John Simes FRACP
    For distinguished service to education, and to medicine, in the field of cancer research and clinical trials.
  • Professor Jeffrey David Zajac FRACP
    For distinguished service to medical research and education, particularly in the field of endocrinology, and to professional societies.

Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia

  • Emeritus Professor Thomas John Boulton FRACP 
    For significant service to medical education, and to paediatric medicine.
  • Dr Frank Patrick Brennan FRACP, FAChPM
    For significant service to palliative medicine, and to medical education.
  • Emeritus Professor Brendan Crotty FRACP 
    For significant service to health education, and to the community.
  • Dr Paul Elias Eliadis FRACP
    For significant service to medicine as a clinical haematologist, and to charitable initiatives.
  • Associate Professor Sanghamitra (Mitra) Guha FRACP
    For significant service to medicine, and to medical education.
  • Dr Anthony (Tony) Leigh Mylius FRACP
    For significant service to community health, and to cardiology.
  • Dr John Dominic Santamaria FRACP
    For significant service to intensive care medicine.

Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia in the General Division

  • Dr Hazel Fern Goldberg FRACP 
    For service to respiratory medicine.
  • Dr Sadanand Limaye FRACP
    For service to medicine, and to the multicultural community.
  • Dr Meng Chong Ngu FRACP
    For service to medicine in the fields of gastroenterology and hepatology.
  • Dr Kim Frances Rooney FRACP, FAChPM
    For service to medicine.
  • Dr John Milton Wettenhall FRACP
    For service to the international community through water, sanitation and medical programs.

On Thursday 9 January 2020, the call for nominations for vacant positions on the Board, Aotearoa New Zealand President-Elect and 51 Division, Faculty and Chapter (DFAC) Presidents-Elect positions and committee positions was announced.

Nominations are closing soon.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be a next generation College leader, involved in shaping the health outcomes for our communities and future of the RACP.

Thursday, 6 February 2020 nominations close for:

  • 51 College leadership roles such as Division, Faculty and Chapter Presidents-Elect positions and committee positions

Friday, 14 February 2020 nominations close for:

  • RACP President-Elect
  • RACP Trainee Director – 1 elected position from a trainee or dual trainee of the College
  • RACP Member Director – 1 elected position from College Members
  • RACP Aotearoa New Zealand President-Elect position (this will become a College board position once the candidate transitions to President of the Aotearoa NZ Committee, under the current Constitutional provisions)

Members wishing to nominate are required to submit their completed nomination form and candidate code of conduct to

Elected members will start their terms at the conclusion of our Annual General Meeting on 4 May 2020.

Members are encouraged to be involved in this process and take part in shaping our College’s future. We remind all members of the importance that they be guided by and comply with the College Code of Conduct and any applicable Privacy laws that may apply to members, such as where email addresses used in communications to other members have been obtained during the provision of health services. Please also note the requirement set out in the ACNC Voluntary Compliance Agreement that all non-College endorsed communications must have a clear statement at the top that it is not an endorsed College communication and be clearly differentiated from College communications.

Congress 2020 banner

Congress 2020 is bigger, bolder and better

RACP is proud to involve the industry in creating an immense program filled with a diverse range of local and international speakers. Featuring innovative ideas, exclusive research and cutting-edge case studies, you're not going to want to miss Congress 2020. The program includes shared-interest topics and thought-provoking sessions specific to each Division and Faculty, Congress has something for everyone.

On Monday, 4 May Adult Medicine physicians can learn about 'heart disease across the lifespan', whereas paediatricians can hear about exciting and innovative clinical updates in paediatrics.

Stand-out sessions on Tuesday, 5 May include 'Indigenous health' and the 'healthy futures/healthy cities' session, which explores urban density as a necessary feature of existence. 

Some of the key speakers include:
For more information and to register, visit the Congress website. Hurry, early-bird rates available until 3 March 2020.

Register today

Congress abstract submission date extended until 12 February 2020

We are calling for oral and poster presentation abstract submissions in the following categories.


  •  Paediatrics & Child Health


  • Adult Medicine
  • Paediatrics & Child Health Medicine
  • Public Health Medicine
  • Occupational and Environmental Medicine

Visit the RACP Congress website for more information.

