Message from the ASSH Chair - July 2014

Much progress has been made, albeit behind the scenes, since the January 2014 meeting of the ASSH executive committee in Adelaide. Fundamental activities such as creating a common Terms of Reference means that ASSH and the legal parent body - Simulation Australia - have a contemporary document to guide processes going forward. Those who have been involved with creating or updating ToRs will appreciate the tedious nature of this work, and the previous ASSH ToR served us well in capturing the essential elements of the new document. All SimAust divisions (now called Specialist Communities) will be able to work within the infrastructure these ToR provide (to view please click here). In addition, an ASSH Roadmap: 2014 – 2016 has been written which mirrors the Simulation Australia Roadmap providing future ideas and directions. The major ideas of Unite, Grow, Create and the planned activities within these areas have provided a framework for portfolios and task forces. Each member of the ASSH executive has responsibilities across a number of these new portfolios, and there is opportunity for members to become involved to a higher degree with ASSH through these domains. Further details of these portfolios and task forces are included in the ASSH Appendices to the ASSH Roadmap and SimAust ToR (to view please click here).

A name change has also been included in the Roadmap exercise – with the Simulation Australia Divisions now termed Specialist Communities, however the ASSH name and ‘brand’ remains and we are known as the Health Specialist Community. We would be interested in your comments and feedback about these fundamental documents which can be emailed to and if you are interested in joining one of the portfolios or task forces please indicate this in your correspondence.

As you would no doubt be aware, it was announced during the May Federal Budget, that Health Workforce Australia would be disbanded by the end of June 2014. The implications this decision has on healthcare simulation are still to be determined and uncertainty remains about which HWA funded programs and activities will continue. ASSH and the SimAust CEO have been in communication with the relevant HWA staff to ascertain ‘what next’ for current and planned projects. In the interim, and on behalf of ASSH, I have written a Position Statement about healthcare simulation and the importance of continued funding of the HWA funded projects (in particular). Emphasis on improving the health workforce and the connections between simulation and patient safety were integral to the statement. Input to the statement was also provided by the SimAust Board members, and we asked for a meeting with Minister Peter Dutton and his advisors in the near future in an effort to influence decisions on future funding. To view the Position Statement please click here. We will keep you updated on this issue. 

You would have received notification by email of a call for nominations to the ASSH executive committee. Half of the committee will be resigning this year as a renewal process within the ToR, and the Chair and Deputy Chair terms will move to a 2-year cycle. I will stay on for one more year as Immediate Past Chair to support the incoming Chair as we transition to this new format. Those who are stepping down from the executive can reapply for the vacant positions dependent on their total number of years’ service (as per the ToR). I encourage you to consider nominating for a role on the executive and to become more involved in directing our Society in these exciting times of growth and maturity within the simulation community. 

Output from the research forum which was held after SimHealth 2013 will be available soon. The report will provide excellent direction for future investigation across a range of domains which aligns with existing and new activities. A huge thank you goes to Debra Nestel, Marcus Watson, Stuart Marshall, Sonal Arora, Jenny Rudolph, Paul Phrampus and Margaret Bearman for their insight, time and effort in organising the forum, analysing the feedback and creating the report. A version of the report will be available online and the report will serve as a useful tool to frame future discussions with those nominated by the Federal Health Department to oversee healthcare simulation as it relates to workforce.   

Three of the ASSH executive will be attending the 2014 meeting of the Global Network for Simulation in Healthcare (July 7-9). For the three of us (Stephanie O’Regan, Debra Nestel and myself) attendance at the meeting is built into other travel plans. Following the meeting we will update you at SimHealth on ideas from the group for a global perspective for future healthcare simulation practices, development and evaluation.      

This leads me to the final point of this somewhat lengthy ‘message’ – the upcoming SimHealth conference, co-located with SimTecT again in 2014 and the ASSH members meeting which is scheduled for Tuesday 26th August. This time the meeting will be held during lunchtime so there is plenty of time to freshen up for the conference dinner that evening. There is again opportunity for members to become involved with this aspect of ASSH’s work. We are calling for expressions of interest in co-chairing some of the sessions or to ‘shadow’ some of the organising committee. This would be particularly useful for those interested in taking on a role for SimHealth 2015. Again, please email if you are interested. I look forward to seeing you all at the conference and the members meeting where I will provide a final report as ASSH Chair and introduce you to the incoming Chair and executive committee.

Stay safe and try not to work too hard,

Michelle Kelly
Chair - Australian Society for Simulation in Healthcare (ASSH)