Delivered by leading experts in the field, the online Professional Diploma 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 Professional Diploma course offers subspecialist-level knowledge in women’s health issues, covering crucial areas such as vaginal prolapse, incontinence, complementary medicine, family planning, pregnancy complications, eating disorders, familial risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and premature ovarian insufficiency.
This course is the final 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 Professional Diploma of Women's Health is tailored for medical doctors who wish to build on the knowledge gained from the Professional Certificate and Advanced Certificate of Women’s Health and want to improve patient outcomes by managing common women’s health issues in general practice. There will be a greater focus on difficult and complex cases in this Professional Diploma. Submission and analysis of medical practitioners’ own cases are a key feature of this course.
This course is for physicians and degree-qualified medical practitioners. The prerequisite for this Professional Diploma course is the successful completion of the HealthCert Advanced Certificate of Medical Women’s Health (or a qualification deemed equivalent) and HealthCert also highly recommends successful management of at least 30 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.
Professional Diploma courses are at the highest level at HealthCert, so there are additional professional requirements and submission of online cases. A literature review must also be completed of journal articles.
Course participants will:
Module 1: Urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse
In this module, urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapses are covered, with diagrams demonstrating how they can occur. The module also looks at the types of incontinence, symptoms, diagnosis, prevalence, the causes and risk factors. Prolapses covered are the anterior and posterior vaginal walls, cervix or uterus and the apex of the vagina. Lifestyle prevention treatment options are discussed including pelvic floor exercises. Managing these presentations includes taking a detailed medical and obstetric history, and investigating risk factors, physical examination and further investigation options. Questionnaires are provided as a guide for these consultations. changes are discussed as well as continence aids. Various treatment options including lifestyle interventions, physical therapies, bladder training, medicines and continence aids are outlined. Surgical intervention and the associated risks of surgical intervention are considered.
Module 2: Complementary medicines
The definition of complementary medicine according to WHO and the RACGP are outlined in this module. Three main topics in this module include how to approach of the topic of complementary medicine with your patients, how to review and discuss the evidence for complementary medicine with your patients, and the use of some clinical scenarios to put these strategies into practice. A feature of this module gives two scenarios of patients with urinary incontinence and with pregnancy-induced emesis. In both cases the patients prefer “natural” options rather than traditional medication. The module concludes that the GP should advise patient of all potential treatments for their condition, including benefits and risks. The GP should not recommend any treatment that does not have reasonable evidence for its effectiveness.
Module 3: Family planning (Advanced 2)
This module builds on the knowledge learned in the advanced certificate. It starts with the description of the different phases of the menstrual cycle and natural family planning methods options. These include fertility awareness, lactational amenorrhoea and withdrawal methods, their effectiveness, advantages and disadvantages and contraindications. Unit 2 outlines contraceptive needs in women with Intellectual Disability including legal considerations. Unit 3 addresses the complexities for women who are culturally and linguistically diverse, including the clinical challenges associated with this group. Information includes statistics, factors influencing contraceptive choices and GP management recommendations are included. Key points of diagnosis, investigations, management, expected response and potential side effects are suggested. This unit also lists resources including public funded interpreter information. Information for GPs working with ATSI women is also featured. At the end of this module an overview of new contraceptive products is given.
Module 4: Pregnancy complications (Advanced 1)
Unit one outlines the considerations for advanced maternal age pregnancies and potential complications for the mother and the child. It examines fertility decline and possible early pregnancy complications including spontaneous abortion, ectopic pregnancy, chromosomal abnormalities and congenital malformations. Late pregnancy complications discussed include hypertension, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes mellitus, placental complications and increased risk of caesarean sections. Possible foetal complications including low birth weight, preterm delivery and stillbirth. The definitions of twin pregnancies and possible maternal and foetal complications are listed. Antenatal care, timings and mode of birth are included. Unit three defines pre-eclampsia, identifying women at risk, the effects on the body, and the pathophysiology and management of this condition. The complexity of managing this condition in rural areas is discussed. Finally benign pregnancy-related skin concerns are reviewed including skin pigmentation, stretch marks and thinning of hair. Benign and sinister specific dermatoses of pregnancy are described and examples are shown.
Module 5: Pregnancy complications (Advanced 2)
This module lists possible infections and how the immune system in pregnancy may respond. These include chlamydia, syphilis, Hep B/C, HIV, GBS, rubella and varicella, HSV, listeria, parvovirus, cytomegalovirus, toxoplasma and COVID- 19. Clinical management of these conditions is outlined. Unit 2 defines and outlines the causes of antepartum haemorrhage. It includes risk factors and clinical management of this condition.
Preterm birth/labour (PTL) is the topic of unit 3 and discusses the causes, risk factors, risk reduction, assessment and management of this condition. Unit 4 describes vaginal/perineal tears and episiotomies, including definitions, risk factors and tear-associated morbidity. The types of episiotomy incisions is described and when this procedure should or should not be performed. Possible complications are included. The last part of this unit looks at faecal and anal incontinence after pregnancy and childbirth; definition, assessment history, examination and management of this condition.
