Clinical School newsletter

2013 - Issue 1

CHW Clinical School news

Welcome to 2013

Louise Baur

Welcome to 2013!

In December we farewelled Professor Kathryn North as she left the University of Sydney and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead to take up her new position as Director of the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne. We know Kathy will lead and encourage the continuing work of the Murdoch with her usual skill and flair, and we send her our very best wishes in her new position. Kathy has left the Clinical School and the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health in excellent shape, fit and working well, to continue with education and research.

I am honoured to take on the Acting Associate Dean role initially. The role will be shared between a number of senior clinical school staff. The arrangements for the next few months are as follows:

January – March: Prof Louise Baur
April 2-5: Dr Nigel Clarke
April 8-26: A/Prof Rachel Skinner
April 29 – June: A/Prof Russell Dale
July - September: Prof Louise Baur

Katrina Hoult, Executive Officer of the Clinical School, will always be aware of arrangements. Please note that Prof Cheryl Jones is one of the Faculty’s Deputy Deans and in that role has a broader set of responsibilities across the Faculty. She, together with other senior members of the School and senior administrative staff, now form part of the Clinical School Executive, which meets weekly. The Faculty remains committed to filling the position of Associate Dean and Professor of Paediatrics and Child Health, and will also be increasing the corpus of funds that support the position.

In 2013 we will continue to work within an uncertain international economic climate with its flow on effects to universities. Sydney Medical School is currently considering the move from an MBBS to an MD, in line with a number of other Australian medical schools. And, of course, the Clinical School will continue to work as part of the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network (SCHN) as it further develops.

The International Pediatric Association’s congress, ICP 2013, to be held in late August in Melbourne, will be a wonderful opportunity for staff to present and interact with international colleagues.

I end my ‘Welcome to 2013’ on an inspirational note by sharing with you feedback the Dean received from a medical student who undertook the Child and Adolescent Health Specialty Block at Children's Hospital Westmead Clinical School late last year:

Many students commented that the administrative and academic staff at The Children's Hospital at Westmead were simply outstanding in their teaching of the paediatric block last year. The prevailing ethos seemed to be, "How can this be done best?" This attitude was evident in organisation, teaching and patient care. The staff were really so lovely that I thought about becoming a paediatrician! But I figure that's a silly way to choose a career path. :)
I will always value the memory and professional examples. My sincere thanks to everyone involved.

This student’s evident gratitude for the exceptional teaching and administrative support he and his fellow students received, and the excellent care provided to patients, highlights the dedication of staff working in the Discipline and the Hospital. It is a pleasure and a privilege to be a member of such an esteemed organisation.

Professor Louise Baur

2012 Lorimer awards

Congratulations to the following winners of the 2012 Lorimer teaching awards (The Lorimers) for their excellence in teaching medical students on the Child and Adolescent Health Specialty Block and supervising postgraduate students in the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health. For each Lorimer winner, we provide an excerpt from the nominations received.


Nick Pigott – clinical teaching, CHW
“His questions and explanations are relevant and he caters his knowledge to the level of our group. He acknowledges our strong points, yet is honest about our shortfalls. He often teaches for much longer than is expected.”


Miriam Codarini - CRS
“She was able to ask the right questions to make us think and point out the important points. She also knew when to sit back and let us discuss the case and when to jump in and help us.”


Dylan Wagumara – surgical teaching
“Despite looking exhausted most of the time and being quite busy, Dylan made time to teach during rounds and in theatres. He managed to do this in a way that was not intimidating or patronizing, explaining things very clearly to students.”

Cheri and Sandra

Cheri Templeton and Sandra Spalding – allied health
“An excellent example of multidisciplinary teamwork and teaching.”


Paul Hutchins – Structured teaching
“I thought Prof Hutchins' lecture was lovely.”


Alex Kan – Special award
“Sustained excellence in his contribution to the teaching program.”


David Little – Postgraduate Supervision Award
“David has provided excellent supervision to many outstanding PhD students in his research laboratory. He has an extraordinary international research track record in orthopaedic research and biotechnology.”

Darren Shepherd – rural teaching, Lismore
“He allows students to become involved in all aspects of patient care and ensures each student experience is positive.”

Prestigious awards for Professor David Sillence


We congratulate Professor David Sillence on being made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the recent Australia Day Honours, for “significant service to medicine in the field of clinical genetics”. This is a very fitting and well-deserved recognition of the tireless work that David has done over several decades in helping establish medical genetics as the major discipline that it now is within NSW and Australia.
David was also recently given Life Membership of the Australian Salaried Medical Officer’s Federation (ASMOF) in recognition of his outstanding contribution to ASMOF, the other associations representing salaried medical staff, and to his colleagues and peers in the medical profession. David has been involved with industrial representation of salaried medical staff over the past 42 years. He is one of the people that junior medical staff can thank for RMOs today having far safer working hours and better professional recognition for their contributions.

