Clinical school newsletter

Issue 2 - December 2009

Clinical School News

The Lorimers

Here are the recipients of ‘The Lorimers’ excellence in teaching awards 2009 for staff involved in teaching medical students and postgraduate research students on behalf of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School.

CRS – Joanna MacLean
“Joanna MacLean is encouraging and nurtures and guides exploration of concepts as well as providing excellent insight and anecdotes of working in Paeds.”

Clinical teaching (medical), CHW – Bec Nogaski
“She helped us gain confidence examining children and gave useful feedback for improving our examination technique and summarising our findings.”

Clinical teaching (medical), off-site – Cecil Levy, RNS Hospital
“He is very approachable and eager to teach and gives spontaneous teaching sessions when the need arises. He was able to explain complex ideas very simply and construct schemas of different conditions and their investigation and diagnosis.”

Clinical teaching (surgical) – Robert Charles
“His approach was never to tell you the answers but to enable you to work them out yourself from first principles. His approach teaches you how to answer questions (a lifelong skill) rather than just what the answer (easily forgotten) is.”

Regional/rural sites – Geoff Hardacre, Dubbo Base Hospital
“He ensures we understand the steps that have been undertaken in patient care. When we present a case to him, he breaks down any assumptions or misconceptions we may have and replaces them with critical evaluation and a value for using our reasoning.”

Nursing and allied health – Heidi Drewett

Lectures and structured teaching – Richard Widmer
“A thorough and easy to understand approach to paediatric dentistry. He was witty and funny and made his lecture and workshop a pleasure to attend.”

Postgraduate research supervision - David Winlaw
“He has been very supportive of his PhD students when they encountered any difficulties in their candidature."

Postgraduate research student administration support - Marian Fernandez
“She has been very willing and enthusiastic, generously assisting with student interviews. She has provided informal mentoring and pastoral care to the postgraduate research students.”

Fantastic student feedback

Child and Adolescent Health Specialty Block

During the final term of the year A/Prof Tessa Ho met with medical students to chat about the Child and Adolescent Health Specialty Block and received an email from a student unable to attend. A/Prof Ho kindly forwarded us the glowing email and the student has given her permission for us to reproduce it, below:

Sent: Monday, 19 October 2009 10:11 PM
To: Tessa Ho
Subject: Paediatric rotation at CHW
Dear Prof Ho,

I'm in 3rd year doing my paediatric rotation at The Children's Hospital at Westmead. Unfortunately I can't make it to your visit on Monday, but I just wanted to quickly write to you and tell you how wonderful I am finding the paeds rotation so far!

The program is so structured and organised. It is wonderful! Every lecture starts on time and the lecture slides are available online prior to every lecture. Many of the lectures have pre-reading resources which are fantastic to give us some background. And the videoconferencing to the rural sites always works!

I also just wanted to make a quick comment on the website and handbook. The website is so comprehensive and the resources excellent. One thing I particularly have found invaluable are the links to previous paediatric problems covered in Years 1 and 2 - particularly given the paediatric cases are quite spaced out throughout the first few years and have been forgotten by many of us! It is a quick way to review the theoretical (and clinical) information we have covered previously so we can then use these to build on new clinical knowledge. The handbook also provides a host of useful resources which are directly relevant to our learning, as well as providing clear objectives as to what is required of us.

It was also great to receive the Student Information Booklet with the names and emails of the relevant contacts - having all the student-specific information in one place has made it really easy for us. Last thing was the workshops - especially the Fluids workshop. I know everyone was so impressed with this workshop - it made it so easy to understand what is quite a difficult area for a lot of us. The tutorial-style session were invaluable - I wish they had had something similar when I did critical care - I didn't realise it could be so easy to understand!

Anyway, I have rambled on a bit but I really feel strongly about giving credit where credit is most definitely due.

Hope your visit goes well

Postgraduate Research

The Discipline’s Postgraduate Research Students were surveyed at their Annual Progress Review interviews for feedback on the Discipline’s postgraduate administration support of their research degree. A small sample of the comments appears below:

  • The Discipline’s monthly e-newsletter provides important dates, its fun! And its good to know about other students and what they are doing. Also pick up on interesting PD courses / lectures etc
  • Great team – very organised and encouraging!
  • The accessibility to and affability of the PG admin staff is wonderful. No query goes unanswered! They are good at providing counselling as well.
  • It has been an excellent support service for several years now. Well done team.
  • I must acknowledge the continuous support that I got throughout my PhD candidature from the PG Office. Specifically from Sandra & Denise. They helped me a lot with all queries and were very clear and prompt. Most importantly, I felt that they cared.
  • Denise & Sandra have helped me immensely throughout my degree. I am grateful for all of their support.
  • Discipline Paediatrics & Child Health staff members have always been extremely helpful in all matters relating to my candidature.

