Transcript: 2016 Executive-elect Presentation

Origin story

We all have a story to tell. Mine is set on top of an old volcano, in a town called Toowoomba. It’s a regional area about an hour and a half outside of Brisbane. For most of my life I was a part of a community there, and my community’s world was of a certain size. It spanned from Bridge Street in the North to Spring Street in the South, and I could drive across my world in 12 minutes and 20 seconds. My mother is a nurse, my father is a nurse, as are my nan, aunty, and as of this November, my little brother. My family, and my community, and my self, were a self-contained world.

When I started medicine, the limits on my world very quickly expanded. I got voted on to my MedSoc Exec as First Year Rep in my first month in medicine, and that introduced me to the concept of advocating for issues in a world wider than just your own.

My time on my MedSoc introduced me to a number of other valuable skills. It taught me to barbeque for a hundred and twenty hungry medical students at a time, it exposed me to the power of free food in engaging medical students above all else, and it forced me to master the art of “lecture bashing” to a captive audience. It also introduced me to AMSA.

While I was on my MedSoc, I started spending time with a more senior member of the Executive. They taught me to think critically about policy, advised me to enlist a team of family, friends and acquaintances to help me register for AMSA’s National Convention, and took me along to my first Council. That MedSoc Executive was Chloe Boateng.

A year and a bid team later, Chloe and I were standing in front of AMSA Council hoping to be a part of the 2015 AMSA Executive. When we practiced our speech as a team the night before, I was incredibly nervous. Time after time, we practiced our speech and when it came to me, I forgot what I’d invested months of preparation and a flight to Hobart to say. I went to bed that night thinking, if I couldn’t get the words out surrounded by my team, how could I possibly get through this speech standing in front of a room as intimidating as AMSA Council. The next morning we ran over our speech again, and I fought my nerves all the way to the front of the room. When we stood up in front of Council, and I met the eyes of the AMSA Reps and Presidents, a thought struck me that made me calm. “They’re medical students. They’re just here trying to make AMSA better. They’re just like me.”

We won that election and we started 2015 with a joy that I’m incredibly proud to say has never left our team. There have been moments, of course, when the requirements of being on the AMSA Executive have challenged each of us.

When it comes to logistics, even the best laid plans go awry. At First Council, 2015, the Sunday afternoon session was running long and dinner wasn’t going to plan. Everyone Chloe planned to ask for help was busy and turned her away with the same refrain “ask Matt Lennon”. Matt just has that reputation within AMSA as the guy who will never say no to lending someone a helping hand. So, she did ask Matt, and he said yes, to helping her carry over 100 burritos in the rain and missing a solid Council session as a result, because that’s the kind of guy Matt is. Off they went on an hour long travesty of a dinner run, they got lost for half an hour, the payment system at the burrito place was down, it rained so much that they came back looking like drowned rats and yet they came back with huge smiles on their faces. When I asked her about that story, Chloe said, “honestly, Matt being there just made it fun!”.

And it was Matt that brought us to Brad. Matt and Brad are old mates, becoming friends while working together in event management. They have a strong working relationship, spanning managing animals, to managing people and back again. It’s very obvious that they’re on the same wavelength, often rocking up to our team meetings in cute matching outfits. Brad has a great personality, and as many of you have said to me, a nice face. He has quickly become a friend, someone’s who’s able to make you laugh one moment and be a great sounding board for your ideas the next, he’s a much loved member of our team.

Standing in front of AMSA Council, presenting our bid in 2014 I saw just how intimidating AMSA can be, and I saw a way for AMSA to move past it. I stand here before you today because Chloe Boateng had faith in a very small, very loud first year from Toowoomba and took me under her wing. Matt’s here because he braved the rain so Chloe didn’t have to carry 100 burritos on her own. Brad’s in front of you because Matt saw an opportunity to engage someone who hadn’t even started medicine yet. That’s how I know that this is the team to lead an AMSA that finds a place for every medical student, whether they’re looking for an opportunity, for an advocate, or for a hand of support. The culture of AMSA will be made and broken in these small moments.

