Clinical School newsletter

2014 - Issue 1

CHW Clinical School news

Welcome to 2014 at the CHW Clinical School


On a personal note I have enjoyed my last 7 months as Acting Associate Dean and have very much appreciated your warm welcome and the support and guidance I have received from you all.
Although it will mean an impending end to my current role, I am very pleased to advise you that we have been notified that the Chair of Paediatrics and Child Health will be advertised. I particularly want to acknowledge Professor Cheryl Jones’ perseverance, as well as the roles of all the Acting Associate Deans in achieving this result. This is wonderful news for the Clinical School, Discipline and University, as well as the Hospital. We are currently working through the advertising process and look forward to seeing the position being advertised shortly. I am also sure you will agree with me that over the last 12 months, the Clinical School has performed remarkably as a team to ensure the operations and direction of the School have continued as normal with Acting Associate Deans in place.

Our Students
The CHW Clinical School continues to provide teaching to a large number of students, not only from Sydney Medical School but also from a number of local, national and international universities. In 2013 we had 535 student placements, which included 270 Stage 3 and 139 Stage 2 students, as well as 56 ILA, 5 Honours and 7 Print students from Sydney Medical School, and 35 Elective students and 23 students from the University of Notre Dame. We also had 106 Higher Degree Research students and 65 students doing the Masters of Paediatrics, with a record 81 students enrolled in 2014.
The Child and Adolescent Health Specialty Block continues to receive positive evaluations, such as the following email sent by a student to the Dean:
During the paediatrics term at CHW last year, many of the students were impressed by, and commented on, the professionalism and thoughtfulness of the administrative and academic staff. They should be commended as they set an excellent example… The students were respected in a way that I have rarely experienced in medicine.

Staff Achievements
Professor Elizabeth Elliott, Prof Robert Booy, Prof Peter McIntyre, A/Prof Yvonne Zurynski, Dr Gulam Khandaker and Dr Nicholas Wood have been recognised by the National Health and Medical Research Council in the “10 of the Best Research Projects 2013” for their work investigating the 2009 swine flu (H1N1 influenza) outbreak.

Professor Louise Baur was awarded a 2013 Distinguished Professorial Achievement Award for providing outstanding and sustained achievement in research, teaching/learning and service to Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney and the profession, both nationally and internationally.

Leigh Smith received the 2014 Sydney Medical School Award for Exceptional Performance by Professional Staff at the recent Sydney Medical School Celebratory Dinner for exhibiting high level leadership in administration.

Congratulations also to the following academics who were successful in achieving promotion commencing 1 January 2014:
Level E - Professor David Winlaw
Level D - A/Professors Nigel Clarke, Sandra Cooper and Patrina Caldwell
Level C - Dr Anne Morris (Senior Lecturer)

2014 is shaping up to be another achievement-filled year for the Discipline.

Professor Peter van Asperen
Acting Associate Dean

Sydney Medical School celebratory dinner 2014

The dinner was a wonderful event, where Professor Bruce Robinson, Dean of Sydney Medical School, highlighted the achievements of a number of Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health staff, as follows.

Distinguished Professorial Achievement Award – Professor Louise Baur
Congratulations to Professor Louise Baur, who received the Distinguished Professorial Achievement Award for 2013. Louise’s primary appointment is in the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School, where she has been Deputy Associate Dean for many years. She has a secondary appointment with the Sydney School of Public within the Prevention Research Collaboration.

Louise is a consultant paediatrician at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, where she is Head of Weight Management Services. Louise established the first multidisciplinary Weight Management Service in a paediatric hospital in Australia and New Zealand. In 2010 she was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) (2010. Louise has made outstanding contributions in research into obesity and since 2008 has published 130 original articles (in journals such as the BMJ, Lancet, J Clin Endocrinol Metab, Pediatr, JAMA Pediatr, Am J Clin Nutr, Int J Obesity, Obesity Rev, Am J Publ Health), 8 review articles, 1 book, 7 book chapters and 3 invited editorials (including BMJ and CMAJ).


Louise Baur and Leigh Smith

Exceptional Performance by General Staff – Ms Leigh Smith
Congratulations to Leigh Smith, who received the Sydney Medical School Award for Exceptional Performance by General Staff. Leigh has worked in key senior executive positions within the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School for nearly 10 years. Previously working as the Executive Officer for the Clinical School, in 2012 Leigh was appointed Business and Research Manager to support the highly developed research activities in the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health.

