e-Newsflash - October 2012

Tutors Breakfast and Debate

In 2011 Northern Clinical School celebrated its inaugural tutors breakfast and debate, to thank the tutors and lecturers who educated our medical students in 2011. This year we are again celebrating this support and look forward to seeing all our tutors there on the 31st October. By now you should have received your invitation so this is mainly a reminder to RSVP by the 24th October, if your invitation has gone astray please contact the Executive Officer of the clinical school, () ASAP so it can be re-sent.

Dr Kirsty Foster receives national award for outstanding teaching

Please join us in congratulating Dr Kirsty Foster following her success in receiving an Australian Award for University Teaching in recognition of her outstanding contribution to student learning. Specifically this award was for her care and support of ...read more...

HammondCare appoints Professor Rod MacLeod

Professor Rod MacLeod has been appointed by HammondCare to the position of Senior Staff Specialist in Palliative Care and Conjoint Professor in Palliative Care at Sydney Medical School. He is based at HammondCare’s Pallister House at Greenwich Hospital. This centre, through redevelopment and functional re-use, forms part of a ...read more...

Dr Miriam Jackson receives New Investigator award

Congratulations to Dr Miriam Jackson from the Raymond Purves Bone and Joint Research Labs, Kolling Institute of Medical Research who won the New Investigator award at the Matrix Biology Society of Australia and New Zealand (MBSANZ) annual scientific meeting, held on the Gold coast Sept 5-8, 2012. Miriam received the award for her presentation entitled ...read more...


Dr Kirsty Foster receives national award for outstanding teaching

Kirsty Foster

Dr Kirsty Foster

Please join us in congratulating Dr Kirsty Foster following her success in receiving an Australian Award for University Teaching in recognition of her outstanding contribution to student learning. Specifically this award was for her care and support of medical students, which is vital to their success given the intense pressure medical students are under. She has also taught doctors and nurses in East Timor and Vietnam making a real difference to healthcare in developing countries.

Kirsty is Chair of the Education Subcommittee of the Northern Sydney LHD, Sub-Dean Education of the Northern Clinical School and Sub-Dean International of Sydney Medical School.

Congratulations Kirsty!


HammondCare appoints Professor Rod MacLeod

Professor Rod MacLeod

Professor Rod MacLeod

Professor Rod MacLeod has been appointed by HammondCare to the position of Senior Staff Specialist in Palliative Care and Conjoint Professor in Palliative Care at Sydney Medical School. He is based at HammondCare’s Pallister House at Greenwich Hospital. This centre, through redevelopment and functional re-use, forms part of a larger Commonwealth-funded whole, of which the academic Palliative Care group is one important component.

Existing academic palliative care staff (A/Prof Josephine Clayton, Dr Melanie Lovell, Dr Peta McVey) have been brought together with the new senior academic staff specialist position (Professor MacLeod) into a new palliative and supportive care academic unit within Pallister House. Pallister House also contains other educational units such as HammondCare’s Teaching & Learning Centre, the Dementia Centre and the developing Pain Unit. All staff have access to new teaching, learning and research spaces which will also be utilised by undergraduate and postgraduate students. Professor MacLeod will be involved in teaching undergraduate medical students in aspects of palliative and end-of-life care and will support and participate in palliative and end-of-life research.


Dr Miriam Jackson receives New Investigator award

Dr Miriam Jackson

Dr Miriam Jackson

Congratulations to Dr Miriam Jackson from the Raymond Purves Bone and Joint Research Labs, Kolling Institute of Medical Research who won the New Investigator award at the Matrix Biology Society of Australia and New Zealand (MBSANZ) annual scientific meeting, held on the Gold coast Sept 5-8, 2012. Miriam received the award for her presentation entitled "Protease activated receptor-2 (PAR-2) but not PAR-1 modulates synovial macrophage maturation in post-traumatic osteoarthritis". This work was funded by an NHMRC project grant (2009-2011). Miriam discovered that it is inhibition of the inflammatory response that occurs acutely in a joint following injury that protects against subsequent cartilage damage. This exciting result suggests new there is potential to halt or even prevent the long-term onset of osteoarthritis (OA) that occurs after joint injury. Miriam is continuing her studies to explore the pathogenesis of post-traumatic OA, with funding from the Hillcrest Foundation through Perpetual.