Earlier this year, AMSA set it’s sights on another cultural change. In May, I watched James Lawler stand up in front of the AMA National Conference and speak against bullying and harassment in medicine. The medical hierarchy is so entrenched that it would be easy to believe that one speech could not make a difference. But even single actions can have an effect down the line.

In the time since that speech, one of the MedSoc’s came across a situation where some of their students came to them, feeling that they had been treated with disrespect by a member of staff. When I spoke to the MedSoc about it, they told me about the way AMSA was able to contribute to their response. It filled me with confidence in AMSA’s ability to support students and to bring about change, and I hope it will do the same for you.

They told me that in isolation, they wouldn’t have felt strong enough to act, and in the past, they would have copped it on the chin. But with media attention focused on bullying and harassment in medicine, it felt like time to change. They told me that they found confidence to respond as a united student body in a way that wouldn’t have been possible without the momentum generated by AMSA.

When they spoke up, they were listened to, and were able to sit down in a room with the staff member in question, discuss what had happened with them and receive an apology.

Change in the culture of bullying and harassment in medicine will take sustained work from all of us in AMSA and from many others working in this space. That change in the culture of medicine will come about in individual victories just like these. The change in the internal culture within AMSA can be brought about in just the same way.


Philosophy

We’ve all seen AMSA’s ability to rise up when faced with an external threat. But what about when the threat comes from within? Too many people don’t share our origin story. Too many people enter and leave AMSA without feeling like anyone went the extra mile for them. In an organisation run entirely on the backs of volunteers, this is one of our greatest risks.

We all want to work for an organisation that supports the needs of individual medical students, and the individual needs of each state. An organisation with a culture of integrity, one that turns a critical eye to it’s own structures and resolves to make itself stronger. We know that AMSA can be that organisation, and there are four areas of change that we want to focus on to do it.

AMSA for All

We know that to sustain AMSA, and to fulfil its mission, we must create an AMSA that welcomes the unskilled and the eager, and gives them something back in return for their efforts. We must create an AMSA for All.

No state left behind

When it comes to supporting the states, AMSA knows it can do better. We’ve got an idea for a National Advocacy Committee, comprised of one representative from each state, that can inform and direct the work of the Executive on state based needs. We won’t attempt to replace or replicate the work of the state based MSCs. We’ll work with them to find out where AMSA can better support them to achieve their advocacy aims.

Transparency

AMSA holds this country’s governing institutions to the highest standard of integrity. This is an area where AMSA does well, and an area of which I am proud. Fighting for transparency is a part of AMSA’s legacy. Let us be clear, however: in order to maintain that standing we know we must not make an exception of ourselves. Transparency must always start from within. A focus of our work as the 2016 Executive would be improving lines of communication and accountability within the organisation. We’re not saying we won’t make mistakes. We’re saying we will readily own up to them and engage in a dialogue to understand why they happened and to ensure they don’t happen again.

Taking stock

Just as AMSA is supported by the hands of hundreds of volunteers, AMSA too must strengthen itself in order to support them. 2016 is a year to challenge the assumptions underlying AMSA’s structure and function. It’s a year to make clear what the core functions of AMSA are, and how we will do them better. It’s a year to make sure that everything we’ve built can be sustained. A year to go back to the medical students of Australia and ask their honest opinion on just how well we’re doing, and how we can improve.

We want to see AMSA engaging and upskilling a generation of advocates, problem solvers and critical thinkers. Brad’s here to start to tell you how we’d like to do it.


Engagement

Engaging the members

Over the last few months, I’ve been introduced to the structure of AMSA and the workings of AMSA Council. There’s a lot of information to digest. When we sat down as a team and talked through ways to make AMSA more approachable, providing Councillors and guests with an easy guide to understanding AMSA Council was an obvious obstacle to tackle.

