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Information updates

ASCIA Food Allergy and Adverse Food Reactions Course

The Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) is hosting the ASCIA Food Allergy and Adverse Food Reactions Course in Sydney on 23-24 November 2024.

Information including how to register is available at https://www.allergy.org.au/members/dietitians#adn 

The course has previously been held in Melbourne (March 2023), Canberra (September 2018), Brisbane (March 2019) and Perth (September 2019).  

Due to the high demand (the Melbourne course was sold out), the course is being held in Sydney in November 2023. There are also plans to hold the course in Adelaide in early 2024 and Auckland in late 2024.

This course is presented in an interactive case study format and has been designed for dietitians with an allergy caseload or wanting to upskill in food allergy and intolerance, who work in private practice, community and hospital-based dietitians. The course can also be used as a refresher if you are returning to practice within this area.  The course is worth 24 CPD hours.  

Learning outcomes

  • Appraise the complexity of diagnosis and management of IgE mediated food allergy, non-IgE mediated food allergy and various presentations of food intolerance across the lifespan,
  • Recognise the importance of collaboration with other HPs in the allergy care team for optimal patient care in food allergy and intolerance.  
  • Formulate appropriate and safe evidence-based nutrition care plans within the scope of practice, for patients with food allergy and food intolerance.
  • Integrate reinforcement of medical management and practical skills regarding label reading, food preparation and eating away from home into patient management of food allergy, including the food service setting.
  • Integrate available resources to enhance assessment, education, and nutritional intervention for patients with food allergy and food intolerance.  

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Guideline for Pharmacological Management of Inflammatory Arthritis - Submissions due 30 April 2023

Invitation for Public Submissions: An Australian Living Guideline for the Pharmacological Management of Inflammatory Arthritis: Draft for Public Consultation (Version 3.0)

Organisations and members of the public with an interest in the pharmacological management of inflammatory arthritis are invited to submit their comments and suggestions on Version 3.0 of the draft guideline to help inform and contribute to its development.

The draft guideline can be viewed at:

https://app.magicapp.org/#/guideline/LqRV3n (a pdf of the guideline may also be accessed HERE)

Submissions should be made via: 

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Inflammatory_Arthritis_Living_Guideline_Feedback_Survey_Version_3

Period of Public Consultation:  Tuesday, 14 March to Sunday, 30 April 2023.

About the Guideline:

An Australian Living Guideline for the Pharmacological Management of Inflammatory Arthritis seeks to present the best available, current scientific evidence to assist decision making in the pharmacological management of the most common forms of inflammatory arthritis (IA), namely rheumatoid arthritis (RA), axial spondyloarthritis (axSpA) and psoriatic arthritis (PsA).

The guideline is being produced by the Australia and New Zealand Musculoskeletal (ANZMUSC) Clinical Trials Network, the Australian Rheumatology Association (ARA) and Cochrane Musculoskeletal. From 2019 to 2022 guideline development was funded by the Australian Government Department of Health through the Value in Prescribing (VIP) bDMARDs Program Grant, awarded to the Targeted Therapies Alliance led by NPS MedicineWise. Current support is being provided by the NHMRC Australia and New Zealand Musculoskeletal (ANZMUSC) Clinical Trials Network Centre of Research Excellence (2023-27), Cochrane Musculoskeletal and the Victorian Government via the Australian Living Evidence Consortium.

Versions 1.0 and 2.0 of this living guideline were approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) on 7 July 2021 and 5 August 2022, respectively. Approval is now being sought for 'Version 3.0' of the guideline under Section 14A of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992. The approval process requires a public consultation period (legislated minimum of 30 days) to allow relevant authorities and stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback about the draft guideline, thereby contributing to its development.

'Version 3.0'of this living guideline comprises an additional three recommendations relating to:

· Subcutaneous or intramuscular methotrexate (MTX) versus oral MTX for people with rheumatoid arthritis (refer Section 6)

· Choice of disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) in people with rheumatoid arthritis who have not responded to tumour necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors (refer Section 7)

· Short-term bridging glucocorticoid therapy as an adjunct to DMARD therapy in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (refer Section 11.3)

As a living guideline, further recommendations relating to topics and questions identified as having highest clinical relevance to medical practitioners who treat IA will continue to be added and existing recommendations updated.

