President's Column July 2023

At this time of year, our events calendar is in full swing as we deliver multiple conferences and webinars over the next few months. I hope members are able to join us in Darwin next month for the Section of ECT and Neurostimulation 2023 Conference which aims to highlight the growing challenges facing practitioners in delivering new and old neurostimulation therapies to rural and remote populations. In September, the Section of Child and Adolescent Forensic Psychiatry will welcome acclaimed forensic psychiatrists, A/Prof Andrew Carroll and Prof Susan Hatters-Friedman, as keynote speakers at their 2023 conference, Tales from the Edge.

While our College is renowned for delivering exceptional conferences, I was especially delighted to receive heartfelt feedback from our Psychiatry Interest Forum (PIF) members who reflected on their experience at this year’s Congress. As the program celebrates its tenth year, PIF has played a pivotal role in guiding medical students and junior doctors towards choosing psychiatry as their calling. I am pleased to witness its growth, now extending to New Zealand as well.

Last week, I facilitated a College webinar on psychedelic-assisted therapy (watch it here) featuring an expert panel of psychiatrists who are involved in the research and clinical practice of PAT. It was valuable to hear their experiences, and explore the themes of patient safety, cost of treatment, and the practicalities of delivering PAT, including the mental load on the psychiatrist involved. The College is also working towards developing additional resources to further support members in this emerging field.

Gender dysphoria has been the subject of some discussion recently in the Australian media as well as across our College membership. The College’s position statement on gender dysphoria is currently under review. This is a complex topic that requires a considered and respectful approach, and it’s a reminder for all of us to always communicate with professionalism and kindness.

We remain steadfast in our commitment to developing a new and contemporary, evidence informed Program of Assessments. During the 2023 Congress in Perth, the College presented a comprehensive update on our progress and a recording of the symposium is now available. The panellists also addressed the various issues and concerns that have emerged during our extensive consultation process and stakeholder meetings. My thanks to all members and staff who have been involved in this process. Two promising options are currently being prioritised for further development: a modified clinical competency assessment format, the Clinical Competency Portfolio Review (CCPR) and an Integrated Assessment Pathway (IAP). More information can be found here and also on the Assessments Hub.

The College journal publishers, SAGE Publishing, recently announced a new initiative that supports corresponding authors with a university affiliation to publish open access articles at no cost. This agreement applies to both Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry and Australasian Psychiatry, and I would be delighted to see more members take advantage of this offering by submitting articles to College journals.

And lastly, but by no means least, the Australian Department of Health is funding a project to cultivate systemic and sustained behavioural change across the healthcare sector to combat bullying, racism, harassment, discrimination, and poor workplace behaviour. The A Better Culture project is seeking expressions of interest from members of all specialist medical colleges, and I encourage RANZCP members to get involved, and help enact genuine and sustained behavioural change across Australia’s healthcare sector.  


Dr Elizabeth Moore
 RANZCP President


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