A collection of things I've written

I see patients for a living. Which made me realise there are lots of things that make people unwell that I can't do much about in a consultation with a patient. So I also do some work in education and policy.

And I write stuff, mostly about general practice, health policy, how our social and environmental circumstances affect our health, that sort of stuff. It ends up in various places on the web. I'll try to keep track by guiding you around it from here.

I won a prize! The Gavin Mooney Memorial Essay Competition

My proudest writing moment so far came with winning the inaugural Gavin Mooney Memorial Essay Competition. I argue that we need to rethink the language we use about climate change, and talk about people's lived experience. You can read it over at Inside Story and it has been published as an e-book with the other winning entries.

Wonky Health on Croakey - crowdfunded health writing

Thank you to all the wonderful people who supported Wonky Health, as far as I know the first crowd-funded health writing in the world! Wonky Health was a series looking at the likely health impacts of government policies - much more interesting than it sounds. You can see the Pozible campaign pitch explaining the idea here. (And here's me explaining it on ABC Radio National). 

You can get to all the columns from Croakey here (p1) and here (p2) or download the the whole collection as an e-book in PDF format or in epub format - completely free!

I'm in the British Journal of General Practice

I've written a column for the BJGP each 3 months since 2012, though the first time I was published was way back in 2004, in an article that now gives this blog its name. (It's about the doctors in Star Trek) Other columns aren't about Star Trek, but they are about the complex, wonderful, and hard-to-describe work that is General Practice.

You can find all the columns here and if there's a paywall, you'll find them at PubMed Central here.

Climate Change and health

Climate change is going to have huge effects on our health. As well as "Climate Change and Equity: Who's language is it anyway?" (see above) I've written quite a bit about climate change and health.

Here's me arguing in the Sydney Morning Herald for strong climate action to improve health.

Who are you prepared to sacrifice to climate change?
"I shouldn't have to write this post."

Climate Change and the SEP Drive
In which I channel Douglas Adams to wonder why we avoid talking about climate change much of the time in health.

Climate and Health: The Discussion we have to have
“I can’t tell people to choose different air to breathe, or to choose different weather.”

The lottery on offer at NSW Votes
"Would you vote for a party that offered to poison you and your children slowly?"

Attention: This is a storm warning
Book review of Climate Change and Global Health for the MJA

Why Doctors must join the climate war
Written for Medical Observer, suggesting GPs have the skills to discuss complex health and climate science with their patients.

How to deal with a climate sceptic
For the wonderful "Is this how you feel?" which asks climate scientists to write handwritten letters explaining how they feel about climate change.

Big Coal makes essential reading for politicians
In which I review this book about the damage mining and burning coal does, and wonder out loud how health professionals can contribute to the debate.


Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health

Why do I work in Aboriginal Health?
In which I explain why I work in Aboriginal Health. This was cross posted from the AMS Doctor blog.

Is the media juggernaut sidelining good policy in Indigenous affairs?
In which I respond to research showing how policy is made in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, and how this affects communities.

As we move towards constitutional recognition, what can we learn from Indigenous understandings of health (heaps, suggests one GP)

This article (adapted from a post on the amsdr blog) argues that we should adopt the Aboriginal definition of health across the whole health service.

The difference between Close the Gap and Closing the Gap – and why it matters
In which I explain the crucial difference in terminology between Close the Gap and Closing the Gap. This was cross posted from the AMS Doctor blog.

Should we be doing health assessments
This was cross posted from the AMS Doctor blog, questioning the push for doing adult health assessments, given that the evidence for them is not strong.

Putting Indigenous patients before our discomfort
Are we thinking about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health in unhelpful ways?

Close the Imagination Gap
My part of a multi-author piece for the 10th anniversary of the Close the Gap campaign, arguing that non-Indigenous Australians aren't being imaginative enough to seek solutions from those who know - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

What does the GP Copayment mean for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health? (p6 of the PDF)
in the Aboriginal Health News, produced for the Koori Mail by NACCHO.

Like parallel lines that never meet
On the Indigenous Advancement Strategy and the evidence for what works.

Aboriginal Primary Health Care, 3rd Ed, by Couzos and Murray in the MJA.
Book review in the Medical Journal of Australia

Inequality, health and health equity

Inverse care factor zero! How we should be developing health policy to tackle the Inverse Care Law.

Warning, warning – these are weird times when zombies are attacking the health system
In which I discuss the proposal for co-payments in the emergency department, and describe the policy as a zombie - daft health policy that refuses to die.

It's just not fair!
Summarising how unfair societies make our health worse.

How inequality creates complex health and policy challenges
Multimorbidty starts 10-15 years earlier in the poorest - and they're not the ones making policy.

Chronic care, equity & Trojan horses: What’s the role of PHI in new Health Care Homes?
Private health insurers are moving into chronic disease care coordination.

