Clinical School newsletter

2012 - Issue 3

CHW Clinical School news

Remembering Dr Wal Grigor 1929 – 2012

Wal Grigor

It is with great sadness at his passing but fond recollections that we remember Wal Grigor who died in March this year. Wal began as a resident at Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, Camperdown, in 1953, thinking he would go into general practice after six months, but, as he said, he never left.
He was Chief Resident 1958 – 1961, then a Visiting Medical Officer, Board member and Vice-President, Department Head, and Director of Clinical and Physician Training 1995-1998.
Outside the hospital he made contributions to The Children’s Medical Research Foundation (now CMRI), the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Board Committee (Chair 1978-1994), the Child Accident Prevention Foundation (now KidSafe), the Australian College of Paediatrics (now RACP Division of Paediatrics), the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children, the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
We will miss his experience and wisdom. Obituaries appeared in
The Sydney Morning Herald
and The Lancet

Welcome to Katrina Hoult


Welcome to Katrina Hoult, who joins The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School with many years of valuable experience in health administration. Before joining the Clinical School, Katrina was Executive Officer at the Health Education and Training Institute (HETI, formally CETI and IMET) for two years. Prior to that, Katrina was Executive Officer to the Chief Executive of Sydney West Area Health Service for three years and held administrative positions at various hospital facilities for six years.
At the Clinical School Katrina will oversee human resources and professional development, and coordinate and implement financial, research and administrative functions for Kathy North, as Associate Dean, and the Clinical School, in association with Leigh Smith, as Business and Research Manager.
Katrina will also provide high level executive support to Kathy and other senior academics within the Clinical School.

Welcome to Joan Laidler


We welcome Joan Laidler to the Clinical School. Joan has recently taken up the position of Administrative Officer for the Clinical School and Personal Assistant to Dr Nigel Clarke. Joan comes to the Clinical School with a wealth of experience in office management and administration, as well as a career as a personal trainer.
Joan’s previous experience includes Office Manager for Australian Water Services, which involved setting up the office administration, and Office Manager at John Holland. Before joining the Clinical School, Joan was Customer Services Coordinator at National Australia Bank.

Cheryl Jones appointed Deputy Dean

Cheryl Jones

Congratulations to Professor Cheryl Jones, who has been appointed joint Deputy Dean (Clinical) of Sydney Medical School. Cheryl will share the role with Professor Tania Sorrell of Westmead Clinical School until March 2015. Cheryl and Tania replace Professor Ben Freedman as Deputy Dean.

RACP Congress May 2012

The 2012 Congress was held in Brisbane (note the 2013 Congress will be held as part of the International Pediatric Association Congress of Pediatrics in Melbourne in August. There will be no May congress).
Some highlights included:

  • The honorary fellowship bestowed on Dr Tors Clothier. Tors was a paediatric registrar at RAHC at Camperdown in the 1980s, but did not persist with the examination process. As Tors said, ‘some people take a long time to get there, but 25 years does seem a bit late’. He was appreciative of all the support he received from colleagues at RAHC, then CHW, including Kathy North, Wal Grigor and Dave Isaacs, over the last twenty years or so he has been in Alice Springs
  • PRSANZ Research Award: Dr Patrina Caldwell for her presentation titled The NEAT (Nocturnal Enuresis Alarm Therapy) Study: A Randomized Controlled Trial of a Novel Alarm that Enhances Waking
  • Howard Williams medal winner and orator Prof Graham Vimpani
  • The Launch of the Oral Health Position Statement – jointly endorsed by the RACP and the College of Dental Surgeons

What matters to you?

The ‘What matters to you?’ website has recently been launched to engage visitors to The University of Sydney’s website. Featuring videos from lead researchers at the University, the site invites visitors to vote on key topics each month and comment on blogs associated with each topic. Two of the initial researchers featured were Professors Kathryn North and Louise Baur:

Kathryn North From muscular dystrophy to elite performance
While studying the gene alpha actinin 3, a potential contributor to muscular dystrophy, Kathy uncovered a surprising fact – the gene has a significant influence on athletic performance at an elite level.
 Louise Baur  Obesity is more than a health problem
Obesity strikes not just at health but how we function in society, and the drivers are varied. Louise looks at the range of factors including food marketing, availability of low-cost foods, urban planning and public transport.

Research news

Professors North, Baur & Christodoulou on NHMRC committees

Congratulations to Professors Kathryn North, Louise Baur and John Christodoulou, who have been appointed to NHMRC committees for the triennium 2012 to 2015.

Kathy has been appointed Chair of the NHMRC Research Committee (RC). RC covers health and medical research, including public health. It is responsible for overseeing the allocation of NHMRC research grants
on the basis of scientific quality, as judged by peer-review across the entire spectrum of health, medical and public health research. It also provides research support through a variety of mechanisms, including support for individual research projects, broad programs of research, training awards and fellowships, and special research units. Kathy is the first paediatrician to be appointed to Chair this committee. She has also been appointed as a member of the NHMRC Research Council.

Louise has been appointed to the NHMRC Prevention and Community Health Committee (PCHC). PCHC provides evidence-based health advice to NHMRC on a range of matters in community and population health, prevention, and environmental health.It consults with the community, health care professionals and all levels of government in identifying emerging issues and gaps in knowledge, and developing and maintaining standards for the development of health advice.

