Clinical school newsletter

2011 - Issue 3

CHW Clinical School News

Congratulations to Professor Kathryn North on her GlaxoSmithKline Australia Award for Research Excellence


Congratulations to Professor Kathryn North on receiving the 2011 GlaxoSmithKline Australia Award for Research Excellence. The Award recognises outstanding achievement and includes a grant of $80,000 for continuing research.

The Award acknowledges Kathy’s work as a translational medical researcher, including the world-first discovery of a common genetic mutation that influences muscle function and performance, ACTN3, now known as the gene for speed. Kathy has undertaken extensive research into neuromuscular and neurogenetic disorders in children, which has resulted in better outcomes for sick children and young people. Her research into the way muscles work in elite athletes has also provided insight into genetic risk factors for obesity and diabetes, increasingly common health problems in the general population.

When presenting the award, GSK Medical Director Dr Camilla Chong said, "Neuromuscular disorders constitute one of the major causes of ongoing disability in childhood. Professor North's research has not only significantly advanced our understanding of these disorders but has had an immeasurable impact on the lives of patients through better diagnosis and disease management."

Hear Kathy’s interview about her award on ABC Morning Radio

Congratulations to Professor Dianne Campbell


We would like to congratulate Professor Dianne Campbell on her appointment as Chair of Paediatric Allergy and Clinical Immunology at The University of Sydney in January. Dianne will continue her current position as Head of Discipline, Paediatrics and Child Health.

Dianne trained in Paediatrics at Royal Alexander Hospital for Children from 1990 and undertook her PhD at Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne University, followed by a post doctorate at Stanford University. Dianne has worked as a Staff Specialist in the Department of Allergy and Immunology at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead since 2004. She has been an active member of the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health since 2001, initially at Northern Clinical School, then as Senior Lecturer and then Sub-Dean Education at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School. She has designed and cofounded the paediatric postgraduate coursework master’s program and is active in curriculum and assessment design in the Sydney Medical Program. She is on the executive and was a co-founder of the Kim Oates Australian Paediatric Simulation Centre. Active areas of research include: script concordance, clinical reasoning, mechanisms of disease in atopic dermatitis, food allergy, tolerance and primary prevention of allergic diseases in childhood.

As Chair of Paediatric Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Dianne aims to enhance the Department of Allergy and Immunology’s strength in clinical research, focusing on food allergy and childhood atopic dermatitis. The department is currently undertaking a randomised controlled trial of early introduction of egg into the diet of infants at risk of food allergy

Elizabeth Elliott, Peter Procopis and Craig Mellis awarded John Sands Medal


Liz and Craig with their medals

Congratulations to Professor Elizabeth Elliott, Professor Craig Mellis and Associate Professor Peter Procopis, who have been awarded the prestigious John Sands Medal 2011 for their outstanding service to Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and its faculties.
Liz was acknowledged for making a substantial contribution to paediatrics through her clinical work, research and involvement with the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit (APSU) and to the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. She was a member of the Divisional Council, Chair of the Research Committee, member of the Scientific Program Committee and the Research Advisory Committee and Chair of the Scientific Program committee for the upcoming International Paediatric Association meeting in 2013. Liz was also recognised for her leadership role on a number of boards and committees at an international, national and state level.
Craig was recognised for his outstanding medical career in clinical care, teaching and research. He was also acknowledged for his work in paediatric respiratory medicine, including his excellence as a clinical epidemiologist and biostatistician in respiratory medicine more broadly. Craig was praised for the positive impact he has had on generations of medical graduates and trainees, both in paediatrics and adult training programs.
Peter was acknowledged for his long-standing and exemplary commitment to continuing education and professional development, including his role as a teacher and examiner within paediatrics. Peter was also recognised for his work as a paediatric neurologist, for which he has an international reputation. Peter was praised for the many leadership roles he has held within the RACP, as well as his previous role as President of the NSW Medical Board, and current role as a member of the Medical Board of Australia

Frank Martin awarded Jose Rizal Medal and Rotary Award for Vocational Excellence

frank martin

Professor Frank Martin is Clinical Professor with the Disciplines of Paediatrics and Child Health, and Clinical Ophthalmology and Eye Health at The University of Sydney. He was head of the Department of Ophthalmology at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead for 22 years. Frank was honoured earlier this year with the most prestigious medal of the Asia Pacific Academy of Ophthalmology award, The Jose Rizal Medal, awarded to outstanding ophthalmologists for excellence in ophthalmology within the Asia Pacific region.

