Clinical School newsletter

2014 - Issue 3

CHW Clinical School news

Congratulations to Professor Robert Ouvrier


Congratulations to Emeritus Professor Robert Ouvrier OAM, who has been acknowledged by the Royal Australasian College of Physicians for his outstanding contribution to the field of health over the past 40 years. Professor Ouvrier received the prestigious award at a ceremony at the Boronia Tearooms, Mosman. Admitted as Fellow of the College in 1973, Professor Ouvrier is one of eight Fellows across Australia and New Zealand who have been acknowledged for their significant contribution to the field of health through philanthropic, research or educational activities as part of the RACP’s 75th Anniversary celebrations.

Professor Kathryn North, supported by Professor David Burke and Emeritus Professor John Pollard, nominated Professor Ouvrier for the award: “Professor Ouvrier is truly a gentleman and a scholar of the highest repute and has sustained outstanding service in the areas of teaching, research and leadership over the past 40 years”.

Professor Ouvrier specialises in the field of paediatric neurology and has committed his professional life to this specialty interest. He is internationally recognised as a leader in the field, demonstrated by his achievements as Emeritus Professor of Paediatric Neurology at the University of Sydney and President of the International Child Neurology Association. Professor Ouvrier played a key role in establishing and leading the Institute for Neuromuscular Research at the Children’s Hospital Westmead, Sydney.

As well as being a celebrated clinical leader in his field, Professor Ouvrier is recognised for publishing more than 150 original research articles, 26 book chapters and two books, giving over 60 invited lectures internationally, mainly on peripheral neuropathies (damage or disease affecting nerves) and as an advocate for children and adolescents affected by Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease and peripheral neuropathies. Professor Ouvrier has dedicated himself to teaching, mentoring and leading young researchers and physicians in Australia and in 30 other countries.

Congratulations to Professor Elizabeth Elliott


Professor Elizabeth Elliot has been named Chair of the new National Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Technical Network by the Assistant Minister for Health, Senator Fiona Nash. The FASD Technical Network has been established to oversee the FASD Action Plan, which aims to address the harmful impact of FASD on children and families, and the many complex social and medical issues involved.

The Australian Government will provide $9.2 million for the Plan, which will look at targeted measures to prevent and manage FASD in Indigenous and other communities, and projects to support and treat pregnant women with alcohol dependency. As a priority, a National FASD Diagnostic Tool is being finalised, which will assist paediatricians and other clinicians diagnosing FASD.

Elizabeth was interviewed on ABC News on 1 July about health care professionals not offering advice on alcohol to expectant mothers and on 13 July about the surge in methamphetamine use among indigenous people.

Elizabeth will present her research into Fetal Alcohol Syndrome at ‘Ourselves Unborn: Embryology Colloquium’ on 17 September, 5:30 – 7:30pm at The Women’s College, University of Sydney.

Accompanying Human Rights Commission visit to Christmas Island
Elizabeth recently gave evidence at the Human Rights Commission hearings into conditions on Christmas Island after she was asked by Professor Gillian Triggs and the Human Rights Commission to accompany them to the island. She spoke to around 200 people on Christmas Island, including children and unaccompanied minors, and found the degree of mental ill health and distress in parents and children was overwhelming.

Elizabeth’s item on 1 August in The Conversation about her visit to Christmas Island prompted a great deal of interest, including 212 follow-up comments. Elizabeth also wrote about her visit to Christmas Island in the Pearls and irritations blog and was interviewed on 702 ABC Sydney on 6 August (best viewed in Internet Explorer).

Clinical teacher profile: Dermot McDowell


Dr Dermot McDowell is the surgical research fellow in the Department of Surgery at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. He teaches medical students at CHW through surgical tutorials and clinical placements. He also teaches surgical tele-tutorials to medical students doing their Child and Adolescent Health Specialty Block at Dubbo and Orange Clinical Schools.

Dermot says he "gets a kick out of teaching" and believes he has done his job properly if students come away understanding what he tried to impart to them. If students don’t understand, he believes there is a problem with his teaching, not the students. To this end, during tutorials, he repeatedly asks students if they understand and if they don’t, he re-explains. Above all, he aims to make his teaching memorable, focused and enjoyable.