Further information can be viewed at:

· Technical Report

· Dissemination Plan

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ASCIA events in World Primary Immunodeficiency Week - 22-29 April 2023

ASCIA has planned the following events, to coincide with World Primary Immunodeficiency (PID) Week (22-29 April 2023) and the International Day of Immunology (29 April 2023):

ASCIA Immunodeficiency Strategy Meeting
Sydney, Australia - Manly Pacific Hotel
Friday 28 April 2023
 
ASCIA TAPID (Transplantation and PID) Meeting
Sydney, Australia - Manly Pacific Hotel
Saturday 29 April 2023

ASCIA Advanced Training Immunodeficiency Meeting  
Sydney, Australia - Manly Pacific Hotel
Sunday 30 April - Tuesday 2 May 2023
 

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ASCIA e-training feedback surveys - February 2023

ASCIA anaphylaxis, allergy and immunodeficiency e-training courses for health professional, schools, children’s education/care services and community are:

  • Accessible - online and free of charge
  • Consistent - used throughout Australia and New Zealand
  • Evidence based - courses are regularly reviewed and updated, in response to requests, recommendations, changes in clinical and academic expert consensus, new published literature and product updates..

To help ASCIA to continue improving these courses a short survey is now included at the end of each of the courses, which will only take a few minutes to complete. All information collected will be anonymous.  Improvements made as a result of feedback will be undertaken as part of ASCIA's involvement in the National Allergy Council (NAC) Share Care Model (SCM) project and the NAC Schools/Childcare project

ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training for schools, children’s education/care services and community 
Since 2010 ASCIA has provided accessible, consistent and evidence-based anaphylaxis e-training courses for schools, children’s education/care services and community, which can be accessed at:
 
ASCIA anaphylaxis and allergy e-training for health professionals
Since 2011 ASCIA has provided anaphylaxis, food allergy, allergic rhinitis and allergen immunotherapy e-training courses for health professionals, which can be accessed at
 
ASCIA immunodeficiency e-training for health professionals
In 2022 ASCIA developed two new e-training courses for health professionals about immunoglobulin replacement therapy (IRT) and hereditary angioedema (HAE), which can be accessed at https://immunodeficiency.ascia.org.au/

ASCIA pharmacist e-training 
Since 2012 ASCIA has provided anaphylaxis, food allergy and allergic rhinitis e-training courses for pharmacists, which can be accessed at 

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ASCIA Progress Report - National Allergy Council Schools and Childcare project - February 2023

ASCIA’s involvement in the National Allergy Council Schools and Childcare project includes education and training of staff in schools and Children's Education/Care (CEC) Services. 

The following information summarises the progress of ASCIA’s involvement in the project as at 9 February 2023, in regards to: 

  • Increasing the uptake of ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training for schools and CEC
  • Scoping education undergraduate training

Increasing the uptake of ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training for schools and CEC

  • To obtain feedback in 2023 about ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training courses for schools, CEC and community a short survey is now included at the end of the courses, which will only take users a few minutes to complete before they obtain their certificate of course completion. All information collected will be anonymous and courses can be accessed here.
  • ASCIA e-training surveys used to be optional, whereas now they need to be completed before users obtain their certificate of course completion.
  • Once data is collated and reviewed, ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training courses will be updated as required based on feedback.
  • ASCIA will continue to maintain and provide user support for ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training courses.

Scoping education undergraduate training

Whilst we are aware that some undergraduate school teaching courses include ASCIA e-training, we do not know the extent of this, and if is mandatory or optional.

To scope the benefits, enablers and barriers for incorporating allergy training into undergraduate school teacher training ASCIA will:

  • Conduct a gap analysis to determine current allergy education being provided in universities.
  • Engage with relevant stakeholders to determine the benefits, enablers and barriers for incorporating allergy training into undergraduate training.
  • Work with NAC and other relevant organisations to develop minimum competencies.
  • Provide a report with the findings of the above activities.

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ASCIA Progress Report - National Allergy Council Shared Care for Allergy project - February 2023

ASCIA’s involvement in the National Allergy Council Shared Care for Allergy project includes education and training of health professionals. The aim of this project is to improve access to quality healthcare for people with allergies, particularly in regional, rural and remote areas.

The following information summarises the progress of ASCIA’s involvement in the project as at 8 February 2023, in regards to:

  1. Scoping of undergraduate education and training for health professionals 
  2. Review of existing ASCIA education and training resources
  3. Stakeholder consultation to identify education needs via surveys
  4. CPD point allocation for training courses and programs
  5. Promotion of patient support organisations through training and other mechanisms
  6. Providing support to users of ASCIA e-training courses
  7. MBS Item numbers for food and drug challenges
  8. Development of new training resources and programs including case-based programs
  9. ASCIA nominations to National Allergy Council Shared Care for Allergy project working party
  10. ASCIA staffing for National Allergy Council Shared Care for Allergy project
1. Scoping of undergraduate education and training for health professionals

Whilst we are aware that some undergraduate courses include ASCIA e-training, we do not know the extent of this, and if is mandatory or optional.

