RACS Women in Surgery Newsletter - March 2016
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Women in Surgery Newsletter
March 2016

What a busy year!

A new electronic newsletter for our Women in Surgery Section members launched on International Women's Day 2016! The IWD 2016 campaign theme is #PledgeForParity.

This has been a very active year for our Section and we have grown in strength, both in voice to external communities and within our own College, and in Section numbers to 88. Meet some of your Women in Surgery Section Committee members below.

Although one of the smallest sections we have had a major impact in contributing to the Expert Advisory Group independent review into bullying and harassment (download the WIS submission PDF 2.3MB). Deb Colville (President of Victorian Medical Women’s Society) and I had the privilege of a private hearing with the panel and we had the opportunity to present our views.

Don't miss the WIS events happening at the Brisbane ASC this year! As a Section member, you are invited to a special WIS Networking drinks function on the Tuesday night. Further information below.

Ruth Bollard FRACS
Chair, WIS Section Committee

Extracts from the WIS submission to the EAG:

"WISS is grateful for the chance to have had input into the workings of the EAG and this report. We are pleased to have this opportunity to comment further. We hope as a resource to Our College, we can continue to take a lead role in the future. In order to achieve this there needs to be boosted support and resources to WISS…..…..’’

"It highlights gender inequity as a central issue that must be addressed and outlines what RACS must do – alone and in partnership – to address and prevent discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment in the practice of surgery.’’

"We are pleased to see flexible training and equity issues understood as a key to these behavioral problems.’’.
Dr Ruth Bollard FRACS, Chair
Ruth graduated from Liverpool University Medical School in 1988, and trained in General Surgery in the UK. A Consultant General Surgeon for the past 15 years, she was Director of Surgery at Ballarat Health Services and until recently, Clinical Director for Grampians Integrated Cancer Services. She is a member of Australasian Endocrine Society and BreastSurgANZ and a member of the Executive Committee of the Women in Surgery Section for the last eighteen months. Since moving to Ballarat in 2006, Ruth became an Australian citizen and has embraced the Australian way of life, values and enjoy working and living in regional Victoria.
"I had the fortune to be in lead roles within health and am passionate about striving for best quality of care for all. I have an understanding of the issues and challenges for Surgeons working in many different areas and environments and the need to balance improved patient services and education for our future surgeons, to provide us all with a healthier life work balance."
Ruth can be found on Twitter @Ruthbollard
Associate Professor Kate Drummond, MBBS, MD, FRACS, Deputy Chair
Kate graduated from the University of Sydney in 1988 and trained in Neurosurgery at Westmead and Royal North Shore Hospitals in Sydney and the Austin Hospital and the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. She furthered her training with both clinical and research fellowships in Neuro-Oncology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Harvard University in Boston. She has also undertaken basic science research in Neuro-oncology at The Royal Melbourne Hospital and was awarded an MD from the University of Melbourne for this work in 2008. She is currently appointed as a Neurosurgeon and Divisional Director of Neurosciences, Cancer and Infection Medicine at The Royal Melbourne Hospital and Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery, University of Melbourne. She has published more than 80 peer reviewed articles, many book chapters, and is frequently invited to speak nationally and internationally. She the Deputy Chair (formerly Chair) of the Women in Surgery Section and is a keen educator and mentor of medical students, junior doctors and neurosurgical trainees.
Prof Christobel Saunders MB BS, FRCS, FRACS
Christobel is internationally recognised as one of Australia’s most prominent research-orientated cancer surgeons. She has substantially contributed to many clinical aspects of breast cancer research including clinical trials of new treatments, psychosocial, translational and health services research and is active in several areas of surgical oncology cancer research, with a particular emphasis on breast cancer.
A/Prof Deb Colville MBBS PhD FRACS FRANZCO Dip Epidemiol. Master of Public Health. Cert Ed & Training (Clinical Instruction). Dip Management
is a paediatric ophthalmic surgeon and health professional educator, formerly Director of Ophthalmology at Austin Health in Melbourne. She was the first female RACS Councillor. During the 9 years served as federally elected councillor, she also chaired the WIS committee. She has trained Ophthalmology Registrars for more than 30 years remaining active in health professional education and works internationally advocating for women doctors' occupational health, and women doctors in educational and research leadership. Deb is willing to be contacted as follows: or Rooms +613 9499 6085.
Dr Ruth Mitchell
Ruth graduated from Flinders University Medical School in 2007. With previous degrees in Political Science and Zoology, she is currently a neurosurgery trainee and a PhD student, exploring the biology of high grade brain tumours. A keen traveler, Ruth has lived in six different countries, and has worked as a doctor in Adelaide, Sydney and now Melbourne. She is passionate about diversity in surgery and in science, and is presently the Chair of the RACS Trainees' Association (RACSTA). She can found on Twitter @drruthmitchell.
"Less than Fulltime Training" Working Party
WIS Section Committee member, Deb Colville has been appointed as the WIS representative to the BSET Working Party "Less than Fulltime Training" Working Party. The WIS Section Committee are pleased to see that Flexible Training is an important part of the EAG action report and a priority of the Section.
New RACSTA Chair
Congratulations to to Ruth Mitchell (our RACSTA representative) on her new appointment as RACSTA Chair. Giving us another female voice on many College committees.
Mentoring Working Party
Kate Drummond, WIS Section Committee member and past-Chair is the WIS representative on the Mentoring Working Party tasked with recommending an appropriate mentoring program design.
Informal WIS Section networking drinks, 5.30pm, Tuesday 3 May
We invite the female guest speakers at the ASC and conveners to our cocktail function and hope many of you will use this opportunity to mingle, chat, and network. RSVP to the WIS Secretariat.
See you there!.
Women in Surgery Section sessions

2.00pm to 3.30pm, Wednesday 4 May

Women as leaders and Scholars

2.00pm to 5.30pm, Thursday 5 May 
We welcome Dr Rhea Liang as the keynote speaker. Other speakers include Caprice Greenburg.
Our shared session with Surgical Education is this afternoon...we are having the great debate...Topic is "Women are natural born educators!"  The boys team have to argue the affirmative.
WISS Breakfast and Annual Business Meeting, 7.00am, Thursday 5 May
Last May we had great turn out for our breakfast and section program and hope you will join us again this year. Guest speaker to be confirmed.
Register for the ASC and the WIS Breakfast
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