For Dermot, teaching is a core component of being a doctor. He tries to balance students’ priority - passing their exams - with his priority – developing good doctors for the future. He ensures students can explain medical conditions in both medical and laymen’s terms, to both physicians and parents.

Medical students appreciate Dermot’s dedication to teaching. Last year he was nominated for an Excellence in Teaching Award from students at CHW Clinical School. A medical student wrote: "He took the time to give us clinical teaching when we were at a loose end. We really appreciated his time and willingness to teach".

Dermot graduated from University College Dublin and has commenced his surgical training through the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He has undertaken paediatric surgical training through Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin and Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street, both in Dublin. He hopes to continue his work at the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network next year.

Medical education update

Sydney Teaching Colloquium: Is our assessment up to standard?
When: 29 – 30 September, 9am – 5pm
Where: MacLaurin Hall
Cost: FREE

The theme of this year’s colloquium is assessment, with the aim of getting us to consider whether our approaches at unit, program, course and university levels are at a standard that supports students to develop as engaged enquirers. Two prominent assessment scholars feature as the keynote speakers: Emeritus Professor David Boud, University of Technology Sydney, and Professor Chris Rust, Oxford Brookes University. There will be invited presentations from colleagues around the university as well as student presentations. The program is now available and registration is open.

New University grants for educational innovation
Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education) Professor Pip Pattison recently announced funding of approximately $500,000 in Semester Two, 2014 to support educational innovation projects in faculties. There are two categories of grants: Small Educational Innovation Grants provide funding of up to $8000, while Large Educational Innovation Grants provide funding of up to $35,000 to support large educational innovation projects.

"The grants are designed to encourage faculty or cross-faculty innovations in teaching and learning, and are open to full-time or part-time faculty staff," said Professor Pattison. “The grants will support work that involves the creative application of existing approaches and technologies, or the development of novel approaches and technologies to one or more units of study in order to improve students' learning experiences."

Proposals should be aligned with the University of Sydney 2011-15 Strategic Plan, with priority to applications addressing one or more of the following:
- 'engaged enquiry' as a mode of learning
- more effective approaches to feedback and assessment
- deeper learning engagement through effective class and/or peer interaction
- creative use of existing technologies or approaches, or the development of new technologies or approaches, to improve the quality and effectiveness of learning experiences and learning outcomes.

An information session will be held on Friday 19 September. Find out more about the scheme and register for the session. The closing date for grant applications is Friday 14 November 2014.

Postcard from Paris by Meg Phelps - August 2014


One of the excellent opportunities for collaboration in Paris is the Institut Imagine, a research organisation with a brand new building that welcomed their first patients earlier this year. It is located on the Hôpital Necker children’s hospital site in southern Paris, a short bus ride from the Eiffel Tower. A number of Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health members already have links with staff here. More information is available here


In July Professor Stanislas Lyonnet, a clinical geneticist whose area of research interest is the embryology and genetics of human malformation, was kind enough to show me around the new facility. The building, designed by world-renowned architects Jean Nouvel and Bernard Valero, has patient-centred care as an underpinning concept. The ground floor has consulting rooms and therapy areas. From there patients, families and carers can look up into the light-filled atrium to the areas where basic research on the condition affecting them or their family member is being undertaken.


The building also encourages collaboration between research groups. Shared equipment areas and staff spaces (similar to the common room area in the Kids Research Institute, only with views of the Paris skyline and a piano) have been used to facilitate this.

We can look forward to continuing and enhancing links with Institut Imagine and its researchers in the future.


Research news

Tuberculosis in children


Associate Professor Ben Marais co-authored a paper published online in The Lancet Infectious Diseases on 1 September, which is already receiving a great deal of online attention.

