Clinical school newsletter

2011 - Issue 2

Feature: Sydney Medical School, Nepean

Nepean Clinical School

Sydney Medical School, Nepean has approximately 50 medical students each year from Stages 1, 2 and 3 of the Sydney Medical Program. Professor Michael Peek is Associate Dean and Professor Ralph Nanan is Chair of Paediatrics. Students from Nepean and Westmead Clinical Schools undertaking the Child and Adolescent Health specialty block spend two or three weeks at Nepean Hospital on clinical placements. During their placement they receive formal teaching from clinical academic staff in medical bedside and surgical tutorials, and clinical reasoning sessions.

While on clinical placement and under the supervision of Ralph Nanan, CAH students have the opportunity to work on the level of a registrar, enjoying a high degree of autonomous contact with patients and their families. Students are also encouraged to actively participate during handover on the wards. More on this approach to teaching students on clinical placement in this issue’s audio download.

The new Sydney Medical School, Nepean education building is due to be completed in February 2012. It is an Australian Government funded project with The University of Sydney. One floor will be dedicated to outpatient clinics, with other floors for teaching and offices. It is expected that the Nepean model of student participation will be more easily rolled out once the new building is in use, due to the integration of teaching spaces and clinics.


Artist's impression

Profile: Alison Poulton

Dr Alison (Sally) Poulton is a senior staff specialist and general paediatrician and with an interest in paediatric behavior. She specialises in children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and other challenging conditions. She works with children presenting with autism in conjunction with the multidisciplinary development team at Nepean Hospital. Sally also works one day per week with the Child and adolescent mental health service in Penrith, where she focuses on children with ADHD and more complex psychological problems. Sally would like to see a registrar position created in behavioural paediatrics, which could increase the number of patients who could be seen.

Sally’s research is in the collateral effect of long-term stimulant medication on ADHD patients, looking at the effect on appetite, weight, body composition and height. She collaborates in her research with Professor Simon Clarke at Westmead Adolescent Unit.

Sally is also Senior Lecturer at Nepean Clinical School. She takes Stage 1 medical students for general tutorials, teaches Stage 2 paediatric tutorials and gives tutorials on paediatric behavioural conditions to Stage 3 students. Sally also has Stage 3 students undertaking their Child and Adolescent Health Specialty Block in her clinics. She believes it is a wonderful learning opportunity for the students and is great when the students are interested in behavioural paediatrics.

Profile: Ralph Nanan

Ralph Nanan

In 2003 Professor Ralph Nanan arrived in Australia from Germany, where he had trained in immunology and worked at the University of Wurzburg. He became the Chair of Paediatrics at Nepean Hospital in 2005. Since then he has focused on building the research, teaching and clinical services in paediatrics at Sydney Medical School, Nepean. In addition Ralph is Sub-Dean Research of the clinical school and runs the allergy and general paediatric clinics at Nepean Hospital.

Ralph is actively involved in research. He is collaborating with Tony Liu and a network of neonatal units around Australia to conduct research into maternal substance abuse and neonatal abstinence syndrome. He is also conducting biomedical research into paediatric allergy and immunology at the laboratory at Nepean Hospital, as well as perinatal medicine through the Nepean Centre for Perinatal Care, where he is Deputy Director.

Ralph has been on the Children’s Hospital Westmead Advisory Council since 2006. He is now on the Governing Council of both the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Sydney Children’s Hospital.

CHW Clinical School News

Congratulations to Vikki Cheetham


Well-deserved award
At the Sydney Medical School Celebratory Dinner on Thursday 24 March 2011, Vikki Cheetham was presented with an Award for Exceptional Service by a member of general staff. The Dean, Bruce Robinson, announced the award which was presented by the Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir, in front of guests including Sir Gustav Nossal.

Vikki has been employed in the Discipline for ten years, most recently as Education Support Officer at CHW Clinical School. This award recognised her outstanding contribution to the Sydney Medical Program, including coordination of structured teaching, examination facilitation, liaison with rural and distant clinical placements sites, website design and maintenance and coordination of paediatric pre-internship (PrInt) placements.

Vikki’s initiatives have resulted in a smooth implementation of the curriculum review and continuing improvements to the Child and Adolescent Health specialty block. Her exceptional work has helped provide students with some of their best learning experiences of the Program.

