Dr Helen Szoke appointed to chair inquiry into racism claims

Media Releases article written on the 10 Feb 2017

The Australasian College for Emergency Medicine has appointed Oxfam Australia’s Chief Executive Helen Szoke to head its inquiry into claims of racism by trainees.

The college launched the expert advisory group after The Australian revealed details of a formal complaint from a group of 33 doctors who found that in the latest cohort, for the second half of 2016, white physicians were 13 times more likely to pass to become emergency specialists than “non-whites”.

“I’m pleased to have the opportunity to provide my support to the role, and whilst it’s concerning that there are so many of these inquiries taking place in the medical profession, it’s good that the issue is being addressed,” Dr Szoke said.

“We know that racism has a significant impact both on the people who experience it, as well as the broader community. Research shows that there are significant links between experiences of racism and discrimination and poor physical and mental health, reduced productivity and reduced life expectancy.

“We also know that the challenges of protecting the human rights of individuals occur throughout all levels of society.”

The inquiry is expected to run till June.

For further information please contact Laurelle Keough on 0425 701 801 or laurellek@oxfam.org.au