The paper describes a proof-of-concept study that found the sputum-independent TAM-TB assay to be a rapid and accurate blood test that has the potential to improve the diagnosis of tuberculosis in children:
Portevin D, Moukambi F, Clowes P, Bauer A, Chachage M, Ntinginya NE, Mfi nanga E, Said K, Haraka F, Rachow A, Saathoff E, Mpina M, Jugheli L, Lwilla F, Marais BJ, Hoelscher M, Daubenberger C & Reither K and Geldmacher C.
Assessment of the novel T-cell activation marker–tuberculosis assay for diagnosis of active tuberculosis in children: a prospective proof-of-concept study. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 2014, DOI: 10.1016/S1473-3099(14)70884-9

Another publication in The Lancet highlights the relevance and challenges of tuberculosis to child survival, especially in countries where tuberculosis control remains difficult and high rates of Mycobacterium tuberculosis transmission are sustained:
Graham SM, Sismanidis C, Menzies HJ, Marais BJ, Detjen AK, Black RE. Importance of tuberculosis control to address child survival. The Lancet, 2014: 383: 1605–07

Researcher profile: Prof Kim Donaghue

kim d

Dr Donaghue is Conjoint Professor of Medicine at the University of Sydney and the Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW), where she is Co-Head, Institute of Endocrinology & Diabetes (since 2010); and Head of the Diabetes Service (since 2004). She is recognised as a leader in the international community for childhood diabetes and endocrinology, and her research achievements have had a major impact on management of childhood diabetes. She has substantial NHMRC funding and international collaborations.

Her major research focus has been the pathogenesis and intervention for diabetes complications; she established the Diabetes Complications Assessment Service in 1990, the first of its kind internationally. Her early finding that diabetes duration during early childhood was significant for later diabetes long-term complications (published in Diabetes Care 1997 and 1999) has been cited 47 times and has led to greater attention to earlier better glucose control in childhood. She has subsequently documented a decline in retinopathy and early renal disease (17 citations). Subsequent prospective cohort studies have identified other modulators of diabetes complication development, including some novel measures such as plantar fascia thickness (PhD student Dr Anthony Duffin), and application of novel retinal vascular measures in collaboration with Prof Tien Wong in Melbourne. More recently she has shown that blood pressure as a continuum is important for diabetic retinopathy (published in British Medical Journal ref 18).

Her laboratory identified a novel polymorphism in the aldose reductase gene that predisposes to diabetic retinopathy (published in Diabetes 1999, impact factor 12, 17 citations). She has subsequently shown that this contributes to greater risk for nerve dysfunction in an 8-yr cohort study (Diabetes Care 2007). Her group is currently investigating the functional expression of various genotypes by measuring RNA from cultured peripheral white cells of patients with early and later complications, in collaboration with the renal units at Westmead Hospital.

Her other primary research focus has been the development of evidence-based guidelines for clinical practice. This has led to several publications in Pediatric Diabetes and culminated in an invited editorial commenting on a study of successful implementation of guidelines from 2000 (to which she had also been a contributor). Recently she has also led research into the effect of obesity as an accelerator of type 1 diabetes in childhood and exploration of the risks for microvascular complications in type 2 diabetes compared to type 1 diabetes.

In addition to roles as Chief Investigator, she contributes as the Principal NSW Investigator for major international research studies into genetics and autoimmune progression of childhood diabetes: Type 1 Diabetes Genetics Consortium (T1DGC) (2003-2009), and TrialNET (2006-). Both are funded by US National Institute of Health (NIH) and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International (JDRF). She is also Principal Investigator at CHW for the Intranasal Insulin Trial (INIT 11), a national interventional trial to delay or prevent onset of type 1 diabetes in family members at high risk (funded by NHMRC and JDRF).

Dr Donaghue serves on the Editorial Board of Pediatric Diabetes and International Journal of Pediatric Endocrinology.

Recent Publications:
Ho, M., Gow, M., Baur LA., Benitez-Aguirre, PZ., Tam, CS., Donaghue, KC, Craig, ME., Cowell, CT., Garnett SP; Effect of fat loss on arterial elasticity in obese adolescents with clinical insulin resistance: RESIST study. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2014 Jun 23:jc20141944. [Epub ahead of print]

Wheeler, BJ., Heels, K., Donaghue KC., Reith, DM., Ambler, GR; Insulin Pump-Associated Adverse Events in Children and Adolescents-A Prospective Study. Diabetes Technol Ther. 2014 May 5. [Epub ahead of print]

Islam ST., Abraham, A., Donaghue, KC., Chan, AK., Lloyd, M., Srinivasan, S., Craig, ME; Plateau of adiposity in Australian children diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes: a 20-year study. Diabet Med. 2014 Jun;31(6):686-90. doi: 10.1111/dme.12402. Epub 2014 Mar 6.

