Delivered by leading experts in the field, the online Advanced Certificate of Women’s Health equips medical professionals with a comprehensive understanding of women’s health issues commonly seen in primary care. Exploring medical conditions and concerns pertinent to female patients, the certificate course will enable you to provide high-demand services and better meet your patients’ needs.
As consultations with female patients account for over 56 per cent of primary care consultations in Australia, the gender-specific health needs of women are a significant part of day-to-day work in general practice. This Advanced Certificate course offers intermediate knowledge in women’s health issues, covering crucial areas such as endometriosis, pelvic pain, ovarian cancer, sexual health, family planning, infertility, pregnancy complications, breast problems, obesity, and post-menopause health issues.
This course is the second stage of the Professional Diploma of Women's Health. The education pathway is: Foundation Certificate of Women's Health, Professional Certificate of Women's Health, Advanced Certificate of Women's Health, and Professional Diploma of Women's Health. You might also be interested in the Advanced Workshop of Intrauterine Systems.
The Advanced Certificate of Women's Health is tailored for medical doctors who wish to improve patient outcomes by managing common women's health issues in general practice. This qualification is stage two of the Professional Diploma of Women’s Health.
The courses are suitable for physicians and degree-qualified medical practitioners, including registered nurses. The prerequisite for this Advanced Certificate course is the successful completion of the HealthCert Professional Certificate of Women’s Health (or a qualification deemed equivalent). HealthCert also highly recommends successful management of at least 25 cases of women’s health issues prior to enrolment.
Participants do not have to pass an IELTS test but, as the courses are delivered in English, proficiency in listening, reading and writing English is assumed.
Participants will require access to a computer/laptop, an internet connection and a basic level of technology proficiency to access and navigate the online learning portal.
Course participants will:
Module 1: An approach to diagnosing pelvic pain
Pelvic pain is one of the most common symptoms experienced by women that can significantly impact quality of life. Given the complex anatomy of the pelvis and lower abdomen, pelvic pain presents a diagnostic challenge that requires clinical awareness to ensure the diagnosis of serious conditions including endometriosis and cancer. This module provides practitioners with clinical reasoning models to effectively assess and diagnose acute, chronic, or recurrent pelvic pain. It applies diagnostic models to the diagnosis and management of pelvic pain. These are shown to offer complementary approaches and thereby generate a wide-ranging list of possible diagnoses. The module also guides the practitioner through the elements of taking a thorough history including pelvic pain-specific questions and funnels this information into a clinical examination and appropriate investigations. Three case studies illustrate the application of Murtagh’s self-posed questions.
Module 2: Sexual health
Sexual health is an essential component of a woman’s well-being and sexual difficulties can undermine relationships, impair self-esteem, mood and quality of life. This module examines the complex, multifactorial etiology of sexual dysfunction and proposes an evaluation and treatment approach that addresses the biological, psychological, sociocultural, and relational factors. The role of the doctor to broach the subject of sex is addressed and the module guides practitioners in overcoming their apprehensions. Taking a detailed sexual history is outlined as the basis for treatment, prevention, education, and the empowerment to embrace healthy, satisfying, and responsible sexual behaviour. The module offers education and suggestions for some of the most common sexual health problems such as difficulty achieving orgasm and reduced libido. The final unit weighs the impact of changing hormone levels on the sexual function of menopausal women and examines the role of menopause hormone therapy.
Module 3: Family Planning (Advanced)
This module discusses the role of general practitioners in contraceptive counselling with comprehensive information on long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs). The nature of LARCs means that there is no difference between typical and perfect use and recognised their contraceptive effectiveness. Medical eligibility criteria for contraceptive use is applied to the three types of LARC and elaborates upon important contraindications. It also presents discussion about the use of LARCs including how a clinician can reasonably exclude pregnancy and institute emergency contraception when warranted. Because of the suitability of LARCS for adolescents, the module examines issues of consent and identifies key points of legislation related to informed consent. It also considers the termination of unintended pregnancy from request for a termination of pregnancy through to clinical referral. Finally, there is a discussion about the “quick start” method of contraception for women at higher risk of unintended pregnancy.
Module 4: Infertility
The experience of infertility or subfertility is often unexpected, confronting and can cause feelings of defectiveness, depression, and loss of identity. This module reviews the delicate and complex processes of ovulation, fertilisation, and implantation. It explores factors that contribute to infertility and subfertility including sex, mechanism, lifestyle and environmental factors, recreational drug use and concurrent illness. The module explores the psychological, social, physical, and financial burden of subfertility and infertility, and outlines intervention approaches. Patient case studies illustrate the assessment and investigations required to construct a management plan for fertility problems. The module also explores reproductive technologies and covers the benefits and implications of interventions such as in-vitro fertilisation, ovulation induction and DIY artificial insemination. Adoption and surrogacy are also considered. Finally, the pivotal role of the practitioner in prevention, education, management, and support of women experiencing recurrent pregnancy loss is addressed.