Rotary International also recognised Prof Martin’s contribution with a Rotary Award for Vocational Excellence 2010/2011 for his outstanding professional care and mentoring of graduates.

Congratulations Frank, and thank you also for your continuing contribution to medical student teaching in the Sydney Medical Program.

Anne Morris receives 2011 Sydney Medical School Award for Outstanding Teaching


Congratulations to Dr Anne Morris, who has received the 2011 Sydney Medical School Award for Outstanding Teaching (Early Career), with an accompanying prize of $5000. This award recognises the contribution Anne has made as the co-founder and now Course co-ordinator of Master of Medicine (Paediatric Medicine).
Established in 2006, Anne was instrumental in the educational design and implementation of this novel e-learning course, delivered entirely online to local and international medical practitioners. She is the specialty block coordinator for Child and Adolescent Health in Stage 3, with an active role in education research, particularly focused on assessment. She also has a Staff Specialist appointment at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead

Dr Judith Dey AO, MBBS (Syd), DCH (Lon) 1923-2011

Dr Judith Dey died earlier this year. She had a long association with Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, as CHW was known during its time at Camperdown. In 1950 she became the Chief Resident Medical Officer, a position her father had held in 1916. She is remembered for her commitment to children with developmental disability. As the founding director of Grosvenor Hospital, Summer Hill, she ran the first outpatient clinic in the state for children with developmental disability, as well as the residential hospital for severely disabled children.

Further details are available via the link below to her Obituary as it appeared in The Sydney Morning Herald of 29 April 2011

Farewell Maureen Baker


On May 12 we held a farewell lunch for Maureen Baker on finishing her work at the Clinical School. Maureen’s roles changed in the 14½ years she worked at the Clinical School, with much of her time working as secretary to Prof Kathy North and the neurogenetics team. She also worked on the administration of local and international university students on elective placements at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
In farewelling Maureen, Kathy praised Maureen’s secretarial work and highlighted her friendly, welcoming manner with colleagues and visitors to the Clinical School. We wish Maureen all the very best in her retirement to Lake Macquarie

Chain of Protection: Immunisation promotional DVD

Professor Robert Booy has produced an immunisation promotional DVD, Chain of Protection, with an associated website. The DVD and website deal with important issues related to immunisation today, including herd immunity, how diseases are transmitted, whooping cough, meningococcal disease and disease prevention. The website and video were made possible by an educational grant from Medicines Australia. They were produced by Robert in conjunction with Blirt Marketing and Jenny Granger, marketing consultant.

NSW Health has purchased 10,000 copies of the Chain of Protection DVD to send to every general practice in NSW. Similar action has been taken in Victoria. New videos for the website on life-threatening but vaccine preventable diseases are to be produced later this year. To date the website has had over 40,000 hits.

Robert is Head of Clinical Research at the National Centre for Immunisation Research & Surveillance (NCIRS) at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and The University of Sydney. He is an Infectious Diseases Specialist and Paediatrician, and has conducted extensive research into serious infections and their prevention, with over 200 scientific publications to his credit.


James Fitzpatrick wins Derby Bush Poet’s written competition


Congratulations to James Fitzpatrick, who won the written competition in the Derby Bush Poet’s Breakfast in Western Australia on 27 June. His winning poem, ‘Hope in the Valley,’ describes the hope resulting from efforts to address Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) in the Fitzroy Valley, including the use of alcohol restrictions. This work forms part of James’ PhD project with Elizabeth Elliott and colleagues from the George Institute, Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre and Nindilingarri Cultural Health to diagnose and manage FASD and support parents.
When introducing his poem, James told the crowd of 300 that FASD “is preventable… Out in Fitzroy alcohol restrictions have been brought in to stem the chronic over-use and over-supply of grog, so there's hope in the valley."
Listen to James perform ‘Hope in the valley’.
(Photo courtesy Geoff Vivian's Kimberley Page)

Winning Photo

In our May issue we reported that Professor Elizabeth Elliott was placed third in the 2010 CHW Photographic Competition. Liz’s photograph, ‘Three Sisters,’ shown here, is a beautiful portrait of three healthy young girls in the Fitzroy Valley

three sisters


RACP Congress success

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians Congress was held in Darwin in May 2011. CHW Clinical School members and their co-authors were awarded:

  • Dr Nick Wood received the PRSANZ Research Award for the presentation ‘Long-term immunity following acellular pertussis vaccination at birth’
  • Dr Kelly Saltman who worked with Drs Patrina Caldwell and Shirley Alexander won the Wiley-Blackwell Publishing New Investigator Award for her work on the association of urinary incontinence with childhood overweight and obesity
  • Best Poster Prize in Paediatrics and Child Health went to Dr Samantha Lade for her presentation on Body Mass Index and renal transplant recipients
  • Prof Cheryl Jones, Dr Nigel Clarke, Dr Patrina Caldwell and Mrs Wendy Oldmeadow received the Wiley-Blackwell Award for Excellence in Medical Education for their work on Early Career Researchers’ career challenges and development needs.