Clinical School researcher profile: A/Prof Patrina Caldwell


A/Prof Patrina Caldwell is a clinician researcher who completed her PhD in 2003. She heads the multidisciplinary continence service at the Children's Hospital at Westmead, currently the only research clinic for treating urinary incontinence in Australia. Patrina is internationally recognised for her research on urinary incontinence in children and paediatric randomised controlled trials (RCTs). She heads the medical education research group in the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health, and is the Chair of the RACP Research Project Working Group.

Patrina is married with 2 grown up children (who are the cause of her grey hairs). She is passionate about research and thinks she has one of the best jobs around. She loves travel and recently spent her sabbatical in Timor Leste.

Patrina is a senior editor for the Journal of Paediatric and Child Health and an International Editorial Board Member of Pediatrics Research International Journal. She is currently updating five Cochrane Systematic Reviews on Nocturnal Enuresis for the Cochrane library, which provides the evidence to inform practice. She also heads the “recruitment and consent” standard development group for the STAR Child Health, a group of international experts involved in developing practical, evidence based standards to enhance the reliability and relevance of paediatric trials and knowledge transfer to optimise uptake and implementation of these standards. A/Prof Caldwell has written a nocturnal enuresis manual for health professionals, and a review paper and elearning module for BMJ, which is currently up to its second update. These are used by health professionals for managing children with incontinence.

Patrina was awarded an NHMRC Project grant for conducting a trial testing a novel enuresis alarm which was invented by her team. This alarm has been awarded a US patent, and is currently undergoing commercialisation. Patrina is also the recipient of several other grants for novel treatments for urinary incontinence in children.

Recent publications:
Caldwell PHY, Deshpande AV, Von Gontard A. Clinical Review: Management of Enuresis. BMJ 2013;347:f6259 doi: 10.1136/bmj.f6259 - invited review; led to invitation to join National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) to update clinical guidelines for nocturnal enuresis.

Caldwell PHY, Waters K. Chapter 25. Nocturnal Enuresis. The Oxford Handbook of Infant, Adolescent, and Child Sleep Problems. Edited by Amy R. Wolfson and Hawley E. Montgomery-Downs. OUP USA. Oxford Library of Psychology. 24 October 2013 - summarises nocturnal enuresis from the perspective of a sleep disorder; led to collaboration with sleep physicians and novel research in sleep and enuresis.

Caldwell PHY, Nankivell G, Sureshkumar P. Simple behavioural interventions for nocturnal enuresis in children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2013, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD003637. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003637.pub3 - widely cited; led to 3 media interviews.

Caldwell PHY, Hamilton S, Tan A, Craig JC. Strategies for increasing recruitment to randomised controlled trials: systematic review. PLoS Med 7(11): e1000368. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000368 2010 - cited 53 times; provides evidence to help researchers conducting randomised controlled trials, where recruitment is often problematic.

Craig JC, Simpson JM, Williams GJ, Lowe A, Reynolds GJ, McTaggart SJ, Hodson EM, Carapetis JR, Cranswick NE, Smith G, Irwig LM, Caldwell PHY, Hamilton S, Roy LP. Prevention of Recurrent Urinary Tract Infection in Children with Vesicoureteric Reflux and Normal Renal Tracts (PRIVENT) Investigators. Antibiotic prophylaxis and recurrent urinary tract infection in children. NEJM 2009; 361:1748-59 - cited 189 times, this paper has changed the management of recurrent urinary tract infections in children.

Early Career Researcher profile: Dr Karen Walker


I am the clinical research fellow and research manager in Grace, the neonatal intensive care unit at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, a position I have held for the last two years. I am also a clinical senior lecturer within the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health (DPCH) and with Sydney Nursing School. I consider myself really fortunate to work in Grace, which has a great focus on research, with multiple and varying research studies. Our research is enriched by the great clinical work we do and improves the quality of the care we provide. We are currently prospectively recruiting for six studies and our researchers published over twenty-five papers last year.

My own PhD research, which was funded by the March of Dimes Research Foundation, focused on the neurodevelopmental outcomes after early infant surgery and I continue to expand my research within this field, collaborating with multiple other researchers within the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network (SCHN), nationally and internationally. I now enjoy facilitating and supervising research within the department and find it rewarding when papers are published. I have co-supervised two medical honours students and currently co-supervise a PhD, a Masters and an Honours student.