Elizabeth Elliott appointed to WHO and other international committees

Professor Elizabeth Elliott was recently appointed by the World Health Organisation to their Alcohol and Other Drugs Guidelines Development Group. The first meeting of the 12 member group was held in Washington DC in January. Over the next 18 months the group will develop the WHO guidelines on the identification and management of substance use and substance use disorders in pregnancy.

Elizabeth Elliott

Liz and Super Bowl Sunday friend

While in Washington, Liz was intrigued by the hype surrounding “Super Bowl” week and the final of the National Football League on "Super Bowl Sunday" and was delighted to meet with a member of the winning team, the Baltimore Ravens. Super Bowl Sunday is second only to Thanksgiving Day as the largest day in the U.S. for food consumption and the game is watched on TV by an average audience of 111 million.

Liz has also been appointed to the Scientific Committee to oversee conduct of an international prevalence study of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders initiated by the WHO and commencing in 2013, the Expert Advisory Committee, 6th Biennial International Conference on Adolescents and Adults with Fetal Alcohol spectrum Disorders (FASD) in Vancouver in 2014.

She was recently invited to join an International Advisory Group to review the current diagnostic criteria and develop internationally accepted guidelines for the diagnosis of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. The first meeting was held in Vancouver in March during the 5th International FASD meeting, where Liz, two PhD students, one Masters student and colleagues from Fitzroy Valley were involved in 11 research presentations on the Lililwan FASD Prevalence Study. She has also been invited to join the newly formed FASD Advisory Committee for NSW Health.

New corporate look for administrative team


The Clinical School’s administrative staff swung into the year wearing colourful, corporate shirts. The new-look uniform, which has the University and Clinical School badging, was initiated and managed by a number of the administrative staff, and then keenly adopted by the team as optional work wear.

The premise for the shirts is to enhance the Clinical School’s profile in a professional way and enable staff to be easily identified by medical students, postgraduate students, staff of the hospital, as well as patients and families/carers. Positive feedback about the corporate shirts has been received from staff and students around the hospital, and this may have started a new trend for other Clinical Schools.

A huge thank you to and acknowledgement of Julie’s Embroidery at Brookvale, supplier of our embroidered shirts.

Indonesian paediatric professors visit CHW

On Friday 8 February 2013 a delegation from the Indonesian College of Pediatrics visited The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW), their only visit to a clinical site during their stay in Australia.

Dr Patrina Caldwell, Senior Lecturer, CHW Clinical School, hosted the visit of the eight Indonesian Professors of Paediatrics with the assistance of public relations and clinical staff.

The signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Indonesian College of Pediatrics and The Royal Australasian College of Physicians, Division of Paediatrics, was the high point of the delegation’s visit. This will provide the foundation for important collaborations in the future.

indonesian delegation

L to R: Prastia Gunawan; Bambang Supiyanto; Bambang Tridjaja; Partini Trihono; Anggraini Alam; Dwi Dadiyanto; Moh. Juffrie; Sukman Putra - with Stephen Jacobe; David Schell; Arjun Chavan

Vale Ted Beckenham

Last Saturday, 16 March, CHW’s retired and highly respected Ear, Nose and Throat Consultant, Dr Ted Beckenham, passed away. Ted was a Clinical Senior Lecturer with the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health. He had a deep humanity, humility and compassion. He was a profound influence on many younger surgeons and was loved by his patients.

Remembering David Henderson-Smart


We remember with sadness Emeritus Professor David Henderson-Smart who died on 7 February 2013. He was Professor of Neonatology at The University of Sydney amongst numerous other appointments. Many current members of the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health had the pleasure of working with David and counting him as a friend and colleague.

One indication of David’s influence is the number of online testaments that have now appeared to remember him:

A memorial ceremony to honour Prof Henderson-Smart has been announced:

Thursday, 11 April 2013; 10:00 am
Great Hall, Sydney University

A web page has been created by the Cochrane Collaboration for people to express condolences, recount memories and share photographs.

Research news

International Congress of Pediatrics 2013

ICP banner

For the first time, the International Congress of Pediatrics 2013 (ICP 2013) will be held in Australasia at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 24 – 29 August. Hosted by the Paediatrics & Child Health Division (PCHD), ICP 2013 is the 27th Congress of the International Pediatric Association (IPA).

The theme for the Congress is ‘Bridging the Gaps in Child and Adolescent Health’, in light of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals target of reducing child deaths by two-thirds by 2015. The IPA is a signatory to this project, so ICP 2013 will provide a venue to review progress towards achievement of the goals and to learn from national successes. The program will focus on the gaps between research and healthcare practice, the gaps in services availability, and the transition gaps between child, adolescent/young adult and adult services. Disparities in the availability of vaccines, essential medicines and medical technology use will be specifically addressed.

