Clinical school newsletter

2011 - Issue 1

Message from the Associate Dean

Kathryn North

Welcome to 2011 and the new academic year!

Our regular newsletters aim to let you know what is happening in the Clinical School and the University of Sydney – and to highlight some of the great successes of members of the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Our Students: The CHW Clinical School provides teaching on site for over 350 medical students per year – including 70-80 medical students per terms – 4 times per year, 30 elective students, and 20-30 Honours students per annum.
We currently have over 90 postgraduate students (mainly PhD students) on site, as well as 36 students enrolled in our online Masters in Medicine (Paediatrics). The Clinical School staff is very involved in the Diploma of Child Health and the International Postgraduate Paediatric Certificate – which has over 400 students annually.
Our medical students continue to regard their Paediatrics term as one of the highlights of the medical course. Every term we are approached by students asking “How can I become a paediatrician?“ – mainly because they have so enjoyed their time at CHW. Our medical students all comment on the enthusiasm, dedication and excellence of our teachers. This feedback is a credit to all members of the Discipline and augurs well for the future in terms of attracting the best young doctors to paediatric subspecialty training.
Thank you to all of our teachers who make the program so successful!

Our Staff: 2010 was a particularly busy year for academic promotions and appointments. Kate Steinbeck was appointed as the Medical Foundation Chair in Academic Adolescent Medicine and Dianne Campbell as the Chair in Paediatric Allergy and Immunology.
We had a record six conjoint or clinical academics applying for promotion to Associate Professor, and another six for promotion to Professor. The comment from Faculty…”There must be something in the water out at Kids’ Hospital.” Impressively all 12 were successful!
So a very big congratulations to the following people:
Promotion to Associate Professor:

  • Russell Dale
  • Robyn Jamieson
  • Craig Munns
  • Geraldine O’Neill
  • Rachel Skinner
  • Yvonne Zurynski

Promotion to Professor:

  • Kim Donaghue
  • Andrew Holland
  • Cheryl Jones
  • Alison Kesson
  • David Little
  • Karen Waters
John collins

John Collins

Amongst our Clinical Academics, John Harvey, Alyson Kakakios and Catherine Birman were awarded Clinical Associate Professor title, Stephen Jacobe was promoted to Clinical Associate Professor and Dominic Fitzgerald to Clinical Professor.

We are particularly proud of Clinical Associate Professor John Collins for being awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (A.M.) on Australia Day this year for his many services to Paediatric Pain and Palliative Care.

Staff Movements in the Clinical School: We have had a number of new appointments this year. We are delighted to welcoming the following new staff:

  • Jordan Bryan: Executive Officer (maternity relief)
  • Dr Ben Marais: Academic Fellow
  • Dr Hasantha Gunasekera: Senior lecturer (Education) 0.5 FTE.

Wishing all of you a happy, enjoyable and successful New Year.

Kathryn North

The Lorimers

Excellence in teaching award winners

Throughout 2010, medical students nominated teachers in the Child and Adolescent Health specialty block for Excellence in teaching awards, known as ‘The Lorimers.’ These were presented at the final Grand Rounds for 2010 on Thursday 9 December. The awards are named after Sir Lorimer Dods, the Foundation Professor of Child Health at The University of Sydney.

The 2010 Lorimer award winners are listed below, together with one of the student commendations for each award winner:

Stewart Birt

Clinical Reasoning Session (CRS) tutor – Stewart Birt
“His informal teaching style was effective at communicating key topics in paediatric theory and clinical practice.”

Kevin Gaskin

Medical teaching – Kevin Gaskin
“He displayed a genuine interest in getting to know us as people, not just impart information. We felt quite humbled that the head of department was willing to give up so much of his own busy schedule just to sit down and chat and tutor a couple of med students who were only with his team for a week.”

Naveen Thomas

Surgical teaching – Naveen Thomas
“He always took time out to explain what was going on. Whether in the theatre, clinic or ward rounds, he was always explaining things and asking us questions to test our knowledge. His positive and encouraging attitude really empowered us and motivated us to keep trying and to learn as much as we could.”

Stuart Crisp

Teacher at regional/rural sites – Stuart Crisp
“He is very skilled at providing interactive tutorials and explaining difficult concepts in ways that are easy to understand and remember. He keeps an eye out for interesting cases that present to Emergency and gives helpful suggestions as to what we should do to maximise our learning experience with each case.”

Ronalda Hoffman

Nursing and allied health – Ronalda Hoffman (Social Worker, Adolescent Health)
“Ronalda was a kind of ambassador for adolescent health as well as a willing teacher. She helped to orient me and made me feel welcome, and was able to demonstrate the important role of allied health in paediatric medicine.”

