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Global health training and postgraduate medical education in Australia: the case for greater integration

Jan Kokavec, Lauren Hodgson and Justin C Sherwin
Med J Aust 2013; 199 (2): 101. || doi: 10.5694/mja13.10479

To the Editor: We read with interest the viewpoint offered by Mitchell and colleagues, highlighting the need for improved integration of global health training in postgraduate medical education in Australia.1 This subject has garnered interest in Australia and overseas with reference to ophthalmology. In the United Kingdom, the case for structured global health training has been advocated in ophthalmology postgraduate education, where financial and bureaucratic disincentives inhibit motivated trainees from broadening their clinical experience overseas.2 The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) received a grant from The Fred Hollows Foundation to develop the International Ophthalmology Development Register (IODR), which is available to RANZCO Fellows and final-year trainees. The IODR seeks to match the knowledge, skills and experience of those interested in global health ophthalmology with the needs and opportunities of training hospitals, non-government organisations and educational institutions within the Asia–Pacific region.3 Additionally, the IODR also includes a database that lists opportunities for international medical graduates from the Asia–Pacific region to undertake fellowships or observerships in Australasian teaching hospitals.3 Since going live in June 2012, the IODR has received over 100 registrations from these organisations and international medical graduates, and has had visits from individuals from over 60 countries.3 RANZCO has formed a set of good-practice guidelines for international development, aimed at trainees and Fellows planning to work in developing countries.4 Principles inherent in these guidelines include ensuring ethically appropriate, high-quality clinical practice, promoting sustainability of eye care programs and teaching eye care appropriate to communities’ needs.

  • Jan Kokavec1
  • Lauren Hodgson2
  • Justin C Sherwin3

  • 1 Royal Adelaide Hospital, Adelaide, SA.
  • 2 Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists, Sydney, NSW.
  • 3 Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.

Correspondence: justincsherwin@gmail.com

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.

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