Celebrating 120 years with the Avant Leadership Tour 2013

  • 120 year Road Show Banner


  • Avant is proud to celebrate 120 years of protecting and supporting Australian doctors and healthcare practitioners. To mark this occasion, Avant is bringing to Australia
    Dr Gerald Hickson, a world-recognised expert on promoting professional accountability amongst doctors. 

    Based at Vanderbilt University, Tennessee, Dr Hickson has expertise around disruptive behaviours amongst health professionals and the relationship to patient risk.

    Dr Hickson will present at Live Events across Australia from Friday 23 August to Thursday 29 August 2013 on the connection between the behaviour of health professionals, patient outcomes and litigation.

    These events are free to attend and seats are limited. Register now to secure your place.


    Register online here 

    Read more about our keynote speaker, Dr Hickson Road show button  
    Our history Road show button  
    Evolving with the profession Road show button  
    Today and tomorrow Road show button  
    For the press Road show button


    Avant Leadership Tour Events



    Dr Hickson

    Gerald B. Hickson is the Joseph C. Ross Chair of Medical Education and Administration, Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Professor of Family and Health Systems Nursing at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

    Dr. Hickson joined the faculty of the Department of Pediatrics in 1982 and served six years as Vice Chairman of the Department of Pediatrics and Chief of Pediatrics Outpatient Services for the Vanderbilt Clinic. In 2003, Dr. Hickson was appointed Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Director of the Center for Patient and Professional Advocacy. In 2005, he was named Director of Clinical Risk and Loss Prevention and Chairman of the Self-Insurance Trust Committee. Currently, Dr. Hickson holds the additional roles of Assistant Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs and Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs.

    Since 1990, Dr. Hickson’s research has focused on why families choose to file suit, why certain physicians attract a disproportionate share of claims and how to identify and intervene with high-risk physicians. His work has resulted in over 150 peer review articles and chapters; the development of PARS® peer-review system and several educational initiatives to promote disclosure of medical errors and address behaviours that undermine a culture of safety.

    Dr. Hickson currently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Patient Safety Foundation (NPSF) and as Chair of the Board of Professionals in Patient Safety (CBPPS). Dr. Hickson received a BS from the University of Georgia and MD from Tulane University School of Medicine. He completed his pediatric residency and a fellowship in General Academic Pediatrics at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. 

    Read the latest articles quoting Dr Hickson:

    - Medical Observer, Unprofessional conduct shown in one in 20 medical staff - 25th June 2013
    - USA Today, When doctors are bullies, patient safety may suffer - 20th April 2013
    - Australian Doctor,  Dealing with disruptive influences opinion piece - 12th August 2013

    - 6minutes, Disruptive doctors' behaviour goes unchallenged - 12th August 2013
    - MJA Insight, Gerald Hickson changing behaviour - 12th August 2013

    Avant celebrates 120 years of supporting the medical profession

    Our history

    The organisation was born when a small group of doctors met in the Australia Hotel in 1893 to discuss the needs of their profession. They set up the Sydney Medical Association and charged each member an annual subscription of one guinea to establish a defence fund against “vexatious actions at law arising out of the practice of their profession”.

    Two years later, a similar body, the Medical Defence Association of Victoria, was born at the home of Dr George Adlington Syme in Collins Street, in Melbourne.
    Back in 1893 doctors visited patients in a horse drawn buggy, there were no antibiotics, quack practitioners threatened the profession and legal matters were dealt with through lengthy written correspondence.

    Today the picture is very different but one thing hasn’t changed – Avant’s primary concern is to meet the needs of our members.

    Evolving with the profession

    Initially established to protect the honour and integrity of the profession, the Sydney Medical Association and the Medical Defence Association of Victoria ultimately merged to form Avant in 2007. As the complexity of medicine and health care delivery has increased over the past 120 years Avant has evolved alongside to meet the dynamic needs of the profession.

    Throughout the last 120 years we have adapted to changes in healthcare and medicine and the regulatory environment. As medical science and technology evolved, for example, healthcare became increasingly specialised, a factor contributing to a rise in medico-legal cases. In response to this, Avant shifted to risk-based membership fees.

    Avant weathered rising litigation and record damages payouts during the 1970s and 1980s, culminating in an indemnity crisis in the early 2000s which led to widespread tort law reform across the country. And today we continue to be agile and adapt to our members’ changing requirements.

    Today and tomorrow

    While 120 years ago our founders offered little more than advice and financial support, today our role has expanded and now we see Avant as a business and career partner to our members. We offer a range of insurance products, medico-legal support, risk management services and education. We also actively advocate for the profession to play a role in shaping the national health agenda, and to ensure our members are represented when it comes to issues that affect them professionally. Avant also contributes to the future of healthcare by offering support and research scholarships to young doctors.

    All this from a solid fiscal foundation based on sound financial management.

    Avant prides itself on having led medical defence in Australia for 120 years, and we look forward to continuing to be in a leadership position for the exciting challenges ahead.

    Reaching such a significant milestone deserves to be celebrated and throughout 2013 a range of events and activities are planned to do just that. We look forward to celebrating with you.

    For the press

    PRESS RELEASE: Understanding the link between performance and professionalism 
    PRESS RELEASE: Avant marks its 120th anniversary 
    PRESS RELEASE: Avant's advocacy program
    PRESS RELEASE: Avant 120 year events