Computer-Based Testing (CBT) update

The February 2021 Divisional Written Examination will be offered by the current paper-based exam method. The initial rollout of CBT will be with the Australasian Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine (AFRM) Module 1 Assessment in mid-2021. A limited rollout of the Divisional Written Examination for Basic Trainees by CBT will then be run later that year. Trainees have asked for more than one Divisional Written Examination per year and we’re excited to be able to work towards delivering this.

Directors of Physician/Paediatric Education, supervisors and trainees in both AFRM and the Divisions were notified of the transition of these exams on Tuesday, 28 January 2020.

We will continue to provide regular updates on CBT in the coming months, including information on how the procurement process is progressing.  

The tender process to select a Computer Based Testing (CBT) vendor for the College is now open.

Adult Internal Medicine DPE Forum

Date:             Thursday, 5 March 2020 10am to 4pm
Location:      RACP, Governor Macquarie Tower, Level 19, 1 Farrer Place, Sydney
RSVP:           Friday, 21 February 2020.

The Adult Internal Medicine Director of Physician Education (DPE) Forum is an opportunity for all Australian AIM DPEs to network, discuss issues related to basic training, hear directly from the Adult Internal Medicine Basic Training Committee and get updates on the RACP Education Renewal projects and how it impacts you and your settings.

An induction for all new DPEs will be held the day before the forum to equip you with everything you need in your new role. Dedicated Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) workshops have also been scheduled around the forum.

Note: DPE induction, plus an optional SPDP1 workshop will be held Wednesday, 4 March. Optional SPDP2 and SPDP3 workshops will be held Friday, 6 March.

Register now

IMS banner

The Tri-Nation Alliance International Medical Symposium

Register for the Tri-Nation Alliance International Medical Symposium (IMS), on 'Providing care to underserved populations'. The symposium will be held on Friday, 20 March 2020 at the Amora Hotel in Sydney.

This annual event is hosted by the Tri-Nation Alliance with member colleges from Canada, New Zealand and Australia. It provides a great opportunity for delegates to share the latest insights in higher medical education. You will gain global perspectives and insights into underserved populations in Australia, New Zealand and Canada due to isolation, geographical location or many other social determinants. The program will explore how best to train, prepare and retain medical specialists to care for these communities and how innovative technologies can enhance their access to healthcare.

Keynote speakers include Professor Roger Strasser, formerly Dean of the Northern Ontario School, of Medicine, an expert renowned for promoting the importance of socially accountable medical education to serve communities; Professor Diane Sarfati, a public health physician and cancer epidemiologist from the University of Otago with expertise in the area of ethnic disparities in disease outcomes and Dr Belinda O’Sullivan, a researcher leading international scale studies on rural health systems, from the University of Queensland Rural Clinical School.

The member colleges of the Tri-Nation Alliance are the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, The Royal Australasian College of Physicians, The Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists and the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists.

Register today

PRIDoC sponsorships awarded

The 10th Biennial Pacific Region Indigenous Doctors’ Congress (PRIDoC) will take place Monday, 14 to Friday, 18 September 2020 in Vancouver, Canada. PRIDoC is a conference for Indigenous physicians and medical students from Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States of America and the Pacific Region. 

The conference provides a positive space for Indigenous physicians and medical students to network, discuss issues of mutual interest, as well as share scientific advancements, best practices and traditional knowledge to further the health and wellbeing of communities.

This year, the College is sponsoring two members to attend, one who identifies as Māori and one who identifies as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. We are delighted to formally announce and congratulate Dr Myra Ruka and Dr Melissa Carroll who have been awarded this year’s sponsorships. 

More information and registrations for the conference are available on the PRIDoC website.

Queensland women in STEM prize open for applications

stemDo you know any outstanding Queensland women working in STEM? The 2020 Queensland Women in STEM Prize is now open for applications.

This state-wide competition is open to early to mid-career women working in STEM careers in Queensland with three cash prizes of $5,000 available to support professional development opportunities.

The prize categories are:

  • Jury Award - for the most meritorious applicant as determined by the judges
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Jury Award - for the most meritorious Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicant chosen by the judges
  • People’s Choice Award - for the applicant with the highest number of public votes.

PhD and Masters students or women who have been in a STEM profession for less than 12 years are eligible to apply. To apply, applicants must provide a written submission along with a two-minute video detailing their work, benefits for Queensland and their STEM engagement by 4 February 2020. Check the website for more details. 

