The future of Australian medical research

Welcome to Volume 7, Issue 2 of the Australian Medical Student Journal (AMSJ). Here, we have the privilege of publishing the best research, opinions, reviews, and insights from medical students and junior doctors around Australia.

We feature outstanding guest articles from influential leaders across the medical landscape. Dr Alan Finkel AO, Australia’s Chief Scientist, looks optimistically ahead with an incisive commentary about the future landscape of medical research. With the rise of artificial intelligence and robots with far superior decision-making power in patient care, research skills will become increasingly valuable as a clinician, and will help us happily and healthily live to 100 years of age.

Dr Chris Nickson of, SMACC, and FoamEd fame provides you with the essential skills to maximise the ever-developing resource of Free Open Access Meducation – a must read to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your learning and engagement.

Prof. Kingsley Faulkner AM, Chairman of Doctors for the Environment Australia (DEA), writes on climate change, health, and our responsibility to act. Forget whatever government might threaten Medicare – climate change is the greatest crisis for human health and we need to find a voice and translate this into action.

Once again, we have received topical and original articles of excellent standard over a range of topics. Dr Sharna Kulhavy, in her original research article, highlights the deficiencies in knowledge in women taking the oral contraceptive pill in a rural setting. This adds to previously published work by this journal in the area of health literacy and its impact on patient care. Obert Xu reviews the efficacy of, and issues, surrounding the impending implementation of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in the Australian setting. Considering the potential effectiveness of PrEP as a public health strategy in combatting HIV infection, this is something all future practitioners should be aware of. In a succinct review, Ronny Schneider evaluates the current and emerging evidence for persistent occiput posterior in labour.

Finally, our feature articles and letters highlight a range of current issues, for example, refugee health, and the health profession’s use of language with patients. It is with exception we publish a letter anonymously, on a student’s experience of harassment in medicine. It is vital to share these stories to confront this scourge that discourages, discriminates against and disillusions our best and brightest.  It is an indictment of our culture that the author feels the need to write incognito for fear of the personal impact of speaking out, however I commend her courage to write at all.

The AMSJ is a national publication staffed by committed volunteers from medical schools throughout the country. Each issue requires many hours of work from editors, proof readers, and publications and IT teams. All this is not possible without the work of a great team of university representatives, publicity, and sponsorship and finance teams, all lead by our capable executive. My thanks to each and every person listed in this journal that has given their time to promote student research and national collaboration.

We thoroughly enjoy working with our authors and peer reviewers – thank you all for your submissions and feedback. Funding for medical research continues to be difficult throughout Australia, but there are exciting times ahead. I would like to thank our readers and sponsors for their ongoing support to provide the environment to encourage and develop the budding leaders in medicine and research with the commitment to submit to this publication. On behalf of the AMSJ, I hope you enjoy this issue.