Elizabeth Elliott is Chair of the Scientific Program Committee and Hasantha Gunasekera is a member of the Organising Committee. Some 4000 delegates are expected to attend and over 2,000 abstracts have been submitted for peer review - an increase of 30 per cent from the last Congress. For this year only, the research awards have been opened up to international candidates. The Victorian Government and Melbourne Convention and Visitors Bureau are providing $300,000 to support delegates from developing countries.

Each day of the Congress has a specific theme, supported by ‘meet the expert’ breakfast sessions, plenary sessions, eight parallel workshops, symposia and paper presentations, late afternoon key-note speakers and in the evening, industry-sponsored symposia and site visits. A wide range of paediatric, child health and paediatric surgery topics will be covered.

More information is available from the conference website, with registration already open. The early bird rate (which ends 8 May) is $520 - just $250 for students, fellows and nurses.

Grant success


Congratulations to Dr Patrina Caldwell, who has been awarded an internal KRI Near-miss Grant for 2013 for her grant application entitled: ‘A randomised controlled trial of a personalised e-Health intervention (eADVICE: electronic Advice and Diagnosis Via the Internet following Computerised Evaluation) for managing paediatric urinary incontinence’. The total grant amount is $25,000

Student news

Medical student profile: Leonie Zuehlke


Sydney Medical School has an exchange program with the Carl Gustav Carus Faculty of Medicine, Technical University (TU) of Dresden, Germany. Every year medical students from Dresden can apply for a scholarship from the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) and the Medical Faculty. This scholarship enables students to study for 16 weeks at a University of Sydney clinical school.

Leonie Zuehlke is one of five students awarded a scholarship this year. She is in her final year of medical studies, which is equivalent to pre-internship and internship in Australia. In Dresden, it is a practical year of three different terms: surgical, internal medicine and an elective. For her elective, Leonie chose to study paediatrics at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School.

Leonie started her 16 week elective on February 25. This involves eight weeks of elective placements, including Emergency, Neonatal Intensive Care and Oncology. She is also undertaking the eight week Child and Adolescent Health Specialty Block, which she started on 18 March.

Leonie finds it fascinating to discover a new health system and is keen to learn. To her, working in a multicultural team while using a foreign language is a great opportunity. From her perspective, undertaking this overseas experience and gaining beautiful impressions of a different country - even continent - will enrich her future.

After her time in Australia, Leonie will return to Europe to complete her final year in Israel and Germany. She will also work on her doctoral thesis, which is experimental research at the Pancreas Research Laboratory of the Clinic for Visceral, Thoracic and Vascular Surgery at the University Clinic of the TU Dresden. The working title is “The Control Mechanism of the Proliferation in Islet Cells via MicroRNA”. Leonie sees her professional future in paediatric surgery.

Summer research scholarship students

Fifteen students undertook Summer Research Scholarships at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School between December 2012 and February 2013. The scholarships are jointly funded by Sydney Medical School and the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School and valued at $2,400 each. Each student undertook a research project full time for eight weeks, culminating in an oral presentation on 20 February.

The winner of the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School presentation was Diana Wang with the research topic “Long term respiratory and atopic outcomes in infants hospitalised with pertussis”. Highly commended presentations were awarded to Lucinda Sullivan and Anosh Sivashanmugarajah. On 8 March Diana competed in the Dean’s Prize competition for the best Summer Research Scholarship presentation in Sydney Medical School.


Summer research scholarship student profile: Diana Wang

“It was with great enthusiasm and some trepidation that I applied for the Summer Research Scholarship program offered by The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School. Coming from a finance/mathematics background, I knew very little about the field of research, literature reviews and clinical studies. After my first year of medicine, I became interested in respiratory physiology and diseases, and was therefore very grateful when Dr Nick Wood offered to supervise me.

My research topic is the long term respiratory and atopic outcomes in infants hospitalised with pertussis. Dr Wood, Sophie Hale (last year’s Summer Research Scholar) and the team at the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS) were wonderful in providing me with all the assistance and guidance I needed to complete my research.


After spending most of my time rummaging through dozens of journal articles and hundreds of patient records, I could not establish a link between acute pertussis infection and long term respiratory illness and atopy. However, I'm interested in doing further research in this area as pertussis epidemics occur every 3 – 5 years and there are concerns about the pertussis vaccination causing allergic diseases. Therefore, it is useful to compare pertussis versus vaccination and the risk of atopy and respiratory illness.”

Upcoming seminars and short courses


Early Career Researchers ‘Talk and Cheese’ seminar series at the KRI, Westmead
The first ECR 'Talk and Cheese’ seminar for 2013 is on Tuesday 26 March from 5pm. Professor Robert Ouvrier and Dr Nigel Clarke will talk on mentorship.