Throughout this time, Leigh has exhibited high level leadership in administration, supporting reporting staff, junior and senior academics, and providing an essential repository of corporate knowledge throughout the transition of leadership of the Associate Dean at the Clinical School.

One of Leigh’s key tasks is assisting the Associate Dean with the yearly budget for both the University and Hospital. Through providing this assistance, Leigh has identified numerous efficiencies and cost containment strategies for the Clinical School. She has also maximized the Clinical School’s funding opportunities through the identification and pursuit of new opportunities, tracking down RIGB funding for academics and ensuring funding is assigned to the appropriate accounts.

Leigh’s knowledge of the budget has greatly assisted the Clinical School on occasions when errors have been made in moving funding from the Clinical School budget or the funding of positions have been incorrectly allocated to the Clinical School budget.

National Awards
Prof Elizabeth Elliott, Prof Robert Booy, Prof Peter McIntyre, A/Prof Yvonne Zurynski, Dr Gulam Khandaker and Dr Nicholas Wood, whose research was highlighted in the NHMRC’s Ten of the Best Research Projects 2013 publication.

Student Awards
Kelly Gray, PhD student, who received the Malcolm Menelaus Medal for Best Paper at the Australian Paediatric Orthopaedic Society Annual Scientific Meeting and the New Researcher Award at the Australian Physiotherapy Association Conference.

Dr Emily Oates, PhD student, who received the Elsevier Award for best oral or poster presentation at the World Muscle Society Congress and a Fellowship from the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust.

dinner group

Australia Day honours 2014

We would like to congratulate Clinical Associate Professor John Overton and Professor David Celermajer, who were honoured on Australia Day 2014.


Associate Professor John Herbert Overton OAM RFD: Member (AM) in the general division
For significant service to medicine, particularly in the area of anaesthesia, through clinical, administration and advisory roles, and to professional organisations.

Prof Overton joined the consultant staff at Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children at Camperdown in 1970. He was appointed Director of Anaesthesia in 1978 and held that post until 1998. He is fondly remembered for his outstanding contribution to anaesthetics and management, including education and training, with the impact felt throughout Australia and overseas. More recently he is known as the father of journalist Peter Overton. The Australian Story feature on Prof Overton detailed more of his achievements.


Professor David Stephen Celermajer: Officer (AO) in the general division
For distinguished service to medicine in the field of cardiology, as a clinician and researcher, to improved medical diagnostic methods, and to the promotion of heart health, particularly in children and young adults.

Through his work at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Prof Celermajer is an important contributor to preventive medicine and the health of young adults with congenital heart disease. Prof Celermajer’s father, Dr John Celermajer, was head of Cardiology at Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, Camperdown, before his death from leukaemia at 54 years of age. His son was his last trainee. Last year the Sydney Morning Herald profiled Prof Celermajer.

Further information about the Australian honours system.

2013 Lorimers teaching award winners

Congratulations to the following winners of the 2013 Lorimer teaching awards (The Lorimers) for their excellence in teaching medical students undertaking 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.


Chetan Pandit

Dr Chetan Pandit – CRS teaching
“We learnt so much about how to practically assess and manage children through him. He also took an interest in us and I think we all felt and appreciated that.”


Jasmine Eldridge

Dr Jasmine Eldridge - Medical clinical teaching
“She is always looking for teaching opportunities, including during the morning ward round. At all times she has been very approachable, tolerant of our mistakes and encouraging. She has welcomed us into the team and fostered an environment that is conducive to learning.”


Sarah Giutronich

Dr Sarah Guitronich – Surgical teaching
“She went out of her way to make sure we had a sufficient level of understanding of the patient, procedure and condition. Sara has become part of my personal all-star list because of the way she taught, the knowledge she had and the way she took care of her patients.”


Jo Rainbow

Dr Jo Rainbow – Rural teaching
“She has a fantastic talent for distilling complex topics and concepts down to their component parts and in doing so makes it infinitely more accessible to us students! She has an infectious enthusiasm that makes you WANT to learn.”

Janine Cusumano – Nursing and allied health
“In spite of being incredibly busy, she took the time to explain various tests, procedures and guidelines to me.”