We’d like to expand on existing Pre Council Training, creating internal training that provides a brief overview of each of a number of areas relevant to Council. This could include the nuts and bolts of AMSA, the structure of its membership, its committees and its external relationships. There’d be information on the separate functions of the board and the Executive, the role and legal responsibilities of the board, and clear pathways to give feedback to both groups. There’d be further clarification of the standing orders in order to make it easier for first time Council attendees to speak up. This way, Councilors start the year with an understanding of their position in the organisation, empowering them to ask the right questions and make informed decisions from the beginning of their term.

Empowering the volunteers

We know it’s in individual conversations that change comes about. AMSA, as an organisation of part time student volunteers, should be a place where having a conversation with anyone at any level should be as easy as picking up the phone.

There’s still work to be done in flattening the organisational hierarchy to make that happen. We’d like to trial a weekly open meeting time for any volunteer to jump online and discuss their thoughts or concerns. Each meeting would be run on a broad topic, with volunteers encouraged to submit them. The entire volunteer base will be invited, to open the floor for anyone in the organisation to be heard.

We’d like to organise state based meet ups of AMSA volunteers, and promote it as a place that welcomes those who are keen to get involved. In this way, we can break down more barriers to engagement and encourage more conversations.

The known unknowns

Human resources are AMSA’s most precious resource. To sustain our HR needs, we need to increase our engagement with medical students across the board. We’d like to put together a survey of AMSA’s volunteers, collecting both demographic and qualitative information to help direct our efforts to engage. From there, we can begin to develop a strategy to increase the depth of engagement of those that connect to AMSA.

The unknown unknowns

A challenge for us as a representative organisation is engaging those without ties to AMSA. We want to reach these people, because we stand to represent them. We want the message to be: we are your voice. Tell us what what you believe and let us take it forward on your behalf.

To reach those that don’t connect with AMSA, we’d like members of our Exec to work with AMSA Reps to trial focus groups at medical schools. We’ll be looking to find out what people know about AMSA, and what they’d like to see from the national body that represents them. From there we can develop our strategy to build an AMSA for All.


External

“Lets talk advocacy”

If Brian has taught me one thing this year it is that everything and anything is possible as long as you ask for things with a ginormous smile on your face and are willing to send up to 26 emails without reply. With several internship review findings being discussed, CMI coming to a close and a federal election year, AMSA advocacy in 2016 will be busier than a cobra at a mongoose convention.

A National Advocacy Team

The most radical component of AMSAs advocacy restructuring will be our national advocacy committee. The structure of the advocacy committee will be as follows:

EXECUTIVE CORE

Comprised of the President, Vice President (External), Policy Officer and Public Relations Officer.

COMMITTEE REPRESENTATION

Comprised of a representative of AMSA Global Health, AMSA Rural Health, AIDA and the International Students’ Network.

STATE REPRESENTATION: “NO STATE LEFT BEHIND”

The State Advocacy Component will be comprised of one representative from each state and territory. We see a State Advocacy Committee as crucial in our effort to address state specific issues, streamlining advocacy nationally while engaging with media and politicians locally. The national team will facilitate upskilling of AMSA members nationally and cross pollination of ideas and issues of advocacy between states. This the whole team on a regular basis for ongoing consultation on state based advocacy issues, as well as reactively in order to meet the fast turnaround required to advocate on topical issues. We’ll be working with the various committees, state MSCs and MedSocs to nominate and elect individuals for the team.

Because we’re upgrading to a national advocacy team – transport will now be exclusively by helicopter. Its the latest and greatest way to travel.

An AMSA of Advocates

With the issues of CMI closing, medical student numbers increasing and an election year we will need to be clear and we will need to be loud. To do this we hope to start “workload blocking” – that is dividing big advocacy strategies into small, discrete, specific tasks usually taking a couple of hours of work and offering them to our base of advocates to be taken up by individuals and teams. Increasing delegation of tasks will mean that AMSA will be able to advocate both broadly, developing our voice on things like youth public health, and deeply, focussing on our core priorities.

