Welcome from Head of Department

Dear Colleagues

Welcome to the Spring newsletter from the Department of General Practice. Despite the overcast and rainy weather, the buds are out, and we look forward to the longer and warmer days. Our department is celebrating the budding academics who have got promoted and the series of MD students, and Honours students who are soon to finish up with us after doing some excellent research.

There is much talk about the current and future predicted GP workforce shortage. Our department, in partnership with all of you, hope to mitigate against that with excellent GP training during medical school. To all the general practitioners and practice staff who teach our students every year we thank you for upholding and demonstrating the best the profession can be even in the face of many challenges. We welcome GPs both new and returning to teaching to contact us if they want to help inspire our next generation to choose general practice as a career path and to advocate for the strengths it brings to the health care system with proper investment. From the seminal work of Barbara Starfield and colleagues:

‘Evidence of the health-promoting influence of primary care has been accumulating ever since researchers have been able to distinguish primary care from other aspects of the health services delivery system. This evidence shows that primary care helps prevent illness and death, regardless of whether the care is characterized by supply of primary care physicians, a relationship with a source of primary care, or the receipt of important features of primary care. ..primary care (in contrast to specialty care) is associated with a more equitable distribution of health in populations…’ (Starfield B., Shi L., Macinko J. Contribution of Primary Care to Health Systems and Health. The Milbank Quarterly Vol 83 (3), 2005:457-502)

Of course, we know the system is far from perfect. That is why we wish to assist reform through our research, teaching, and advocacy to maintain the effectiveness of primary care. General Practices who collaborate with us on research are part of this effort so thank you for considering the approaches made for participation in research projects, and for coming to us with your ideas – it is essential general practice has active participation in generating evidence-based reforms. As a department of general practice and primary care, evidence-based and GP led reform is our core mission, and we are proud to have all of you who teach and research with us as members of VicREN (Victorian Research and Education Network). Joining a practice-based research and teaching network is one way of contributing to advancing and innovating our profession for better patient and workforce outcomes. Soon we hope to dispatch to you your membership certificate as evidence of your contribution to The University of Melbourne Department of General Practice’s VicREN.

On that note, in this issue we would like to introduce to you new trials and studies and short courses that DGP have been working on. There are also conferences coming up should you be interested.

We are also excited to congratulate A/Prof Magdalena Simonis, Dr Minerva Kyei-Onajiri, Dr Sibel Saya, Dr Cath-Kaylor Hughes and Dr Amanda McKenzie on their promotions, as well as welcome new staff.

Hope you enjoy reading this issue of our newsletter.

Best regards