The President's Message – 9 July 2021

A lot has recently been happening in the College Policy & Advocacy space. We recently went through a rigorous process to appoint a new Executive General Manager for Policy & Advocacy (P&A). I’m very pleased to announce that Nicola Lewis has been appointed in this role. Many of you will be familiar with her work from time acting in this position. She brings extensive experience at the New South Wales Department of Health and prior health policy and research roles to this position.

We are in the process of developing a multi-year strategic plan. CPAC, that’s the College Policy and Advocacy Committee, as well as our P&A Team will develop an effective policy and advocacy strategy to align with our overall College plan, which you can find in the RACP Strategic Plan 2021. I encourage you to read it and I welcome your feedback.

CPAC, chaired by our President-elect Dr Jacki Small, wants to ensure that the plan reflects member priorities. It will engage with its Policy Reference Group, a member-wide open interest group. I previously reminded you to view the RACP expressions of interest webpage, where you can access many opportunities to contribute to our College and have your voice heard. Your feedback will be welcomed as part of the member consultation process over the next few months, so please watch this space.

Findings from a recent survey support this strategic approach. Over 80 per cent agree that being a member of the Reference Group is a good opportunity to engage with policy and advocacy. All of our surveys have shown that is the one thing that members desire from our College – have a voice and be heard. Sixty-seven per cent indicated that they most valued being able to contribute their expertise. I again encourage you, get involved in the Reference Group, it’s a great way to be involved in the work of the College.

As for continuing advocacy work, I have an upcoming meeting with the Australian Minister for Health and will share more in an upcoming message about that meeting. We are advocating for the role of medical specialists for people with intellectual disability, within the national advisory committee and the Disability Royal Commission. Our President-elect has been central to all of this work. We also want improvements in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, as many do, and specifically for those with disability. In addition, we have been advocating in support of the Raise the Age movement. That is, advocating for the age of criminal responsibility to be raised from 10 years to 14 years.

Our COVID-19 Expert Reference Group has recently been heavily involved in developing important PPE guidelines for healthcare workers, following our important press release on this topic in July last year. And it had an impact. This has been extremely well received by healthcare groups and adopted by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee.

We’ve also taken a leadership role in advocating for the extension of specialist telehealth. This has resulted in a major win, with an extension to the end of the year and ongoing discussions about its permanency are now in place. Policy & Advocacy at the College is extremely broad and very central to our operation.

Climate change is firmly on the agenda this year. We are leading a significant multi-college piece of research for future advocacy on the impact of climate change on the healthcare system.

Our flagship program dedicated to reducing low-value care, Evolve, is rolling out a fascinating new webinar series. I encourage you to explore the Evolve series and its topics and register your attendance.

More recently, we have had great success advocating on behalf of the children from the Murugappan family. Our advocacy, as well as Government MPs and others, resulted in the Government’s decision to reunite the family in Perth. They’ll live in community detention while their legal claims are being determined. This represents a significant win in a very difficult political space that demonstrates the power of the College’s voice and its capability as an advocate.

And finally, if you are interested in finding out more about advocacy in the College we have produced ‘The Advocate’s Journey’. A documentary hosted by Perth-based paediatrician Dr Rob Lethbridge.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our P & A team directly via if you’d like to get involved and learn more about the fascinating area of advocacy and implementation of healthcare in our system.

Thank you very much for listening.

Professor John Wilson AM
RACP President

Reflections on the successful completion of our 2020 Divisional Clinical Examination

As we ready to start the 2021 Divisional Clinical Examinations (DCE) in Australia on 16 July, it is timely to reflect on the successful completion of the 2020 exam and everything that achievement entailed. To minimise COVID-19 disruption and transmission risks, the rescheduled 2020 DCE exam was split into two parts and delivered as a ‘modular exam’. The Long Cases were held first with candidates interacting with patients and examiners virtually (by teleconference or videoconference). The Short Cases were then delivered locally face-to-face. This approach was used for all candidates, except for Paediatrics & Child Health candidates in Aotearoa New Zealand who sat the traditional exam.

Our dedicated membership and staff rose to the challenge working tirelessly for six months to ensure that all 1285 candidates were examined and able to progress in their training. Delivery of these exams was enabled by an enormous and sustained effort by many of you involved in the organisation and delivery of the exams as well as supporting candidates through this challenging period. On behalf of the College, I thank each one of you for your important contribution. Our members and staff are our greatest strength, and this achievement is a credit to your commitment to educating and supporting the next generation of physicians.

