The President's Message – 4 September 2020

I wanted to share with you, information on our current, 41st Board of the College and what we do. As a Board, we’re responsible for monitoring and overseeing many aspects of our amazing organisation. We report our performance and vision to regulators such as the AMC, MCNZ, ACNC and of course, to you the members.

We work with our CEO Mr Peter McIntyre to monitor performance and make sure it’s in the best interest of our organisation and members. This includes complying with relevant legal requirements, managing risk and ensuring financial stability of the College.

The Board meets monthly. Normally we meet in Sydney but like so many of us, we’ve been meeting virtually during the pandemic. Unfortunately, this means the Board of the RACP has not yet met face-to-face.

So who are the Board? As I mentioned, I’m our current President. I’m a respiratory physician and head of the Cystic Fibrosis Service at Alfred Health in Melbourne. I’ve been involved in the College for many years, most recently as Chair of the College Education Committee which I have now handed over to Mitra Guha.

Dr Jacqueline Small our President-elect is a Sydney-based paediatrician specialising in disability. She has also been involved with the College in a number of roles including the Paediatrics & Child Health Council, Fellowship Committee and on the Gender Equity Group.

Dr George Laking is our current and first Māori President of Aotearoa New Zealand. A medical oncologist, George has been involved in several Māori health organisations. Within the College he’s been part of Policy & Advocacy and was the Chair of the Māori Health Committee.

Our new Trainee Director is Dr Tina Ahluwalia. Tina is a general medicine Fellow and an Advanced Trainee in neurology. A member of her hospital’s Physician Training Committee, she’s passionate about advocating for trainee wellbeing and a safe working environment.

We have three Member Directors - Professor Paul Komesaroff, Professor Jenny Martin and Dr Greg Stewart. Paul is an adult endocrinologist, Professor of Medicine and author of several books. He is highly involved in the world of ethics and is Executive Director of the international NGO Global Reconciliation. Jennifer is a credentialed Company Director. She’s the current Director of Pharmacology Associates and Chair of Clinical Pharmacology at the Calvary Mater Hospital in Newcastle. She also has extensive experience guiding pharmaceutical policy in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. Greg has been a senior manager in the NSW Health system for over 30 years. He’s a previous President of the Faculty of Public Health Medicine and has been a member of the College's Policy and Advocacy and Ethics Committees.

Our Community Directors are valuable assets. Monica Schlesinger and Rob Stewart come with a wealth of knowledge and experience. Monica sits on a number of boards and has extensive experience in governance. Rob has been managing partner of a large legal firm, is now Chairman of his own business and also a director on other Boards. Mr Tony Tenaglia is also one of our valued Community Directors and our Honorary Treasurer. He has decades of experience in risk and strategic management, fraud investigation, insurance and financial services.

Speaking of leaders, I’m also excited to announce that Professor Andrew Coats AO, will be joining our staff as part of our Senior Leadership Team. Andrew is a cardiologist and a long-standing Fellow of the RACP.  Andrew was most recently Academic Vice-President of both Monash and the University of Warwick and before that CEO of the Norwich Research Park, the UK's oldest and largest research and innovation park. As the Executive General Manager, People and Strategy, Andrew will play an important role in bringing the members’ voice to our day-to-day operations. We look forward to him officially starting in October.

Very shortly, I hope to share with you the early achievements of our team.

Professor John Wilson AM
RACP President

Details on the new modular Divisional Clinical Examination

Dates and details on how the new modular Divisional Clinical Examination (DCE) will run are now available. This includes information on the virtual Long Cases and contingency plans in the event that we need to make more changes due to COVID-19.

The modular DCE format will be used for all 2020 candidates, with the exception of Paediatrics & Child Health candidates in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Have your say on an important part of the new programs for Advanced Training

Have your say and review the proposed common learning, teaching and assessment (LTA) programs and provide your feedback by completing the feedback form before 9am AEDT Monday, 12 October 2020.

The LTA has been developed to establish a baseline across all Advanced Training programs. Your expertise and feedback are vital to help ensure the common LTA programs for Advanced Training are robust and appropriate.

More information about the Advanced Training Curricula Renewal Project is available on our website.

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Online Congress Series – Free for members

The Online Congress Series continues and is free for members this year. One of the latest videos available for you to watch on demand is the Eric Susman Prize presentation by Dr Merlin Thomas. The Eric Susman Prize is a prestigious award presented by the College for best contribution to the knowledge of any branch of internal medicine (adult medicine and paediatrics).

Two other recent additions are the Point of Care Ultrasound (POCUS) workshop and an information session on what you need to know about electronic prescriptions. The Online Congress Series platform is constantly being updated and you’re invited to check back regularly for the latest offerings.

You can also register for our upcoming webinars and earn CPD credits for participating in the Online Congress Series. 