Module 5: Pregnancy complications
This module considers four common complications of pregnancy - miscarriage, obesity, gestational diabetes mellitus, and postnatal depression. It examines the clinical presentation, assessment, important considerations and management options for the general practitioner. For example, under miscarriage, when considering a management plan, a woman’s emotional distress and her need for control needs to balanced with her physical welfare. The investigation of recurrent miscarriages is addressed. The increased risks of adverse outcomes associated with pre-conceptional obesity and excessive weight gain during pregnancy are covered including potential antenatal, intrapartum, and postpartum obesity-related complications. It also discusses how to conduct sensitive conversations about managing gestational weight gain. A classification of the risk factors for gestational diabetes introduces the adverse complications for both mother and infant including the far-reaching effect of epigenetic dysregulation. In conclusion, the module considers the role of the practitioners as a crucial point of care for women with perinatal depression and comorbid anxiety symptoms.
Module 6: Breast problems
Breast cancer prevention is dependent upon early detection, however screening and surveillance should be based upon each woman’s estimated risk. Risk assessment is therefore a crucial step and has a dual purpose of engaging women in discussions about risk reduction. This module categorises breast cancer-associated risk factors according to potency and mutability and includes validated tools with which a risk assessment can be undertaken. The module then discusses risk-appropriate screening strategies. Discovering a new breast symptom can be extremely worrisome for a woman and although most are benign, more than half of breast cancers are diagnosed this way. The module outlines the highly effective triple test approach which allows practitioners to evaluate a new breast symptom, rule a malignancy in or out and reassure or refer women, as necessary. The module also addresses the clinical presentation a raft of breast changes including mastalgia and breast cancers. For each condition, there is an examination of the relevant investigations, management and surveillance.
Module 7: Obesity and overweight management
The module discusses the role practitioners play in the primary prevention, screening, evaluation, treatment and ongoing monitoring of comorbidities in overweight and obese patients. Sustained behavioural change for these patients is predicated on a long-term, collaborative relationship patient and doctor. Guides are included for eliciting the patient's level of change-motivation and offers a framework for structuring a lifestyle counselling consultation. The module identifies four pillars of management: patient education and health literacy, lifestyle modifications, medication, and weight loss surgery. As a first-line therapy, education and lifestyle interventions including physical activity and diet, form the foundation for change. Beyond these interventions, the adjunctive role of medications is also discussed. The pharmacodynamic effects, administration and monitoring of three TGA-approved medications are considered in the context of what may be a life-long intervention. Bariatric surgery, the primary mechanism, the effectiveness and indications are also outlined. In conclusion, the module discusses the drivers of obesity and the practitioner’s role in primary prevention through education and advocation.
Module 8: Post-menopause
As estrogen deficiency begins to dominate in post menopause and women may experience health issues and escalated risks. This module examines the aetiology, compounding factors and socioeconomic burden, and considers the medical and complementary management of osteoporosis, genito-urinary syndrome, mood disorders and cardiovascular disease. It provides an outline of the risk factors associated with osteoporosis and fragility fractures. It discusses the tools to assess fracture risk as well as the criteria for, and interpretation of, DXA scans. Lifestyle interventions and pharmacotherapy are also considered. general care, non-hormonal measures and the role of topical or systemic estrogen therapy. Gentio-urinary syndrome caused by the hypogenic state of post menopause is discussed. The importance of a mental health assessment for post-menopausal women is emphasised including risk factors and management of depression and anxiety. The module concludes with an overview of cardiovascular disease, the risk factors (including the impact of estrogen deficiency), and the evidence and parameters for hormone therapy.
A/Prof Debbie Kors
MBBS (first class honours)
General practitioner and GP supervisor
Associate Professor Debbie Kors is the founder and joint owner of a private teaching general practice in Port Macquarie, Australia. She works there as a general practitioner and GP supervisor of GP registrars and medical students.
A/Prof Kors is a passionate advocate for the profession of general practice. She is a Conjoint Associate Professor in Primary Health Care at the UNSW Rural Clinical School, Port Macquarie campus and has previously worked as a senior medical educator with North Coast GP Training. In 2010, she was nominated for and won the General Practice Education and Training GP Supervisor of the Year award.
A/Prof Kors holds a MBBS (first class honours), Fellowship of the RACGP, Masters of Family Medicine (clinical), Diploma of the Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Graduate Diploma of Medical Education and a Certificate of Family Planning.