Grace has had great success with NHMRC and philanthropic funding and we are now collaborating with institutions internationally, as well as throughout Australia, which increases the relevance of our work. We also work closely with other units throughout the SCHN.

I very much enjoy being part of the DPCH and am a member of the organising committee for the fabulous “Talk and Cheese” early career research seminars held at the Children’s Hospital and also the annual postgraduate conference. Over the last two years I have spoken at the post graduate induction day and am a member of the Annual Progress Review panel. I also serve on the SCHN Scientific Advisory Committee and am the Early Career Representative on the SCHN Research Advisory Committee.

I have recently started working with some amazing researchers at the Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation and now hold a senior research position on the steering committee for the International Prevention and Cure Team (IMPACT) for CP. The vision of this team is to promote and foster collaborative research throughout the world.

I have found that being part of the ECR community has been a great support to my research career and I highly recommend attending the seminars to meet other ECRs. Fostering new relationships can lead to some interesting and unexpected collaborations.

Early Career Researcher update

Early career researcher (ECR) “Talk and cheese” seminar

When: 1-2pm
Where: Doreen Dew lecture theatre
Date: Tuesday 16 September 2014
Topic: Grantsmanship: How to write that perfect grant
Speakers: Aaron Schindeler, Sandra Cooper, Louise Baur

Lunch will be provided.

Next seminar will be held on Wednesday 29 October

These sessions are intentionally kept fairly informal with lots of time for open discussion and questions. This program has been developed to address ECR education needs identified in the DPCH ECR research study. Seminars will be held every two months and will address key topics that are relevant for all ECRs with clinical, basic-science and public health interests. This is an excellent opportunity to meet other ECRs and strengthen ties within the ECR community.

The target audience is all ECRs who are in the first 10 years post-PhD, however interested senior researchers and final-stage PhD students are also welcome.

The coordinators of these events are Dr Wendy Gold, A/Prof Patrina Caldwell, Dr Karen Walker and A/Prof Nigel Clarke. If you have any questions, please contact

2014 Early Career Development Day
The Australian Society for Medical Research’s Early Career Development Day will be held on 9 September at UNSW Lowy Cancer Research Centre, High Street, Randwick. Talks include: Pathways to an alternative career in medical science, Career planning, Selling yourself (and your work) in science and ‘Thinking outside the box’ in medical research. More details and to register

ECR travel grants
The Sydney Medical School Early Career Researcher (ECR) Travel Grant Scheme is now open. Applications are invited from ECRs within ten years of PhD Award who hold an appointment up to Level C. The scheme is aimed at providing financial support of up to $2,500 for ECRs to present at and attend international conferences. Please note that in 2014 a three year exclusion period applies, i.e. applicants who have previously been awarded a Sydney Medical School ECR grant within three years at the time of closing will be ineligible in this round.

Applications close on 30 September 2014. Full guidelines and the application form are available here.

ECR grants
As part of the Sydney Medical School's support for Early Career Researchers, applications have now opened for the following schemes:
- ECR and New Staff Grants
- ECR PhD Scholarships
- Professor Tony Basten Fellowship

Applications close Monday 17 November: guidelines and application forms. If you are an eligible Early Career Researcher, you are strongly encouraged to apply for these schemes. If you have any queries, please

Medical education research update

The CHW Medical Education Research meetings are held bi-monthly on the first Tuesday of the month from 12 to 1pm in the CHW Clinical School seminar room. The final Medical Education Research meeting will be held on Tuesday 4 November. If you would like more information, please contact or .

DPCH staff and their research collaborators recently attended the 2014 ANZAHPE conference on the Gold Coast, where they gave the following presentations:

Caldwell PHY, Scott KM & Schuwirth LWT. (2014) Ten steps for conducting medical education research. Australian and New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators Conference, 7 – 10 July, Gold Coast.

Harrison A, Nerminathan A, Phelps M, Alexander S & Scott KM. (2014) The influence of the “hidden curriculum” on student use of mobile devices in the clinical setting. Australian and New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators Conference, 7 – 10 July, Gold Coast.