Consultation

And finally our focus for next year will be on consultation, we say in every policy that we represent the 17,000 medical students in Australia, for this the core of our focus will be on speaking to our constituents from the least involved to the most involved and ensuring that what we do is genuinely representative.


Internal

I came to my first AMSA Council and I sat there in awe, impressed by the sheer breadth of this organisation and the passion of its volunteers, but also very intimidated. I’ll never forget how terrifying I found it all at first, I didn’t speak for the entirety of my first Council and for months I was very unsure of myself. My story is probably very similar to most of yours, but this isn’t a story we want future AMSA volunteers to be telling. We want them to come to this organisation and feel welcomed and empowered from the get go, we want them to know where to go for support and to feel comfortable doing so. We want to create a better volunteer culture and now I’m going to tell you how we are going to do that: better induction, streamlined communication and support.

Handover and Induction

Taking office in AMSA is like stepping on to the stage of “Thank God You’re Here”, having no idea what’s behind each and every door. But it doesn’t have to be like that, we want to ensure all of us have a strong handover for our individual roles AND induction into the organisation as a whole.

We’ll create more specific handover guides for office bearers in various arms of the organisation. And by using rolling handover documents, our handovers will both improve over time and ease the burden on individual volunteers.

We’ll build on the current Welcome to AMSA Guide, ensuring that induction information is more digestible and widely distributed. We’ll carry on Matt Rubic’s existing HR strategy and supplement induction information with further optional education throughout the year. In this way, volunteers will be in control of how much they’d like to learn about AMSA.

Communication

Despite the fact that we are all medical students, new and old volunteers alike often see different groups ingm AMSA as unapproachable. We’ll work to flatten this view of organisational hierarchy. We’ll ensure everyone is aware of their individual liaison pathways, so they feel well supported and all parts of the organisation are made accessible.

Burnout and support

The risk of burnout is inherent in an organisation where we are expected to be both full time medical students and volunteers. We’ll support our volunteers, promote dialogue about burnout to reduce the stigma, encourage healthy workloads and use burnout plans to both catch burnout early and recover from it.

Wider use of burnout plans will start at the beginning of volunteer terms. We’ll ask volunteers to name their personal signs of burnout and how they’ll tackle it, if it does happen. These plans will be shared amongst teams and each volunteer will be asked to name people they’ll seek support from if they are burnt out. In this way, we’ll be able to see signs of burnout early in both ourselves and each other and we’ll engender a more open dialogue and supportive culture.

A more welcoming AMSA

We want to create an inclusive and healthy volunteer culture. We want every AMSA volunteer to finish their terms glad they said yes to AMSA and eager to return.


Finance

And finally, in finance, I’ll strike a balance between ensuring the day to day operational success of the organisation and working within an overarching strategic framework. Prior to deciding to apply for medicine, I spent my down time getting an undergraduate degree in Financial mathematics and statistics, and followed it up this year with a Masters of Commerce, specialising in finance and business analytics. It would be a privilege to be able to contribute this financial background to the development of a financial strategic plan, which Tom Morrison currently has well underway. My emphasis in the role of treasurer will be on upholding transparency, on implementing merit based funding, and on ensuring that allocation of resources provides a sustainable foundation for AMSA moving forward.


Summary

And there you have it. AMSA’s story is a choose your own adventure. You speak, we act, and AMSA moves forward in the direction you choose.

We want to hear the stories of as many medical students as possible. We want to hear about their experiences of AMSA so that we can make this the place they keep coming back to. We want to hear what they needed most in medical school so that AMSA can work in that space. We want to hear what they believe so that we can be their voice at the highest level.

Now you know who we are, why we’re here, and where we want to go. So that’s our story. Our question becomes; would you tell us yours?

Thank you.

Annual General Meeting 23rd August

On 23rd August, AMSA will hold the third Annual General Meeting in Sydney to elect the 2016 senior leadership team.

There are three Bid Teams from: QLD2016, NSW2016 and WA2016.

You can find the agenda here.