All staff working with Vikki appreciate her diligence, practical solutions and wide knowledge of the SMP. We also appreciate her work as a de facto IT support officer and her calm in a crisis.

Congratulations Vikki.

Photography competition winner: Elizabeth Elliott


Liz receives her prize

The CHW Photography Department held a Photographic Competition in conjunction with the Medical Photography Conference held at the hospital in October 2010. The theme was ‘Happy Kids’. There were Primary School, Secondary School and Open categories.

Professor Elizabeth Elliott was the third place winner in the Open section for her photograph ‘Three Sisters’, a beautiful portrait of three young girls taken in the Fitzroy Valley, Western Australia. Here community leaders initiated a partnership between Nindilingarri Cultural Health Services, Marninwarntikura Woman’s Resource Centre, The George Institute for Global Health and the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health. This partnership, including Prof Elliott, is conducting Australia’s first ever prevalence study of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), the Lililwan Project.

The photo can be seen hanging in the corridor running between the Main Street corridor at the rear of the main building and the Galleria, between South and Middle bridges. Congratulations Liz, and enjoy using your Panasonic Lumix FP3compact camera!

Welcome Caren Beer


We are delighted to welcome Caren Beer to the role of Student Administrative Officer at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School. Caren joins the Education Team with many years of valuable experience in hospital administration at CHW. Before joining the Clinical School, Caren was Administration Coordinator at the Education Centre for six years. Prior to that, Caren was Evening Ward Clerk at PICU and Grace Ward for two-and-a-half years, and Ward Clerk at the Emergency Department for one year.

At the Clinical School Caren will play a key role in the organisation of lectures, tutorials and examinations of the Stage 3 Child and Adolescent Health Specialty Block, as well as the paediatric assessment project and tutorials of Stages 1 and 2. In the weeks and months ahead, Caren will be contacting discipline members to organise lectures, tutorials and examinations. We hope you will join us in welcoming Caren!

Future Paediatricians

Are you ever asked, or have you been wondering about, how to become a paediatrician? We have added a ‘Future Paediatricians’ page to our Discipline website. Your comments would be appreciated. We are also looking for volunteers whose biographies we can add to the page to show a variety of career paths. How did you become a paediatrician? We can create text, audio or video versions or link to an appropriate existing online bio. Please contact or


Vijay Kumar, consultant at IAEA Vienna


A/Prof. Vijay Kumar has returned to CHW after working as a Consultant for eight months at the United Nations with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna. Vijay has worked periodically as a consultant with IAEA on specific projects since 1998, for example developing international pharmacopoeal monographs for radiopharmaceuticals.

During his tenure last year at IAEA, Vijay was the scientific secretary for technical co-operation for African nations. He conducted regional meetings in Africa to assess requirements and liaised with IAEA for the provision of financial and technical assistance. One of his major tasks was to improve the availability of radioisotopes for medical applications and provide technical advice to developing countries.

Vijay was also involved in national programs to rebuild nuclear medicine and radiopharmacy facilities in Baghdad. He was responsible for selecting candidates from Iraq for scientific visits to developed nations. The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Westmead Hospital are now established as one of the centres for expert training in this area for IAEA fellowships.

Vijay was responsible for conducting Co-ordinated Research Projects (CRP) with IAEA, which have enabled The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Westmead Hospital to be involved at an advisory level in international multi-centre trials on 68Ga-PET for oncology and infection. Vijay’s involvement with IAEA has paved way for him to participate as an invited speaker at a number of major forums on nuclear medicine globally, including Harvard Medical School, which invited him to speak at a seminar series for Massachusetts General Hospital.

Student news

Farewell Jenny Byrne, Welcome Geraldine O'Neill


Jenny with Kathryn North

In March, Jennifer Byrne stepped down from her role of Deputy Postgraduate Co-ordinator in the Discipline. Jenny has been an integral member of our Discipline’s Postgraduate Research Student Team since 2005 and we sincerely thank her for the six years in which she enthusiastically undertook this role.

Jenny has provided great pastoral care to the research students and we appreciate how attentive and considerate Jenny has been in counselling and assisting the students. Jenny has also had enormous input to the administration of the research students: she has organised the annual student conference, and professional development seminars, attended our team meetings, and chaired and participated in countless student interviews. We acknowledge and appreciate Jenny’s commitment, enthusiasm and her time devoted to the Deputy PGC role. We will miss Jenny and wish her all the best as she continues at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead as Acting Head of the Children’s Cancer Research Unit and as primary supervisor of PhD students.