Nerminathan A, Harrison A, Phelps M, Alexander S, Caldwell PHY & Scott KM. (2014) Expedient self-education: Using mobile devices for learning in the clinical setting. Australian and New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators Conference, 7 – 10 July, Gold Coast.

Scott KM Barrett J, & Caldwell PHY. (2014) An Australian investigation of ‘teaching by humiliation’. Australian and New Zealand Association for Health Professional Educators Conference, 7 – 10 July, Gold Coast.

Sciences of Technology and Learning Network Research Festival
The annual Sciences of Technology and Learning Research Fest is on Thursday 6 November in the University of Sydney Education Building (A35). The DVC Education, Professor Pip Pattison, will open events and Professor Simon Buckingham-Shum from University of Technology, Sydney will give the closing keynote.

The following journal articles in education research written by DPCH staff have recently been published:

Scott KM. Change in university teachers’ elearning beliefs and practices: A longitudinal study. Studies in Higher Education ahead-of-print 2014: 1-17-

Scott KM. Taking over someone else's elearning design: Challenges trigger change in elearning beliefs and practices. Research in Learning Technology 2014: 22: 23362 -

Student news

Postgraduate Research Student Conference

Postgraduate Research Student Conference - 15 August 2014, Rydges Parramatta
This year’s annual Postgraduate Research Student Conference once again showcased the Discipline’s Higher Degree Research students’ research projects. All the students, from those who had completed one part time semester to those about to submit their PhD thesis, presented their research.


The Conference was an opportunity for students and supervisors to hear the great depth of research happening in the Discipline at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School. The students’ abstracts are available at the Discipline’s website.

Feedback on the Conference was positive, including: it was an excellent opportunity for students to present their research and practice asking and answering questions in a friendly, non-threatening environment; students were challenged to crystalise their research rationale and findings, and present to a lay, educated audience; many a collaboration has resulted from attending the Conference; and it is a great forum for networking.


Prof Kim Oates presented an inspirational and entertaining keynote address “Child Health Research: Definitely worth the effort”.

The standard of presentations was very high again this year. Congratulations to the following students who were awarded prizes for their excellent presentations:

Discipline of Paediatrics & Child Health Prize: Andrew Weatherall
Bioline (Australia) Prize: Roula Ghaoui
KRE Property Investments Prize: Peta Bradbury
The Medical Staff Council at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Prize: Alan Shui Lun Ma
The Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit Prize: Philip Britton
The Rydges Encouragement Award for a First Year Student: Shibalik Misra

Postgraduate research student awards


Alan Ma wins Young Investigator Oral Presentations Prize at the 38th Human Genetics Society of Australasia Meeting

Masters of Philosophy student, Alan Ma, was awarded the New Investigator Award at the recent national Human Genetics Society of Australasia Annual Scientific Meeting in Adelaide. His oral presentation was about Next-Generation Sequencing in cataracts, which has found genetic answers for patients with syndromal, familial and sporadic congenital cataracts.

Alan’s MPhil project will continue to utilise Next-Generation Sequencing for other developmental eye disorders, looking for known and novel eye disease genes. Alan’s MPhil research supervisor is A/Prof Robyn Jamieson and auxiliary supervisor A/Prof Bruce Bennetts.

Gillian Blue wins Young Investigator Oral Presentations Prize at the International Clinical Cardiovascular Genetics Conference

Gillian Blue was invited to present at the International Clinical Cardiovascular Genetics Conference in Brisbane from 6 to 8 August on ‘Caring for the family with congenital heart disease’. She took the opportunity to submit an additional abstract on her recent PhD findings, entitled ‘Targeted Next-Generation Sequencing identifies pathogenic variants in familial forms of congenital heart disease’.

Gillian said, “My abstract was accepted for the Young Investigator Finalist oral presentations, which was both exciting and nerve-wrecking! Both presentations went really well and I’m very pleased to report I ended up winning the Young Investigator oral presentations! I have also been invited to present at the Australian Health and Medical Research Congress in Melbourne in November on the topic ‘New Models and Methods for Investigating Heart Disease’, in which I plan to present more of my PhD findings.

