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The future of the AMA taking shape


As I approach the end of my first year in the role of Secretary General I have sufficient tenure to reflect on some significant changes in the organisation over that time.

Members and readers will be well aware that one of the major projects for 2014 was to steer the adoption of the new Constitution for Australian Medical Association Limited. Members whole-heartedly embraced the new structure for the AMA at the Annual General Meeting in May, and since then I have been using the time to focus on a gradual transition to the new arrangements.

The short meeting of the Federal Council which followed the close of National Conference elected Dr Beverley Rowbotham as Chair for the next 12 months. Dr Rowbotham will steer discussion on the operations of the Council and its committees – now that its role is focused on medico-political development and debate – at the next full meeting of Federal Council to be held in late August.

The more focused role of Federal Council provides an opportunity to engage the wider membership of the AMA in policy development through the use of working groups and task forces set up for specific purposes, rather than the more formal standing committee structure which was used when the Federal Council was also the corporate Board of the company.

An interim Board has been managing the affairs of the company during the process laid out in the Constitution for the establishment of the permanent Board. The members of the permanent Board have now been notified, with the first meeting to be held on 31 July. In addition to the President and Vice President, the Board members (together with their initial term of office) are:

AMA ACT Dr Iain Dunlop (2016)

AMA NSW Dr Elizabeth Feeney (2016)

AMA NT    Dr Leonie Katekar (2015)

AMA Q      Dr Richard Kidd (2015)

AMA SA    Dr Peter Sharley (2016)

AMA TAS  Dr Helen McArdle (2015)

AMA VIC   Dr Tony Bartone (2015)

AMA WA   Prof Geoff Dobb (2016)

Council of Doctors in Training         Dr Kathryn Austin (2015)

The new Board will have a full agenda in its first few months, with a strategic planning meeting scheduled very early in its life. These deliberations will guide the organisation at a corporate and strategic level over the next few years.

One of the key sources of information to guide discussions is the results of the first national member survey which is out with the membership at present.

If you haven’t yet completed the survey I encourage you to do so. It seeks your views on a wide range of matters, from the AMA’s advocacy to member benefits and communications. The information collected will help inform AMA activities at both the Federal and State levels.

This month the Medical Journal of Australia, published by AMA’s subsidiary, Australasian Medical Publishing Company Pty Limited, turns 100.

A celebration was held on 4 July at the University of Sydney, including a symposium on the future of medical publishing. A fantastic achievement. Congratulations to Editor-in-Chief Emeritus Professor Stephen Leeder and the team.