Recap - 2019 Conference

A perfect platform to put the national spotlight on health policy, the AMA National Conference 2019 proved to be a successful and engaging event that created a sense of affinity to the AMA community.   

Based on delegate feedback from previous years, the 2019 Conference program was reformed to include panel sessions and broader policy debates that encouraged greater engagement among the member delegates.   

Topics debated were a range of health sessions with a global perspective, highly topical and at the heart of patient care. An influential pool of experts discussed latest developments in health care and debated contemporary health issues, from aged care to artificial intelligence, mental health, workforce challenges and more.   

National Conference was an ideal opportunity for the delegates to share their views on improving the health system during the very popular Soapbox session on Sunday morning. The new program format received an overwhelmingly positive response with delegates commenting on improvements in delegate participation and engagement.   

International keynote speaker, author and specialist in physician health, Dr Michael Myers addressed the conference on ‘doctors health and wellbeing’. In his address he spoke about how doctors and medical students can and should look after their own health, and the ongoing barriers to that care. His address was followed by an engaging panel discussion that included arguments, strategies to cope and absorbing personal stories.   

The AMA recognised leaders in medicine through various AMA awards. Dr Richard Harris, the Adelaide anesthetist who played a crucial role in rescuing 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave, was awarded with the prestigious AMA Gold Medal.   

Dr Geoff Toogood, a Melbourne cardiologist and an avid doctors’ health campaigner, singlehandedly started an international movement to encourage doctors to openly discuss their mental health struggles, was awarded with the AMA President’s Award.  

The full recipient list is as follows:   

  • Doctor in Training of the Year - Dr Rebecca Ryder  
  • Excellence in Healthcare – Dr Alan Leeb  
  • Gold Medal – Dr Richard Harris  
  • Indigenous Scholarship Winner – Ms Nikki Kastellorizios   
  • President’s Award – Dr Geoff Toogood 

The conference also featured awards recognising excellence in medical research, public health, lobbying and advocacy, and inducted seven new members in the AMA Roll of Fellows. In recognition of their outstanding contributions to both the medical profession and the AMA - Prof Brad Frankum, Prof Mark Khangure, Dr Omar Khorshid, Dr Andrew Lavender, Assoc. Prof. Andrew Miller, Assoc. Prof. Susan Neuhaus and Assoc. Prof. (Clinical) Saxon Smith – were added to the roll.