WONCA Sydney HOC Chair: July 2023

My photo today is in honour of green day. A reminder to bring something green to celebrate. Details to be released soon.

We have just under 100 days to go to celebrating primary care at RACGP-WONCA Sydney 2023.  Our theme “recovery” will be well showcased with a dynamic selection of life after the peak of a global pandemic.  We know the pandemic tail is long and hard for us and our patients with millions more pushed into poverty.  We know there is inequity in the experience of Covid, similar to many other chronic diseases intersecting with the social determinants of health.

Dr Iona Heath who has long written on inequity in health care will be presenting a plenary to remind us to “remember who we are”. Dr Heath is a brilliant and compassionate speaker who has written widely for the British Medical Journal (BMJ) and is a past president of the UK Royal College of General Practice (RCGP).  Health systems based on Primary care offer the best hope for health care access and therefore as family doctors we become advocates for health care for all.   But we must also advocate for our health as healthy doctors deliver healthy patient outcomes. I know Professor Heaths plenary will be a highlight of the conference. 

As Family Doctors and General Practitioners, we see the need for advocacy and equity daily.   I’m reminded of meeting Dr Krupali Tappoo an Australian trained GP who is now in Fiji.  Dr Tappoo has been part of developing the only paediatric cardiac centre in the whole of the South Pacific as well as preventive care through rural and remote healthcare outreach.  Dr Tappoo is coming to WONCA. Please read about this amazing work developing health equity in the South Pacific. This work has been supported through international collaborations from India, Pacific Islands, New Zealand, USA, Singapore, and Australia to name a few.  What a few nations can achieve is a wonderful testament to collaborative advocacy which we know especially impacts children. With rising food poverty for children of the south pacific there is an urgent need to deliver culturally safe care. 

Read about this amazing health advocacy here and here

We also have an amazing and perhaps challenging plenary panel on cultural safety involving indigenous Australian Associate Professor Brad Murphy, Dr David Tipene-Leach, Professor of Māori and Indigenous Research, and Associate Professor Viviana Martinez-Bianchi who has expertise in health equity for Latin America. This amazing panel will be expertly facilitated by well-known equity advocate Dr Tim Senior.   How are we all biased?  How are our systems stacked against those who most need healthcare?  What can we do about it?  I look forward to your reflections and questions on this topic.  We aim for good interactivity at this outstanding conference so come prepared to speak and question. It will be inspiring and for many a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the internationalism of primary care.


I encourage you to immerse yourself into this highly memorable celebration of Family Doctors work, and please review our interactive program flip book detailing all the skills and insights you can take back to your practice and daily work. Dermatology, women’s health updates, rural health emergencies are just a few of the sessions taking place.  

I am getting really excited currently attending to our developing social program involving gala dinners, cocktail events, young doctors, award ceremonies, restaurant recommendations and even Sydney Harbour boat rides. There is so much to look forward to in the reconnection and revival themes. Getting the balance right between coffee and chamomile tea will be interesting!   I look forward to meeting you all, our international and national delegates, and together celebrating our amazing and humbly powerful profession as we attend daily to our patients and communities. With the Family Doctor community, you are never alone.

Until next month

Stay well, stay hopeful and stay connected.

Adj Prof Karen Price
Host Organising Committee chair
Immedicate Past President of RACGP