Find out more

Taking further action on outdoor alcohol advertising

Alcohol is one of the most harmful, yet most heavily promoted products in the world. Evidence clearly shows that young people’s exposure to alcohol marketing increases their alcohol consumption, as well as the risk of starting to drink at a younger age. WHO recommends bans or comprehensive restrictions on alcohol advertising, sponsorship and promotion to reduce alcohol use and harm.

Market research indicates that 92.6 per cent of consumers are exposed to outdoor advertising at least once per day and that three out of five shoppers are influenced by outdoor marketing immediately prior to shopping. This form of marketing is extremely influential and therefore acutely harmful, especially for young people.

As highlighted in the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education’s Snapshot of the current state of play, most Australian jurisdictions have introduced some controls on outdoor alcohol advertising. While these restrictions work to limit exposure, they are not comprehensive enough to prevent children and young people from viewing all outdoor alcohol advertising.

Current restrictions need to be strengthened by legislating bans or more comprehensive restrictions and introducing sanctions and monitoring and enforcement mechanisms. The RACP’s Alcohol Policy supports the three options proposed by the Foundation to remedy this policy shortcoming:

  • Ban on all outdoor alcohol advertising and sponsorship across the jurisdiction
  • Ban on all outdoor alcohol advertising and ban on sponsorship at all family-friendly events
  • Ban on outdoor alcohol advertising on government-owned assets and public transport infrastructure. 

Read more about policy options

Webinar: Registering and uploading records to My Health Record

Wednesday, 4 March 2020 at 6pm (AEDT)

My Health Record is a secure online summary of an individual's health information available to all Australians. Healthcare providers authorised by their organisation can access My Health Record to view and add to their patients' health information. Understanding how to register and upload to My Health Record can be challenging. Join Professor Steven Boyages as he interviews Carey Doolan from the Australian Digital Health Agency who will provide practical advice to help you register and upload to My Health Record.

Upon registration, you will receive a confirmation email  about how to join the webinar.

Register now

Build your cultural competence: online course

The online cultural competence course supports the provision of culturally competent and culturally safe, best practice medicine for Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori patients. It allows you to reflect on your own cultural values and recognise their influence on your professional practice.

The course explores:

  • how our own cultures and belief systems influence professional practice
  • cultural competence and cultural safety within social, cultural and clinical environments
  • how cultural competence and cultural safety principles can be applied to improve Indigenous patient health outcomes and experience of care

Developed by experts and RACP Fellows, the user-friendly course features a mix of in-depth content, video scenarios, reflection and discussion activities and recommended supporting materials.

Accessible anywhere and optimised for mobile on-the-go learning, RACP Online Learning Resources are free for members and count towards Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements.

Access the course

National lung cancer screening program

Cancer Australia is investigating the feasibility for a national lung cancer screening program for people at high risk of lung cancer. The consultation is being hosted on the Department of Health’s Consultation Hub until Monday, 17 February 2020.

You are invited to provide your input into the Consultation Hub. The survey takes around 10 minutes to complete and submissions can also be attached.

For more information about the Lung Cancer Screening enquiry, please visit the Cancer Australia website.

Upcoming events

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Internal Medicine Journal

 The January edition of the Internal Medicine Journal is available. The Editor's Choice is an original article titled ‘Are GPs getting the information they need from hospitals & specialists to provide quality cancer care for Indigenous Australians?’

Key highlights from the issue include:

  • Australia & New Zealand Musculoskeletal Clinical Trials Network (ANZMUSC)
  • Current approach to eating disorders
  • Evidence-poor medicine
  • Palliative care close to home in the regions
  • Emergency presentations of patients with hypothermia
  • Diabetes care: psychosocial well-being in young adults

Read now

Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health

The Journal of Paediatrics and Child Heath January 2020 edition is out now. It features an interesting article questioning if Australia should tax sugar-sweetened beverages.

Other topics this month include:
  • Futility in adolescent anorexia nervosa and the question of withdrawal of care
  • Flushing of peripheral intravenous catheters: A pilot, factorial, randomised controlled trial of high versus low frequency and volume in paediatrics
  • Adherence to surgical antibiotic prophylaxis guidelines in children: A cohort study
  • Diagnostic value of serum cytokeratin‐18 in children with chronic liver disease

Read now

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