To scope the benefits, enablers and barriers for incorporating allergy training into undergraduate training for medical and other health professionals, ASCIA will:

  • Conduct a gap analysis to determine current allergy education being provided in universities.
  • Engage with relevant stakeholders to determine the benefits, enablers and barriers for incorporating allergy training into undergraduate training.
  • Work with other medical organisations to develop minimum competencies.
  • Provide a report with the findings of the above activities.
2. Review of existing ASCIA education and training resources

The ASCIA website was significantly updated in late 2022 to improve the user experience and make it easier to find more than 400 online resources and courses, which include:

The process for reviewing, developing and updating ASCIA online resources and training has been documented and this information is available on the ASCIA website www.allergy.org.au/about-ascia/website-information

3. Stakeholder consultation to identify education needs via surveys

ASCIA will obtain feedback data from evaluation surveys, which will be collated and reviewed in 2023. ASCIA e-training surveys used to be optional, whereas they now need to be completed before users obtain their certificate of course completion.

In 2023 ASCIA will be collecting more data, which will include the following initiatives: 

  • To obtain feedback from ASCIA members about ASCIA online resources, education and training a survey was sent to all ASCIA members in December 2022. Responses were received from 40% of ASCIA members by the deadline of 31 January 2023, and these will be summarised in a report by the end of March 2023.
  • To obtain stakeholder feedback about ASCIA online resources, education and training a similar survey will be sent to non-ASCIA members who subscribe to the ASCIA community newsletter.
  • To obtain feedback about ASCIA anaphylaxis, food allergy, allergic rhinitis and allergen immunotherapy e-training courses for health professionals a short survey is now included at the end of the courses, which will only take users a few minutes to complete before they obtain their certificate of course completion. All information collected will be anonymous, and courses can be accessed here
  • To obtain feedback about ASCIA anaphylaxis, food allergy and allergic rhinitis e-training courses for pharmacists a short survey is now included at the end of the courses, which will only take users a few minutes to complete before they obtain their certificate of course completion. All information collected will be anonymous and courses can be accessed here

The following ASCIA meetings will also be oppportunities to obtain feedback on ASCIA online resources and courses:

  • ASCIA-DA Food Allergy Course for Dietitians - 2 to 3 March 2023
  • ASCIA 2023 Conference Allergy Update for Medical Practitioners - 8 September 2023
  • ASCIA 2023 Conference Allergy Updates for Nurses and Dietitians - 8 September 2023
4. CPD point allocation for training courses and programs 
  • ASCIA e-training courses have been updated in January 2023 to include the new evaluation surveys.
  • These surveys include questions in the health professional courses that are required for RACGP CPD point allocation.
  • In February 2023 ASCIA will apply to the RACGP (for the 2023-2025 triennium), ACCRM, PSA and other relevant organisations for CPD point allocation. 
5. Promotion of patient support organisations through training and other mechanisms 

ASCIA online resources for health professionals, patients and carers will be reviewed and updated in 2023-2024 to ensure that plain language is used where possible and to include the following information at the start of each document:

For patient or carer support contact Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia or Allergy New Zealand.

This information has also been included in ASCIA e-training courses.

6. Providing support to users of ASCIA e-training courses 

Users of ASCIA e-training courses continue to be supported through:

  • Online feedback form
  • Direct email
  • Website updates
  • Newsletter information
  • ASCIA responding to feedback from the new evaluation surveys.
7. MBS Item numbers for food and drug challenges

ASCIA is in the process of requesting recommendations regarding consultants with experience in applying for MBS item numbers for procedures. In the meantime ASCIA has developed the following resources (mostly in 2022), which will be important to reference in the MBS item number applications:

An ASCIA Position Paper for Drug Allergy Challenges is under development and is expected to be completed by the end of March 2023.

8. Development of new training resources and programs including case-based programs

In 2023 ASCIA will expand its CPD opportunities for ASCIA members, by facilitating clinical case review groups for clinical immunology/allergy specialists and immunology/allergy advanced trainees via the existing Paediatric Immunology and Allergy Interest Group (PIAIG) and the new Adult Immunology and Allergy Interest Group (AIAIG).