Jacquie Dalby-Payne

Lectures and structured teaching – Jacqueline Dalby-Payne
“Dr. Dalby-Payne's lecture was the perfect combination of education and succinctness; she gave us the pertinent information without overwhelming us with detail.”

Joshua Burns

Postgraduate Supervision Awards:
Postgraduate research supervision – Joshua Burns
“Josh has amazing attention to detail and is tireless in striving for excellence. His enthusiasm and love of research is infectious.”

Aaron Schindeler

Postgraduate research student administration support - Aaron Schindeler
‘Aaron has a master plan for everything and comes up with amazing ideas.’
He is an enthusiastic contributor to our research community and is always ready to help others.”

Margaret Burgess on Lorimer Dods

Margaret Burgess

This is an excerpt of Margaret Burgess' speech given at the Lorimers.
I am delighted to be here this afternoon for the Lorimer awards and to share with you some of my memories of Sir Lorimer. For many of the younger members of staff the only visual image you probably have of Lorimer is the rather forbidding portrait of him which hangs on the stairs outside the Library. That dark, thunderous image is not at all like the Lorimer we knew.
A much truer depiction is the relaxed but thoughtful person in the portrait by Judy Cassab which hangs in the foyer of the CMRI and portrays him as gentle and benevolent.
My earliest recollection of Sir Lorimer is when I was a medical student in the late 1950s. We had a block of paediatric lectures in the summer term at the end of our 4th year. For students then, and probably also now, there were many off-campus attractions in summer terms ... the harbour, the beach, tennis maybe, ... but everyone always came to Lorimer’s lectures.
He would always start with a patient. His registrar, many of whom are seen in the photo taken in 1960 at the time of his retirement from the Chair of Paediatrics and Child Health, would bring the patient and mother into the lecture theatre. Lorimer would talk about the child, sometimes demonstrate a physical sign, fumble in his pocket for a gift for the child, and proceed with the lecture after the child had been taken out. There was something in his attitude and in the way he presented these cases, his clarity, humour and gentleness, which made them memorable and wonderful teaching exercises. Full transcript

A/Prof Brian Owler Leads Holiday Road Safety Campaign

"Don't Rush" Road Safety Campaign

Associate Professor Brian Owler, visiting neurosurgeon at CHW and Westmead Hospital, was struck by the reaction of grieving parents after ‘a particularly bad weekend’ last year in Emergency at CHW. He realised the influence of parent and carer choices on the children he was seeing and took his ideas about behavioural change to the AMA and then the RTA. They helped translate them into the NSW ‘Don’t Rush’ road safety campaign, launched before the holiday season last year. His idea was translated into Phase 1 ‘Multiple choices’ where Brian was filmed in an operating theatre speaking directly to camera, proposing two alternative responses to a question.

At the campaign launch last year Prof Owler was quoted as saying “Everyone thinks road trauma can’t happen to them, that it won’t affect their families, their friends or colleagues but I am here to say, loud and clear – it can – and it does. Broken bodies and broken lives go hand in hand with the choices we make on the road. I have seen it time and time again and it has to stop”.

Last December’s road statistics were the lowest for many years. This seems to have carried through into January 2011 and coincided with a decrease in speeding offences. Refreshed by a media experience where he was not complaining about the health systems or problems, Brian has been gratified to see these early results. Formal marketing analysis will be completed in April following Phase 2 ‘Testimonials’. This phase features real life road crash survivors and their families.

Further information about the campaign can be seen on the RTA website

Brian Owler


Upcoming conferences and meetings


6th World Congress on Pediatric Critical Care: Sydney - 13-17/03/2011
Sydney Exhibition & Convention Centre
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14th Perinatal Society of Australia & New Zealand (PSANZ) Congress, 28-31 March 2010 Wellington, NZ.
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IV World Asthma & COPD Forum: Paris - 30/04-3/05/2011
More information

Asia-Pacific Meeting On Simulation In Healthcare (APMSH):
Hong Kong 19-22/05/2011

RACP Congress 2011: 22 – 25/05/2011
Darwin Convention Centre. Theme: 'Take up the Challenge: Indigenous Health and Chronic Disease.' Website

29th Annual Meeting of the European Society of Paediatric Infectious Diseases (ESPID): The Hague - 7-11/06/2011
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9th International Congress of Tropical Pediatrics: Thailand - 17-19/10/2011
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7th World Congress of the World Society for Pediatric Infectious Disease (WSPID): Melbourne - 16-19/11/2011
Top paediatric infectious disease experts from all over the world will be attending this important meeting, being held for the first time in Australia. The Keynote Speakers are Australian Nobel Laureate Sir Peter Doherty and Professor Ron Dagan.
More information