“I am writing up my PhD and will submit by the end of this year. Thanks to the guidance and support of my supervisors, Prof David Winlaw, A/Prof Edwin Kirk and A/Prof Gary Sholler. My PhD has been a great complement to my work at the Heart Centre for Children at CHW and I hope to be continuing with this area of research.”

Sydney University Paediatric Society Update


SUPS council members - superhero day!

The Sydney University Paediatric Society (SUPS) is proud to present the upcoming Teddy Bear Hospital events, taking place on the 15th of September and the 21st of October at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.

The Teddy Bear Hospital gives patients and their siblings the chance to be a doctor for the day by treating a ‘sick’ stuffed toy provided by SUPS. Whether it is bandaging up their teddy bear, listening to their heartbeat or simply giving them lots of hugs, the children will be guided through the process of nursing their new stuffed friends back to health. The Teddy Bear Hospital always proves to be enjoyable for everyone involved!

SUPS is a group of medical students from the University of Sydney with a passion for working with children. SUPS aims to bring together like-minded medical students, provide information regarding training pathways and careers in Paediatric Medicine, run exciting events at the Hospital and in the community, and offer other opportunities to gain insight into the world of Paediatrics.

SUPS was founded this year, transforming the earlier Interest Group into a recognised university society. The society has already run several very successful events. The first was a Care Package Night, where over 500 donations from stores around Sydney were made up into care packages containing messages of encouragement, to be delivered to patients throughout July. The second event was a Careers Night on the university campus. Dr Madeleine Powys, Dr Marilyn Paull and Dr Alexandre Darani delivered engaging and invaluable accounts of training pathways and life in Paediatrics more generally.

In June, SUPS put together a team for the Balmoral Burn, an annual Mosman fun-run that raises money for the Humpty Dumpty Foundation, which provides funds to Paediatric and Neonatal wards. It involved running up an exceptionally steep hill as fast as possible - the team pushed as hard to fundraise as it did to make it to the top, raising over $1600! Most recently, SUPS got dressed up for Superhero Day at Bear Cottage. The next event at Bear Cottage will be an Arts and Music Day on the 29th of September!


SUPS council members with packages made from generous donations

SUPS sincerely appreciates the incredible support received from the staff at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and at Bear Cottage. Please stop by the Teddy Bear Hospital events in September and October – SUPS hopes to reach out to as many patients as possible!

Elective student profiles


Amelie Perriere
Amelie is one of two medical students completing an eight week elective at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead as part of a new exchange program with Université Paris Descartes and Sydney Medical School.

Students at the Université Paris Descartes, also known as Paris V, study the same pre – clinical course for dental medicine, pharmacy, psychology and midwifery. After completing the first year, students are eligible to apply for medicine, although entry is very competitive: students who are unsuccessful often choose to repeat first year.

Amelie is currently in her fifth year and chose to complete paediatrics in lieu of her surgical term because not all students have the option of completing paediatrics. Clinical years 4, 5 and 6 are considered the equivalent of an internship. During this time students are allocated to a hospital and commence working with a new clinical team every three months and are paid a small amount each week. While studying, students are expected to work night shift, manage patient care, organise tests and learn clinical procedures.

Amelie commenced her elective at CHW with General Medical Team 2 on 7 July 2014 and has also spent some time with Infectious Diseases, Neurology and Endocrinology. She has really enjoyed spending time with each of the teams and has discovered many differences in the two health care systems. Amelie is impressed with the nursing structure in Australia, specifically the more specialised nursing positions, such as clinical nurse consultants and nurse educators, and how they interact with teams and medical staff.

After this elective, Amelie is looking forward to spending a short holiday in Cairns; however, she has to return to Paris to catch up on the classes she has missed while she has been in Sydney. Amelie is undecided at this stage about her future career; she has enjoyed her time at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and has gained great experience and an insight into paediatric medicine. She has also enjoyed meeting staff, patients and their families.


Tell us a little bit about how far along you are in your medical degree?
I'm a sixth-year medical student, which means I'm actually done with my studies in France and I'll be an intern in November. I studied at Université Paris Descartes, one of the many medical schools in Paris. Our university just started a summer exchange program (8 weeks) with the University of Sydney, thanks in part to Dr. Megan Phelps. Two positions were available at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and one at Prince Alfred.

