ACRRM members will begin voting on Monday in the first presidential election in the college’s 21-year history, with two candidates running for the top job.
Dr Michael Beckoff and Dr Ewen McPhee, both current ACRRM board members, will be vying to replace Associate Professor Ruth Stewart, whose two-year term as president will be up in October.
Dr Stewart said the election marked an important coming-of-age for the rural-oriented college, which was formed in 1997 after members split from the RACGP to develop a training program targeted at rural and remote community needs.
“The organisation is now of a maturity where we have two people who are really able candidates, and either of them will make an excellent president,” she said.
Both candidates had extensive skills and experience at the national, state and community level, Dr Stewart said.
The election comes as ACRRM is at work on a number of critical initiatives, including the development of a National Rural Generalist Program and the transition to college-led GP training.
Dr Beckhoff is a rural generalist with a long career in GP medicine and surgery, emergency medicine and advanced obstetrics, with special expertise in mental health and sexual therapy.
The South Australian is now active as a locum and serves on the boards of numerous health organisations.
Dr McPhee, a GP obstetrician in Queensland, is a former president of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia. He also occupies a string of academic and advisory roles.
To date, ACRRM has elected board members, but the presidential post has not been contested in an open vote due to a limited pool of experienced candidates.
Dr Stewart urged all ACRRM members to vote in the poll, which will close on September 14.
“ACRRM is committed to engaging with our members and this is the perfect opportunity for members to have a say in the future of the college.”
All ordinary members of ACRRM are eligible to vote and will be sent correspondence on how to do so via email from an independent election company.