Dr Christine Ahern
MBBS and FRACGP
Senior lecturer at Sydney University
Dr Christine Ahern has worked as a general practitioner in rural NSW since 1983, often with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Her special interests include women’s health and education.
Dr Ahern is a senior lecturer at Sydney University and has previously been the Director of Training for North Coast GP Training. In 2011 she was named the General Practice Education and Training Medical Educator of the Year, a prestigious national award. Dr Ahern holds a MBBS and FRACGP.
Dr Kate Moriarty
Bachelor of Medicine (honours), Fellowship of the RACGP and a Diploma in Child Health.
Dr Kate Moriarty works in private general practice in Port Macquarie, Australia, where she is also a supervisor of GP registrars and of medical students. She is a senior lecturer for UNSW Rural Clinical School, Port Macquarie campus. She has special interests in women’s health and medical education.
She holds a Bachelor of Medicine (honours), Fellowship of the RACGP and a Diploma in Child Health.
Dr Sharon Sykes
MBBS, Bachelor of Applied Science (Med Lab Sci) and a Fellowship of the RACGP
Dr Sharon Sykes works in private general practice in Port Macquarie, Australia where she is also a supervisor of GP registrars and of medical students. Dr Sykes served 18 years in the Royal Australian Air Force before becoming a general practitioner. She has a special interest in medical education and has previously worked as a medical educator for North Coast GP Training.
She holds a MBBS, Bachelor of Applied Science (Med Lab Sci) and a Fellowship of the RACGP.
Dr Evangelia Francis
Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
Bachelor of Medicine Bachelor of Surgery
Bachelor in Sciences (First class Honours in Neuroscience)
Diploma in Child Health
Diploma of the Royal College Obstetricians and Gynaecologists
Diploma of Family Planning & Sexual Health
Dr Evangelia (Valia) Francis is a GP. Dr Francis enjoys all aspects of General Practice but is especially interested in skin medicine, women's health and medicine of the elderly.
Originally from the coastal town of Kavala in Greece, Dr Francis is involved in teaching medical students as a Conjoint Lecturer in the Rural Medical School of Port Macquarie as well as teaching registrars. It is a very fulfilling aspect of her work that has been greatly inspired and supported by the senior educators at her practice.
When not at work, Dr Francis tries to fight waves with surf or paddle boards (so far they always win!), is training hard to become the next MasterChef winner, and enjoys reading books and learning new languages.
This is a fully online course. Participants can enjoy the flexibility to study at their own pace, in their own time, within their home or office, and on their favourite mobile device. The modules are set up in such a way that participants are not required to be online at specific times but can view and replay the video lectures at their convenience.
The webinars offer the opportunity to join and interact with the presenters online in real-time but can also be viewed later. There are no face-to-face requirements for exams which can be conveniently completed online within three months of the exam opening date. With no travel, accommodation or out-of-office expenses incurred, participants can build critical skills and tailor their career while working in a busy practice or raising a family.
There are eight units in a HealthCert certificate course. The course is delivered over 15 weeks with 12 weeks of teaching followed by three weeks for revision and final examinations. The course includes online presentations from experts in the field followed by patient case discussions and decision-making. There is a final webinar prior to examinations. You will also receive valuable 12 months web-based support from the speakers and participate in regular online learning sessions with the opportunity to ask any questions you might have as you implement your learning.
The course includes:
In order to meet the requirements of professional and academic learning, the course assessment includes a professional requirement and two online examinations.
The knowledge-based examination is worth 50 per cent and the application-based examination is worth 50 per cent. The overall pass mark is 80 per cent. It is therefore not possible to pass this course on knowledge alone. Knowledge must be successfully applied to patient cases in order to pass the course.HealthCert recommends completion of the assessment at your convenience within three months of the completion of the course (or enrolling in the online course).
Upon successful completion of the exam, course participants will receive the Advanced Certificate of Women's Health.
RACGP CPD Accredited Activity 40 Points
- PDP units: 32 Educational activity, 18 Performance review
- MOPs points: 6 O&G
- Procedural Training Grants for Obstetrics
This Advanced certificate:
This online three-part program consists of the Professional Certificate, Advanced Certificate, and Professional Diploma of Women's Health.
Certified clinical attachments pathway
Course graduates may continue their professional development by completing a clinical attachment, which are available on request. These will be on a 1:1 basis providing the opportunity to observe clinical nutrition consultation, planning and decision-making and ask questions of the expert. Clinical attachments are available in Australia.
Postgraduate pathway for women's health
A postgraduate pathway is currently under development. Please ask a HealthCert Education Advisor for an update on this pathway.