RACGP 2020 award winners

newsGP writers

20/11/2020 6:01:33 PM

The college honoured its best in what has been a tumultuous year.

Collage of award winners
Clockwise from centre: Assoc Prof Brad Murphy; Dr Kerry Summerscales; Dr Jim Berryman; Dr Josie Guyer; Dr Anne Eastwood; Dr Duncan MacKinnon.

The annual RACGP awards are designed to ‘recognise outstanding achievements and exceptional individuals for their contribution to general practice’.
Winners of the national awards were named at the GP20 Welcome Reception and 2020 RACGP National Awards ceremony on Friday 20 November.
Rose–Hunt Award
Associate Professor Brad Murphy, a GP at Ashfield Country Practice in Bundaberg, Queensland, and founding Chair of RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, has been awarded the RACGP’s highest accolade ­– the Rose–Hunt Award.
‘It is the greatest honour to receive the Rose–Hunt Award. It is extremely humbling … to be among so many of the college’s legends and mentors I have had along the way. There are so many deserving people,’ Associate Professor Murphy said in his acceptance speech.
‘Particularly in this 10th anniversary of us starting the national faculty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health, it’s the greatest honour, and I think it’s also acknowledgement of the great work the team within the faculty have done.’
Associate Professor Murphy trained as a medic with the Royal Australian Navy before working with the NSW Ambulance Service and Royal Flying Doctor Service at Uluru. He was one of the first Aboriginal medical students at James Cook University, and established his first solo general practice in 2008.
‘As a Kamilaroi man, I am extremely honoured to be a GP and to represent my people, but also to represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across Australia,’ he said.
‘It’s an incredible honour to be a GP in Australia, particularly through the COVID crisis, to hold your head when others are losing theirs around us. It has been a tremendous time to make sure that we supported our communities, our staff, and making sure that we’re looking after ourselves as well.’
Acknowledging the RACGP in recognising his vision to launch the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health faculty, Associate Professor Murphy said that while the college has been instrumental in efforts to close the gap, there is still work to be done.
‘One of the greatest joys I’ve seen over time is the acceptance that closing the gap is going to be harder than we thought – because of the great job that we’re doing,’ he said.
‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, when it’s done well, actually influences an extremely positive way to healthcare for all Australians.
‘So while we continue to move the goal posts for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, we’re actually moving the goal posts for all Australians – making everyone healthier along the way.’
GP of the Year
Dr Duncan MacKinnon is humble in his acceptance of GP of the Year Award, paying tribute to his colleagues.
‘It’s a real honour to be here tonight. I work with a really dedicated team of doctors, nurses and front office staff, who have supported and facilitated the things we’ve achieved this year,’ he said.
A rural GP for over 25 years in Bega, NSW, and sole owner of the Bega Valley Medical Practice, Dr Mackinnon’s colleagues praised his loyalty to the local community. This was particularly evident during this year’s bushfires and pandemic, where he displayed leadership and commitment to work with all members of his community in times of crisis.
‘It’s a real blessing to be able to follow a vocation that you love and work in a community that appreciates your effort,’ he said.
Dr MacKinnon has also dedicated a large part of his career to helping shape the future GP workforce, as a senior lecturer at Australian National University’s Rural Clinical School, supervisor and medical educator at GP Synergy, and supervisor at Canberra Hospital and South East Regional Hospital.
He acknowledged the ongoing support he receives.
‘No GP works in isolation, and without the support of the Nurse of the Year, my wife and our four children, much would remain undone,’ he said.
‘I was talking to a colleague last week, who shared an interesting reflection. She said that awards like this serve an important purpose. I hope that this will continue to be the case.’
Supervisor of the Year
For medical students in Tasmania, being supervised by Dr Jim Berryman is like ‘winning a jackpot’, according to Dr Christopher Hughes.
Dr Hughes, a colleague and one of Dr Berryman’s former registrars, nominated the ‘indefatigable’ Dr Berryman for the RACGP Supervisor of the Year Award, which he has won. 
‘I’m thankful and honoured to receive the … award,’ Dr Berryman said. ‘I was pleasantly surprised to find out I’d been nominated by my registrars and a whole bunch of New Fellows – all of the Fellows in my practice have been my registrars.
‘The biggest reward for me in receiving this award is the registrars and the New Fellows themselves launching their general practice careers.
‘It’s always been a pleasure and an honour to be involved in their training.’
Over the last decade, Dr Berryman has supervised many new GPs in his Saunders Street Clinic in Wynyard (which also won the 2020 General Practice of the Year Award).
‘He shows he cares by going the extra mile, supporting those under his guidance by making himself available after hours, and dedicating hours of extracurricular time to their advancement,’ one of Dr Berryman’s registrars said. ‘His commitment of time is demonstrative of his devotion to caring for his registrars.’
The clinic, which Dr Berryman runs with his wife Rebecca, closes for lunch every day, allowing the GPs a break to socialise and debrief.
‘Having that extra time for lunch to ensure everyone gets a chance to get together to debrief and socialise is a fundamental part of the Saunders Street Clinic experience,’ one registrar said.
‘Jim understands that powerful learning experiences occur when students and registrars feel comfortable, and he strives to make those under his guidance feel comfortable to approach their supervisor.’
GP in Training of the Year
In 2017, Dr Josephine Guyer won the RACGP’s inaugural Growing Strong Award.
In 2020, she has won the GP in Training of the Year Award.
The latest win is well deserved, according to her nominator Dr Marisa Magiros, who has been Dr Guyer’s medical educator during her six years of training.
