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April 2012 President’s Report

It was suggested to us through the process that we now start to collect supporting information (for the renewal process) to demonstrate that our exemption continues to be warranted.  We are asking all the State Medical Women’s Societies to modify event feedback forms to include specific questions about the need or otherwise for medical women only events.  Please contact Melissa, the AFMW Secretariat for further information on the wording or for a feedback template.

A big thank you to Sophie McCarthy our student representative in Western Australia.  She organised ‘Women in Medicine’ High Tea on 4th March. The event was part of the celebrations for International Women’s Day (IWD) 2012. It was a great opportunity for female doctors and medical student from the University of Western Australia and the University of Notre Dame to get together, network and develop relationships while discussing issues relevant to women in medicine.  The event was hugely popular and saw nearly forty new WA members join the AFMW.  Well done Sophie!  If you are in a state with an inactive MWS and would like to collaborate with your medical women peers, AFMW can provide you with support and systems, just contact the AFMW Secretariat for more details.

Recently I represented the AFMW whilst attending an IWD half-day forum entitled: ‘Women and Emergencies’, hosted by the ‘Health & Human Services Emergency Management with the Office of Women’s Policy, Women’s Health Goulburn North East, and Red Cross. The forum was facilitated by Dr Sally Cockburn and included: an address by the Hon. Andrea Coote, Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Families & Community Services; a keynote address by the respected emergency management academic Dr Elaine Enarson, from the USA; and two panel discussions (with audience Q&A) that featured high-profile local and international emergency management practitioners: Sue Mitchell (Medecins Sans Frontieres), Esmie Sinapa (PNG Red Cross), Prof. Ed Blakely (the ‘Recovery Czar’ post-Hurricane Katrina), Jannette Dines (Asst Sec. Recovery, AG’s Dept), Craig Lapsley (Fire Services Commissioner), and Deb Parkinson (Women’s Health Goulburn North East). This is a fascinating forum in that it examined women’s roles in Emergencies from Victims of a Disaster to women contributing significantly to the solutions in ways that men do not, emphasizing that a gender balanced team achieved often the best outcomes.

The AFMW has also recently answered an invitation from the Leader of the Opposition, Mark McGowan to provide comment and feedback into their discussion paper ‘Violence in Our Homes: Protecting the Vulnerable’. 

The AFMW is grateful to its current sponsors and asks the members to be aware of them.  Any support we can give back to our sponsors will help the AFMW maintain this valuable financial support.  It’s important to mention being an AFMW member if you contact one of the sponsors.  I’m sure you can appreciate in this financial climate, that they are watching closely any and all responses from our membership.  Our sponsors for this edition of our Newsletter include: the Australasian Vehicle Buying Service; Investec; Vconsult; and The Lifestylers Group.  Please take a couple of minutes to have a look at their websites – with June 30 fast approaching, you never know how they might be able to help you.

The AFMW will hold its Annual General Meeting on 17th November 2012 in Melbourne in conjunction with the Victorian Medical Women’s Society’s AGM.  The venue will be confirmed shortly and all members are invited to join us for the meeting.  All attendees should RSVP to the Secretariat by email.

I wish you all a happy and safe Easter to you and your families.


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