Welcome from Head of Department

2020 has been an exceptionally challenging year for all of us. I am very proud of our academic and professional support staff and students. They have pivoted to the complexities of conducting research, teaching and learning in the online world and have taken on extra work to help in the various COVID 19 projects and work to improve the health and wellbeing of people in community through primary care. We are also very proud of our Victorian Research and Education Network (VicREN) who are any of you in a general practice that train our medical students on their clinical placement and/or who research with us.  We thank the general practices taking our medical students during Covid –these GP placements have been the mainstay of clinical training with our hospital-based placements suspended.

For the first time we held our annual Department Awards Night via Zoom instead of the usual face-to-face dinner event. The virtual occasion was a success with a keynote presentation by Prof Michael Kidd AM on Primary Care Reform and a discussion, facilitated by Dr Nick Carr, with special guests Hon Prof Mukesh Haikerwal, Dr Leanne Beagley (CEO, Mental Health Australia) and Dr Caroline Johnson on primary care reform. We congratulate the winners of the teaching, research and student general practice awards in this newsletter while also acknowledging the many nominated – we thank you for your excellence.

In this issue we are sad to farewell A/Professor John Furler an esteemed general practitioner clinician-researcher in our Department for the past 24 years and Ms Bernie Cooper who has coordinated the academic programs for the general practice medical student placements for the last 19 years. The Department just will not be the same without them and we wish them well in the next stage of their careers and personal lives beyond academia.

All of us here at the University of Melbourne Department of General Practice would like to thank you for your involvement and interest in working with us in 2020 and we look forward to sharing 2021 with you in a hopefully more settled year.

Have a safe and happy festive and holiday season.

Best regards

Professor Lena Sanci