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AFMW President’s report July 2010

In August we have the United Nations DPI/NGO (Department Public Information/Non government Organisation) meeting conveniently being held in Melbourne instead of New York. MWIA have been selected to run a workshop on the issue of Gender at this event. AFMW representatives will be making up the majority of the six member MWIA delegation to this important conference. You will remember we held an essay competition in order to select the Youth delegate. This position was awarded to Madhura Naidu. However MWIA was subsequently allocated another Youth Delegate position and the International Health Awareness Network offered us access to their two Youth Delegate positions. As a consequence we have been able to register a further 3 AFMW members who submitted superb entries to the competition as delegates to this exciting event: Jane Li, Ashleigh Smith and Eloise Williams.

In May 2010 on behalf of Dr Jillian Tomlinson I presented the Bridging Barriers Project Report to the Australian Women’s Health Network (AWHN) Conference in Tasmania. In the session the topic was expanded to more broadly discuss the some of challenges that medical women face professionally, challenges their male colleagues are less likely to experience. It was great exposure for the AFMW and I received considerable positive feedback.

Another important project that was delivered recently was the Happy Healthy Women Summit which the VWMS and AFMW co-hosted on 7 May 2010. On behalf of AFMW and VMWS Dr Raie Goodwach and Dr Janet Coles applied for and won a $30,000 grant from the Australian Government Office for Women via the Australian Women’s Coalition (AWC).

The purpose of this Summit was to advocate for holistic, long-term treatment for survivors of sexual abuse. We wanted to gather information from key stakeholders about what they consider to be the health and healthcare needs of survivors over their lifetimes, as well as the educational needs for professionals and health resources needed to develop a best practice model as a co-ordinated national response. The thirty-five attendees heard a breathtaking presentation by Dot Boxhall, a survivor of abuse. Her presentation set the scene for a very thought provoking Summit. Individual and group responses from the Summits’ Round Tables will form part of the report to the Australian Women’s Coalition (AWC).

Professor Caroline Taylor from Edith Cowan University in Western Australia has been supervising Dr Judith Pugh in preparing the final report that will be delivered to the AWC shortly.  The deliverables will be a briefing report with recommendations collated from the May 7 Summit and a comprehensive literature review that highlights the long-term physical and psychological health sequelae of sexual trauma and examines to what extent this understanding translates into medical education and best practice in medical treatment. An official launch of the Summit report will be undertaken in Melbourne and Sydney in September. The final report will be included on our website for you to review shortly.

In my next newsletter, I look forward to reporting back to you on the outcomes of the 28th International Congress of the Medical Women’s International Association in Munster, Germany, the ‘Happy Healthy Women not just Survivors’ report and the UN DPI/NGO meeting.

Until then, Happy New Financial Year.

Dr Desiree Yap
AFMW, President

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