Welcome to the March 2023 newsletter. In this edition:
A message from our President
More than three years have passed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while there has been great progress on many fronts, for those living with long COVID, there are still many questions to be answered.
The Academy and the Australian Academy of Science recently convened an expert roundtable discussion to inform the parliamentary inquiry into long COVID and repeated COVID infections. Chaired by AAHMS Fellow Professor Tania Sorrell AM FAHMS, the roundtable brought together experts from across disciplines and sectors, as well as patients with lived experience. It was the first time the two Academies have provided advice to Parliament in this way and it followed a joint submission to the inquiry. You can read more about the roundtable on our website.
Tomorrow, Thursday 9 March, we will hold the first of four Health Horizons Forum events planned for 2023 – a roundtable focused on innovation in mental health. Co-chaired by Professor Maree Teesson AC FAHMS and ABC All in the Mind host Sana Qadar, the roundtable will bring together interdisciplinary experts to celebrate and advance new ideas, and examine how innovation has the potential to revolutionise how the health sector views and manages mental health. Learn more about the Health Horizons Forum on our website.
The Academy is committed to supporting the next generation of talented health and medical science professionals, which is why I would like to highlight that the deadline for the next intake of our competitive three-year Mentorship Program is this Friday 10 March. Please do share this opportunity with your networks and encourage outstanding emerging leaders to apply.
We also have announced our first Life as a Clinician-Scientist symposium for the year – our New South Wales event, to be held at The University of Sydney on 15 April. I encourage you to share this event, to help us reach as many aspiring clinician-scientists as possible.
I would urge you to save the date for our 2023 annual meeting – to be held in Brisbane from 12-13 October. This year’s theme is Driving health equity, with the meeting bringing together Fellows, Associate Members and key stakeholders from Australia’s health, research and innovation community. This is the flagship Academy meeting of the year and is always a fantastic event. Further program and registration details will be available soon – stay up to date about event details on our website.
Finally, today is International Women’s Day and an opportunity to celebrate the impact of women in the community, in health and medical sciences, and society at large. Women make up nearly one-third of our Ordinary Fellowship and we are committed to closing the gender gap within our Fellowship. You can read more about this commitment on our website.
Professor Steve Wesselingh PresAHMS
Mental health roundtable – Health Horizons Forum
The first roundtable in the Health Horizons Forum will be held on 9 March, bringing together Fellows and other cross-discipline experts to discuss innovation in mental health.
The roundtable will explore recent innovations in mental health, potential future innovations that promise to make an impact, and barriers to innovation and implementation in the sector.
The event is one of four horizon scanning roundtables being held in partnership with Saltire Capital Partners throughout the year as part of the Health Horizons Forum. Each roundtable will examine a different topic in health, research and innovation – identifying the next big ideas that could transform the health of the Australian community in the coming decades.
Antimicrobial resistance report
A new report highlights the challenges Australia and the world need to curb antimicrobial resistance (AMR), as well as examining the technologies required to combat AMR now and in the future.
Estimates suggest AMR could kill 10 million people each year by 2050 and cost the world economy US$100 trillion. The report, released by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), is the result of a collaborative project between ATSE, CSIRO and AAHMS on AMR.
Professor Anton Peleg FAHMS represented AAHMS on the project’s five-member expert panel. The full report can be downloaded on the ATSE website.
Sector news and opportunities
Virchow Prize for Global Health
Nominations are now open for the 2023 Virchow Prize for Global Health. The €500,000 international award honours significant contributions towards strengthening global health through lifetime achievements and long-standing engagement. Nominations close 31 March. Apply on the Virchow Prize website.
The Australian Academy of Science Public Speaker Series
The second event in the Australian Academy of Science 2023 Public Speaker Series will take place on 11 April. This year’s theme is ‘Looking back, moving forward: Indigenous knowledges informing our modern world.’ Join in-person at The Shine Dome or online 5:30pm 11 April. Tickets available for this event or for the entire speaker series on the AAS website.
Franklin Women Mentoring Program
Applications are now open for the Franklin Women Mentoring Program. This is a six-month program that combines informal mentoring sessions with formal sessions facilitated by experts in inclusive leadership. It aims to support high-potential women in health and medical research careers progress into leadership positions, retaining their skill in the sector. Applications close 30 March. Visit the Franklin Women website for details.
Congratulations to Professor Maria Makrides FAA FAHMS, who has been nominated in The Advertiser’s 2023 Woman of the Year awards in the Innovator of the Year category.
Fellows in the News
To celebrate International Women’s Day today (8 March), Cosmos Magazine has highlighted “50 women at the cutting edge of science in Australia.” This list includes AAHMS Fellows Professor Emma Kowal, Dr Susan Pond, Professor Ranjeny Thomas, and Professor Maree Teesson, and Associate Member Associate Professor Asha Bowen.
Professor Tania Sorrell chaired the AAHMS and Australian Academy of Science expert roundtable discussion to inform the parliamentary inquiry into long COVID on 17 February. Professor Sorrell discussed the roundtable on Coronacast with AAHMS Fellow Norman Swan; AAHMS President Professor Steve Wesselingh also spoke to the ABC about this topic.
Dr Norman Swan also spoke to Professor Flavia Cicuttini about curbing kilo creep to reduce the risk of knee osteoarthritis on the ABC radio program, The Health Report.
Professor Paul Scuffham discussed the findings of a study on published in the journal PLOS ONE in an ABC article on gastric bypass surgery.
Is Medicare fit for purpose? Professor Stephen Duckett joined AMA President ACT Kerrie Aust and RACGP President Nicole Higgins to discuss this topic in an address at the National Press Club.
Professor Pat Dudgeon wrote about mitigating the impacts of racism on Indigenous wellbeing through human rights, legislative and health policy reform for the Medical Journal of Australia.
Professor Elizabeth Elliott wrote about fetal alcohol spectrum disorder for The Conversation.
More than half the world’s population will be classed as obese or overweight by 2035 if action is not taken, according to a new report from The World Obesity Federation. The BBC quoted Federation president, Professor Louise Baur, in a recent report.
Prof Christine Jenkins AM FAHMS, member of the National Dust Disease Taskforce, spoke to The Sydney Morning Herald about a new national strategy on silicosis
Professor Ian Hickie discussed whether psychedelics could be used as medicines on the ABC.
Professor Basil Donovan spoke to The Guardian about whether condoms should be provided to prisoners.
Professor Anton Peleg spoke to The Age about the new Victorian Bacteriophage Therapy Program at the Department of Infectious Diseases, Alfred Health/Monash University.