Student news

Sydney Medical Program student profile: Ben Smith

Ben Smith

Ben is a final year medical student from Northern Clinical School who completed a PreInternship (PrInt) in Infectious Diseases at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead on 4 December. He was supervised by A/Prof Alison Kesson and the Infectious Diseases Fellow, Briony Hazelton.
Ben said the PrInt term was “excellent, interesting, stimulating medicine” and that Briony was “exceptional in terms of teaching and giving me responsibility.” He particularly enjoyed the increased responsibility that came with being a PrInt student, such as seeing his own patients, presenting cases at team meetings and suggesting treatments. He found he became part of the Infectious Diseases team and that the team gave him very strong support and freedom to experiment.
Infectious Diseases has been an interest of Ben’s since childhood and he was glad to be given the opportunity to see the clinical aspects of the specialty through his PrInt term. He says he prefers working in Infectious Diseases with children rather than adults because he finds the pathology more interesting, with problems that are usually biological rather than lifestyle and adherence-focused, and more targeted therapy.
Next year will involve an internship at Hornsby Hospital. In the future Ben would like to specialise in Emergency Medicine and complete a joint paediatric/adult training program. We wish Ben all the best with his career in Medicine.

Postgraduate research student profile: Nicholas Wood

Nick Wood

Nicholas has worked at The Children's Hospital at Westmead since 2002. He is a staff specialist in general medicine and senior research fellow at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS). Prior to this he spent two years with his wife working for Medecins Sans Frontieres in China and Southern Sudan.
In 2005 Nick commenced a PhD in Immunisation with Professor Peter McIntyre at NCIRS. His PhD focussed on newborn responses to vaccination and longevity of immunity, the first study of its kind in the world. Antibody results demonstrated that birth and one month old pertussis vaccine was safe and immunogenic. This year he was a successful chief investigator with Professor Peter McIntyre in obtaining an NHRMC project grant to conduct a larger multicentre newborn pertussis vaccine trial. In 2006 Nick received an NHMRC New Investigator grant to examine the longevity of hepatitis B immunity in Indigenous adolescents, which showed the infant vaccine program reduced hepatitis B carriage rates and immune memory has persisted.

Nick is relieved to have completed his PhD this year, as is his wife Meagan and four kids, Olivia, Tom, Harry and India. He holds an NHMRC post doctoral health professional research fellowship (2009-2012) and will continue his immunisation research, with a focus on maternal and neonatal vaccination, in conjunction with clinical paediatric duties. Nick says "One of the most enjoyable things about his job as a clinician researcher is identifying problems from clinical practice and then setting up studies to investigate them further to help clinicians."

Postgraduate research student graduations

AU Carol (PhD)
CHAN Agnes (M Phil)
CREED Sarah (PhD)
EGAN Jonathan (PhD)
WILCKEN Bridget (MD)
WOOD Nicholas (PhD)
WOLF Steven (PhD)

Grants, achievements, promotions and titles


Congratulations on the following outstanding achievements:

Cheryl Jones

2009 Sydney Medical School Excellence in Higher Degree Research Supervision Prize

Cheryl Jones was recently awarded the above Excellence in Post-graduate Supervision Award by the Faculty.

Cheryl’s application was based on her sustained, significant contribution to the teaching, supervision, administrative support and pastoral care of research higher degree students at University of Sydney over the past six years. From 2003 to 2008,

Cheryl was Postgraduate Coordinator (PGC) and later Sub Dean of Postgraduate Studies for the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health. Some of the initiatives she has driven include improved processes, cross-campus student interaction, a part-time students forum and development of a local supervisor training course.
Congratulations Cheryl!

2009 Sydney Medical School Award for Systems that Achieve Collective Excellence in Teaching and Learning

The CHW Education Team, with Dianne Campbell completing the application, was awarded the above Excellence in Teaching and Learning Award. Dianne accepted the award on behalf of the team at the recent Faculty of Medicine meeting.