Why Private Health Insurance won't improve our health.
Explains why private health insurance won't improve our health! With graphs!

Why aren't I in jail?
Recognising white privilege for the #JustJustice project.

Why didn’t we hear more stories like this during the PM’s visit to western Sydney?
In which I try to show the effects of decisions made across a wide range of policy on a patient seen in general practice. (That description makes it sound much more boring than it actually is!)

General Practice

See my BJGP columns, but also...

On the often uncomfortable provess of unlearning what we've been taught.

Some astrological fun!

Originally written for the RACGP publication, Good Practice, all those medical food metaphors make me hungry.

Media and social media

Katharine Viner, now Editor-in-chief at the Guardian gave a very interesting lecture, which got me thinking.

Shame on Facebook, but let’s not forget that racism is a wider public health problem
Remember when there were Facebook pages racially vilifying Aboriginal people? This post looked at the health effects of racism, and argued those of us working in health need to do more. An edited version also made it into the main Crikey website (which may be behind a paywall)

Social media and the transformation of medical education – via #FOAMed #supertwision et al

In which I introduce what Michael Bonning and I are trying in #supertwision


Work in the Media? 5 Tests you must take now!  
In which I get a bit annoyed about health reporting on what preventive tests you should have done, and suggest some questions for journalists to ask.

Social Media and Health Evidence: oil and water or marriage made in heaven?
Originally written for the CIPHER website, this discusses using social media as as a researcher, but comes in the middle of lots of other interesting health and social media stuff.

187 reasons to support IndigenousX
Helping @IndigenousX crowdfund.

Leadership, patient involvement and other stuff

Do we need a Romantic movement in medicine? Involving patients in medical education
Originally posted on this very blog, this post put some thought behind why we didn't involve patients in medical education as much as we should, and how we might do better.

UK's Berwick Report on Patient Safety: a clinician's view on lessons for Australia
In which I read the recent report on patient safety in the NHS by Don Berwick and wonder what the Australian health system can learn. 

Listen to them them Leadership
This post was written for the Social Leadership Australia blog, and cross posted over at Reconciliation Australia.

Why is everyone so annoying?
I was proud to provide the first post for this blog on collaboration between academics, policy and practitioners. I discuss why everyone gets annoyed and that overused word "values."

Rare Disease

This is me being properly academic, with my colleague Andrew Knight, who is a very fine GP teacher and educator. Rare diseases are thought of as being the domain of super-specialists, but there is an important role for generalists too. We wrote an article in the MJA and also a letter each in the BMJ and the Lancet.



Knight, A. W., & Senior, T. P. (2006). The common problem of rare disease in general practice. Medical journal of Australia185(2), 82. (Available here)

Senior, T. P. and Knight, A. W. (2006). Rare diseases need a generic approach. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 333(7568). (Available here)

Senior, T. and Knight, A. (2008). Rare diseases: a role for primary care. Lancet, 372(9642). (Available here)

You will see me popping up as a contributor to a few other Croakey posts, but I'm not going to list them all here! You can think of them as Easter eggs if you wish!

Podcasts and Video.

I've been on RN Drive with Patricia Karvelas discussing the week in my social media feeds, and discussed Wonky Health (see above) with Norman Swan on the Health Report.

You can hear me in this podcast with Dr Tim Leeuwenberg where we discuss social media in General Practice via Skype.
I had a fun and wide ranging chat with Adam Holcroft on the Dojo of Powerful Aging podcast.
And here I talk with Mel Kettle on everything from health, to music. 

If you want moving pictures with your audio, there's video of me here, as part of the Closing the Gap plenary at the Health Workforce Australia Conference in 2013, and here doing an entertainingly fiery Politics in the Pub with audience Q&A!

Social Media

If you really want to, you can read more about me in this profile (PDF) of me in the May 2013 RACGP Good Practice Magazine. I was featured in this brief 6minutes profile too.

In October 2013, I hosted the health rotation curation Twitter account @WePublicHealth. I tweeted on General Practice, Indigenous Health and Medical Education and enjoyed conversations with a wide range of people. The week was summarised on Croakey, but you can relive every single tweet!

I had another go on @WePublicHealth in the final week of the 2016 federal election campaign,

Of course you will find me on Twitter. You might find things I've put on LinkedIn and that Googly-G+ thing. or even Citeulike, and About.Me
You could even check my AHPRA Registration to see if I really am a doctor!

I post random stuff that doesn't fit elsewhere on The Influence of the Tricorder blog (that's where you are now!)

And AMS Doctor is where I post things relevant to working in Aboriginal health, and the #Supertwision posts. It doesn't get updated quite as often as I want to, because of all the stuff I've been doing above!

If you want to comment, repost, or even ask me to write or talk, just make contact through one of these channels.