Geraldine O'Neill

However, we are fortunate that Geraldine O’Neill has taken on the role of Deputy Postgraduate Co-ordinator, joining Nigel Clarke and Rachel Skinner. Geraldine is Group Leader of the Focal Adhesion Biology Group at the Kids Research Institute and is a Conjoint Associate Professor with the Discipline. Welcome Geraldine!

Grants, Achievements, Promotions and Titles

Promotions & titles

New Titles

Ms Fiona Richards – Clinical Lecturer (Clinical Genetics)
Dr Justin Needs – Clinical Lecturer (General Medicine)
Dr Alan Ma – Clinical Associate Lecturer (Clinical Genetics)
Dr Elizabeth Palmer – Clinical Associate Lecturer (Clinical Genetics)
Ms Cheryl Cotton – Clinical Associate Lecturer (Clinical Genetics)
Ms Zoe Milgrom – Clinical Associate Lecturer (Clinical Genetics)
Dr Seema Menon – Clinical Associate Lecturer (Surgery)
Dr Jonathan Karpelowsky – Conjoint Senior Lecturer (Surgery)
Dr Catherine Birman – Clinical Associate Professor (Surgery)
Dr Stephen Jacobe – Clinical Associate Professor (Intensive Care)
Dr Nadine Kasparian – Conjoint Senior Lecturer (Psychological Research)
Dr Padriac Grattan-Smith – Clinical Associate Professor (Neurology)
Dr Jason Hort – Clinical Senior Lecturer (Emergency)
Dr Sinead Hassett – Clinical Lecturer
Ms Edwina Rickard – Clinical Associate Lecturer (Clinical Genetics)


Dr Yvonne Zurynski – Associate Professor
Dr Russell Dale – Associate Professor
Dr Robyn Jamieson – Associate Professor
Dr Rachel Skinner – Associate Professor
Dr Craig Munns – Conjoint Associate Professor
Dr Geraldine O’Neill – Conjoint Associate Professor
Dr Kim Donaghue – Conjoint Professor
Dr Andrew Holland – Professor
Dr Cheryl Jones – Professor
Dr Alison Kesson – Conjoint Professor
Dr David Little – Conjoint Professor
Dr Karen Waters – Conjoint Professor
Dr Dominic Fitzgerald – Clinical Professor


Ms Jordan Bryan – Acting Executive Officer
Ms Elena Mamontov – Clinic Admin Officer (temp)
Ms Caren Beer – Student Administration Coordinator (due to commence 28 April 2011)


Upcoming conferences and meetings

Asia-Pacific Meeting On Simulation In Healthcare (APMSH):
Hong Kong 19-22/05/2011 Website
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 Netherlands- 7-11/06/2011
More information

The National Investment for the Early Years (NIFTeY) and the Centre for Community Child Health (CCCH) Conference: Sydney - 28-29/07/2011
Call for abstracts is now open for The NIFTeY/CCCH 2011 Conference which will be held at Dockside, Cockle Bay Wharf, Sydney from 28 - 29 July 2011. The closing date for abstract submission is 31 March 2011. Website

18th Congress Union of Arab Pediatric Societies: Lebanon - 6-9/10/2011
This congress will be held from 6 - 9 October 2011 in Beirut, Lebanon. Registration and more information

9th International Congress of Tropical Pediatrics: Thailand - 17-19/10/2011
More information

Australian Breastfeeding Association's (ABA) International Conference: Canberra - 20-21/10/2011
Abstract submissions close 18 April 2011. More information

The Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS) Annual Meeting: Adelaide - 20-22/10/2011
Theme: The Obesity challenge: physical, psychosocial and environmental More information

4th International Paediatric Simulation Symposium and Workshops: Toulouse, France 26-27/10/2011 More information

43rd Congress of the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP): Auckland New Zealan - 26-30/10/2011 More information

Update in Paediatric Respiratory Diseases: Hong Kong - 28-30/10/2011 More information

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

49th National Conference of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics (PEDICON): Gurgaon, India - 18-22/01/2012
More information

26th International Conference of the European Society for Philosophy of Medicine and Healthcare (ESPMH): Nazareth, Israel - 15-18/08/2012
Abstracts should be submitted before 1 March 2012. For more information, contact , Secretary of ESPMH