Viertel award for first seizures in epilepsy

Congratulations to Dr Emma Foster, who has been awarded a Viertel Clinical Investigator Award from The Sylvia & Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation, for $90,000.

Dr Foster is a practising neurologist at Alfred Health and an Early Career Post-doctoral Research Fellow, in the Epilepsy and Personalised Medicine (Kwan) research group in the Department of Neuroscience at the Central Clinical School. She recently completed her PhD on the Optimisation of First Seizure Management.

The Award will provide valuable support to Dr Foster as she transitions from her doctoral to post-doctoral research. Dr Foster said, “I feel very grateful to have received this Award from the foundation. It will greatly assist me, as a new investigator, to establish my research program and build a solid foundation for my career as an academic clinician to provide expert care and lead scientific advances.”

Dr Foster’s post-doctoral work will continue to build upon the health and health economic outcomes research of her PhD.

“I will be leading a two part project. The data linkage part will give a “big picture” overview of the public health and health economic outcomes following new-onset seizures. It will also provide crucial insights into the capability of First Seizure Clinics to function as a healthcare intervention to optimise these outcomes. The second part will explore how first seizures impact the lives of individuals - how has it affected their quality of life, mood, and work. The answers to these questions will contribute important knowledge to the field to evaluate future healthcare interventions.”

Dr Foster is excited about collaborating with the multidisciplinary team of clinicians and academics across Melbourne on these projects. She hopes that the outcomes of this research increases recognition of the far-reaching impact of new-onset seizures, and incentivises the establishment of evidence-based pathways that optimise the care provided to people with new-onset seizures.

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The Sylvia & Charles Viertel Charitable Foundation is proudly managed by Equity Trustees in partnership with co-trustees Justice Debra Mullins AO (Chair), Rex Freudenberg and Paul de Silva, and is one of Australia’s largest charitable foundations, established with an initial bequest of approximately $60 million. Today the Foundation is worth around $215 million and distributes around $8 million annually.