sapmea originated in South Australia in 1897 as a voluntary group; meeting as the first Permanent Committee of the British Medical Association. By 1928, that Committee had reconstituted to become the Postgraduate Committee in Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Adelaide, with the University assuming responsibility for the Committee’s administration, salaries and funding. In 1976, with the new Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University Medical School open and operational, the Postgraduate Committee became incorporated as the South Australian Postgraduate Medical Education Association (sapmea). Foundation members of sapmea included nominees of the Minister of Health, the two Universities, the Medical Board of South Australia, and the Australian Medical Association (SA).
Some external funding was available to sapmea between 1976 and 1997 through the universities, the AMA (SA) and the Health Commission. Since then sapmea has worked to achieve revenues through the provision of conference management services. Under the registered business name sapro Conference Management, formerly known as sapmea Conventions, sapmea became widely recognised as a Meetings Manager, convening medical and educational meetings throughout Australia and in New Zealand.
In 1995 sapmea became the beneficiary of a bequest in the estate of Lorna Laffer, who had been a war-time nurse, benefactor, and friend of sapmea. During her lifetime Lorna Laffer had provided an endowment to support and maintain the position of a Medical Director at sapmea. In her Will she bequeathed a sizable proportion of her Estate for the advancement of sapmea’s medical education initiatives. That generous gift continues to provide support for sapmea. The Medical Director’s position is named in Lorna Laffer’s memory, to acknowledge and recognize the importance of her support and that of her surviving family members.
sapmea offers an extensive rural education program which provides much needed emergency, obstetric and other medical education face to face in rural locations. This ensures GPs, Nurses and Allied Health Professionals can attend, maximising the use of their valuable time within their community who rely on them.