On the 27th of May, a blisteringly cold Canberra night, I attended the AMA Leadership dinner at a swanky lake-side restaurant on the dime of the NSWMSC (thanks guys) and I came away so inspired and amazed by the medical community I encountered that I forgot to describe the meal in intricate detail to people I later told about it (the highlight dish for me was a steamed prawn, morcilla and radish salad that literally blew my mind).
The speaker, Dr. Nick Coatsworth, was just one facet of the evening that contributed to this.
Formerly the President of Médecins Sans Frontières Australia, Nick’s descriptions of his early career working in the Congo - on a few weeks training and some high school French, no less - showed that youthful idealism and a passion for social justice can survive the arduous years of training, and can realise itself in so many hugely positive ways, as long as we maintain our dedication to it. As articulate and insightful as it was funny, Nick reminded the roomful of medical professionals at every stage of their career - from medical students and interns, to established specialists - of the possibilities for our profession to transcend the boundaries between countries, cultures and people, and enact real change on a personal level.
This was further impressed upon us by the presentation of the AMA Doctor in Training of the Year award to Dr. Ruth Mitchell, a neurosurgery trainee at the Royal Melbourne Hospital, PhD student at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute, and the Chair of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Trainee Association. Ruth received the award to a standing ovation, in recognition of her tireless work to stamp out bullying and sexual harassment within the medical community through education, advocacy and research.
As phenomenal as these two people were, just as phenomenal was the opportunity to meet medical students and professionals from all over Australia, to discuss our passions and concerns with them, to share in a good meal and a nice glass of wine and acknowledge the issues we all faced and the commitment of our community to change these things.
10/10, would recommend.