Evolve: shared decision-making webinar

Date: Tuesday, 8 September 2020
Time: 5pm to 6pm AEST / 7pm to 9pm NZST
Chair: AMD President Professor Don Campbell

Register now


The AFPHM Gerry Murphy Prize presentations

Date: Thursday, 10 September 2020
Time: 5.30pm to 7.30pm AEST / 7.30pm to 9.30pm NZST
Chair: AFPHM President Professor Robyn Lucas

Register now

The Gender Equity in Medicine panel discussion

Date: Thursday, 24 September 2020
Time: 12pm to 1pm AEST / 2pm to 3pm NZST
Chair: Professor Christine Bennett AO, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Head of Campus, Sydney, The
University of Notre Dame Australia

Register now

The AFPHM John Snow Scholarship Finals

Date: Thursday, 24 September 2020
Time: 5.30pm to 7pm AEST / 7.30pm to 9pm NZST
Chair: Professor Donna Mak, Head of Population and Preventive Health, School of Medicine, University of Notre Dame, Perth, Western Australia

Register now

Online Congress Fringe Experience

We recognise how important it is to take time out for your health and wellbeing. Many healthcare professionals do extraordinary things outside of medicine and we are showcasing them again this year in the Online Congress Fringe Experience. Each month we will upload a new meditation by Dr Susannah Ward and a violin performance by Dr Hecham Harb for you to enjoy in your own time.

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RACP Foundation update

College Medals and Awards

Nominations for the following College Prizes close on Monday, 14 September 2020. These awards are an opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding contributions and achievements made by our Fellows and trainees in their respective fields.

  • 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.

Full details are available on the RACP Foundation webpage.

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RACP Trainee Research Awards 2020

The closing date for the  RACP Trainee Research Awards applications has been extended to Monday, 14 September 2020. Don’t miss the opportunity to present your research at an Australian regional or Aotearoa New Zealand virtual event and be selected to present at the RACP Congress 2021.

Trainees from all Divisions, Faculties and Chapters, and new Fellows undertaking post-Fellowship training are encouraged to submit abstracts on topics related to adult medicine or paediatric medicine.

Selected representatives will receive complimentary registration to attend the RACP Congress 2021 and economy return airfares and accommodation where applicable. They will also be invited to have their abstract published in the Congress supplement of the Internal Medicine Journal or the Journal of Paediatrics and Child Health. Presentations will also be included in the Online Congress Series.

Applications are due Monday, 14 September 2020. Email your application to your respective regional RACP office or contact them for further details.

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The RACP Trainees' Wellbeing Webinar: What’s in your toolbox? Strategies for finding the joy in medicine

You’re invited to join trainees from Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia, at the Trainees' Wellbeing Webinar. Hosted by the Aotearoa New Zealand Trainees’ Committee, this free webinar will be held on Thursday, 15 October from 6pm to 9pm (NZDT) or 4pm to 7pm (AEDT). Since the Trainees’ Day was not able to be held this year, this virtual event is the perfect opportunity to take some time out and focus on your professional development.

The webinar will bring trainees together to share inspirational ideas and practical strategies for finding joy at work. With an industry-leading keynote speaker, thought-provoking panel discussions, interactive breakout discussions and elements of Tikanga woven throughout the webinar, you won’t want to miss this event.

Register now

Upcoming RACP events

There are a range of upcoming virtual events, including:


Members needing to source personal protective equipment in Australia

The College continues to advocate for appropriate access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for its members. See our latest statement on the use of PPE.

Members working in community private practice, may need to privately source PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic. To assist members in sourcing PPE, we are sharing some links that may be of assistance. Please note the College has not conducted any verification, quality or capability assessments on the suppliers or their products and therefore we cannot recommend suppliers.

For further information please visit the RACP COVID-19 webpage > Advice and news > Personal Protective Equipment.

Specialist clinical advice to help you support people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic

The Australian Government Department of Health has set up a telephone advisory service providing specialised clinical advice for health professionals involved in the care of people with disability during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some people with disabilities may become very anxious in these situations and require reasonable adjustments to their healthcare to ensure they receive either COVID-19 testing or treatment with minimum distress.

Health professionals can call the service on 1800 131 330 between 8am to 9pm (AEST), Monday to Friday. For more information, visit

Alcohol sales online – A call to action in NSW

There have been impressive wins in alcohol harm reduction including the introduction of pregnancy warnings on alcoholic products and securing continued support for minimum unit pricing from the incoming Northern Territory Government. Following on from this success, we ask for member assistance in another campaign.

Online sales and delivery of alcohol in Australia operate under minimal regulation. Online retailers often do not verify the age of their patrons, which is a legal requirement in pubs, clubs and bottle shops. Additionally, while it is an offence to supply alcohol to an intoxicated person, it is not so if alcohol is delivered to the home.

