Equity and positive change priority for new Censor-in-Chief

25 September 2022

Category: College and members


Protecting the reputation of general practice in 麻豆视频入口 may sound like a job for a knight on a trusty steed, but College Distinguished Fellow Dr Kerryn Lum is more than capable for the task.

The newly appointed Censor-in-Chief is responsible for deciding if a doctor should be awarded a College Fellowship, giving internationally trained doctors the rubber stamp of approval, and overseeing the academic training programme amongst a plethora of other duties.

鈥淲hile the position does call for yes and no decisions, I like to think that I am not here to stand in judgement, but to help and support people in achieving their goals,鈥 Kerryn says. 鈥淚 much prefer to reply to an application with 鈥榯his is what you need to do鈥 rather than 鈥榯he decision is no.鈥

鈥淎nd every case is judged on its own merits 鈥 there can be all kinds of circumstances that we haven鈥檛 come across before.鈥

But be warned, Kerryn is no pushover!

鈥淪ometimes I do have to draw a line and say 鈥楴ot this time鈥,鈥 she says. 鈥淚 like to think I am firm but fair.鈥

Kerryn joins a growing number of women in leadership positions at the College, including the President Dr Samantha Murton.

鈥淚t鈥檚 great to see women taking on these roles. I felt it was an enormous privilege to be even nominated for the Censor-in-Chief, let alone be offered it,鈥 she says. 鈥淭here have been quite a few changes at this high governance level recently and I think it鈥檚 a fantastic opportunity to take a look at how we do things and ask ourselves is there a better way, a way that would be more meaningful or easier for our GPs?

鈥淔resh eyes and new enthusiasm is always a great combination to create opportunities for change that will serve us well now and into the future.鈥

One particular area Kerryn will be focusing on in her team is to ensure that decision-making is equitable at all layers of the organisation.

鈥淚t鈥檚 not that I think we are not equitable,鈥 she clarifies. 鈥淏ut I want to be sure that each member has the awareness we should have of our own implicit bias. I think it鈥檚 important to recognise that we have a choice when it comes to that equity 鈥榳indow鈥 鈥 we can open it or close it.

鈥淎s a College, we represent, support, advocate for and train doctors from a very wide range of backgrounds, cultures and races,聽 so we need to make sure that we deal with every single person in an equitable manner.鈥

With her Chinese background, Kerryn is only too aware of the daily challenges non-P膩keha GPs face trying to do their jobs.

鈥淚 hear the conversations my receptionists have with patients 鈥 鈥淵es, Dr Lum is a woman, yes, she can speak English鈥 鈥 and then when they arrive for their appointment they speak very slowly at first before asking me with surprise where I am from.

鈥淲hen I say 鈥楴apier鈥, they are even more surprised. I don鈥檛 know if I am a 鈥榯railblazer鈥 but we have a lot of Asian GPs in 麻豆视频入口 so if they see me and it encourages them to get involved with the governance side of things, that鈥檚 great!鈥

Having now settled into the role since her appointment in March, her only frustration is that COVID-19 has prevented her from travelling to connect with her counterparts in other countries.

鈥淚t鈥檚 important to be able to network with international colleagues so we can share knowledge and experiences for the benefit of everyone,鈥 she says. 鈥淭his is particularly true of Australia as we have a repicrocial agreement there, more or less. But Zoom is proving to be very useful!

鈥淎nd it鈥檚 always good to talk to others because they are vocal in their admiration for how we do things in 麻豆视频入口 鈥 it means that there are lessons to be learned in both directions.鈥