Professor Christine Bennett AO delivers keynote address at the Royal Australasian College of Physicians Convocation Ceremony

30 October 2019

Professor Christine Bennett AO, Dean, School of Medicine, Sydney, was invited to deliver the keynote speech at the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) Convocation Ceremony on Saturday, 26 October. The event welcomes and celebrates new Fellows of the College and was held at the International Convention Centre in Darling Harbour, Sydney.

Also a Fellow of the RACP, Professor Bennett said she was honoured to have been asked to speak at the event and was especially pleased to be able to celebrate with two School of Medicine, Sydney alumni, Dr Michal Lubomski and Dr Samuel Birch, who were both appointed Fellows of the College on the day, marking an incredible milestone in their careers. “It was a humbling experience and really did feel like the completion of one journey and the beginning of a new one,” Dr Birch remarked. “It was great to see Professor Bennett there and to have her be the keynote speaker, especially as this is the first year that graduates from the School of Medicine, Sydney were being awarded fellowships. It really hit home how many people and institutions have supported us through to this point, including the University of Notre Dame Australia, as well as family members, friends, teachers, and colleagues”.

In Professor Bennett’s address, titled ‘The Next Generation – imagining the future of medicine’, she urged the new Fellows to think about their passions and what direction they would like their careers to take. She spoke about the challenges and opportunities presented by such a rapidly changing world. “Whatever we envisage today, change will be faster, more unexpected and more challenging than anything we can guess at right now,” she said.

With this in mind, Professor Bennett offered the new Fellows five key ideas to consider as they move forward in their careers, as ways to remain agile, responsive and focused on what is important:

  • Be curious, think and question – imagine the possibilities, critically appraise and “have the courage to challenge conventional wisdom and think outside the box”.
  • Stay open to possibilities – think beyond disease to broader social determinants of health in your medical practice, broaden your career horizons.
  • Have humility and respect – the patient has the starring role in their health and health care decisions; best care needs a multidisciplinary team.
  • Lead to make a difference – use your voice, speak up for those in greatest need, build a culture of inclusion valuing diversity in medicine.
  • Be true to yourself – act with conscience. “We cannot provide the best possible care for patients day-in, day-out if we do not first provide the best possible care for ourselves and our colleagues,” says Professor Bennett. “Take care of your health and wellbeing, and support your colleagues.”

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