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Twenty Leading Health Organisations Endorse AMSA Letter on Trans Kids in NSW Schools


In a letter written by AMSA and endorsed by twenty leading health organisations, including RACGP, ACRRM, headspace and the Black Dog Institute, the health workforce urge politicians to oppose discriminatory One Nation legislation that has recently been endorsed by the NSW Parliament Legislative Council Education Committee. The Bill would prohibit schools from teaching that trans people exist, prohibit school counsellors from providing trans kids with confidential counselling and referral to gender affirming medical services, mandate that trans children medically and surgically affirm their gender before they are able to use gendered facilities and place school staff at risk of losing their job if they're seen to be affirming a trans kid.

 “Being transgender and gender diverse is normal, healthy, and representative of the diversity in human gender” said Ms Sophie Keen, AMSA President.

 “Although many trans people live healthy and happy lives, a disproportionate number experience unacceptable health inequities compared to the broader population. Many of these health inequities are associated with high levels of overt and implicit discrimination against trans communities. Societal stigma, exclusionary language, structural violence and barriers to gender affirmation perpetuate this discrimination and increase the risk of poorer health outcomes in trans children, adolescents and adults.”

 “The Education Legislation Amendment (Parental Rights) Bill 2020 poses further risk to the health and wellbeing of trans youth, and constitutes a health issue pertinent to the peak health bodies of Australia."

"People who are trans thrive in environments where they feel safe, affirmed, respected and understood. This must be considered when developing legislation and policy that impacts education and healthcare systems." For more information please contact the AMSA President Sophie Keen at [email protected] or [email protected]


The BMP Project


In mid-October the Health Insurance Amendment (Enhancing the Bonded Medical Program and Other Measures) Bill 2021 will be debated in Parliament. Whilst the amendment increases flexibility for BMP participants, it is a bandaid on a broken program. Over the past 20 years the Bonded Medical Program (BMP) has failed to address workforce maldistribution. There is no evidence that doctors stay rural after their Return of Service Obligation (RoSO), or even complete their RoSO. We're calling on doctors and medical students to call their MPs and Senators requesting an urgent review of the BMP, so that we can start building a more effective rural training pathway that serves Australia's rural communities.

Read more here.


MDANZ Anti-Discrimination Series


Last year you voted for action on bullying, discrimination and harassment in medicine to feature in our National Advocacy Priorities for 2021. Over the past 9-months we have worked with various stakeholders, including the Australian Medical Council (AMC), Medical Board of Australia (MBA), Medical Deans (MDANZ), Federal and State Governments, Department of Health, Australian Medical Association (AMA), R U OK and University Medical Societies to improve medical culture, reporting pathways, faculty-to-faculty information sharing and cultural safety for medical students.


This week MDANZ released a series profiling the anti-discrimination programs implemented by seven Australian and New Zealand medical schools in recent years. A cornerstone of these programs is establishing accessible, trusted reporting pathways for students. Running in parallel are a suite of training program - such as ethical bystander training, understanding the different motivations for bullying, and conflict avoidance and resolution - which empower students by providing them with the skills to respond to challenging scenarios. 


Achieving cultural change is never easy. However, there is immense hope amongst students and staff that, as new generations of doctors move through the medical workforce, the abusive behaviours which were once normalised will no longer be accepted, and that students and junior doctors will be better equipped to manage conflict.

Read more here.


At the end of 2020, medical students across the country voted for the eight focus areas that would drive AMSA's advocacy in 2021. This year we are committed to: improving medical student mental health, Indigenous health and gender equity, reducing bullying, discrimination and harassment in medicine, advocating for a sector-wide response to climate change, promoting a sustainable training pipeline aligned to workforce demand and ensuring the provision of quality medical education and internships. If you have a question or suggestion pertaining to one of these topics, please feel free to get in touch.

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