I want to acknowledge our 2020 DCE candidates. You faced unique challenges and uncertainty. Our strong exam results were pleasing and a testament to the resilience and fortitude shown by your cohort. The overall pass rates were 77.7 per cent for Adult Medicine and 81.8 per cent for Paediatrics & Child Health.  Congratulations to those of you who passed this important milestone in physician training and can now transition to your chosen Advanced Training specialty.

Aside from the principal goal of delivering the exam in a COVIDSafe manner, some real positives came out this experience. The rapid development and implementation of a Digital Scoring System is a significant step forward for us in modernising our assessment delivery. Digital scoring has been embraced by our examiners leading to efficiencies in data collection and the quality and volume of feedback about candidate performance. We have also improved our agility in responding to unanticipated issues and disruptions and developed an increased openness to new methods, fostering flexibility in our exam processes.

As we gear up to do it all again, I congratulate our Aotearoa New Zealand colleagues who have already successfully delivered the 2021 DCE. I know those of you involved in delivering the DCE in Australia must already be feeling fatigued with further challenges now posed by escalated COVID-19 restrictions in some states. Thank you for your enduring support for this vital physician training activity and I wish all candidates well in their upcoming exams.

Associate Professor Mitra Guha
College Education Committee Chair

The 2023-24 PREP program requirements survey is open

You can now provide feedback on proposed changes to the 2023-24 PREP program requirements by completing an anonymous five to 10 minute survey. The survey closes Wednesday, 21 July 2021.
RACP Training Programs are evaluated biennially by the responsible Training Committee (TC) to ensure that they are in line with educational best practice and enable physician professional development. 

Your feedback will be considered by your TC to decide whether:

  • the proposed changes for 2023-24 are beneficial, equitable and achievable
  • a sufficient notice period has been provided before the proposed changes are implemented.

The proposed 2023-24 PREP program requirements will be reviewed by the College Education Committee later this year. Approved requirements will be published on the RACP website in early 2022.

Complete survey

Who do you think they are? Overseas trained doctors webinar

You're invited to a webinar on overseas trained doctors, held on Saturday, 17 July from 10am to 12pm AEST, 12pm to 2pm NZST.

Overseas trained doctors often have a wealth of experience and expertise that is unknown to their colleagues. This webinar provides an opportunity to reflect on the experiences of two overseas trained doctors, and how organisations may better support them in the workplace. Join the panel discussion with Adjunct Clinical Professor Leeroy William, Dr Rania Abdelmotaleb and Dr Janaka Tennakoon.

Register now

How genomics is changing clinical practice webinar

You're invited to the How genomics is changing clinical practice webinar, to be held on Wednesday, 28 July from 6.30pm to 8pm AEST, from 8.30pm to 10pm NZST.

The use of genetics and genomics in medicine is not new. Genetic techniques were first used to diagnose human conditions back in the 1950’s with the identification of genetic conditions such as Down and Turner syndromes. Each year, more Medicare item numbers for genetic and genomic testing are introduced, bringing genomics into mainstream medicine.

In this interactive webinar, clinical geneticists Dr Rani Sachdev and Dr Michel Tchan will describe the practical application of genomic testing in a variety of specialties, including paediatrics, cancer, cardiology and neurology. To provide a practical context, genetic counsellor Ms Elle Martin and paediatrician Dr Chris Elliot will discuss the use of genomic testing in search of a diagnosis for children with global developmental delay/intellectual disability. The webinar will conclude with a live Q&A session.

You'll hear from a range of speakers on diverse topics such as:




Genomics in healthcare

Introduction: Aims of webinar

Background to genomics

Dr Rani Sachdev

Genomics in paediatrics

Use of genomic testing in childhood syndromes/intellectual disability

Dr Rani Sachdev

Application of genomics in health

Overview of genomics in different specialities; e.g. cancer, cardiology, neurology, renal, immunology

Dr Michel Tchan

Case studies

Case presentations – Elle (genetic counsellor) to discuss with Chris (paediatrician)

  • Clinical background
  • Genomic testing process
  • Testing outcome and use of result in clinical care

Ms Elle Martin


Dr Chris Elliot

Online resources and summary

Brief overview of resources available on Centre for Genetics Education website to support genomic testing

Ms Natalie Grainger

Panel discussion/
live questions


  • Dr Rani Sachdev (clinical geneticist)
  • Dr Chris Elliot (paediatrician)
  • Dr Michel Tchan (metabolic geneticist for adults)
  • Dr Hugh McCarthy (paediatric nephrologist)

Ms Elle Martin

Numbers are limited, so register today to secure your place.