Who to Contact?

If you have any questions regarding the meeting and the election, please contact the following people;

Election Information – Danielle Panaccio (company.secretary@amsa.org.au)

Meeting Information – Alex Hanson (alex.hanson@amsa.org.au)

Board Process/Voting Information – Alex Robinson (chair@amsa.org.au)

Logistics of the Meeting – Matt Rubic (matt.rubic@amsa.org.au)

Plan to overhaul rural training plan

By Flynn Murphy | First published in the Medical Observer, 29 July 2015


STUDENTS fear the popular John Flynn Placement Program (JFPP) is doomed, with funding only guaranteed until December and the Department of Health consulting on its future.

Medical Observer can reveal a secret government plan that would strip the program from ACRRM and divide it between Australia’s 17 university-run Rural Clinical Schools as part of a larger rural training consolidation push.

The plan has been criticised by students, rural doctors and now the schools themselves.

Splitting the JFPP and giving it to universities would defeat its purpose and undo nearly two decades of work forging connections with remote mentors, they say.

The Australian Medical Students’ Association’s Sophie Alpen says the program, which students rate highly, would be made less effective at attracting and retaining rural doctors.

Though the health department has told stakeholders that consolidating rural training programs will be a “cost-neutral administrative change”, Ms Alpen suspects a cost-cutting exercise.

“I think they think if they move [the JFPP] to Rural Clinical Schools, no-one will actually apply for it, because it doesn’t have the same sort of appeal. Therefore they’ll have a massive underspend and say the program doesn’t work and cut it.”

About 1500 students a year register for the competitive program, which selects 300 for placement in settings as diverse as remote NT Indigenous communities, the Australian Antarctic Division, the Pilbara and Christmas Island.

Successful registrants are matched with a long-term mentor and live in the community, returning for a minimum of two weeks each year over the four-year life of the placement — often during holidays.

Placements include general practice, hospitals and Aboriginal Medical Services. Travel and accommodation are covered and students are given a stipend.

In a statement, ACRRM president Associate Professor Lucie Walters said students who complete their full JFPP show a significant increase in their intention to practice rural or remote medicine.

ACRRM figures show that of the 2010—14 cohort, the number “moderately to very interested” in rural practice, increased from 55% at commencement to 93% at completion of the program. The JFPP had positively influenced the decisions of 87%.

Rural Clinical Schools have rejected a government plan for them to take on the program, saying they don’t have the resources.

Rev Dr Helen Malcolm, who represents rural medical educators and rural medical schools on the JFPP national advisory committee, says the plan could also mean the most remote practices “miss out”.

“I don’t think it’s in the best interests of the universities or the students or the practices,” Dr Malcolm said of the plan.

RDAA president Professor Dennis Pashen, who was initially sceptical the JFPP was an “education tourism project”, said it had been hugely successful in retaining medical practitioners in rural and remote areas long term.

“It’s created a cohort of enthusiastic young students who have been distributed all over rural Australia. These kids have formed bonds and affinities with numerous rural communities. You can’t buy this kind of stuff,” he told MO.

A health department spokeswoman said “no decisions have been made yet” and consultation continues.

OUT NOW: PANACEA 2015 EDITION 1

READ AND/OR DOWNLOAD THE 1ST 2015 EDITION OF PANACEA HERE.

Med School is filled with people who do wonderful, odd and/or funky things outside the mundane tutorial-, lecture-, teaching- and learning-filled life of medicine. Our team is proud to present our latest Edition of Panacea, which is filled with stories about these wonderful, odd and/or funky things that medical students do.

Apart from being a fun edition to showcase the talents of Australian Medical Students, this edition of Panacea also aimed to highlight the importance of a life outside medicine and how this has an important effect on our health and wellbeing.

We sincerely hope that you have a good read and a laugh or two from this edition of Panacea! If you are interested in writing an article for future Panaceas, or have any questions about AMSA’s publications, feel free to email publications@amsa.org.au.


