Flinders NT Regional Training Hub (FNT RTH) attended the 2018 Rural Medicine Australia (RMA18) conference held in Darwin in October 2018. Hosted by the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and Rural Doctors Association of Australia (RDAA), RMA 18 attracted a diverse and collaborative community of junior doctors, students, educators, academics, and medical practitioners who are passionate about generalist medicine in rural and remote communities.
Themes of the conference included:
- Indigenous health
- Women in health
- Tropical medicine
- Innovation in remote settings
- Research in policy and practice
As well as speaking on NTGPE’s Integrated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health curriculum, FNT RTH Medical Director, Dr Olivia O’Donoghue presented a Key Note address on the last day of the conference. Dr O’Donoghue spoke of her childhood and influences which led to her becoming the first female Aboriginal graduate from the University of Adelaide and her commitment to medical education, shaping culturally appropriate and safe GPs and increasing the Indigenous primary health care workforce in Australia. Dr O’Donoghue implored organisations and individuals to assist within their capacity to close the gap in Indigenous and non-Indigenous medical workforce. The large audience showed their appreciation of Dr O’Donoghue’s drive and commitment, openness, honesty and passion with a very overwhelming standing ovation.
The two FNT RTH Medial Directors, Dr Olivia O’Donoghue and Dr Sam Heard, used their attendance at the conference to network with doctors working in health services and clinics in the NT. They were able to progress discussions about training in the NT, both specialists and rural generalists. A meeting was held with the National Rural Health Commissioner, Emeritus Professor Paul Worley, to discuss the progression of the NT Remote Generalist Program and the planned trial project in 2019 to provide additional skills training and support for new Fellows undertaking advanced training in Aboriginal health to work in remote communities in Central Australia.
FNT RTH sponsored NT Medical program students, and Junior Medical Officers interested in rural and remote general practice to attend the Conference to enhance their knowledge in remote medicine and Indigenous health, and to network. Dr Aly Knell, trainee GP Registrar said “There was a wealth of information for ACRRM registrars for exam and assessment preparation. The key note speakers and presenters were inspiring and reminded me why I have always wanted to work in rural/remote medicine.”
Program Manager, Debby Mauger and Program Administrator, Karen Montey set up and managed the Flinders NT booth at the conference, with assistance from the Medical Directors and Professor John Wakerman. The Hub also sponsored a coffee station, “Clever Beans” which was unofficially announced as the most popular coffee booth at the conference with the Flinders NT keep cups one of the most sort after promotional items.
The professional staff were also able to network with other the Hubs, Medical Colleges and other stakeholders, relevant health agencies who were at the conference. Preliminary discussions were held with the Western Australian Hub and the FNQ Hub – James Cook University about developing collaborations.
The FNT RTH staff considered their attendance at the conference to be invaluable are planning their input into the next RMA in October 2019.