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President’s Address December 2021

President's Address - December 2021

As 2021 comes to a close, I’d like to wish you all a wonderful and safe festive season and hope that you can spend time with your loved ones. It’s a time to celebrate our ability to connect in person again, to listen to each other’s stories, to rest and switch off from work. As you reflect on the year that has passed, make sure you celebrate your achievements, your health and your relationships and remember that achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by trying to achieve your goals.

There are some important closing dates such as the closing date of December 31st for submission of abstracts for the MWIA Triennial Congress in Taiwan, 24-26th June, 2022.  Don’t’ miss this opportunity to participate in an international congress with medical women who are global leaders in their fields.

The National leadership program for Women in Digital Health, has been built for women at all stages of their career who are interested in exploring a path in Digital Health. This is being launched in early 2022 by the Australasian Institute of Digital Health (AIDH). The closing date for applications is 10th January 2022 and I encourage you to apply for this inaugural Australian program.  It’s an honour to be one of the mentor-coaches and as numbers are limited, I encourage members to explore this exceptional opportunity to become one of the first women doctors to embark on this path.  We all use digital health technologies in our daily work, sometimes with joy and at other times with frustration however our usage will only increase over time and as with any burgeoning industry, we are now emerging from its clunky beginnings. Only this week, I completed the first ever short course in Applied Healthcare Learning Systems, through the University of Melbourne Centre for Digital Transformation of Health  and experienced first-hand, the excitement that comes from the collaboration between healthcare providers, patients, vendors, software engineers, administration staff, ethicists, health economists to name a few.

On another note, it was a pleasure attending the launch of the National Preventative Health Strategy 10 year Plan by Minister Hunt on the 13th of December and many of us are celebrating the positives, such as the retention of telehealth and acknowledge that The Honourable Mr Greg Hunt has been a supporter of women’s health issues. We wish him well as he moves on from his role as Health Minister.

As we now know, COVID-19 will continue into the new year with the Omicron variant and just as it was making its mark on distant shores, I was invited to speak at the recent RACGP Webinar on COVID on 2nd December 2021. The link to the presentation is here. The vaccination rates in Victoria, NSW and ACT are impressive however the state by state variations means that we still cannot travel freely across all of the country yet. We cannot afford to become complacent, so it is not over yet and I’m happy to inform you that the MWIA COVID Survey analysis meetings with my co-investigators Professor Antonella Vezzani, Professor Magda Carneiro-Sampaio and the University of Melbourne MISCH department are progressing nicely.

As we head into the holidays and contemplate the return to our AFMW events calendar, I draw your attention to one of the first major events of the year which will again be the UN CSW in March 2022. Many will recall that the AFMW 2021 UN CSW Parallel event was a huge success, and  the 2022 AFMW theme is Australian Women Doctors: Climate Change and Gender Equity Advocates and Activists.  All updates will be shared in the eBulletin so make sure you keep your eye out for the session time. Members wanting to participate in the AFMW parallel session are invited to email me directly, and to please remember to include the topic title.

This will be our final eBulletin for 2021 and the eBulletin team will return in late January 2022.  I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.


Magdalena Simonis
President, AFMW


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