Register now

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Opportunities with RACP Foundation

It’s not too late – RACP Foundation Research Awards

Applications for the 2022 RACP Foundation Research Awards are closing soon. Don’t miss your chance to apply for funding under the following award categories:

Please refer to the RACP Foundation website for information on grants available and specific eligibility requirements for each award. 

The Neil Hamilton Fairley Medal

Recognise an outstanding colleague by nominating them for the Neil Hamilton Fairley Medal. Established in 1969, this medal is awarded by the RACP every five years to recognise an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the field of medicine.

This award is open to both RACP Fellows as well as individuals outside the RACP. The nominee must be nominated by a Fellow of RACP to be considered. Details on the nomination process and selection criteria are available on the website. Nominations close on Tuesday, 31 August 2021.

Find out more

Eric Susman Prize

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).The recipient will have demonstrated an outstanding and lasting contribution to the field of internal medicine in the areas of research, teaching and/or clinical medicine. Nominations close 31 August 2021.

Find out more

Howard Williams Medal

Nominate a colleague who has made an outstanding contribution to Paediatrics and Child Health in improving the health of children and young people in Australia or New Zealand for the Howard Williams Medal. The medal will be presented at the 2022 RACP Congress. The recipient will also be invited to give an oration at the 2022 RACP Congress. Nominations close 10 August 2021.

Find out more

The Trainee Research Awards

All Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand trainees are invited to submit abstracts on adult medicine or paediatric medicine topics for oral presentation at the RACP Trainee Research Awards. The best presenters selected at Australian regional and Aotearoa New Zealand events are invited to present as part of the RACP Congress Program in the following year. Applications close 31 August 2021.

Find out more

RACP Online Learning

New online resource on ethics and interactions with industry

A new online learning resource on Ethics and interactions with industry has been developed to educate RACP members on conducting and maintaining ethical relationships with industry. The resource supplements the RACP’s guidelines for ethical relationships between health professionals and industry, and aims to assist physicians in identifying, assessing and managing conflicts of interest through engaging video scenarios and discussion questions.

Australian Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori Cultural Competence and Cultural Safety online course

This self-paced online Cultural competence and cultural safety course supports the provision of culturally competent and culturally safe, best practice medicine for Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori patients. The course facilitates reflection on our own cultural values so that we can recognise their influence on our professional practice, while also exploring how cultural safety principles can be applied to improve Indigenous patient health outcomes and experience of care.

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

Announcing the RACP Aotearoa New Zealand President-elect – Dr Stephen Inns

Mā mua ka kite a muri, mā muri ka ora a mua
Those who lead give sight to those who follow,
those who follow give life to those who lead.

We are pleased to announce that Dr Stephen Inns was confirmed as RACP Aotearoa New Zealand President-elect by the Board on Rāmere 18 Pipiri 2021 | Friday 18 June 2021.

Stephen is a Gastroenterologist based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington and comes with a wealth of knowledge having previously served on many College committees, including the Aotearoa New Zealand Committee and Clinical Examinations Committees.


Keep up-to-date with RACP events

We’re hosting more online events than ever before, so have introduced a condensed monthly events digest. The latest digest was emailed to you, but you can also read it online.

This monthly communication will be sent to you on the first Wednesday of each month, to provide you with an opportunity to virtually attend events from all over Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. We hope this makes your life that little bit easier and we look forward to seeing you at our next event.

Discover upcoming events

Pomegranate Health podcast

Episode 70: Zeroing in on ‘the renal troponin’

podcastAcute Kidney Injury (AKI) makes a greater contribution to early mortality than acute myocardial infarction and it's been argued we should consider the concept of ’kidney attack’ to give it the weight that it deserves. However, the presentation of kidney injury isn’t as overt or timely as a heart attack often is. While serum creatinine is a pretty good reporter of chronic impairment in kidney function, it’s very insensitive to acute injury, so for two decades there’s been a concerted search for more proximal biomarkers of AKI.

The three most promising candidates are neutrophil gelatinase‐associated lipocalin (NGAL), tissue inhibitor of metallo-proteinase 2 (TIMP-2) and insulin-like growth factor binding protein-7 (IGBFP-7). Commercial assays for these exist that can predict moderate to severe AKI with a lead time of many hours. Many questions remain as to whether these are specific enough to be useful at point of care, whether we have the interventions to respond to the information they provide, and what ‘false positives’ might indicate.

Guest: Professor Rinaldo Bellomo AO FRACP FCICM FAHMS (Director of Research Intensive Care, Austin Hospital; University of Melbourne; Monash University).

Listen now

Subscribe to email alerts or search for ‘Pomegranate Health’ in Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Castbox, or any podcasting app. Fellows of the RACP can claim CPD credits for listening and learning via MyCPD. For a transcript and further references please visit our website. 