Congratulations Miriam!


Feature Article - Intensive Care Research Unit

Dr Gordon Doig, Elizabeth Sweetman, Fiona Simpson and Philippa Heighes

Dr Gordon Doig, Elizabeth Sweetman, Fiona Simpson and Philippa Heighes

The mission statement of the Northern Clinical School Intensive Care Research Unit is to ‘foster a multi-disciplinary approach towards improving patient outcomes from critical illness and catastrophic injury by supporting the design and conduct of high-quality multi-centre clinical research.’ This intriguing statement left me wanting to find out more about this unit, so I was delighted when I was welcomed into the unit’s offices in B52 at Royal North Shore Hospital to hear more about their work.

Run by Dr Gordon Doig, this small team of five undertake large clinical trials across Australia and New Zealand in the area of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nutrition. They are an internationally recognised world leading centre in nutrition in critical illness, which is acknowledged both by their funding with over $4 million in NHMRC grants currently active and their invitations to present at international conferences. They are currently the only research group in Australia within this field.

Their primary focus is patient care, and they look for safe and novel interventions that could improve the patients’ recovery and health, with a secondary onus of reducing costs if possible.
The team started in 2003 with a nutrition focus. Their first clinical trial involved 27 hospitals, and 1400 patients! This was a landmark trial on how you can shape practice in hospitals other than your own with education, rewards and feedback. All results from their trials are integrated into new practices in international guidelines, as well as integration into literature so clinicians have the resources to make choices on the best way to treat a patient.

At the time of interview the team were running three major trials in over 30 hospitals in Australia and New Zealand. One of the current major trials being undertaken is an inaugural trial on Refeeding Syndrome (when someone has been fasting for a period due to accident or illness and food is reintroduced). The second is a major clinical trial of intra-venous (parental) nutrition. The 3rd project is called the Nephro-Protective Trial and looks at the protein intake of ICU patients in order to avoid kidney issues. The main aim is to improve patient health, especially in a reduction in the need for dialysis.

These clinical trials go over several years. A normal trial is 5 years in the planning before funding is even sought! Planning involves ensuring that all sites can be looked after, writing manuals, educating all the sites who will be involved in the trial, how to support these staff, and how to manage the data that is produced. The team needs to ensure they support all the hospitals that are running the trial in the best way possible. They need to make decisions on whether patients are appropriate for the trial, and to be available to staff members undertaking the trail at all times.

This is truly a team effort , with Ms Fiona Simpson and Dr Gordon Doig developing the ideas, then ably developed and run with the assistance of both Phillipa Heighes and Elizabeth Sweetman. The data is then managed by Jennifer Hannam. She has training in data management from the Australian Research Collaborative Service and is qualified to manage an FDA licensing trial.
Liz, who has a background as an ICU nurse, is passionate about this research as she’ likes to see the difference individuals can make to such unwell patients. Clinicians can only do so much with what is in front of them but research can improve patient care world wide’. A small yet perfectly formed team, they learn from each other. Fiona Simpson sums it up for the team when she states that their focus is motivated by the notion that in their research and trials they make discoveries that can ‘change a fundamental aspect that dramatically changes someones life’.
Having met with this team I and hearing about the differences these trials can make I am thrilled to know they are here constantly rethinking how we do even the little things so that we can vastly improve patient care, which is of course the mission of us all.


If you would like to contribute to this newsletter, or have any feedback, please contact Claire Bridgman.

Sydney Medical School - Northern

Phone: 02 9926 4678
Email:
Web: http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/northern