The Early Career Researchers ‘Talk and Cheese’ seminar series has been developed to address ECR education needs identified in the recent Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health ECR research study. Seminars address key topics that are relevant for all ECRs, including those with clinical, basic-science and public health interests. The seminars provide an opportunity to meet other ECRs and strengthen ties within the ECR community over wine and cheese. The target audience is all ECRs who are in the first 10 years post-PhD but we invite all interested senior researchers and final-stage PhD students as well.

Seminars are held every two months on a Tuesday night from 5 to 6pm in the large conference room of the Kids Research Institute (KRI) Research Building at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. This is followed by wine and cheese in the Research Café from 6 to 6.30. For more details, contact .

Postgraduate research students and supervisors
Postgraduate research students and their supervisors are invited to attend the following seminars:

  • Library Part 2: Introduction to resources for research and EndNote extras - Wednesday 10 April
  • Writing skills for postgraduate students - Friday 3 May
  • Understanding the peer review process (How to get your paper published) - Friday 17 May

For information on venues and times, see the postgrad student website or .

University of Sydney library support
Elizabeth Pigott, University of Sydney faculty liaison librarian, provides onsite library assistance for the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School staff and postgraduate students. Elizabeth will be at CHW on the following days:

  • Wednesday 10 April, 1-4pm
  • Tuesday 7 May, 10am-4pm

You can book a time to see Elizabeth on Tel 9351 5315, M 0434 606 887, or .

Statistics support
A series of five statistics workshops commence on 10 April at Sydney Medical School – Westmead. For further information see the postgrad student website

Liz Barnes provides biostatistics support to researchers at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead. For an appointment, contact Janelle Bowden on 9845 2358 or .

Primary supervisor accreditation course
The Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health’s Primary Supervisor Accreditation Course consists of three seminars plus a final presentation seminar. The course commences on 6 August 2013. For further information and registration details, see the postgrad student website.

Qualitative research group
The qualitative research group meets throughout the year at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, with the first meeting planned for April. For more details, contact .

Grants, Achievements, Promotions and Titles

Appointments & titles

New titles
Ciara Murphy – Conjoint Lecturer
Li-Chuen Wong – Clinical Senior Lecturer
Victoria Ward – Clinical Associate Lecturer

Sarah Garnett – Conjoint Associate Professor


Upcoming conferences and meetings


12th National Rural Health Conference: Adelaide - 7-10/04/2013 Contact the Conference team by or phone +61 2 6285 4660 for details.
7th Annual Update in Paediatric Emergencies: Noosa, Queensland: 13-15 April, 2013
A 3 day update course for emergency physicians & paediatricians. For program and registration details please or visit the website.
The 17th annual Perinatal Society of Australia and New Zealand Conference: Adelaide - 14-17/04/2013
More information
International Paediatric Simulation Symposium and Workshops: New York - 23-25/04/2013 Registrations open now

18th Annual Tauranga Clinical Neurology Course: New Zealand - 3-4/05/2013. For further information please visit the website
10th Paediatric Update: Clayton - 31/05/2013. Medical staff are invited to join the 10th Paediatric Update, “Clinical Conundrums” on Friday, 31 May 2013 at Monash Medical Centre Clayton, Lecture theatre 1, 8.00am - 5.00pm. For all registration forms and details visit the Monash Children’s website, or contact Fran Hulls, Administrative Assistant, on Ph: +61 3 9594 6329

4th Update in Paediatric Respiratory Medicine: Sydney - 7/06/2013 For information email or Tel: +61 2 9382 1855.
Australian Red Cross Blood Service Transfusion Update: Brisbane - 12-14/06/2013.

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

13th ISPCAN European Regional Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect: Dublin - 15-18/09/2013
more information.
European Academy of Paediatrics (EAP): France - 19-22/09/2013 more information.
International Physician Assessment Coalition Annual Conference: New Zealand - 30/09-2/10/2013. More information

Infant and Early Childhood Social and Emotional Wellbeing conference: Canberra - 30/10-2/11/2013
This conference will be held in Canberra from 30 October - 2 November 2013. more information.

7th Annual Australian Paediatric Society Diabetes Workshop: Melbourne - 8-9/11/2013
The 7th Annual Australian Paediatric Society Diabetes Workshop will be held in the Yarra Valley at the Sebel Heritage on Friday, 8 November and Saturday, 9 November 2013 a few days after the Melbourne Cup. This practical diabetes workshop is targeted at regional paediatricians and their diabetes teams and has grown enormously in numbers and popularity. Paediatric trainees, including endocrine trainees are very welcome. Presentations will be on new devices, therapies and strategies and will include the opportunity for oral and poster presentations. SAVE THE DATE!!

8th World Congress of the World Society for Pediatric Infectious Disease (WSPID): South Africa - 19-22/11/2013 more information