RACP survey now open: Healthcare of patients with intellectual disability

Your perspective

We invite all members to respond to this quick survey. We value your feedback. Your perspective is crucial to better understanding the type of work undertaken, the distribution of the workforce, identification of unmet health needs and perceptions of medical specialists who treat people with intellectual disability. 

The survey will only take five to 10 minutes to complete and by doing so, will provide us with a clearer picture of how we can better educate, advocate, and innovate in the intellectual disability health sector. In addition, it may assist the current Australian Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability.

Complete survey

The College Policy & Advocacy Council April 2021 communique

The College Policy & Advocacy Council (CPAC) April 2021 communique highlights the main items and outcomes from the 28 April 2021 CPAC Council meeting. Read it to find out about the Strategic Framework, Strategic Plan development, the governance review of CPAC reference groups and more.

Read now

RACP Governor Macquarie Tower Meeting Rooms in Sydney – New name announcement

We are pleased to announce that the Board has recently approved a proposal from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Committee (ATSIHC) to use the following names for the three College meeting rooms in our space at Governor Macquarie Tower (GMT), Sydney:




Yura Eóra      

People or Aboriginal people    



Place or country





To propose the three names, ATSIHC approached the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council (MLALC), as the traditional custodians of the Gadigal lands on which the building resides, to ensure appropriate cultural protocols and language were used when naming the three GMT rooms. MLALC shared a book, The Sydney Language by Jakelin Troy and suggested the names be sourced from the language outlined in the book. ATSIHC considered this resource and proposed the above names within the themes of people, sun, and earth – representing the Australian Aboriginal flag.

Dependent on COVID-19 restrictions, the MLALC will be invited to a culturally respectful room naming event. The room names are part of the RACP's work under priority four of the Indigenous Strategic Framework to foster a culturally competent college. The RACP will continue to undertake activities that focus on cultural safety for members and staff.

Postgraduate research scholarships in practice analytics

The Digital Health Cooperative Research Centre (DHCRC) is funding two $175,000 PhD scholarships to support two postgraduate research students at the Faculty of Medicine and Health. Applications close Saturday, 31 July.

The scholarship will provide the following benefits for up to three years, subject to satisfactory academic performance.

  • stipend allowance of $40,000 per annum
  • education allowance of $5,000 per annum
  • project travel allowance of $5,000 per annum.

Find out more and apply

The virtual 2021 Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand and Prevocational Medical Education Forum

The Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) is hosting the virtual 2021 Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand and Prevocational Medical Education Forum (ANZPMEF) on Monday, 18 and Tuesday, 19 October. This annual trans-Tasman conference will be opened by Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield. The main theme ‘Travelling forward together – He waka eke noa’ acknowledges that all of us involved in medical education and training are in this waka together.

Topical issues will be discussed under three key themes:

  • Transitions and innovations
  • Health equity and cultural safety
  • Professionalism and wellbeing.

The MCNZ invites you to attend this conference and welcome abstracts. The ANZPMEF aims to facilitate collaborative discussions on medical education and provide a platform to share the challenges and successes of prevocational medical education. This is an opportunity to present research and innovations, or to be involved in topical and informative discussions.

Find out more about the conference and how to submit your abstract on the event website.

Publication of joint statement: No place for sexism, sexual harassment or violence in healthcare

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) and the National Boards have published a joint statement, 'No place for sexism, sexual harassment or violence in healthcare' to remind practitioners of their professional obligations and encourage speaking up about disrespectful behaviour and unprofessional conduct in healthcare.

Respect is a cornerstone of good, professional practice and it is fundamental to the Australian community’s trust in registered health practitioners.

‘Speaking up when we see or experience disrespectful behaviour and addressing it helps build a culture of respect that supports patient safety,’ Ahpra CEO, Martin Fletcher, said.

There is no place for sexism, sexual harassment or gendered violence in healthcare. Ahpra and National Boards explicitly condemn this behaviour by registered health practitioners.

National Boards’ expectations of practitioner conduct and respectful, professional behaviour, including maintaining appropriate professional boundaries, are set out in National Board codes of conduct (or equivalent).

Practitioners must always treat patients, consumers, students, employees and colleagues with respect. They must always communicate professionally and respectfully with and about others, including when using social media. 

Read the full statement

It pays to be prepared

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Through your benefits portal, you can choose from a range of financial services including credit card offerings with exclusive perks such as reduced annual fees, airline reward points, welcome bonuses and much more. Whatever your needs, you will find something to suit.

Log in to your Member Advantage Australia or Aotearoa New Zealand account now to see how you can get more from your money.

Terms and conditions apply.

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