Module 6: Familial risk of breast and ovarian cancer
Genetics are discussed in unit one including information, counselling and statistics for hereditary, familial and sporadic distribution of cancer. The role of genes is also examined. Unit two looks at hereditary breast and ovarian cancer and the associated genes. Referral guidelines, BRCA carrier risks, genetic counselling, identifying and managing patients who are at high risk of hereditary cancers are addressed. Genetic testing information including advances, testing processes and possible funding options are outlined in unit 3. This includes consent requirements, possible results and genetic variant classifications. The module moves on to management strategies for high risk breast and ovarian cancer patients including psychological and lifestyle choices for high risk women, communicating genetic results and informing family members. Counselling considerations are reproductive options, prenatal testing, pre and implantation genetic diagnosis and the role of IVF, and their pro’s and con’s.
Module 7: Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa
This module describes eating disorders including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder and other specified feeding and eating disorders. The role of the medical practitioner is discussed including advocacy for changing societal norms and healthy lifestyle perspectives and targeting at risk individuals. High risk groups are noted. The module provides screening tools to be used in conjunction with behavioural, psychological and physical signs – a comprehensive list of signs for these categories are listed. The module then provides assessment information and guides and when immediate referral is appropriate. Patient engagement may be challenging and the suggested approach by the clinician is included. At the end of this module, treatment goals and guidelines are given including suggested multidisciplinary team involvement, medical practitioner management, pharmacotherapy and eligibility criteria.
Module 8: Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI)
In the first unit of this module definitions of early and premature menopause are given. Risk factors and causes of spontaneous POI are listed. Iatrogenic POI, caused by chemotherapy, radiotherapy or surgery is mentioned. Information about clinical presentations of POI, diagnosis criteria, patient history, examinations, investigations and ongoing monitoring are listed in unit 2. Health consequences may include psychological distress, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment, sexual dysfunction and other health concerns. Finally, management of POI from initiating care and coordinating care (may include a multidisciplinary approach. Information is provided on managing symptoms of menopause, sexual health difficulties and psychological issues. When managing patients with this condition, consideration needs to be given regarding prevention of bone loss, osteoporosis and prevention of cardiovascular disease.
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 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 Nelum Dharmapriya
MBChB(UK), MRCP, FRACGP
General Practitioner at Narangba Doctors, Queensland
Diploma of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, UK (DRCOG) 2000
Diploma of Family planning and Sexual Health Medicine, UK (DFFP) 2003
Obtained Letter of Competence in Intrauterine Techniques by FFPRHC, 2003
Dr Nelum Dharmapriya was born in Sri Lanka. She graduated from the University of Aberdeen, UK, in 1995 and was a partner at Heaton Norris Medical Centre in Stockport, UK, for seven years. Nelum arrived in Australia in 2009 and established Narangba Doctors in 2012. She is married with two teenage boys and loves to spend time outdoors – running, cycling, travelling and reading.
HGSA-Certified Genetic Counsellor, ACT Genetic Service
Master's in Genetic Counselling
ACT State Representative, Human Genetics for Australasia
Belinda Dopita is an HGSA certified genetic counsellor with over 19 years’ clinical experience. She completed her undergraduate degree at the ANU, and her postgraduate diploma in Genetic Counselling at Melbourne. She worked at the Center for Human Genetics in Boston, USA. After returning to Australia, Belinda completed her Master's in Genetic Counselling studying physician knowledge of newborn screening, while working at The Children's Hospital at Westmead.
Belinda currently works at the ACT Genetic Service in both general and cancer genetics. She supports many cancer support groups and has presented at pink hope information days. Belinda also has a private practice which she founded in 2014. Her private practice has since grown, and she offers a combination of in-person appointments, skype and phone consultations. She is responsible for discussing high risk non-invasive prenatal test (NIPT), and reproductive carrier screening results Australia-wide. She has a particular interest in pre-pregnancy and prenatal genetic counselling as well as genetic testing for genes associated with cancer.
Belinda is the current ACT state representative for the Human Genetics for Australasia and has a long history of service with the HGSA. Having a background in psychology and previously working with children in many areas, she is also interested in genetic counselling of children and young adults.
Belinda has three children which keep her busy; she enjoys horse riding, dining out and any free time she can get.
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 Professional Diploma 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.
A clinical audit is a mandatory element of this professional diploma. The clinical audit will guide you to reflect on your patient management, prior to and after, increasing your knowledge through your studies at HealthCert. You will need to submit your own cases as part of the audit. If you no longer see any cases in this field, the course offers an early exit point with the Complex Certificate.
The course includes:
In order to meet the requirements of professional and academic learning, the course assessment includes professional requirements and two online examinations.
The pass mark for each exam 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 all requirements at your convenience within nine months of the commencement of the course.
Upon successful completion of the exam, course participants will receive the Professional Diploma of Women's Health and the below points.
ACRRM points pending.
RACGP Accredited Activity: 80 CPD points
This professional certificate:
This online program consists of the Foundation Certificate, Professional Certificate, Advanced Certificate, and Professional Diploma of Women's Health.
Postgraduate scholarships for Women's Health
HealthCert graduates who successfully complete the HealthCert Professional Diploma of Women's Health receive a scholarship of up to £500 (approximately $1,000) towards the Master of Science in Women's Health (to be offered in 2021). The postgraduate course is offered entirely online through DiplomaMSc in the UK and awarded by the University of South Wales. Learn more or enrol here.
Participation in research
HealthCert alumni have opportunities to participate in research projects conducted by leading experts in the field. Research projects and surveys are shared via the HealthCert blog which is available to HealthCert alumni.