Orthopaedics team: Dr Yaser Jabar, Dr Michael Bellemore, Dr Paul Gibbons and Prof David Little – Lectures
“The orthopaedic surgeons taught us high yield material and kept the lectures very relevant. Their explanations of complicated concepts were clear and simple to understand.”

Yaser Jabbar Michael Bellemore   Paul Gibbons David Little

Prof Stephen Alexander - Postgraduate supervision
”This award acknowledges Steve for his attentive and supportive supervision of research students at the hospital.”


Dr Wendy Gold - Postgraduate supervision
”Professor John Christodoulou constantly praises Wendy’s attention to the research students and her pastoral care.”

Welcome to Shekeeb Mohammad, Academic Fellow


We welcome Dr Shekeeb Mohammad, 2014 Academic Fellow at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School. Shekeeb is a paediatrician and paediatric neurologist. He completed his medical graduation in India, followed by postgraduate studies at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India. Here he received two gold medals for biochemistry and for the best postgraduate research paper on “Oxidative stress and antioxidant status in healthy term babies with Neonatal Jaundice”.

Shekeeb has pursued higher education and training in Australia since 2008. He completed his training in Neurology at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Brisbane and The Children's Hospital at Westmead, with an evolving interest in paediatric movement disorders. He has just been awarded Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.

Shekeeb is a clinical lecturer with the University of Sydney and has previously held conjoint academic appointments with the Universities of New South Wales and Queensland. Shekeeb is currently a PhD student with the University of Sydney, pursuing research into clinical, electrophysiological and neuroradiological differentiation and phenotyping of autoimmune movement disorders.

Postcard from Paris by Meg Phelps


After one of the mildest winters in Paris for over a hundred years, Spring is coming to Paris. Some hiccoughs with its arrival when early in March the rising temperatures – fully 18 degrees – produced worrying particulate pollution. The local response was welcomed: free public transport; free access to the public bike system; free access to one of the electric car systems; free parking; reduced speed limits. A change in the weather helped reduce pollution and curtailed the warnings for asthmatics to stay indoors.

Another Fashion Week has been and gone, with its associated increase in crowds of people wearing black and a lot of public posing. Municipal elections have shown that the French (or at least those who voted in the first round, about 65%) are not happy with the current Socialist Party government. We now wait to see which of the two female candidates, Anne Hidalgo (Partie Socialiste) or Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet (known as NKM; l’Union pour un mouvement populaire (UMP), the right-wing party of former president Nicolas Sarkozy) becomes the new Mayor of Paris. The President, Francois Hollande, has an extremely low approval rating, and seems to be better thought of for his womanising than his economic management of the country.


Late last year (Term E) one student completed an overseas substitute Child and Adolescent Health (CAH) block at Hôpital Necker Enfants Malades with Université Descartes. Another student undertook his Elective term there in paediatic cardiology, while two students were welcomed for Electives by Université Pierre et Marie Curie Paris 6. Look out for their ‘Impressions’ on the Office for Global Health webpage.

We look forward to welcoming students from the two Parisian universities for their ‘stage d’été’ summer elective placements at CHW, Nepean and Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in July and August this year.

It’s been interesting to learn about the introduction for June 2016 of a computer-assisted version of the national ranking examination (Epreuves Classantes Nationales) that all French medical students take and which determines their future specialty and where they will train. This will mean a significant change in the exam structure, with multiple-choice questions (MCQs), unfolding cases with MCQs and very short answer questions, a critical review of an article and script concordance test questions. Students seem to be welcoming the changes and the closer matching with their learning conducted by their universities to the content of this important exam.

Meg Phelps
March 2014

Research news

CHW Clinical School Researcher Profile: Prof. David Little


Professor David Little commenced at the University of Sydney, based at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, when it opened in November 1995. In 1999 he officially founded Orthopaedic Research and Biotechnology at CHW, which he still heads.

In 2005 David was awarded his PhD on bisphosphonates in distraction osteogenesis and in 2013 he was awarded a prestigious NHMRC Practitioner Fellowship. He has initiated further research on osteonecrosis, fracture healing and the interaction of the anabolic and catabolic responses in bone repair. Current focuses include improving bone healing outcomes in neurofibromatosis, using muscle for in vivo bone tissue engineering, novel delivery systems for bone active compounds and the design of paediatric orthopaedic implants. He remains active clinically and is now working on translating pre-clinical work on bone repair to clinical practice.