READ AND/OR DOWNLOAD THE 1ST 2015 EDITION OF PANACEA HERE.

 

Media Release: Medical students stand in support of marriage equality

The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) has sent an open letter to the Health Minister Sussan Ley asking her to take a stance in support of marriage equality on health grounds.

AMSA President, James Lawler, highlighted the negative health effects of discriminatory marriage policies, with significant increases in psychiatric disorders amongst LGBTIQ persons living in states that banned gay marriage.

“Lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Australia are 2.47 times more likely to attempt suicide (4.28 times for gay and bisexual men) and are 1.5 times more likely to suffer depression, anxiety disorders, and alcohol and other substance dependence.

Mr. Lawler quoted a 2010 study from the USA comparing lesbian, gay and bisexual populations living in states of the USA which instituted bans on same-sex marriage between 2001 and 2004-05. It found that in states where same-sex marriage bans were legislated, lesbian, gay and bisexual populations were more likely to experience worse mental health outcomes, including mood disorders, generalised anxiety disorders, alcohol use and psychiatric comorbidities.

“It has been well established that many of the factors which influence the health of individuals and populations are socially determined. It should come as no surprise that discriminatory laws regarding marriage are another example.

Much of this health disadvantage may be attributed to the phenomenon known as ‘minority stress’, which LGBTI persons experience in their struggle for validation and societal acceptance.

“LGBTIQ youth are particularly vulnerable, experiencing more frequent and more serious suicide attempts than their heterosexual counterparts.

“We need to build an inclusive society which celebrates the union of two individuals regardless of their sexual orientation.

“It would be appropriate for Sussan Ley to support marriage equality in her capacity as the Minister for Health”.

“It is time for the Australian Parliament to stop considering this policy as a matter of ‘conscience’ and do what is in the best interests of the Australian people.”

Media Contact
Maria Bilal
publicrelations@amsa.org.au
0416668091

 

AMSA Blog: Time bonded places put to pasture

By Sophie Alpen (UNSW).

First published in the Medical Observer on the 4 August 2015


Sophie1

AS A YOUNG medical student I have no idea what my priorities will be in 15 years. But I know this: I want to be a rural doctor.

I decided that before I accepted a Bonded Medical Place — a deal which means once I graduate, I will have to work for six years in a district of workforce shortage, most likely a rural area. 

But being bonded is more inhibitory than facilitative. There are many ways to become a rural doctor, and for some of us the best pathway does not fit within the rigid timing structure of a bonded scheme. 

And many are turned off by unfair and coercive contracts. 

That’s why I wasn’t surprised last month to learn that nine out of 10 people in a bonded medical place get to the end of their fellowship and do not complete the program they signed up for before starting medical school.

Bonding is not only ineffective, but undermines the attractiveness of a rural career by stigmatising rural practice and bonded students within their cohorts.

Sophie2

Don’t take my word for it. 

The government has acknowledged the program is a failure, noting low rates of program retention and high withdrawal rates. Despite this it persists in this fruitless effort. 

The 2015—16 budget brought significant changes with the cessation of the Medical Rural Bonded Scholarship (MRBS) and transfer of these places into the Bonded Medical Place (BMP), where students are bonded merely for the privilege to study medicine, without financial support. 

The most confusing of all the changes was the reduction of the return of service (ROS) for BMP students from the length of one’s medical degree (4—6 years) to just 12 months, a change which will only apply for future bonded students, not current ones.

I am still puzzled about how the government is to defend keeping thousands of active participants in these programs who will still be dictated by the old unfair, coercive and unsuccessful contracts. We know that these will not work. 

We know that students are likely to breach or save every dollar to buy out these contracts and that this process comes with an administrative cost.

However, the discourse on bonding students is a sideshow. 

While a reduction from 4—6 years to 12 months will most likely increase program retention in 10—15 years’ time, there will not be a corresponding increase in doctors who have a rural interest, rural identity or who go on to deliver health services to rural Australia in the long term. 

As we have learned from the rest of the world, students on bonded programs more often than not return to the city. 

