The idea of a conference was birthed in conversations held between some Pacific attendees and CASA, the Australian regulator, at the Australasian Society of Aerospace Medicine 2022 meeting in the Hunter Valley.
With only a couple of months’ notice, an excellent meeting was organised in Nadi at the Tanoa Hotel conference facilities. Approximately 65 delegates attended, from Vanuatu, Tonga, Papua New Guinea, NZ, Australia and Fiji. Included were the Senior Medical Officer at the Civil Aviation Fiji and PMOs from New Zealand and Australia. In Fiji, the meeting was promoted through general medical channels so some attendees had no current involvement in avmed but a clearly expressed interest. It led to a diverse group of both clinicians and administrators. It is evident that many are working in isolated situations where peer support and ongoing professional development can be difficult to obtain.
AMSNZ was acknowledged for supporting this meeting with my attendance. I was asked to present on:
- Renal calculi
- “Carrot and Stick” approach to Alcohol and other drug policy in aviation.
I also participated in a panel session on mental health issues in aviation.
We received excellent feedback from attendees and requests for further training and meetings. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is sponsoring eight places at the April 2023 DAME training meeting Nadi run by David Powell. We were asked about further meetings, and it is likely there be further training in July and November. I took the opportunity to promote the 2023 Annual Scientific Meeting in Auckland. It will be great to have the interest and input from Pacific colleagues.
In short, this seemed a significant meeting of people, geographically isolated and with a need for safe air communication. The combined interest of both New Zealand and Australian regulators as well as their current consideration of harmonising processes gives a rare opportunity to build a collaborative approach to aeromedical certification in the region. Special thanks are due to Dr Ram Raju and Dr Tony Hochberg for organising this event.