David has led an NF1 research program for over 8 years and has a reputation as an international leader in the orthopaedic management of NF1-related complications. With his leadership, the unit has published a range of clinical and basic science papers on the osseous manifestations of NF1. This proposed work is likely to have a considerable impact on the field.

In addition, David has led an orthopaedic research program for 12 years and conceived of the concept that muscle cells may contribute to bone based on clinical observations. Under his guidance, his group has generated substantial data clarifying the role of muscle cells, vascular endothelial cells in bone repair, as well as a recent collaboration examining the role of smooth muscle actin positive cells in spinal fusion.

Bone Morphogenic Proteins are the prime movers in the induction of bone repair. Current implantable delivery systems represent 20 year old technology. David’s group have established a sugar-based injectable delivery system for BMP that, apart from being non-invasive, outperforms the current implantable technology. With colleagues in Chemical Engineering they have developed a range of other sugar-based systems with further improved characteristics. These systems are being considered for commercialisation for human use.

Children are not small adults and neither do their bones tolerate adult fixation. David and his PhD student Justin Bobyn have developed an implant for children that can stabilise the bone in all directions and grow with the patient. This implant is highly likely to be commercialised and enter clinical practice, with several groups already showing interest. David’s biomedical engineering team are expanding their activity in this area.

David currently holds a number of NHMRC grants, the most recent being “Pre-clinical validation of a novel implant for bone tissue engineering” for $421,175. Non-unions and critical sized bone defects remain a major challenge for orthopaedic medicine. As a result of traumatic injury or tumour resection, the loss of large quantities of bone tissue can easily overwhelm the body’s natural bone healing capacity, leading to non-union. It is estimated that up to 2.2 million bone grafting procedures are performed annually. Even with modern surgical techniques, critical sized bone defects can be expensive and challenging to heal. The aims of David’s grant are: 1) validation of a porous polymer implant in small and large animal models; and 2) development of additional and alternative adjunctive agents.

Recent Publications:
Yu NY, Gdalevitch M, Murphy CM, Mikulec K, Peacock L, Fitzpatrick J, Cantrill LC, Ruys AJ, CooperWhite JJ, Little DG, Schindeler A. Spatial control of bone formation using a porous polymer scaffold co-delivering anabolic rhBMP-2 and anti-resorptive agents. Eur Cell Mater. 2014 Jan 31;27:98-111. 3.
Murphy CM, Schindeler A, Gleeson JP, Yu NY, Cantrill LC, Mikulec K, Peacock L, O'Brien FJ, Little DG. A collagen-hydroxyapatite scaffold allows for binding and co-delivery of recombinant bone morphogenetic proteins and bisphosphonates. Acta Biomater. 2014 Jan 20. pii: S17427061(14)00030-0. 4.
Cheng TL, Murphy CM, Cantrill LC, Mikulec K, Carpenter C, Schindeler A, Little DG. Local delivery of recombinant human bone morphogenetic proteins and bisphosphonate via sucrose acetate isobutyrate can prevent femoral head collapse in Legg-Calve-Perthes disease: a pilot study in pigs. Int Orthop. 2014 Jan 4. [Epub ahead of print]
El-Hoss J, Kolind M, Jackson MT, Deo N, Mikulec K, McDonald MM, Little CB, Little DG, Schindeler A. Modulation of endochondral ossification by MEK inhibitors PD0325901 and AZD6244 (Selumetinib). Bone. 2014 Feb;59:151-61.
Sullivan K, El-Hoss J, Quinlan KG, Deo N, Garton F, Seto JT, Gdalevitch M, Turner N, Cooney GJ, Kolanczyk M, North KN, Little DG, Schindeler A. NF1 is a critical regulator of muscle development and metabolism. Hum Mol Genet. 2013 Oct 24. [Epub ahead of print]

CHW Clinical School Researcher Profile: Prof. Louise Baur


Louise Baur is a Professor in the Discipline of Paediatrics & Child Health (and also the Sydney School of Public Health) at the University of Sydney. She is also a consultant paediatrician and Head of Weight Management Services at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney. Louise is a senior member of the Prevention Research Collaboration based at the University of Sydney, a group which undertakes policy-relevant research in the areas of obesity, nutrition and physical activity.