Even before COVID-19, most alcohol in Australia was consumed in the home. The pandemic has exacerbated this trend, with people spending more time at home and some of them drinking more to cope with stress. Right now, it is even more important to ensure that anyone who sells alcohol is held to the same legal standard, independently of their business model.

The NSW Government has been consulting on proposed amendments to the regulation of online sales and delivery of alcohol through a draft Bill. These amendments are expected to fix some of the imbalance in legal requirements between online and brick and mortar vendors.

The Bill is likely to be debated in the NSW Parliament in September. This presents a timely opportunity to support an important measure that prioritises the health and safety of young people and families and that could be used as a model for similar changes across Australia.

Members willing to lend their hand to the campaign should contact Minister Victor Dominello, responsible for liquor regulation, Health Minister Brad Hazzard, Attorney General Mark Speakman, responsible for prevention of domestic violence, or their local member of the NSW Parliament. 

Medical Training Survey now open

The Medical Board of Australia’s Medical Training Survey is now open. Look out for the survey link when you renew your registration. You can also find your survey link in your AHPRA confirmation of registration email. Interns and international medical graduates will receive their survey link via email from the Medical Board of Australia.

For more information, including the results from last year and how they’re being used to strengthen training visit the Medical Training Survey website.

2020 COVID-19 Interim Program Requirements Changes

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the College Education Committee (CEC) agreed on a range of interim measures for training and accreditation for all training programs.

Over the past few months, training committees have also reviewed their individual program requirements and agreed to specialty-specific interim changes. These provide direction and allow flexibility where needed for trainees who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

All approved interim changes and information on how to apply them to your training can be found on the relevant Basic Training or Advanced Training webpage. For more information, please contact Member Services.

The Supervisor Professional Development Program

The Supervisor Professional Development Program (SPDP) is a high-quality training program for final year Advanced Trainees and Fellows who supervise trainees. Have you done one of our SPDP workshops and successfully applied the skills you learnt in practice? Complete our Online Facilitation Course and become a facilitator today.

Find out more

New online course on thalidomide

The new thalidomide online course introduces Australasian medical specialists to thalidomide and thalidomide embryopathy (TE), and their implications for thalidomide survivors today.

By completing this course, you will:

  • Develop a background knowledge of thalidomide and TE, the history attached to these and a basic knowledge of the range of birth defects, mechanism of action and current uses.
  • Understand the range of secondary health problems from age-related deterioration and special considerations for medical investigation and management.
  • Understand the implications of TE for other health conditions and for healthy living.
  • Know where to locate further resources and support on TE for patients, healthcare professionals and researchers.

RACP Online Learning resources are free for members and count towards Continuing Professional Development requirements.

Access now

Pomegranate Podcast – Essential ethics in adolescent health

In episode 59 we shared a sampler of the Essential Ethics podcast from the Children's Bioethics Centre, at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne. A couple of cases studies were presented to help us define 'the zone of parental discretion' – a space in which decision-making about a child’s medical care is conceded to parents even if it’s not optimal clinical management.

Today’s thought experiments come from the oncology department. First, we’re asked to consider when an adolescent should be permitted to make autonomous decisions about their health, even if these would lead to worse clinical outcomes. How does a clinical team decide whether to accept this wish or to override it? 

In the second case study, the final outcome has already been determined by an incurable brain tumour. A 14 year-old girl has been diagnosed with a high grade medulloblastoma. Therapy has little chance of cure but around 30 per cent of patients have their life prolonged by two or three years, but comes with disabling side effects. The parents want to bypass recommended treatment and try prayer and natural therapies instead. Does this terminal prognosis broaden the zone of parental discretion, and how can the clinical team help the family with the terrible choices they have to make?

RACP Fellows can claim CPD credits via MyCPD for listening to this episode and reading the resources on the website. Do you want to be among the first to find out about our latest podcasts? Subscribe to Pomegranate Health in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, any Android podcasting app or our email alerts list.

Listen now

The University of Melbourne’s Sir William Upjohn Medal

The Sir William Upjohn Medal is awarded by the University of Melbourne in commemoration of Sir William Dismore Upjohn (1888-1979) and is available for award every five years.

In awarding this Medal, the University will recognise an individual’s distinguished services to medicine in Australia. This would include, for example, contributions such as national leadership of an important health issue, or reform of medical processes, systems or programs, or a seminal medical discovery, that has improved or protected the health of the Australian people.

Nominations should be made through the website and include the following:

  • Nomination statement (300 words) describing the nominee’s contributions and impact on medicine in Australia
  • Statement describing the nominator’s relationship to the nominee and duration of that relationship
  • One-page statement from seconder (from a different state or institution)
  • One-page CV of nominee

Find out more
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