Our submission highlighted the history of the Education team in the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, founded in 2003 as a small group to better facilitate teaching for the Paediatric component of the Sydney University Graduate Medical Programme (USydMP). Since then the team has evolved into a highly efficient group which oversees and administers the graduate, postgraduate and junior medical staff teaching and learning with a focus on the delivery of high quality teaching, innovation in content delivery and assessment modalities and medical education research.

Russell Dale

John Stobo Prichard award: Russell Dale

Dr Russell Dale, senior lecturer and neurologist, was recently awarded the junior investigator award by the International Child Neurology Association (John Stobo Prichard award). This prestigious International award is in recognition of Russell's work on inflammatory and autoimmune disorders of the central nervous system in children. His research has improved understanding of paediatric diseases such as multiple sclerosis, autoimmune encephalitis and autoimmune movement disorders.
Russell heads the neuroimmunology group within the Institute of Neuroscience and Muscle research with Fabienne Brilot. The group are investigating the role of autoantibodies that bind to neuronal receptors and channels, and their effects on neurotransmission. Part of the award will include speaking at the International Child Neurology association conference, Cairo in May 2010.


Prof. Louise Baur appointed to the NHMRC Prevention and Community Health Committee 2009 -2012.

Prof. John Christodoulou appointed to the NHMRC Human Genetics Advisory Committee 2009 – 2012

Dr Fabienne Brilot-Turville awarded a $500 prize at the Australasian society for Immunology NSW Retreat.

Dr Russell Dale awarded the John Stobbo Pritchard research award from the International Child Neurology Association.

A/Prof. Cheryl Jones awarded the 2009 Sydney Medical School Excellence in Higher Degree Research Supervision Prize.

Clinical School Education Team awarded the 2009 Sydney Medical School Award for Systems that Achieve Collective Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Dr Rachel Skinner, Prof. Martha Hickey, De Eugen Mattes, A/Prof. Dorota Doherty, Prof. Anthony Smith, Prof. Susan Rosenthal, Dr Spring Cooper: NHMRC CIA grant – Childhood determinants of risky sexual behaviours in adolescence: a prospective cohort study. $371,025

Prof. Ian Alexander, Dr Matthew McCormack, A/Prof. Stephen Alexander, Prof. Adrian Thrasher, Dr Samantha Ginn: NHMRC Project Grant – Gene therapy, stress haematopoiesis and the risk of malignancy. $595,500.

Dr Geraldine O’Neill: NHMRC Project Grant – The cell biology of glioblastoma infiltration. $508,225.

Dr Stephen Alexander, Prof. David Harris, Dr Yiping Wang, Dr Yuan Min Wang: NHMRC Project Grant – Gamma-Delta Tregs, CD8 Tregs and selected natural Tregs to treat renal injury. $583,500.

A/Prof. Kim Donaghue, A/Prof. Timothy Jones, Dr Ning Cheung, Prof. Jennifer Couper, A/Prof. Maria Craig, A/Prof. Fergus Cameron, A/Prof. Andrew Cotterill, Dr Elizabeth Davies: NHMRC Project Grant – Intervention to reduce the risk of diabetic retinopathy and early adverse retinal changes in type 1 diabetes. $1,226,875.

A/Prof. Christopher Cowell, A/Prof. David Little, Dr Craig Munns, A/Prof. Bruce Foster, Dr Margaret Zacharin: NHMRC Project Grant – Bisphosphonate Treatment of Childhood Femoral Head Avascular Necrosis due to Perthes Disease. $1,305,625.

Prof. Philip Sambrook, A/Prof. David Little, A/Prof. Lynette March, Prof. Rachelle Buchbinder: NHMRC Project Grant – A randomised controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of zoledronate therapy in osteonecrosis of the hip. $511,425.

A/Prof. Roger Fulton, Prof. Robert Howman-Giles: NHMRC Project Grant – The Clinical Impact of Event-based Motion Correction in Paediatric PET/CT Brain Imaging. $267,250.

Prof. Patrick Tam: NHMRC Project Grant – Multipotent stem cells derived from postimplantation mouse embryos: Evaluation of germ layer differentiation potential. $754,000 (CMRI).

Prof. Patrick Tam: NHMRC Project Grant – Genetic control of body patterning: Intersection of transcriptional and signalling activity in head formation. $559,500 (CMRI).