Louise’s research interests include the prevention of childhood obesity, the antecedents of obesity and the metabolic syndrome in childhood, the complications of paediatric overweight and obesity and the effective management of obesity and related disorders in a variety of clinical settings.

Louise and colleagues in the Sydney School of Public Health, Sydney Local Health District and Fudan University in Shanghai are undertaking novel studies in the area of interventions to prevent obesity in early life. This includes the NHMRC-funded Healthy Beginnings Trial (HBT) which is the first trial, internationally, to show a reduction in BMI in early life through a health promotion intervention (in this case, eight home visits by early childhood nurses to new mothers in the first 2 years). Excitingly, this has shown improvements in BMI at age 24 months, in breastfeeding at 12 months, and in several risk behaviours at age 2 years. The group is following up the cohort to age 5 years and undertaking cost-effectiveness analyses. The Healthy Beginnings Trial is also part of the NHMRC-funded Early Prevention of Obesity in Childhood (EPOCH) Collaboration, a prospective meta-analysis of four Australasian early life obesity prevention interventions – the first such internationally. The Healthy Beginnings Trial also underpins a collaborative study with Fudan University which involves SMS and phone coaching support to pregnant women/ new mothers to help them establish and sustain breastfeeding, with the ultimate aim of preventing obesity.

Louise has a major profile in clinical studies of paediatric obesity and insulin resistance, and has undertaken some of the very first treatment trials in this area, as well as some highly cited systematic reviews. Other studies include an ARC-funded grant looking at the marketing of unhealthy foods in junior sports environments, a range of epidemiological studies, as well as studies on the measurement of body composition, dietary intake and physical activity in children, and on adipose tissue biology. Louise is also one of several lead investigators on The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre (funded for $11.3 M over 5 years from late 2013 by NHMRC).

Louise is on the Editorial Board of Pediatric Obesity (and was its Founding Editor-in-Chief from 2005-2010), and is Founding Director of the Australasian Child & Adolescent Obesity Research Network, established in 2002. She is also a member of the NHMRC’s Prevention and Community Health Committee (since 2009), and has a range of other NHMRC roles. In 2010 Louise Baur was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) “for service to medicine, particularly in the field of paediatric obesity as a researcher and academic, and to the community through support for a range of children’s charities”.

Selected Publications:
1. Oude Luttikhuis H, Baur L, Jansen H, Shrewsbury VA, O’Malley C, Stolk RP, Summerbell CD. Interventions for treating obesity in children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2009, Issue 1. Art. No.: CD001872. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001872.pub2.
2. Hardy LH, Denney-Wilson E, Thrift A, Okely AD, Baur LA. Screen time and metabolic risk factors among adolescents. Arch Pediatr Adol Med 2010; 164:643-649.
3. Baur LA, Hazelton B, Shrewsbury VA. Assessment and management of obesity in childhood and adolescence. Nature Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2011; 8:635-45.
4. Wen LM, Baur LA, Simpson JM, Rissel C, Wardle K, Flood VM. Effectiveness of a home-based early intervention on children’s BMI at age two years: randomised controlled trial. BMJ 2012; 344:e3732.
5. Nguyen T, Shrewsbury VA, O’Connor J, Steinbeck KS, Hill AJ, Shah S, Kohn MR, Baur LA. Two-year outcomes of an adjunctive telephone coaching and electronic contact intervention for adolescent weight-loss maintenance: the Loozit randomized controlled trial. Int J Obesity 2013; 37:468-72.
6. Ho M. Garnett SP, Baur LA, Burrows T, Stewart L, Neve M, Collins C. Impact of dietary and exercise interventions on weight change and metabolic outcomes in obese children and adolescents: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. JAMA Pediatr 2013. 2013 167:759-68.

Early Career Researcher profile: Dr. Ciara Murphy


"I am a senior research officer in the Orthopaedic Research and Biotechnology Unit (ORB) within the Kid’s Research Institute at The Westmead Children’s Hospital. I hail from Ireland where I completed my PhD at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) in 2010 before flying to Sydney in 2011 to join the ORB as a research officer. Since 2013, I hold a conjoint lecturing position with Sydney Medical School and I have since moved up the ranks to senior research officer and Bone Tissue Engineering group leader. My research focus encompasses both bone tissue engineering and bone repair.