‘Drawing on her background as a registered nurse, general practice experience, cultural experience as a proud Wiradjuri woman, and parent of three teenagers, Josie brings extraordinary strength and resilience to her training and work as a GP,’ she said.
‘She has faced many significant hurdles through her training and she repeatedly gets back up and
continues forging a path forward, always learning and growing.’
Dr Guyer is a registrar medical educator with the GP Synergy training program, and actively involved in planning through to delivery.
She has advocated for culturally appropriate practice, and during the pandemic worked with other medical educators and GP Synergy to deliver an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health cultural awareness and education webinar to more than 130 GPs in training.
Dr Guyer was humbled to receive the GP in Training of the Year Award.
‘I really appreciate the opportunities I’ve been given to pursue a career in medicine,’ she said. ‘And as an Aboriginal woman and doctor, I acknowledge these opportunities were denied to generations of Aboriginal people that went before me.
‘I really want to encourage young Aboriginal people to consider a career in health, and especially in medicine, if it’s something that they’re passionate about.
‘We need to build the presence of Aboriginal professionals in the healthcare workforce. This is essential in closing the disparities in health outcomes between Aboriginal and non-Aborginal Australians.
‘I think if I can do it, you can do it, too.’
General Practice of the Year
Upon accepting the award for General Practice of the Year, practice owner Dr Jim Berryman was quick to thank his staff for their efforts.
‘I’d like to acknowledge my fantastic team in Saunders Street Clinic,’ he said.
‘It’s a wonderful privilege and an honour to have been awarded the National Practice of the Year.’
It was just over a decade ago that Dr Berryman and his wife decided to open the doors to their own clinic in Wynyard on the north-west coast of Tasmania, before shifting to a new site in March 2013.
Saunders Street Clinic is an eclectic space – and not by chance. Their aim was to create a pleasant environment where locals would feel comfortable, an approach that has seen their patient base grow exponentially.
‘We made the surgery so it was a really nice place for people to work and a nice place for patients to come, and we made it as non-clinical as we possibly could,’ Dr Berryman said.
‘[We] started with about 300 patients and myself, and now we’ve got 10 or 11 doctors, about 5000 patients.’
The practice has since become an established part of the rural town. So much so, in fact, that it was Mayor Robbie Walsh who nominated the practice.
‘Thanks again to RACGP and to our local Mayor who nominated us,’ Dr Berryman said.
‘I’m honoured to receive this award on behalf of the practice.’
Future Leaders President’s Medal
The Future Leaders President’s Medal is awarded to a GP who makes a contribution to the RACGP, and expects to continue doing so for the future of general practice.
Taking into consideration leadership behaviours taught and evidenced through the RACGP’s Future Leaders Program, Dr Kerry Summerscales was humbled to receive the medal. 
‘Thank you very much for the honour for selecting me for the President’s Medal for the 2020 Future Leader’s Program,’ she said.
‘It wasn’t something I expected, and it’s certainly something I see as an honour.’
Dr Summerscales transitioned into general practice following a 30-year career in the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
Perhaps unsurprisingly, she has found herself naturally drawn to veterans’ health. Dr Summerscales devised a project to help promote the area of health to her GP colleagues and the general community through a series of educational dinners and materials.
‘As a veteran myself and someone who sees increasingly more veterans – about 50–60% of my patient load is now veterans, which I love – I realise now that I’ve got out I’m essentially doing the same job. I just get to wear a pretty dress when I’m doing it,’ she said.
‘It’s an important cultural and health area that does need to be looked at, so I’m glad that I’ve been able to push this forward and get some information out there.’
Dr Summerscales also thanked her GP colleagues and fellow veterans, RACGP Rural Chair Dr Michael Clements and her mentor Dr Brad Murphy.
‘There were so many projects that had so much potential and were doing so well, and are really needed, so it was really quite an honour to be chosen from among such an amazing group of people and projects,’ she said.
Corlis Award
Dr Anne Eastwood was ‘honoured and very surprised’ to win the 2020 Corlis Award, which recognises an RACGP member and/or Fellow who has contributed substantially to the education and mentoring of doctors on any of the RACGP pathways to Fellowship.
The Sydney-based GP, who began her medical education career in 2004, is Deputy Director of Training at GP Synergy and plays an instrumental role in helping the successful progression of ADF registrars through their training.
‘Australia has a sizable, dedicated, skilled and collaborative band of medical educators, many of whom have encouraged and inspired me, and who would also deserve this award,’ Dr Eastwood said.
‘I have learned most of what I know about educating future GPs from them.
‘The legacy of early medical educators such as Bill Corlis continues, and the number of enthusiastic and capable younger medical educators who are joining the ranks gives me confidence that it will endure.’
Dr Eastwood added that her registrars ‘continue to inspire’ her by balancing other responsibilities with what she described as a short and intense vocational program.
‘Nothing gives me a greater feeling of satisfaction than a former registrar reappearing as a supervisor, teaching visitor or medical educator,’ she said.
‘I would also like to acknowledge the role played by supervisors who have the key role in our workplace-based training program.
‘[Finally], I would like to thank my colleagues at GP Synergy for nominating me and for providing a stimulating, challenging and supportive place to work.
‘And, again, I thank the RACGP for this award.’
A full list of RACGP award winners is available on the college website.
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Dr Gwatkin Nirmalan Ratnam   21/11/2020 9:11:37 AM

It is a privilege to be called as the colleagues of these wonderful people.