Prof. Roger Reddel, Dr Andy Chang: NHRMC Project Grant – Role of STC1 and STC2 in breast carcinogenesis. $402,125 (CMRI).

Prof. Roger Reddel: NHMRC Project Grant – Induction of senescence in cells that use the Alternative Lengthening of Telomeres (ALT) mechanism. $457,125 (CMRI).

Prof. Richard Mattick, Prof. Steve Allsop, Prof. Jackob Najman, Dr Delyse Hutchinson, Prof. Elizabeth Elliott, Dr Lucy Burns, Dr Susan Jacobs: NHMRC Project Grant – Impact of Parental Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Substance Use on Infant Development and Family Functioning. $1,910,470.

Prof. Phillipa Hay, Prof. Stephen Touyz, Dr Caroline Meyer, Dr John Arcelus, Dr Sloane Madden, Dr Ross Crosby, Dr Kathleen Pike: NHMRC Project Grant – Taking a LEAP forward in the treatment of Anorexia Nervosa: A randomised controlled trial. $557,100.

A/Prof. Amanda Leach, Prof. Edward Mulholland, Prof. Mathu Santosham, A/Prof. Paul Torzillo, A/Prof. Ngiare Brown, Prof. Peter McIntyre, Ms Anne Balloch, Dr Heidi Smith-Vaughan, A/Prof. Susan Skull: NHMRC Project Grant – Single versus combination pneumococcal conjugate vaccines (13PCV and PHiD-CV_ for high-risk Aboriginal children (COMBO). $2,870,025.

Prof. Dinah Reddihough, Dr Catherine Marraffa, Prof. Philip Hazell, Dr Katherine Lee, A/Prof. Michael Kohn, Dr John Wray: NHMRC Project Grant – Multi-site randomised controlled trial of fluoxetine in children and adolescents with autism. $481,825.

Prof. Paul Barach, A/Prof. David Winlaw, Prof. Rick Iedema, A/Prof. Julie Johnson, Dr Ken Catchpole, A/Prof. Emile Bacha, Dr Antonius Schouten: NHMRC Project Grant – Human Factors and Patient Safety during Paediatric Heart Surgery: An Evidence-based Approach to Improve Patient Outcome. $780,675.

A/Prof. Yves D’udekem D’acoz, A/Prof. David Winlaw, Dr Tom Gentles, A/Prof. Robert Weintraub: NHMRC Project Grant – The Australia and New Zealand Fontan Registry: a Growing Population of Young Adults with Heart Failure. $124,500.

Dr Mary Haines, Prof. Jonathan Craig, Prof. Elizabeth Elliott: NHMRC Partnership Grant – Determinants of effective clinical networks. $338,850.

Ms Lisa Devereux, Dr Daniel Catchpoole, Dr Anna Defazio, Dr Andrew Holloway, Dr Richard Lake, Prof. Bruce Robinson, Dr Christopher Schmidt, Ms Heather Thorne, Dr Nik Zeps: NHMRC Enabling Grant – Australasian Biospecimen Network – Oncology. $2,000,000.

Dr H Skouteris, Prof. MP McCabe, A/Prof LA Ricciardelli, Prof J Milgrom, Professor Louise Baur: ARC Discovery Project – How do parenting and parent-child interactions impact on preschool children’s eating, physical habits and subsequent patterns of weight gain? $150,000.

Prof. Peter A Castaldi, Prof. Elizabeth Elliott, Prof. Anthony Scott, Prof. Sandy Middleton, Prof. Jonathan C Craig, Dr Catherine D’Este, Dr Christine L Paul, Dr Patrick McElduff, Prof. Carol A Pollock, Dr Mary Haines, Prof. Sally Redman, Prof. Elizabeh M Yano, Dr Hinter Watts, Ms Kate Needham: ARC Linkage Project – Organisational change in healthcare: Determinants of effective clinical networks. $292,000.


Prof. Elizabeth Elliott: Encouragement Grant – A national plan for Rare Diseases in Australia: Building a network of expertise to help families affected by rare disease. $16,500.

Prof. Elizabeth Elliott: Very rare diseases in Australian. $15,000.

Dr Russell Dale and Dr Fabienne Brilot-Turville: MS Research Grant - Biomarkers in early paediatric CNS demyelination, and risk of progression to multiple sclerosis. $26,000.