Bone tissue engineering is my major research interest and my first love. Critical-sized bone defects are a major challenge for orthopaedic medicine. Even with modern surgical techniques, critical sized bone defects are challenging to heal and require multiple operations, which have a high associated cost and burden on the patient. My focus has been the development of scaffolds and drug delivery systems to promote and improve the healing of critical sized bone defects. I have just been awarded an ECR/New Staff Grant for the customization of tissue engineered bone using 3D printing technology. I hope this work will improve healing outcomes for patient by reducing healing time and negating the need for repeated surgeries associated with transplantation.

Another, more recent branch of my research focuses on bone repair in situations of orthopaedic diseases, in particular, osteoporosis. A frontline treatment for this disease is the use of antiresorptives such as bisphosphonates. However, this treatment can lead to the development of atypical fractures, which are difficult to heal and devastating for patients. My research investigates ways of reducing or preventing this risk and healing these fractures, should they occur. This work has recently been funded by the Australian Orthopaedic Association and has been shortlisted for a New Investigator Research award (NIRA) at the international Orthopaedic Research Society annual conference.

I am fortunate to be working with a fantastic team at ORB and I hope our research will have a major clinical impact on both paediatric and adult bone health."

Early Career Researchers “Talk and cheese” seminars

The early career researchers (ECR) “Talk and cheese” seminars are being held this year in a new format, with lunch provided. Details of the first seminar are as follows:

Seminar: So I’ve got my PhD, now what’s next?
Presenters: A/Prof Nigel Clarke and A/Prof Jenny Byrne
When: Tuesday 27 May
Time: 1-2pm
Where: Doreen Dew Lecture Theatre

Subsequent seminars will be held on:
Wednesday 30 July
Tuesday 16 September
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 Wendy Gold, Patrina Caldwell, Karen Walker and Nigel Clarke. If you have any questions, please contact

Research supervision training

If you are interested in supervising research students, the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health has a supervisor registration program held at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead. The Discipline’s program is an alternative to the course offered by the University of Sydney’s Institute of Teaching and Learning.

Participants need to attend two of the three seminars scheduled for 5, 12 and 26 August from 2pm-4pm and also present at a final accreditation seminar on 9 September from 2pm-4pm. If we have sufficient numbers confirming attendance on these days, we will be able to confirm a 2014 class. Register your interest by emailing

CHW researchers in the media

researchers in the media

Prof. Elizabeth Elliott was a member of the WHO Guideline Development Group that recently published the document: “Guidelines for the identification and
management of substance use and substance use disorders
in pregnancy”, which have just been launched in Europe.

An article has been featured on the WHO website on Elizabeth’s FASD project. Elizabeth also presented about the FASD project at the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health’s Aboriginal Health Research Symposium on Thursday 28 November 2013. The Symposium showcased initiatives in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health from across Sydney Medical School, Sydney Nursing School and the Faculties of Dentistry, Health Sciences and Pharmacy.

Elizabeth has conducted a number of interviews recently:

ABC Radio National Mornings Fran Kelly – Wednesday 19th February
ABC Radio National Bush Telegraph with Cameron Wilson – Thursday 20th March
National Indigenous TV and SBS – Monday 24th February
Sky TV Dalley Report with Helen Dalley - Monday March 17th
ABC Darwin with Kate O’Tool - Tuesday March 18th

Medical education research update

Medical Education Research meetings are held on the first Tuesday of every second month from 12 to 1pm in the CHW Clinical School seminar room.
The next Medical Education Research meeting will be held on Tuesday 6 May. A/Prof Fenton O’Leary will present journal club on: Buscombe C (2013) Using Gagne’s theory to teach procedural skills. The clinical teacher, 10(5), 302-307.
Dr Amanda Harrison will also present findings from her research: ‘The influence of the “hidden curriculum” on student use of mobile devices in the clinical setting’.

Subsequent meetings in 2014 will be held on:
1 July
2 September
4 November

Please contact or if you would like more information.

DPCH staff have recently published the following journal articles in medical education research:

O’Leary F, McGarvey K, Christoff A, Major J, Lockie F, Chayen G & Wharton S. (2013) Identifying incidents of suboptimal care during paediatric emergencies – an observational study utilising in situ and simulation centre scenarios. Resuscitation.

