2005-2006 News Archive
- Associate Professor Alex Barratt-ABC net Consumer GuideOctober 06
- Dr Milton Lewis: Book Launch October 06
- Evidence Based Practice series for the Health Report on ABC Radio NationalSeptember 06
- Associate Professor Alex Barratt wins Eureka Prize for Health and Medical Research Journalism August 06
- Professor Bruce Armstrong named NSW's cancer researcher of the year May 06
- NHMRC Health Services Research Program Grant for Professor Stephen Leeder
- Australian Screening Mammography Decision Aid Trial
- Menzies Centre for Public Health Policy and Practice
- Tobacco control group wins accolade from NHMRC
- Renewal of major research grant
- Enabling grant for clinical trials
- Hormone Replacement Therapy decision aid on NHMRC website
- Cancer screening series for ABC Radio National’s The Health Report
Following on from A/Prof Alex Barratt’s recent radio series “Facing the Evidence”, this website provides consumers with information on how to get evidence based treatment including what questions to ask their health professional. This site also provides links to the transcripts from the radio series.
Palliative Care Australia (PCA) recently joined with Oxford University Press to launch the new publication Medicine and Care of the Dying: A modern history.
Dr Milton Lewis, Historian of Medicine in the School of Public Health, and author, examines the relationship between the approach of Western medicine to the care of the dying and its changing social, cultural, demographic, economic and political context over the last two centures in five Anglo- Saxon countries: the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
For further information on the book launch visit PCA
The publication is available through Oxford University press at http://www.oup.com.au
Associate Professor Alex Barratt's latest radio production is ready for broadcast. It's a 2-part series on Evidence Based Practice which will go to air next Monday (September 11) and the following Monday (September 18) on the Health Report on ABC Radio National at 8.30am and repeated at 8pm. In Sydney its on AM 576.
The shows feature interviews with international leaders in the field including Sir Iain Chalmers, one of the co-founders of the Cochrane Collaboration, and Professor Gordon Guyatt who leads the Evidence Based Medicine Working Group at McMaster and who led the Users Guides series published in JAMA over the last decade. There are also patients, consumer reps and on-the-ground health care providers.
August 22 - At the 2006 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes the School's multi-talented Associate Professor Alex Barratt won the Eureka Prize for Health and Medical Research Journalism.
Her win was for the three part radio program 'Cancer Screening' that was broadcast on The Health Report, ABC Radio National in Aug & Sept last year.
The Pfizer Australia Eureka Prize for Health and Medical Research Journalism is awarded to an Australian journalist or communicator whose work is assessed as having most effectively and accurately communicated medical and/or health care research to the Australian public.
The Australian Health Policy Institute (AHPI) is pleased to announce that a team from the University of Sydney and The Australian National University, led by Professor Stephen Leeder, Director of AHPI, has been awarded $3.5 million over five years from the NHMRC to research cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The aim is to implement strategies for better prevention, management and care for Australians with, or at serious risk of contracting these chronic illnesses.
The Menzies Centre for Health Policy will facilitate the grant and allow the combination of expert resources to investigate how health system change could slash the number of hospital admissions for manageable diseases.
Professor Stephen Leeder said "changes in the way patients with chronic illness are cared for could also result in millions of dollars in savings to the health system."
"Studies have shown that low-cost care management for patients with congestive heart failure could save about $1000 per patient annually. And World Health Organisation research shows chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is directly related to smoking, is the third leading cause of human and economic burden of disease."
"But we can be doing more to help patients with these illnesses stay well, and stay out of hospital. Some of what might be done could be quite simple if we build solid relationships of care with these people."
A copy of the media releases from the Minster for Health & Ageing, The Hon Tony Abbott MP and the Menzies Centre for Health Policy can be found on the Australian Health Policy Institute's website at http://www.ahpi.health.usyd.edu.au/news/index.php
Thinking about whether to have a screening mammogram? If you are a woman aged 40 or more you are eligible for a free mammogram with BreastScreen Australia. There are reasons for and against mammogram screening for breast cancer. The Screening and Test Evaluation Program at the School of Public Health, University of Sydney is running an on-line trial of a decision aid for women aged 40 years who are considering whether to begin screening mammography. The decision aid gives the latest information about the pros and cons of screening. If you are a woman aged around 40 we invite you to participate in this study and would greatly appreciate your contribution. Click here http://www.mammogram.med.usyd.edu.au/ to go to the Australian Screening Mammography Decision Aid Trial where you will find more information about this study.
AHPI is very excited to share with you the announcement by the Sir Robert Menzies Memorial Foundation of a third Menzies Research Centre - the Menzies Centre for Public Health Policy and Practice - an independent think-tank to examine the performance and community expectations of the nation’s health system.
