Welcome from the Head of Department
Spring has arrived, bringing with it a fresh breeze and some welcome sun as we head into the final quarter of 2023. As the GPs will know, spring is also a time where many people find themselves suffering from increased asthma and hay fever. October through to December can be particularly risky for thunderstorm asthma. Thunderstorm asthma can be triggered by a combination of high grass pollens and certain types of thunderstorms, resulting in severe asthma symptoms, even in those who have not had asthma in the past. Our Colleague Prof Jo Douglass Head of Medicine and Research at Royal Melbourne Hospital is an expert in TA and recommends, for those who have had asthma or hay fever in the past, to keep an eye on the weather and have an action plan ready. You can read more information about thunderstorm asthma here.
I would like to congratulate Professor Jane Gunn, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, Professor Jane Gunn, on her appointment as an Officer (AO) of the Order of Australia in the King’s Birthday Honours List. Congratulations also go to A/Professor Magdalena Simonis, A/Professor Gary Kilov and Professor Michael Kidd on being awarded the Member (AM) of the Order of Australia. Well-deserved recognition for their outstanding contributions to medicine, community health, research, diabetes and women’s health. We are all extremely proud to have them as colleagues.
Some of you may be aware that the University of Melbourne, Doctor of Medicine course is currently undergoing a redesign. The new course will offer the students more opportunities to experience general practice through increased student placements, a general practice research elective and the introduction of a brand-new, second-year subject called “Making healthcare work – from home to hospital and back again.” This subject has been the brainchild of General Practice and Primary Care Lecturer, Dr Roisin Bhamjee and is designed to demonstrate effective care pathways by following a patient’s journey through the healthcare system. To fix the current GP shortfall, we must inspire more graduates to choose general practice as a career. This can only be done if the students are exposed to general practice on multiple occasions throughout their studies. We want them to experience the breadth and variety of presentations seen by a general practitioner on a daily basis and benefit from the one-on-one guidance and tutorage from our wonderful teaching clinics. Feedback from the new subject has been overwhelmingly positive with one student saying “I was 90% sure I wasn’t going to be a GP before this placement. After completing it, I am 90% sure I will be!”. With feedback like that I think we are on the right track.
The other item I wanted to draw your attention to is the release of the new Australian Framework for the Ethical Engagement of Victim Survivors in the Co-Production of Research by the Safer Families Centre. Co-funded by the World Health Organisation and The University of Melbourne, this framework is the first of its kind in the world and will be used by other countries as a basis to create location specific standards. It was developed using co-design approaches by Dr Katie Lamb and Professor Kelsey Hegarty in partnership with victim survivor co-researchers from the WEAVERs co-design team, Lula Demble, Fiona and Nina. It is an excellent, comprehensive piece of work and is essential reading if you or your colleagues are contemplating co-designing research with victim-survivors. Read more about this and the fantastic new Doctors in Secondary Schools website that is full of helpful resources for GPs and other health professionals working with adolescents, as well as other interesting articles in this month’s edition of our newsletter.