Scott KM, Barrett J, Cheetham V, McCallum Z, Barzi F & Phelps M. (2014) Mismatch between medical student expectations and experiences: Student over-entitlement or medical programs needing reform? Focus on Health Professional Education: A Multi-disciplinary Journal 15, 3: 41-52.

Student news

Postgraduate research student profile: Larissa Lewis


Larissa Lewis is a PhD student with the Discipline of Paediatrics & Child Health and is employed as a senior research coordinator at The Kirby Institute, The University of New South Wales. She has been involved in several areas of health research, including a general practice based intervention and a national intervention based in Family Planning Clinics. She has recently helped to expand the area of qualitative research and adolescent sexual health research within her program.

Larissa’s PhD, “Social media and adolescent development”, has been developed through extensive reviews, including the new media and prevalence of adolescent sexual risk behaviour. This study aims to explore adolescents’ use of, and experiences with, social media. It will describe the context and meanings of their social media interactions, including those of a sexual nature, the language they use to describe these interactions and how these interactions shape their experiences and perceptions of friendships and romantic relationships.

Her study also aims to explore the awareness of parents and teachers regarding adolescents’ experiences online and describe how parents and teachers communicate with adolescents concerning social media. This research will provide a foundation to better understand, support and guide adolescents’ safe use of social media.

In 2013 Larissa presented a poster entitled, “A literature review of sexting attitudes and risk factors in young people” at the STI & AIDS World Congress in Vienna, Austria. Larissa is currently working on a paper entitled, “Understanding why young people engage in sexting; a literature review to inform prevention strategies".

Summer Research Scholarship Students

Eleven students undertook Summer Research Scholarships at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School during the summer of 2013-14. The scholarships are jointly funded by Sydney Medical School and the Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School and are valued at $2,400 each. Each student undertook a research project full time for eight weeks, culminating in oral presentations on 24 February 2014.

The winner of the Clinical School’s presentations was Anirudh Krishnamohan. His research topic was: Pulse plethysmography changes during anaesthesia induction and emergence in children.

Summer Research Scholarship student profile: Anirudh Krishnamohan
“Over the summer of 2013/14, between the 3rd and 4th years of my medical degree, I spent eight weeks at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead Clinical School as part of my Summer Research Scholarship. Under the supervision of Dr Justin Skowno and Dr Viraj Siriwardana, we used this time to look at whether the pulse oximeter would be a viable alternative to the EEG monitor as an objective measure of depth of anaesthesia. In order to do this, we captured perfusion index readings continuously on our laptop from the monitors in the operating room while the patients were undergoing surgery.

I was exposed to many types of paediatric surgery, as well as being introduced to the life of a researcher. At the end of the eight weeks, we had highly significant results and I am hoping to continue this project into the future. I am extremely thankful for Dr Skowno for providing me with this opportunity, as well as his patience and guidance.”

summer scholarship

Russell, Viraj, Anirudh and Justin

December 2013 Graduations

The Graduation Ceremony in December last year was a wonderful event shared with family, friends and supervisors.

Congratulations to the following Research Higher Degree candidates:


Yui Kwan Maria Chow, PhD
The psychological and social impact of influenza-like illness in children on their families.
Supervisors: Julie Leask, Robert Booy, Angie Morrow

Jie Hui Kevin Yin, PhD
Epidemiolgical and economic impacts of healthcare interventions to control influenza: implications for policy
Supervisors: Robert Booy, Glenn Salkeld, Kathryn North


Katrina Fisk, MPhil
Examination of the functional relevance of potential modulators of MECP2 expression in Rett syndrome (RTT)
Supervisors: John Christodoulou, Bruce Bennetts, Sarah Williamson


Nuruliza Roslan, PhD
Inhibiting Tumor Protein D52 function for anti-cancer therapy application
Supervisors: Jennifer Byrne, Ian Alexander, Yuyan Chen

Hamideh Shahheydari, PhD
Molecular and signalling functions of tumor protein D52 in cancer cells
Supervisors: Jennifer Byrne, Yuyan Chen, Brian Smith

Grants, Achievements, Promotions and Titles

Grant news

NHMRC Strategic Awards TCR for Research on FASD
Prof. Elizabeth Elliott: Building capacity for FASD screening and diagnosis through a prevalence study: The Cherbourg Project. Amount awarded $693,729.