A grant of $675,000 over five years has been awarded jointly to the University of Sydney and The Australian National University. The joint venture will be under the direction of Professor Stephen Leeder at the University of Sydney and Mr Robert Wells at the ANU. The successful joint application from ANU and Sydney University was chosen from a field of thirty-nine applications from around Australia for this prestigious award.
The Menzies Centre for Public Health Policy and Practice will undertake research in such fields as the financing of health systems and the effects of spending priorities on the equity and the appropriateness in health care. The centre will provide expert commentary on government health spending priorities for the public and technical media. Education and communication will be key parts of the centre’s activities. It will sponsor regular seminars, lectures and education programs and will participate in masters degree coursework and PhD programs.
Please visit AHPI's website (http://www.ahpi.health.usyd.edu.au/news/index.php) regularly for further updates.
The research undertaken by the tobacco control group, led by Professor Simon Chapman, has been named as one of the 10 best pieces of recent research by the NHMRC. Smoking kills 19,000 Australians each year or more than 50 Australians each day, yet 2.9 million Australians aged 14 years
and over smoke daily.
This study provided important evidence about nicotine addiction and the adverse health effects of smoking, which supported the need for strong regulation of the tobacco industry. The results were very important to public health in Australia and this is an example of a controversial yet exceptionally useful program that was funded by NHMRC. Drawing on over 40 million pages of internal documents, the research
revealed the tobacco industry’s strategies to resist effective tobacco control in Australasia. Because of the documents, the tobacco industry has acknowledged the strong link between smoking and lung cancer to government and the public.
In 2005, members of the School of Public Health have continued to be highly successful in obtaining nationally competitive grants. The Screening and Test Evaluation Program (STEP) has recently received an additional NHMRC Program Grant of $6.3 million over five years to continue their work on tests for screening, diagnosis and monitoring. Named investigators on the grant are Les Irwig, Jonathan Craig, Glenn Salkeld, Petra Macaskill and Kirsten McCaffery. STEP examines questions surrounding medical tests. Should a particular test be done or not? When should it be done? How should it be done? Which test is best? The researchers will look at how these decisions are made. They will also look at the trade-off between the benefits of tests (knowledge, helping with a diagnosis, guiding a treatment) and the harms (side-effects of the test itself, inaccurate tests, tests which lead to further unnecessary tests). This research will benefit consumers, health professionals and policy-makers, all of whom are being tested, using tests or funding tests without being fully aware of their accuracy and effects.
Professor John Simes from the NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre is chief investigator on a newly awarded NHMRC Enabling Grant entitled National Resource for public good, web-based, investigator-initiated trials, which is worth $1.29 million over five years. The facility will provide resources in clinical trials expertise and web-based trials systems to enable investigator-initiated clinical trials of public good. This will enable the highest quality of clinical trials research to be undertaken by clinical trials researchers in new and priority health research areas, at any institution throughout Australia. Areas supported through this national resource will include controlled trials of current clinical practice, surgery, new health technologies, palliative and supportive care and complementary medicine.
A decision aid commissioned by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and developed by the School’s Sydney Health Decision Group has recently been published on the NHMRC website. This publication, also available in hard copy, provides a decision tool for women considering hormone therapy (HRT) for symptoms of the menopause. Women with moderate and severe vasomotor symptoms at the menopause need to weigh the severity of these symptoms against a longer term increase in breast cancer, abnormal mammograms, stroke and thrombosis associated with HRT. The group focus-tested this tool with practitioners and women from a range of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, finding that it was a very welcome summary of the evidence for both consumers and professionals alike. The decision aid is available from: http://www7.health.gov.au/nhmrc/publications/_files/wh37.pdf
Think it’s always a good idea to look for cancer early? Well maybe not. During her sabbatical at ABC Radio National Assoc Prof Alex Barratt has made a three part radio series exploring the downsides and the benefits of cancer screening. The series challenges some of the long held beliefs about cancer screening, including that early detection is always a good idea.
Lead speaker Dr Gilbert Welch explains that cancer screening is a two edged sword. “Cancer testing is a much closer call than is usually acknowledged in either the general press or by professional organizations in medicine. On one hand the benefits of screening have been widely overstated, on the other the harms have been largely ignored ….The public has really only heard about one side, that is that it’s always good to have another test and the truth is we’re more certain about the downsides of many tests than we are about their upsides,” Dr Welch says.
Alex interviewed patients about their experiences with breast, bowel and prostate cancer screening and spoke to experts in cancer screening epidemiology, clinicians and cancer biologists from Australia and around world to make this thought provoking series. Click here to find out more: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/talks/8.30/helthrpt/
Also in the series is information on how you can make better decisions for yourself about whether you want to be screened for cancer or not. How? Alex and researchers from the Screening and Test Evaluation Program have also developed a decision aid for women aged 40 considering whether to be screened for breast cancer. They are now conducting an on-line evaluation of this decision aid. If you’d like to find out more about the study visit http://www.mammogram.med.usyd.edu.au