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RANZCO Congress: Celebrating Success

RANZCO’s 54th scientific congress in Perth has drawn to a close. Almost 1,500 delegates attended the meeting in person with a further 243 signing in to attend presentations online.

The jam-packed four-day meeting commenced with a one-day global eye health workshop with 170 people in attendance.

When the official Congress program opened on Saturday morning there were 660 delegates in the Riverside Theatre for the Welcome to Country, opening lecture, and RANZCO Plenary and Council lecture.

The opening lecture, delivered by Dr Craig Challen, a veterinarian surgeon and one of the technical cave divers involved in the rescue of 13 young soccer players from Chiang Rai province in Thailand back in 2018, reflected on teamwork, calculated risk, preparation, and careful execution.

Such a high-risk rescue had never been attempted. Dr Challen said it was only by drawing on the diverse experiences of a global team that a viable, though high-risk plan could be hatched to rescue the boys. It was only in the knowledge that there was no alternative that they were willing to execute it.

I choose to believe that acting with integrity, good faith, and purpose means that we can do good things. We are at our best when we serve others

Graduation and Awards Ceremony

At the Saturday night Graduation and Awards Ceremony and President’s Reception, new Fellows were admitted to the College. Guest of Honour, Wendy Attenborough, who has a long history as an executive in the Western Australia Public Service and is currently Executive Director of the Perth Zoo, drew on her own experiences to encourage the 46 new Fellows to make personal and professional and choices with kindness, decency, and integrity.

“Can I ask you, that as you continue on your journey, you make decisions with integrity, you continue to be decent as you move through the storied ranks of the medical profession. Sometimes it might feel like the whole world has lost its moral compass… sometimes it can feel a bit overwhelming, but I believe true north is in everyone of us and we can choose to follow it.”

Describing the new Fellows as some of the most privileged people in the world, she said, “privilege gives extraordinary power to act as a force for good”.

“I choose to believe that acting with integrity, good faith, and purpose means that we can do good things. We are at our best when we serve others.”

2023 College Award Winners

RANCO President Dr Grant Raymond presented the College Awards to members of the ophthalmology community at the “other end of the career journey” – Fellows behind the scenes and at the coalface of ophthalmology training, translating research into policy, those who have initiated change in our health system, who have encouraged diversity within the profession, and those who have worked to provide equitable eye services in Australia, New Zealand, and further afield.

The awards were presented to:

  • College Medal to Clinical Associate Professor Nitin Verma AM.
  • College Medal to Associate Professor Alex Hunyor.
  • Distinguished Service Award to Dr Ross Littlewood.
  • Distinguished Service Award to Dr Richard Rawson.
  • Distinguished Service award for service to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander eye health to Professor Hugh Taylor AC.
  • Federal Meritorious Service Award to Professor Nigel Morlet.
2023 Trainers of Excellence
  • Dr Krishna Tumuluri, Sydney Eye Hospital,
  • Dr Tim Henderson, South Australia,
  • Dr Alexandra Crawford, New Zealand,
  • Dr Elsie Chan, Victoria,
  • Dr Antony Clark, Western Australia,
  • Dr Guy Bylsma, Regionally Enhanced Training Network,
  • Dr Fraser Imrie, Queensland, and
  • Dr Kimberley Tan, Prince of Wales.

Associate Professor Andrew White from the Sydney Eye Hospital Network was acknowledged for the many votes he received.

The Filipic-Greer Medal

This award, for overall excellence in the RANZCO ophthalmic pathology examination was awarded to:

  • Semester 1, 2020 – Dr Shivesh Varma
  • Semester 2, 2021 – Dr Neeranjali Jain

Thriving Trade Hall

In an expansive trade hall, 60 exhibitors filled 141 booths displaying their state-of-the-art technology, instruments and pharmaceuticals, and handing out coffees, gelatos, and even custard tarts.

There was a distinct sense that things have ‘returned to normal’ with delegates and exhibitors alike, celebrating the opportunity to reconnect in person.

With a mission to ensure the RANZCO Congress was as sustainable as possible, a wash station was provided for 400 reusable cups in use during the event, delegates were encouraged to recycle lanyards, use the city’s free public transport, and offset their carbon footprint. Additionally, as well as a focus on using local ingredients to reduce food mileage, on ‘Sustainability Sunday’ all catering was plant based.

The 2024 RANZCO Scientific Congress will be held in Adelaide from 1–4 November 2023.