Prof. Stewart Einfeld, Prof. Elizabeth Elliott: Behaviour support for training for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Amount awarded $640,417.60

NHMRC Postgraduate Scholarships
Dr Philip Britton: Childhood Encephalitis in Australasia: in search of new infectious aetiologies, standardised guidelines and opportunities for prevention. Amount awarded $97,890.

Rebecca L Cooper Medical Research Foundation
Prof. Cheryl Jones: Discovering the Infectious Causes of unknown Encephalitis cases using genomic approaches: the DICE study. Amount awarded $18,000.

Sydney Medical School New Staff / Early Career Researcher Scheme 2014
Dr Ciara Murphy: Customization of tissue engineered bone using 3D printing technology. Amount awarded $20,000.

Dr Camille Raynes-Greenow: The HINT study. How to best introduce advanced cookstoves (ACS) in India: A feasibility study of delivering
behaviour modification interventions, to improve acceptability of advanced cookstoves in rural India. Amount Awarded $25,000.

NHMRC Ten of the Best Research Projects for 2013
Congratulations to Professor Elizabeth Elliott, Professor Robert Booy, Professor Peter McIntyre, Dr Nick Wood, Dr Gulam Khandaker and Associate Professor Yvonne Zurynski for their research project entitled, “It’s not child’s play: Taking influenza seriously”, which was named one of the 10 best NH&MRC Research Projects for 2013.

ee group

New titles

Harunor Rashid - Clinical Lecturer
Oliver Birke – Clinical Senior Lecturer
Deirdre Hahn – Clinical Senior Lecturer
Mary-Clare Waugh – Clinical Senior Lecturer
Anthony Zehetner - Clinical Senior Lecturer


Upcoming conferences and meetings


8th Annual Update in Paediatric Emergencies: Noosa QLD, 12-14/04/2014
A 3 day update course for emergency physicians and paediatricians held in the idyllic surrounds of the Outrigger Resort & Spa, Noosa. Enhance your skills in acute paediatrics at Australia's premier beach resort. For program and registration details please email: or visit

RACP Congress 2014: Future Directions in Health: Auckland, NZ, 18 - 21/5/2014
This is the premier event of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and is the largest annual multi-disciplinary internal medicine meeting in Australasia. Participate in a stimulating forum to further develop your current knowledge and skills and exchange information with colleagues both in and outside your area of specialty.
For further information please visit

Paediatric Refugee Health Conference 16/5/2014
The conference will be held in the Lorimer Dods Lecture Theatre at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead.
Health Assessment for Refugee Kids (HARK) is celebrating its tenth year of operation and have invited a range of well-known international speakers to present and join us in a panel debate. For more information contact the CHW Education Centre on 9845 3566.

5th International Conference on the Development of Bioengineering in Vietnam: HO Chi Minh City - 16-18/6/2014
The Conference will bring together researchers and scientists from advanced and emerging countries to discuss problems and solutions, identify challenges and shape future research directions.
More information

ANZAHPE 2014: Gold Coast, Queensland 7-10/7/2-14
The Annual Conference of the Australian and New Zealand Association of Health Professional Educators (ANZAHPE), on the Gold Coast from Monday the 7th to Thursday the 10th of July, 2014. The theme of this year’s conference is Developing Health Professional Educators: Connecting Science and Theory with Learning for Clinical Practice.
For further information please visit!2014-conference/c22t1

ASME Annual Scientific Meetings 2014: Brighton, UK 16-18/7/2014
The theme of this year’s meeting of the Association for the Study of Medical Education is ‘Education, Scholarship and Leadership in Pursuit of Excellent Patient Care’.
For futher information please visit

Paediatric Society of QLD (PSQ) Annual Scientific and Educational Meeting: Brisbane - 5&6/09/2014
This year’s PSQ Annual Conference (incorporating the Brisbane ‘Winter’ Endocrine Symposium) will be held at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Southbank, on Friday 5 and Saturday 6 September 2014. The 2014 Turner-Gibson Oration will be delivered at the Conference Dinner on the Friday evening.
Visit as the year progresses for 2014 Conference program details and a registration form. Selected presentations from previous Meetings are also available for download via the Conference website

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 .

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