Another finalist in the PRSANZ award was Ms Uma Selvanathan (Supervisor: Prof Cheryl Jones).
Dr James Fitzpatrick was also a finalist for the Wiley-Blackwell Award.
Prof Elizabeth Elliott, Dr Hasantha Gunasekera, Dr Meg Phelps, Dr Yvonne Zurynski and Dr Elisabeth Hodson also presented and Dr Katharine McDevitt presented a poster

ARC Linkage Grant success

Congratulations to Dr Yvonne A Zurynski, Prof Elizabeth J Elliott, A/Prof Helen M Leonard, Prof John Christodoulou on their ARC Linkage grant commencing in the second half of 2011: ‘Psychosocial and economic impacts of rare diseases on Australian children, families and health professionals’. The estimated 400,000 Australian children affected by rare diseases have complex, chronic and specialised needs but are often forgotten by our health system and access to appropriate diagnostic and clinical services is problematic for many families. This project will systematically collect data to demonstrate the impacts of rare diseases in Australia, providing an opportunity APSU staff and their partners to address this knowledge gap.

Further information about the grant is found on the APSU website

Jonathan Payne receives Children’s Tumor Foundation Young Investigator Award


Congratulations to Dr Jonathan Payne, who received a Children’s Tumor Foundation Young Investigator Award 2011-2013, valued at $100,000USD. This grant, awarded from the leading non-governmental funder of neurofibromatosis research, is for Jonathan’s research into the neural basis and treatment of reading disability in children with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1). Cognitive impairments are the greatest cause of lifetime morbidity in patients with NF1, with approximately 70% underachieving at school. This research will investigate the integrity of white matter pathways underlying reading disability in NF1 using diffusion tensor imaging. It will also assess the efficacy of a computer-based phonics training program in improving reading in young children with the condition.
Jonathan is a neuropsychologist and Team Leader of the NF1 Research Team. His research interests include characterising the cognitive and psychological phenotype of children with NF1, identifying pathological mechanisms underlying NF1-related cognitive impairments and evaluating the efficacy of pharmacological and cognitive-based treatments.

Student news

Postgraduate research student profile - Paul Benitez


Paul Benitez is in the final year of his PhD candidature in the field of diabetes complications. He is studying novel non-invasive methods to predict, detect and monitor microvascular complications in young persons with type 1 diabetes. His supervisors are Prof. Kim Donaghue, A/Prof Maria Craig and A/Prof Alicia Jenkins. During his studies Paul has presented at national and international conferences in Asia, Europe and The Americas. In August 2010 he was awarded the Young Investigator of the Year Award at the Australian Paediatric Endocrine Group (APEG) Annual Scientific Meeting for his work on retinal vascular measures as predictors of microvascular complications in young persons with type 1 diabetes. These retinal vascular measures are now being used as outcome measures in an international randomised control trial.
In 2009 Paul was selected to attend the prestigious International Society for Paediatric and Adolescent Diabetes (ISPAD) Physician Science School in Cambridge, UK. He has been invited to return as a faculty member to the ISPAD Science School in Japan in 2012. Paul has recently been awarded a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholarship and after completing his PhD will travel to Cambridge to complete a fellowship in diabetes technologies and clinical endocrinology. Paul describes his PhD time as a “gateway to endless opportunities, friendships and collaborations” and has thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Accreditation for primary supervisors of higher degree research students

Do you want to be a primary supervisor of higher degree research students?

Do you want to be a primary supervisor of higher degree research students?
The Discipline’s accreditation course will be held from July to September. Experienced supervisors are also welcome to attend the seminars.

