e-Newsflash - February 2013

Happy New Year!

We are very excited to be starting a new year in 2013, with our new stage 1 students starting in a few weeks time, and our stage 3 students already back and immersing themselves on the wards!

We look forward to sharing another great year with you all, don’t forget if you have any news you would like to see published in the newsletter we would love to hear from you. Please send any stories to

A Sydney Medical School – Northern celebration

Save the date for the upcoming Sydney Medical School – Northern celebration, Medical Education – All Together Better Health.

On the evening of Tuesday the 19th March we would love you to join us at this annual event where we celebrate medical education in all its facets, and award prizes over a glass of wine and canapés.

Invitations will go out shortly but in the meantime make sure you have the date (19th March 2013) and time (5:30pm) in your diarys. We look forward to seeing you there!

Congratulations to Dr Raelia Lew


Dr Raelia Lew

Congratulations to Dr Raelia Lew, a PhD student of Professor Leslie Burnett and an O&G Registrar at Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, who has just published a paper in the Medical Journal of Australia 2012; 197:652-54, reviewing almost two decades of genetic screening for Tay-Sachs disease (a classic neurodegenerative autosomal recessive disease, which affects newborn children).

Screening of parents for Tay-Sachs disease was introduced into Australia by Professor Burnett and Ms Anné Proos in 1992, and was first offered to the Sydney population via community genetic screening in 1995 then, following Professor Burnett’s and Ms Proos’ joining the Kolling Institute in 1997, offered to the rest of Australia in 1998. Their laboratory is currently housed in PaLMS Pathology on the RNS Hospital campus, but continues to publish its work under the auspices of the University of Sydney.

Professor Burnett explained the significance of Dr Lew’s findings: ‘While our past research has demonstrated genetic screening is medically effective and cost-effective, we had not been able to demonstrate "outcomes effectiveness", i.e. that genetic screening actually works when applied to an entire population. Raelia's paper has now done just that. She has shown that, since the introduction of genetic screening to the entire Australian population, there has not been a single case of Tay-Sachs disease in the screened population, while those who did not take up screening continued to have children affected with the disease at the baseline rate. This is a very important demonstration, as it now means we have an evidence base for effectiveness of this new form of diagnosis and treatment.’

Further information can be found in Australian Doctor 10 December, 2012.

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
Web: http://sydney.edu.au/medicine/northern