Staff Appointments/changes

New Titles

Ms Pathma Joseph – Clinical Lecturer (correction of title)
Dr Natalie Silove – Clinical Senior Lecturer (Child Development Unit)
Dr Kin-Chuen Leung – Conjoint Senior Lecturer (Molecular Pathology)
Dr Christian Turner – Clinical Lecturer (Cardiology)
Dr Sarah Garnett – Conjoint Senior Lecturer (Endocrinology)
Dr Sandeep Bidarkar – Clinical Lecturer (Surgery)
Dr Antony (Robert) Charles – Clinical Lecturer (Academic Surgery)
Dr Anthony Zehetner – Clinical Associate Lecturer (Emergency)


Dr Stewart Kellie – Clinical Professor (Oncology)
Dr Dianne Campbell – Associate Professor
Dr Sandra Johnson – Clinical Senior Lecturer (Developmental Disabilities)
Dr Frank Martin – Clinical Professor (Ophthamology)


Dr Dianne Campbell – Reappointment as Sub-Dean Education


Upcoming conferences and meetings


The 6th Australian Update on HIV in Children and Families: Sydney - 25-26/02/2010
The 6th Australian update on HIV in children and families is being held on 25 & 26 February 2010 at the Sydney Children's Hospital. This paediatric HIV update will bring together medical, nursing and allied health professionals from across the region. For more information please contact Larissa Mackey on Ph: +61 2 9382 1654 or via email at


Course in Paediatrics: Randwick, NSW - 11-13/03/2010
The Course in Paediatrics will be hosted by The Sydney Children's Hospital in March 2010. For further information visit

14th Annual Congress of the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand: Wellington - 28-31/03/2010
Registration is now open for the 14th Annual Congress of the Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand which will be held from 28 - 31 March 2010 at the Wellington Convention Centre. Earlybird registration deadline is 4 January 2010. For further information, please visit the Congress website at


26th International Congress of Pediatrics (ICP 2010): South Africa - 5-9/08/2010
The 26th International Pediatric Association's Congress of Pediatrics - ICP 2010 will be held from 5 - 9 August 2010 in Johannesburg, South Africa. This international paediatric congress will provide paediatricians with a crucial insight into vital issues affecting the health of children all over the world. For more information, please visit the website at

NB: For 2013
The RACP will host ICP2013 in Melbourne in August 2013.


To All Researchers

*IMPORTANT NEW* changes to the management of grants through USyd

The University of Sydney will be introducing a new system to manage grants - Research Information Management System (RIMS). All grants submitted via the KRI Research Office for administration by The University of Sydney will be uploaded onto RIMS.
RIMS will allow each researcher to log into the system via The University of Sydney website and view your grant information online, check on the process/approvals relating to your grant once it is received by the University and receive notifications.
RIMS will be introduced to researchers in 2010. To ensure that you are able to access the system and receive emails from the USyd Research Office relating to your grant, it is important that you:
1. Have access to the USyd icon on your Applications window on your PC
2. You have a Unikey
3. You have an email account with the University and you have set it to forward to your Hospital email account.

I don’t have the USyd icon
Contact Imran Hussain via email –

I don’t have a Unikey/I don’t know if I have a Unikey
Contact ICT Helpdesk on 9351 6000

I don’t have a USyd email address/I don’t know if I have a USyd email address
Contact ICT Helpdesk on 9351 6000

I have a USyd email account – is it being forwarded to my CHW email account
All email forwards can be checked by logging in to the email forwarding tool at:

I have a USyd email account – how do I check my emails and login using your Unikey

It is essential that you check that you have a University Unikey and University email account as the University will only be contacting you via a University email address re the status of grant applications, awards and publications/outputs etc. All emails sent to your University account will then be automatically forwarded to your CHW email account.

Atacama crossing

Student Endeavours – Atacama Crossing

Gareth Andrews is a Sydney Medical Program final year student who recently completed the Child and Adolescent Health Specialty Block here at CHW. With his final year colleague, Daniel Trevena, Gareth is planning to compete in a race called the Atacama Crossing in March 2010 and raise $25,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation. It is a six day, 250km footrace across the sand and salt plains of the Atacama Desert in Chile and is rated as the second toughest endurance race in the world.

Gareth and Daniel hope that people will support their fund raising. Further information about the event is available at the website: or from Gareth or

Atacama Crossing