Message from the Head of School

Dear colleagues,

Victoria’s recent lockdown was yet another reminder that ‘the best-laid plans’ often do go awry; however, we were fortunate that the Melbourne Medical School’s annual planning meeting was able to occur face-to-face in-between lockdowns.

Key themes from the planning meeting

Leaders across our school, in addition to representatives from the Melbourne Dental School and our health service and institute partners gathered at University College in early May to discuss key themes and priorities for the MMS. I’d like to share a high-level summary of the four key themes which emerged during discussions both by way of an update for you and as an opportunity for you to start thinking about your involvement as projects evolve from here.

1. Enabling staff and honorary participation

  • Joint appointments between the University and health service/institute partners are a pain point with dual responsibilities rather than shared KPI’s and joint career discussions
  • Need for professional development for clinicians with shared minimum standards for across MMS and health service/institute partners
  • Ensure all categories of honoraries are represented (for example, those early in their career)
  • Harmonise standard operating procedures between MMS and health services and redeploy the time spent on duplicated activity elsewhere.

2. Using our capabilities to solve mutual issues and challenges

  • Share organisational strategy with partners at the development stage and present as a network rather than individual competitors
  • Share capabilities and ensure greater awareness of each other’s capabilities and value (for example: genomics, big data [Methods and Implementation Support for Clinical and Health research (MISCH)], general practice outreach, artificial intelligence)
  • Apply these capabilities to solve real world problems (for example: major hospital problem of delivering quality care with ever diminishing resources; redirecting care through local channels)
  • Consider how MMS research can be more impactful for our partners (for example: modelling patient flow through the emergency department; why some patients stay longer in hospital).

3. MMS/University presence at health service locations

  • We do not have a universally identifiable presence within health services, which makes it difficult to find and engage with us.

4. Enhancing student workforce preparedness

  • Our health service partners consider more could be done (and recognise their role) in producing future proof graduates who are job ready and resilient, including:
    • better understanding of the complexity of the health system and greater familiarity with end-to-end patient care, including the role of rural and regional care
    • deeply embedded professional values beyond transactional medicine
    • greater knowledge of clinical governance, quality, risk management and patient safety
    • more experience working in multi-disciplinary teams and communication development
  • Regular health system consultation with our health service partners to ensure changing needs can be addressed in a timely manner by an adaptive curriculum.

We enjoyed a lively and robust discussion in the process of identifying these key themes with a variety of perspectives put forward and I thank all who participated so willingly. From here, I plan to put these valuable discussions to good use and will start to engage in prioritisation of projects for implementation at our next School Executive Committee (SEC) meeting. Heads of Department will then be able to provide you with further information and opportunities for involvement. A summary of discussions will also be tabled at Faculty Executive Committee. I’ll continue to provide updates and seek your input as part of my regular announcements or newsletter editorials. The input of our colleagues in other schools, health services and institutes is also crucial to the success of these projects and I will continue to engage with them on opportunities for their involvement.

Performance planning and review reminder

Thank you to both supervisors and staff for engaging in the University’s Performance Development Framework (PDF) conversations in relation to 2020 performance and goal setting for 2021 and beyond. A gentle reminder to all supervisors and staff – both academic and professional – that in addition to having these important conversations, we are also required to formalise them by entering a rating and comments in Themis. If you haven’t yet had a chance to do this, please find time over the next few weeks to finalise reviews.

Further MRFF successes

Since my recent email of congratulations to staff on MRFF success I have been delighted to hear of several other staff and honoraries who celebrated grant wins for projects administered by other organisations. I extend congratulations on behalf of the MMS to all staff and honoraries involved in a successful application for funding with our many partner organisations.

Outstanding Doctor of Medicine graduates celebrated at Dean's Honours Ceremony

Finally, before closing I’d like to extend a further congratulations on behalf of the MMS to our Doctor of Medicine graduates who were recognised for their outstanding academic performance at the Dean’s Honours Ceremony last month: James Majer, Rohan Navani, Varun Peri and Evelyn Andrews. I encourage you to read the article contained in the newsletter about their achievements.

Best regards,

John Prins
Head, Melbourne Medical School