Most of us in the rural health sphere know there is significant literature on the ontology of rural doctors. 

Universities have tools to increase rural doctors — select students with a rural background and provide positive rural experiences. 

There is a significant amount of local and international literature to account for the former and very successful rural clinical school (RCS) programs in Australia to prove the case for the latter. 

The bonded schemes do not offer the same support, positivity or community engagement as rural clinical schools, therefore changing the time period to align with RCS data is a vivid use of imagination. 

The solution is simple, but will require buy-in from a range of stakeholders. Universities need to recruit more students from a rural background and maintain efforts to provide high quality positive rural experiences throughout their medical courses. 

Training providers and government health departments need to support training pathways in rural areas to retain young doctors, especially since the majority of speciality training occurs in major cities.

Bonding has been in place for 14 years. Let’s accept this failure, cut bonding and redirect funding into what is evidenced-based. 

PRESS RELEASE: Medical students call for health to be safeguarded in final Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations

Media Release | 28 July 2015


The Australian Medical Students’ Association (AMSA) urges the Australian Government not to accept a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement that compromises the health of Australians.

“The TPP negotiations have been shrouded in secrecy, but leaked drafts have included a variety of provisions that pose grave threats to public health,” said AMSA President, James Lawler.

“Today, trade ministers and chief negotiators from the 12 countries party to the TPP gather in Hawaii to begin final negotiations – and AMSA implores the Government to take this opportunity to prioritise the health of Australians.

“This trade agreement will result in longer and more monopolistic drug patents, which will see the price of medications rise, and deliver a brutal blow to the accessibility of generic alternatives.

“The Australian Government should do everything in its power to ensure medications are no more expensive due to this agreement.

“It is concerning enough that the TPP has the potential to price everyday Australians out of the market for many medications. But this pales in comparison with the effect it will have on those in the developing world.

“As negotiations reach their final stages, the Australian Government must resist strong pressure from the US to agree to intellectual property provisions which extend the potential patents for medications.

“Prioritising the health of the Australian community will have long-term economic benefits that far outstrip any short-term export boons conferred by the TPP.”

Mr Lawler also warned the TPP might make it harder for governments to act to protect public health, such as by taking measures to reduce smoking, which have delivered major improvements to the health of Australians.

“In its current form, the TPP includes Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions which will leave the Australian Government vulnerable to litigation over public health interventions, such as plain packaging legislation on tobacco.

“There is growing evidence of the positive impact of the plain cigarette packaging laws which were introduced in 2012 Australia-wide, with data suggesting both cigarette sales and smoking rates have decreased.

“It is foolish for the Government to agree to ISDS provisions when they are currently embroiled in an international legal battle with tobacco giant Philip Morris Asia, due to an existing free trade agreement with ISDS clauses.

“AMSA calls on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to ensure that, as part of the TPP negotiations, independent assessments are undertaken regarding the public health implications of the deal.”

 

Media Contact:
Maria Bilal
publicrelations@amsa.org.au
0416668091

Unleash the writer within you!

medshop_medical_supplies_competition

Deep down, you suspect you were meant to write like JK Rowling. If only you had the opportunity… A chance to pen something truly brilliant. Well, chin up Potter… Now you can make your own magic!

The Australian Medical Student Association is proud to announce the launch of its 2015 essay-writing competition sponsored by Medshop Australia – medical supplies. We are calling for entries from all medical students in Australia and we have some great cash prizes to give away for the best entries. The deadline for submissions is the 27th of September 2015, so don’t waste any time. Unleash the brilliant medical writer within you and you could win $500!

 

HOW TO ENTER

To enter, all you need to do is write a short essay (from 500 to 1000 words) on one of the following topics:

  1. The Future of Doctors and their Relationship with Technology
  2. Surviving Medical School (Ten Tips)
  3. The Future of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Drugs

To enter, just submit your entry in the form below or email it directly to partnerships@medshop.com.au

 

Fill out my online form.
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