In July, the College farewelled its longest-serving staff member, Carmel Walker, and paid tribute to her incredible contribution to women’s health and to RANZCOG at a moving ceremony. Carmel began her career at the College in 1986, as Examinations Secretary, and, throughout her time at RANZCOG, held a number of positions, including the one for which she is most well known, as the Senior Coordinator for Global Women’s Health. Carmel was appointed the inaugural Executive Assistant of the Pacific Society for Reproductive Health (PSRH) in 1995 and embarked upon an amazing journey to improve the health outcomes for women and children in low-resource settings.
Her achievements are too numerous to mention here, but have included: coordination of the Pacific Midwifery Leadership Fellowship Program; establishment of the Associate Membership program; facilitating the development of the Brian Spurrett Foundation; and helping establish the continuing professional development program for Pacific O&G specialists. A tireless advocate for women and families in the Pacific, Carmel also instigated the College House annual charity program, which has supplied birthing kits to midwives and practical supplies to Port Moresby General Hospital. Her most recent project is Beanies for Babies, which involves recruiting volunteers to knit beanies for premature babies in the Pacific.
Carmel is greatly loved and admired by all with whom she has worked over 32 years at RANZCOG. We thank you, Carmel, and wish you well in your retirement.
Following much discussion and consultation, the Board have decided to move forward with the joint venture option presented as one of the recommendations for future College House accommodation. The next step in the process is the development of a detailed business plan, which will involve input from (among others), architects, town planners, heritage advisors and quantity surveyors. We will provide regular updates regarding the progress of this project, although it is anticipated to take several years to complete. The goal is to retain the important and significant heritage presence of the building that fronts onto Albert Street, while providing improved accommodation and facilities. The new building aims to include offices, meeting rooms, training spaces and areas suitable for web-based video conferencing.
While visitors to College House are able to view a number of historical artefacts on display, there are a great many more that are currently being stored off site. Victorian Collections is a free collections management system that a number of organisations use to promote their collections to a wider audience. This will allow College members to view the College’s Historical Collection online. I encourage you to visit the website to browse through this important collection. Please go to: https://victoriancollections.net.au/organisations/royal-australian-and-new-zealand-college-of-obstetricians-and-gynaecologists#collection-records.
RANZCOG Women’s Health Foundation
In July, the first meeting of the ‘reinvigorated’ RANZCOG Women’s Health Foundation Board was held and the Board welcomed five new external members. Each of the new members brings extensive skills to the group, including fundraising, public health, research, legal and social justice expertise. The Board will hold a strategic planning meeting later in the year to discuss the goals and specific projects upon which the RANZCOG Women’s Health Foundation will focus. The Board also includes representatives from the Research Grants, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, Global Women’s Health and He Hono Wāhine committees.
The Council Meeting in July was the final meeting for the current Council members. I would like to thank those Councillors whose terms have expired or whom have decided not to stand for re-election. Your contribution to the work of the College is absolutely invaluable. I would like to sincerely thank you on behalf of the members and staff of RANZCOG for your willingness to give up your time to help the College maintain the high-quality training, education and advocacy for which it is recognised.