Sixth MABEL Research and Policy Forum 2018

Finding Solutions to Support the Medical Workforce

198 Berkeley St (The Spot Building)
University of Melbourne


Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL) is pleased to announce that the sixth MABEL Research and Policy Forum will be held at the University of Melbourne on Thursday 7 June 2018.

This will be the sixth annual MABEL Research and Policy Forum held by the Melbourne Institute. This year’s forum will focus on finding evidence-based solutions to some of the most challenging issues in medical workforce policy that affect the clinical care provided and access to care by the population. The forum will combine discussion of current and future policy issues with the latest research from MABEL.

In addition, a MABEL Data Users Workshop will be held Wednesday 6 June 2018 (10am to 4pm).

The MABEL data users workshop is aimed at those wanting to know more about the MABEL data and those wanting to use and analyse MABEL data in their research. In the morning, participants will be provided with an overview of the MABEL data and MABEL survey. This will include information about survey content, sampling, data management and quality, response rates, and how best to access the data. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and find out whether their research questions can be answered using the data. In the afternoon, we will take you through an example of how to analyse MABEL data with hands on computer examples guided by our MABEL researchers. This will analyse some MABEL data using STATA. Some familiarity with data analysis is preferred but you do not need to have used STATA before. The workshop is free to attend.

Research and Policy Forum Program

Session 1: New Models of Care

New models of care challenge the structure of the health system, ways of working and ultimately patient health. What impact is this having on working practices and access to care by patients?

  • Introduction & Chair
    Ms Deborah Frew, Acting Executive Director, Workforce Planning & Development, NSW Ministry of Health
  • Progress with MyHealthRecord.
    Dr Janice Biggs, Director of Research Programs, Australian Digital Health Agency
  • Is there any evidence that computer information systems can improve medical practice? 
    Professor Enrico Coiera, Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University
  • Associations between corporate general practice and GPs' practice patterns
    Professor Anthony Scott, Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research
  • Panel Q&A

Session 2: Improving Access Through Changing the Distribution of Doctors

An emerging oversupply of doctors in cities does not seem to be spilling over into rural areas. 'Flooding the market' isn't working. What can be done through changing training pathways and incentives?

  • Introduction & Chair
    Dr Ross Hetherington, Chair, Rural Health Workforce Australia
  • Current and future policy issues
  • Getting training pathways right
    Professor Roger Strasser, Northern Ontario School of Medicine
  • A new era (and new data) for workforce planning?
    Ms Maureen McCarty, Health Workforce Division, Commonwealth Department of Health
  • Panel Q&A

Research Perspectives

  • Overview of recent and future research
    Dr Matthew McGrail, Head, Regional Training Hubs Research, The University of Queensland
  • The impact of the District of Workforce Shortage Scheme
    Mr Laxman Bablani, PhD student, Department of Economics, The University of Melbourne
  • The impact of rural incentives on GP waiting times
    Ms Megha Swami, PhD student, Melbourne Institute: Applied Economic & Social Research

Session 3: Changing the Culture of Medical Training

Medical training has always been very competitive, and more so in an era of oversupply. Bullying, harassment, burnout and suicide are common. Coupled with a strong compassion for patients, doctors' own health and life outside medicine come a poor second. What solutions are there to change the culture?

  • Introduction & Chair
    Dr Joanna Flynn, Chair, Medical Board of Australia
  • What support is available and does it work?
    Dr Lorainne Baker, Chair, Victorian Doctor's Health Program
  • The role of hospital employers
  • Improvements in postgraduate training
  • Panel Q&A

Research Perspectives

  • Culture change in clinical settings
    Professor Johanna Westbrook, Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University
  • Training doctors to cope with setbacks
    Professor Jill Klein, Melbourne Business School, The University of Melbourne
  • Working conditions and health status
    Dr Alison Milner, School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne
  • Panel Q&A


There are three registration options:

  1. To register for the MABEL Research and Policy Forum on Thursday 7 June, please click here (you will also have the option to register for the MABEL Data Users Workshop on 6 June).
  2. Speakers, Session Chairs, MABEL research team members and PhD students have complimentary registration. Please register here.
  3. If you would like to register only for the MABEL Data Users Workshop on 6 June, please click here.

For enquiries, contact

For more information about the Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life (MABEL) longitudinal survey, click here.