President's Column November 2023

Today marks the beginning of COP28, the 28th United Nations Climate Change conference. The World Health Organization recognises climate change as the greatest threat to human health in the 21st century, and psychiatry has an important role to play in this space.

Our College has identified several specific actions to be implemented during 2024 as part of our climate and sustainability agenda. These include commencing an externally-led carbon inventory to get a baseline measurement of our carbon emissions, and to identify areas where we can most effectively reduce our environmental impact. This year, we incorporated some sustainability principles at our Perth Congress and New Zealand conference and in 2024 will take this further, with more conferences offered in hybrid formats, and Congress delegates being able to opt in to a carbon offset program. In early 2024, we will also publish a new environment and sustainability webpage, with practical resources to help members reduce their own carbon footprint or implement sustainable practices into workplace settings. For more information, please read my latest column in Australasian Psychiatry, the climate crisis is a mental health crisis.

As a College, we take great pride in the cultural diversity of our membership and cherish the vibrant communities of Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand. We have a responsibility to ensure that everyone, regardless of their background, can access mental health care in a safe, equitable way. To this end, the College has released a public statement on combatting racism in psychiatry which affirms our commitment to engaging with our members to better understand their experiences of racism within psychiatry – and to take action to combat it. I invite you to browse our newly-launched RANZCP work against Racism page which outlines upcoming work and contains useful resources.

I also invite members to read this new College report to better understand what is needed to provide essential early support for infants and children at risk of mental illness. The report, prepared jointly by the RANZCP Faculty of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Section of Perinatal and Infant Psychiatry, calls for greater focus on prevention and early support for children to establish lifelong patterns of mental health and wellbeing. 

On the Assessments front, we continue to progress the development of the Clinical Competency Portfolio Review for implementation in September 2025. Following extensive consultation with many stakeholder groups, we collected feedback and provided recommendations for the program design, which have been endorsed by the Education Committee. A focus group meeting was held earlier this week with various stakeholders in training and assessment, trainee and consumer representatives, and Directors of Training. The portal for accessing background papers on the development of the new Program of Assessments is available here and includes videos and podcast episodes. Members can also refer to the Program of Assessments Hub to stay updated.

In case you missed it there’s also a unique opportunity currently open for a RANZCP Fellow to join our Education team, and help with the design and development of our medical education strategies. It is a two-year, part-time position with flexible working days and location. If you would like to help shape the future of psychiatric education, I encourage you to learn more and apply by Sunday, 3 December.

With the end of 2023 fast approaching, now is a good time for Fellows and Affiliates to check your CPD progress and ensure you are on track to complete the minimum of 50 hours required by 31 December 2023. You can log activities in your My CPD record until 31 March 2024 but the activity must have been completed during 2023.

A great way to earn CPD hours while also supporting the RANZCP Foundation is to watch the latest masterclass on anxiety disorders. This exclusive masterclass, led by Professor Vlasios (Bill) Brakoulias, will be available for on-demand viewing from 1 December 2023 to 25 November 2024. Your registration fee will help fund world class research and projects that improve mental health via the RANZCP Foundation.

As a new year approaches, I’d like to remind members of the broad range of benefits that your RANZCP membership offers. It includes our Member Extras Program, access to a range of local and global journals, our CPD program, opportunities to connect with your peers at conferences, events and webinars and so much more!

Dr Elizabeth Moore
RANZCP President


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