Facilitating these case review groups will provide ASCIA with experience and knowledge that can be transferred to upskilling other health professionals (including non ASCIA members) in anaphylaxis and allergy. These case discussion groups may be offered to health professionals who attend the following meetings (as a follow up to the meetings):

  • ASCIA-DA Food Allergy Course for Dietitians - 2 to 3 March 2023
  • ASCIA 2023 Conference Allergy Update for Medical Practitioners - 8 September 2023
  • ASCIA 2023 Conference Allergy Updates for Nurses and Dietitians - 8 September 2023
9. ASCIA nominations to National Allergy Council Shared Care for Allergy project working party
10. ASCIA staffing for National Allergy Council Shared Care for allergy project
  • ASCIA has now employed two project officers to work on the National Allergy Council projects who have commenced work on 1st March 2023, as listed on the ASCIA website  www.allergy.org.au/members/committees#d
  • In addition, existing ASCIA staff (equivalent to 1 FTE) and contractors are working to progress work on the National Allergy Council projects.  

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Nominations for National Allergy Council - January 2023

Full ASCIA members and Associate (Nurse) members are invited to submit Expressions of Interest (EOI) for the following voluntary ASCIA representative roles on the National Allergy Council Shared Care Model (SCM) project overarching working group:

  • Clinical immunology/allergy specialist working in paediatric public and/or private practice.
  • Clinical immunology/allergy specialist working in adult public and/or private allergy practice.
  • Allergy nurse working in paediatric public and/or adult public practice.

For your reference, a brief overview of the National Allergy Council SCM project is available here: pdfNational Allergy Council Shared Care Model Project Overview Nov 20221.42 MB

This project will address issues related to access to quality healthcare for Australians with allergy, particularly those living in regional, rural and remote areas. Therefore, experience with setting up multidisciplinary models of care for chronic health conditions, standards of care, and/or a regional, rural or remote perspective would be an advantage, but is not essential. 

ASCIA members interested in these roles should email an EOI (up to one A4 page) and a brief CV to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Thursday 9 February 2023. 

The National Allergy Council is a partnership between the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) and Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia, working with the National Allergy Centre of Excellence (NACE), in consultation with key stakeholder organisations. Dr Katie Frith (representing ASCIA) and Maria Said AM (representing A&AA) are the co-leads for this project. 

The purpose of the overarching National Allergy Council SCM project working group is to:

  • Support the project co-leads in providing strategic oversight and direction across all components of the SCM project.
  • Guide national stakeholder consultations.
  • Support smaller working groups tasked with delivering various components of the SCM project.
  • Establish or build on networks and partnerships, ensuring a linked and collaborative approach.

National Allergy Council SCM working groups will:

  • Commence in March 2023 and will initially meet  for 1–2 hours duration, approximately 6 times per year. Most meetings will occur via videoconference, however occasionally a face-to-face meeting may be necessary, in which case the National Allergy Council will fund travel costs. As these roles are voluntary, no remuneration will be provided. 
  • Implement deliverables according to the National Allergy Council Activity Work Plan, which is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health, over four years (2023 to 2026). This work should lead to significant changes in standards of care, education and training for allergy in Australia. 
  • Be listed on the National Allergy Council website and acknowledged at national meetings, conferences and publications.

In addition to the three ASCIA representative roles listed above, all ASCIA members will be given the opportunity to self-nominate for one of the sub-groups tasked with progressing specific components of the National Allergy Council SCM project. Initially, there will be two sub-groups:

  • Education, training, and scope of practice.
  • Standards of care for allergic diseases. 

To subscribe to communications about the National Allergy Council SCM project email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject SUBSCRIBE.

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CHOICE Allergen Immunotherapy study - January 2023

CHOICE study coordinators are looking for clinicians to join them in an international multi-centre academic project, which looks at factors that drive the prescription of allergen immunotherapy in real-life clinical settings.

Study title: CHOICE = “Criteria Used by Health Professionals on the Selection of Allergen Immunotherapy in Real Clinical Practice: an international E-survey”.

National CHOICE study coordinators: Prof Connie Katelaris AM, Head of Immunology, Campbelltown Hospital, Dr Narinder Kaur, Clinical Immunologist and Allergist, Dr Margaret Li, Allergy and Immunology Fellow, SCHN.

To be a part of this project, clinicians are required to complete a quick 10-minute web-based survey about current practice when prescribing allergen immunotherapy and also a short questionnaire for each patient that you are prospectively planning to commence on allergen immunotherapy.

All data will be anonymous and stored securely. For further information, please see the PDF information sheet for clinicians  pdfClinician Information Sheet672.98 KB

If you are interested, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your contact details, as well as your current practice setting. If you are working in a public hospital, please include your head of department in the email. We will be in touch with the next steps.

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