Why did you choose paediatrics at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead?
I chose paediatrics for the simple reason that I never had the opportunity to work with children before: all my rotations in France were in adult medicine. The other reason was that originally it was the only placement available in Australia and I wanted to discover the country.

What are some interesting things you have discovered since you started your placement?
What I've discovered is the difference between French and Australian students in hospitals. In France, you're attached to a department for three months. That department generally operates out of a single ward. Students are expected to be on the ward every morning and are responsible for a certain number of beds and the patients in them. They must get the results of tests, call to get results, coordinate with other doctors, examine patients and write notes in medical files every day. The doctors can ask the students or the intern for news about the patients. They must know basically everything about their patients and understand the ongoing treatment. From what I've seen, students here spend more time following a team around without actually being responsible for a patient, which allows them to see a lot more patients, but I found it really hard to get a global picture of a patient and their management. On the other hand, global patient care and treatment is not that different.

Where to next?
After this placement I'll be wandering around Australia for a month, then back to France to start my internship.

What are your future career aspirations?
Hopefully, I'll be able to specialise in adult rheumatology. I'll know for certain in September.

Grants, Achievements, Promotions and Titles

New titles

Davinder Singh-Grewal: Clinical Associate Professor
Sundar Koyyalamudi: Senior Research Fellow
Siah Kim: Clinical Lecturer
Nicole Graf: Clinical Senior Lecturer
Sandra Johnson: Clinical Associate Professor


Upcoming conferences and meetings


Practical skills in Development-Behavioural Paediatrics: The 19th Annual Professional Development Program
Melbourne - 10 & 11 Oct 2014
Location: The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne
Topics: 1) Caring for complex children – bridging the gap with Mental Health services. 2) The anxious child – the paediatrician’s role. 3) The genetics and pharmacogenetics of developmental disorders.
Register your EOI with or on Ph: +61 3 9345 5350.

Summit on Child Health and the Environment Hong Kong
This summit will be held in Hong Kong from 11 to 13 October 2014. For more information please visit

AAP Experience National Conference San Diego
This American Academy of Pediatrics conference will be held in San Diego from 11 to 14 October 2014. For further information please visit

2014 ANZOS / ALMA Annual Scientific Meeting
Sydney - 16 - 18 Oct 2014
The Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society (ANZOS) and the Australian Lifestyle Medicine Association (ALMA) are hosting the 2014 ANZOS / ALMA Annual Scientific Meeting to be held in the Novotel Brighton Beach, Sydney, 16th to 18th October. It will bring together a diversity of researchers and practitioners who are focussed on the prevention, treatment and management of obesity as well as the promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviours more generally.
For further details please visit

7th Paediatric HIV Update
Sydney - 23 & 24 Oct 2014
This event will be held on Thursday, 23 & Friday, 24 October 2014 at the Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick. Keynote speaker is Dr Caroline Foster, Consultant in Adolescent Infectious Diseases/HIV Transitional Care at Imperial College & St Mary's Hospital, London, Healthcare NHS Trust and current chair of HYPNET (HIV Young Persons Network). For inquiries please email or . To register your interest and receive a program, please email your details to .

International Conference on Residency Education: Canada - 23-25/10/2014
For more information visit the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada website or .

The annual Children’s Hospital at Westmead Paediatric Update 2014
This annual event, a packed program delivered over 2 full days, provides a fantastic opportunity for the General Paediatrician to update his/her knowledge on a wide variety of clinical issues that are relevant to a Paediatrician's everyday practise. The program is in progress and will be announced very soon. Put the date in your diary. Enquires: contact or .

4th International Congress of Union of European Neonatal and Perinatal Societies: Greece - 11-14/12/2014
This Congress will be held in Athens, Greece from 11 - 14 December 2014. For more information visit


5th Annual Winter Symposium in Intensive Care, Anaesthesia & Emergency Medicine
The 5th Annual Winter Symposium in Intensive Care, Anaesthesia & Emergency Medicine will be held 11 to16 January 2015 at Four Seasons Resort & Spa, Vail, Colorado. Contact or visit for more information.

The Gerry Schwartz and Heather Reisman 4th International Conference on Pediatric Chronic Diseases, Disability and Human Development
This event will be held from 20 to 23 January 2015 in Jerusalem, Israel. Visit for more information.