John has been appointed to the NHMRC Human Genetics Advisory Committee (HGAC). HGAC provides on-going advice to the NHMRC on high-level technical and strategic issues in human genetics and on the social, ethical and legal implications of human genetics and related technologies. HGAC also provides national leadership in responding to new developments in these technologies

Early Career Researchers “Talk and Cheese” seminar series

John C  KateS

 On Tuesday 31 July, Professors Kate Steinbeck and John Christodoulou kindly gave up an evening to talk to Early Career Researchers (ECRs) about “Maintaining a work-life balance”.

This was part of the “Talk and Cheese” seminar series organised by Drs Nigel Clarke and Patrina Caldwell.

The series is aimed at helping ECRs at a critical time in their careers when they are trying to establish a research track record. John and Kate’s anecdotes and advice were both entertaining and insightful, and the large group of ECRs found the talk and discussion most helpful.

Student news

Medical student profile: Johannes Loll, visiting medical student from Dresden


Johannes Loll is a final year medical student from Carl Gustav Carus Faculty of Medicine, The University of Technology Dresden, Germany. Johannes recently completed the Child and Adolescent Health specialty block and an eight week elective at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. The 16 weeks in paediatrics accounts for the elective period of his final year of medical school, which is equivalent to pre-internship and internship in Australia.
Johannes enjoyed the opportunity to learn clinical skills through medical bedside teaching at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. He learnt a great deal from his clinical placements and his participation in the Child and Adolescent Health specialty block. He particularly enjoyed his time with the pain and palliative care team and his placement in the Emergency Department. Johannes thinks his stay at the Children's hospital at Westmead and the diverse impressions he experienced will enrich his future work.
On 25 June, Johannes started his 16 week surgical term in Switzerland and will return to Dresden to complete his final medical term and study for his final exams in April 2013. He is also completing his doctoral thesis on quality of life assessment of terminally ill children in the palliative care team in Dresden (Brueckenteam). Johannes will undertake his residency in paediatrics in Dresden.
Sydney Medical School has an exchange partnership with Carl Gustav Carus Faculty of Medicine, The University of Technology Dresden, Germany. Through this exchange, medical students from The University of Sydney can elect to undertake their eight week Child and Adolescent Health specialty block as an overseas substitute block in Dresden. Students from The University of Technology Dresden can obtain a full scholarship from the German DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst) to study for sixteen weeks at The Children's Hospital at Westmead and Westmead Hospital

Postgraduate student profile: David Fitzsimons


David Fitzsimons is a clinical specialist speech pathologist who has worked in the Cleft Palate Clinic at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead for the past 17 years. David has worked exclusively with children born with cleft lip and/or cleft palate and other related craniofacial conditions. In recent years, as part of his PhD studies, David has also started to work with children with Neurofibromatosis Type 1.
David’s PhD is centred on the perceptual assessment of speech disorders associated with cleft palate and/or velopharyngeal insufficiency (VPI). He has developed a computerised keyboard and font files that allow speech pathologists to document (transcribe) the narrow phonetic transcription (as seen in the International Phonetic Alphabet) as it relates to cleft palate speech. David has recently published a paper describing a new computerised procedure to analyse this phonetic transcription once it is entered into a computer. He has also developed a prototype for a computerised transcription training program for speech pathologists to facilitate better transcription of cleft palate speech. In addition, David has developed a perceptual assessment screening tool to be used by speech pathologists.

Postgraduate Research Student Conference


The annual Postgraduate Research Student Conference was held on Friday 10 August with more participants than ever before, and was judged a great success. For a full report on the conference, click here.

Grants, Achievements, Promotions and Titles

Appointments & titles

New titles
Dr Wendy Gold, Research Fellow
Dr Nicole Yu, Conjoint Lecturer

Ms Katrina Hoult - Executive Officer, Clinical School
Mrs Joan Laidler - Admin Officer and PA to Dr Nigel Clarke


Upcoming conferences and meetings

14th Asia Pacific Congress of Pediatrics: Malaysia - 8-12/09/2012
Further information, please visit the website

Paediatric Society of QLD Annual Scientific and Educational Meeting: Brisbane - 12-13/10/2012
Brisbane Powerhouse. Further information can be accessed here

The Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS) Annual Meeting: Auckland - 18-20/10/2012 Themed “For Our Children’s Children” More information

6th Asian Congress of Pediatric Infectious Diseases (ACPID): Sri Lanka - 24-27/10/2012 More information

National Spina Bifida Conference: Sydney - 19-20/10/2012
Novotel Sydney Olympic Park. Please visit for all details including the registration booklet and form.

American Society of Nephrology Kidney Week 2012
October 30, 2012 - November 04, 2012
San Diego, USA
See website for description

ACSMS International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health (ICPAPH 2012) October 31, 2012 - November 01, 2012. More information

The Annual Children's Hospital at Westmead Paediatric Update: Sydney - 15-16/11/2012
Enquires: or

Cool Topics in Neonatology: Melbourne - 22-23/11/2012
The University of Melbourne. Registration


3rd Annual Winter Symposium in Intensive Care & Emergency Medicine: Colorado - 6-11/01/2013
. Visit for further information.

27th International Pediatric Association (IPA) Congress of Pediatrics: Melbourne - 24-29/08/2013 further information