Accreditation involves attending at least two of the three topic seminars:
Seminar 1 “Expectations of supervisors and students in postgraduate research candidature”
Presenter: Jennifer Byrne
Wednesday 27 July 2011, 1.00pm-3.30pm
Doreen Dew Lecture Theatre, level 4, Education Centre, CHW

Seminar 2 “Supporting writing in postgraduate research candidature”
Presenter: Cheryl Jones
Wednesday 10 August 2011, 1.00pm-3.30pm
Doreen Dew Lecture Theatre, level 4, Education Centre, CHW

Seminar 3 “Monitoring Progress”
Presenter: Louise Baur
Wednesday 31 August 2011, 1.00pm-3.30pm
Doreen Dew Lecture Theatre, level 4, Education Centre, CHW

AND presenting at the Final Accreditation Presentation Seminar
Wednesday 21 September 2011, 10.00am-1.00pm
Lorimer Dods Lecture Theatre, level 4, Education Centre, CHW

To gain accreditation, supervisors also need one year’s experience as an associate supervisor. You can complete the course prior to meeting the associate supervisor requirement.

Register by emailing

Further information is on the Discipline website

Grants, Achievements, Promotions and Titles

Promotions appointments & titles


Prof Chris Cowell – Conjoint Professor (Endocrinology)
Dr Albert Shun – Clinical Associate Professor (Surgery)
Dr Hiran Selvadurai - Clinical Associate Professor (Respiratory Medicine)
Dr Christina Ruddock – Clinical Lecturer (Cytogenetics)
A/Prof Rachel Skinner – Honorary Associate, School of Public Health

Daralyn Hodgson – Clinic Administration Officer


Elliott EJ, Bower C, Kaldor J, Booy R, Sullivan E. NHMRC Enabling Grant, Additional funding, Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit. July 2011-March 2012. $150,000

Zurynski YA, Elliott EJ, Leonard HM, Christodoulou J. Australian Research Council Linkage Project (LP110200277). Psychosocial and economic impacts of rare diseases on Australian children, families and health professionals. 2011-2014. $316,779. Partner/Collaborating Organisation(s): Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Smile Foundation Limited , Steve Waugh Foundation, The Association of Genetic Support Australasia, The Children's Hospital at Westmead

Latimer J, Elliott E, Fitzpatrick J, Oscar J, Carter M. Department of Families Housing Community and Indigenous Affairs. July 1, 2011 – June 30 2013. $456,000

Latimer J, Elliott E, Fitzpatrick J, Oscar J, Carter M. Department of Health and Ageing. The Lililwan Project. July 1, 2011 – June 30 2013. $419,000

Elliott EJ, Zurynski Y. Department of Health and Ageing. Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit. July 1, 2011 - June 30, 2010. $177.000

Elliott EJ, Burns L. Department of Health and Ageing. Update to the Monograph, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders in Australia. Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs Working Party on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. July – October 2011. $69,000.

Latimer J, Elliott EJ. Alcohol Education Rehabilitation Foundation. Marulu (an educational DVD following the life of a family of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders). July 2011-13 $40,000

Latimer J, Elliott EJ. Anonymous donor. Marulu (an educational DVD following the life of a family of children with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders). July 2011-13 $140,000

Peadon E, Elliott EJ. Alcohol Education Rehabilitation Foundation. A FASD diagnostic clinic for Australia. $108.000. July 2011-13

Li M, Dibley M, Baur L. AusAID Australian Leadership Awards (ALA) Fellowships Program (R9-70). Regional collaboration to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity. $320,000

If your grant is not listed here, we will be happy to include it in the September newsletter. Please send details to


Upcoming conferences and meetings

NCHN Paediatric Update for NSW regional and rural clinicians: Tamworth - 25-26/08/2011
For more information, a program or to obtain a registration form please contact Louise Austin, Resource Manager on Ph: +61 2 4939 2469, MOB: 0403 368 068 or via

The Vaccines in Public Health Workshop: The Children's Hospital at Westmead Sydney - 31/08/-1/09/2011
More information and registration

The World Federation of Associations of Pediatric Surgeons (WOFAPS) Annual Meeting - Updates in Pediatric Surgery - controversies and advances: Bosnia and Herzegovina - 22-25/09/2011
Abstract submission deadline is 7 July 2011. more information

International Conference on Residency Education: Canada - 22-24/09/2011
Further information

The 52nd Annual Meeting of the European Society for Paediatric Research (ESPR): UK - 14-17/10/2011. More information, please .

17th Annual Professional Development Program: Melbourne - 21-22/10/2011
The Centre for Community Child Health at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne

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

The 8th Australian and New Zealand Adolescent Health Conference - Youth Health 2011: Sydney - 9-11/11/2011 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

For contributions to this newsletter, please email