At the time of writing this, July Council Week is nearly upon us and we look forward to welcoming our College Board and Council to Council Week at Djeembana, College Place in Naarm. Council Week July 2022 will mark the first time in three years that the RANZCOG Council has been able to meet for the annual Council Dinner in Melbourne, so it is a significant occasion, a long time in the making.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our membership for participating in RANZCOG’s Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment survey which, after some months, has culminated in the learnings and outcomes being consolidated into the Fostering Respect Action Plan. The Plan which is currently being reviewed and considered by the College Board and Council will provide a tangible set of actions by which we will work and strive to create a culture within our workplace and the O&G speciality across Australia and New Zealand that is free from, and does not tolerate, bullying, discrimination, and harassment.
RANZCOG acknowledges the Bunurong people, the traditional custodians of the lands on which Djeembana, College Place is located. RANZCOG took part in National Reconciliation Week in June and hosted a special event lead by Natarsha Bamblett, member of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, Indigenous leader, facilitator and storyteller at Djeembana, to have open and vulnerable conversations about the inequities of Indigenous Australians within the wider community.
NAIDOC Week celebrations are also held across Australia in July each year and is an opportunity for all Australians to learn about First Nations cultures and histories and participate in celebrations of the oldest, continuous living cultures on earth. This year’s theme was Get Up! Show up! Stand up! This year, RANZCOG hosted an Indigenous birthing, pregnancy, and healthcare panel discussion with some incredible Indigenous women who spoke of their experiences as mothers and advocates of woman’s health, giving us rich insight into the Indigenous women’s experiences in healthcare. The College continues to work on our Reconciliation Action Plan to bridge the gap through meaningful engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The College recently held two Fellowship Awards Ceremonies; the Queensland ceremony was held at the Brisbane City Hall on Sunday 22 May with 170 guests in attendance, 30 Fellows and 3 Subspecialists were elevated. A very special ceremony was held in Aotearoa New Zealand in June with 21 Fellowship and 4 Subspecialist elevations at an event which combined Māori tikanga (custom) and RANZCOG protocols. A special feature of the evening was Kaumatua Luke Crawford introducing a mauri stone (sacred stone) – a piece of Ngai Tahu pounamu (greenstone) gifted to He Hono Wāhine and RANZCOG by Kaumatua Wendy Dallas-Katoa. Elevating Fellows and awardees were invited to add their energy or essence to the stone by touching it as they went onto the stage.
At the time of writing this article, we are very much looking forward to three major events on the RANZCOG calendar being the New Zealand Annual Scientific Meeting, 22–23 August in Ōtautahi Chirstchurch themed Doing things differently; Tu ora mai , live in health; the New Zealand Flourish Women Health Summit, an interactive event bringing together a wide range of people and organisations interested in women and health for a series of facilitated conversations, and the RANZCOG Annual Scientific Meeting at the Gold Coast Convention Centre between 7–12 October, which will be the first time in three years that we have the opportunity for a face-to-face ASM.
The RANZCOG webinar series has continued over the past few months with the Vaginal Birth after Caesarean (VBAC) webinar which took place on Tuesday 14 June and was attended by over 300 people, both RANZCOG members and consumers. Hosted by RANZCOG President, Dr Benjamin Bopp, the multidisciplinary panel of experts discussed mode of birth for subsequent pregnancies after a caesarean section and each option – whether a labour with a view to safe vaginal birth or planned caesarean section – has both potential risks and benefits. The recording is available on the RANZCOG Vimeo channel if you would like to view the session. At the time of writing, we are also about to host a Contraception, sexual health, and fertility webinar in mid-July as well as a webinar on Perimenopause in September. Stay tuned on the College’s media channels for further information about our webinars.
I am happy to confirm that RANZCOG’s bid to host the 2026 AOFOG World Congress in Sydney was successful. President Dr Ben Bopp presented the College’s bid at the AOFOG Council meeting in May which also showcased a unique video that was created for the bid. The video also features immediate past-President Dr Vijay Roach and Chair of the RANZCOG Sexual and Reproductive Health Special Interest Group, Prof Kirsten Black and can be viewed here.
I am pleased to report that the College received a response to our Australian Medical Council (AMC) 2022 Monitoring Submission with no outstanding conditions. The AMC commended the College on our initiatives to encourage Indigenous students in Australia to enter the FRANZCOG program, and advocacy and support programs in Aotearoa New Zealand; several pilots including online communication skills courses to support trainees in effective communications with colleagues, patients and their families and two emotional intelligence and sustained wellbeing courses; improved levels of trainee satisfaction pertaining to the quality of exams; comprehensive and appropriate processes for addressing bullying, harassment and discrimination issues. The full report can be accessed here on our website.
The AMC 2023 Full Accreditation Report will be submitted in May 2023. The process is extensive, consultative, and marked by milestones over the coming months, including formal hospital site visits, a visit to College Place, exam observation and a final written submission to the AMC.
I am pleased to announce that RANZCOG’s new website also launched in June. The new website is a fresh, clean and functional interface and I thank all those involved in the development of the project. As always, we continue to improve our platforms and services, so we encourage you let us know if you have any feedback regarding the website.