Headlines May 2017

Penny Robinson

Penny Robinson receives Inspiration Award

Congratulations to Penny Robinson,  recipient of the Inspiration Award for Individual Achievement (Adult  Category) for people who an inspiration to others on the autism spectrum  in any area of endeavour.  Penny was awarded at the Autism Spectrum  Australia Recognition Awards held on 27 April.

Penny was also featured in the I CAN Network’s Humans on the Autism Spectrum campaign. You can read her feature story here.

Dr Melita Giummarra
Dr Melita Giummarra

Awards, nominations and grants

Congratulations to Dr Katherine Gibney who received a commendation at the recent 2017 Premier's Award for  Health and Medical Research. Katherine received the commendation for her  work analysing the incidence  of infectious diseases in Australia which  will be used for future  public health intervention and guidelines.

Dr Melita Giummarra,  PET Group, was recently awarded the Australian Pain Society Rising Star  award. This award is given to an Early Career Researcher who has  achieved outstanding academic and clinical translation activities in the  field of pain.  This award acknowledges Melita’s significant work on  the socioeconomic context of pain, and the incidence, characteristics,  impacts and treatments of pain and mental health after traumatic injury.

Rachael Kable,  an Admin Assistant with the ANZIC-RC, is a finalist in the Rising  Social Star Awards – Wellbeing Category for her podcast The Mindful  Kind. Rachael launched her podcast in late 2015 and has been downloaded  more than 900,000 times worldwide since. The podcast can be downloaded  for free via iTunes, Stitcher, or Rachael's website.  We wish Rachael  the very best of luck.

Dr Sara Holton and Dr Joanne Ryan have been awarded 2017 Advancing Women’s Research Success Grants.  This  grants supports the career progression of early to mid-career high  potential female academic staff with significant carer responsibilities  and assists the university in fostering talent to progress women to  senior roles within the academy.  Sara will use funds from this grant to  expedite a project she is conducting about the childbearing concerns  and related information needs and preferences of women with cystic  fibrosis.

A/Prof Richard Bassed

A/Prof Richard Bassed appointed to VIFM

A/Prof Richard Bassed has been appointed Head of the Department of Forensic Medicine and the  Deputy Director, Academic Programs at the Victorian Institute of  Forensic Medicine (VIFM).  Richard succeeds Professor Olaf Drummer who  served with distinction in the role for many years.  Richard is also the  VIFM's Senior Forensic Odontologist, Head of our Human Identification  Service, and co-ordinator of the Masters of Forensic Medicine Program at  Monash University.

Karin Hammarberg visits Zimbabwe

Dr Karin Hammarberg visits Zimbabwe

Dr Karin Hammarberg from the Jean Hailes Research Unit travelled to Zimbabwe over the Easter holiday to visit a group of dedicated health professionals who have established a low-cost IVF clinic in Harare. In Zimbabwe, infertility is associated with a terrible stigma and women who don’t have children are shunned and humiliated. This is in spite of the fact that male infertility is the cause in about one third of cases! Together with other colleagues with expertise in infertility treatment, Karin has mentored and supported the team over the past year. The program is now up and running and pregnancies have been achieved. Karin (right) and her colleagues met with gynaecologist Tinovimba Mhlanga, embryologist Tinei Makurumure, nurse Florence Marechera and others to discuss how the program can be further enhanced and supported to provide evidence-based, effective and holistic infertility care. 

SPHPM at the Trauma 2017 Meeting
Prof Belinda Gabbe, Dr Ben Beck and Dr Christina Ekegren at Trauma 2017

SPHPM staff conference appearances

A/Prof Erica Wood of the Transfusion Research Unit was the keynote speaker at the  inaugural Saudi Arabian haemovigilance workshop at the end of March. The  meeting, hosted by the Saudi Arabian Food and Drug Authority in Riyadh,  drew a broad range of healthcare professionals and government  contributors, to discuss options for a national haemovigilance system.

Prof Jane Fisher, Dr Maggie Kirkman, and Dr Heather Rowe (Jean Hailes Research Unit) appeared at the 7th World Congress on  Women's Mental Health: “Rights, Resilience, Recovery” (6–9 March). They  presented 7 papers and three posters on several research projects.

Thirteen members of the Pre-hospital, Emergency and Trauma (PET)  Group attended Trauma 2017, the 21st Annual Scientific Meeting of the  Australasian Trauma Society.  The group presented an amazing total of 15  oral presentations and four posters, including a keynote presentation  on “The importance of interpersonal violence prevention” from the head  of the PET Group, Prof Belinda Gabbe. The team also took out three of the four Scientific Awards at the conference including Best Poster Prize (Dr Ben Beck), Best Medical Oral Presentation (Dr Christina Ekegren) and Best Non-Medical Oral Presentation (Prof Belinda Gabbe).

Hand holding a breast implant

Increase in Australian cancer cases linked to breast implants

Sydney Morning Herald, April 20 2017
Dr Ingrid Hopper

Five more cases of a rare blood cancer linked to breast implants have  been confirmed in Australia, bringing the total to 51 women, including  three who have died.  The Therapeutic Goods Administration has been  monitoring the link between breast implants and anaplastic large cell  lymphoma, known as ALCL, a form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, since 2011  when US regulators warned of an association …

Read the full article here.

Ingrid Hopper and Christopher Morrison

SPHPM post-doc students receive Mollie Holman medal

Congratulations to Dr Ingrid Hopper (MBBS, BMedSci (Hons), PhD, FRACP) and Dr Christopher Morrison (MBBS, BMedSci (Hons), PhD) recipients of the prestigious Mollie Holman Medal, which is awarded annually for the best PhD thesis in each faculty.

Cochrane Australia staff at the March for Science
Cochrane Australia staff and mini-activists at the recent March for Science

March for Science

A group of Cochrane Australia staff gathered at the State Library on Saturday 22 April to lend their support to the global March for Science. This unprecedented international event saw hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life gather in over 600 cities to highlight and endorse the critical role of science for individuals, organisations and governments alike. The international Cochrane organisation was an official sponsor of the march and continues to support growing calls for governments and policymakers around the world to acknowledge the centrality of science and high quality evidence in sound health, social, economic and political decision-making.

Dr Zoe McQuilten

Dr Zoe McQuilten honored as Scott Murphy Lecturer

Dr Zoe McQuilten was honored as the Scott Murphy Lecturer at this year’s Biomedical Excellence for Safer Transfusion (BEST) Collaborative meeting in Sydney, Australia. Her presentation described some of the research activities of the Transfusion Research Unit (TRU) and the Blood CRE at Monash University. Scott Murphy was a pioneer of platelet transfusion therapy and research who passed away in 2006. Dr Rosemary Sparrow, Nicholas Saadah and A/Prof Erica Wood of the TRU also attended the meeting as guests of BEST.

Suzy Giuliano and David Newman at the AsMA conference

SPHPM at the Aerospace Medical Association conference

A/Prof David Newman and Suzy Giuliano, on behalf of SPHPM and the Aviation Medicine Unit, exhibited at the 2017 Aerospace Medical Association (AsMA) conference held in Denver, Colorado 29 April – 2 May 2017.

The conference brought together over 1500 delegates with the overwhelming interest being for the planned Diploma in Aviation Medicine. This was the second year Monash has had a presence at this conference, and David and Suzy were able to continue to build the networks established last year and educate people about Monash University and the School's expertise.

Dr Prasad Ranaweera

Dr Prasad Ranaweera helps shape Sri Lanka’s future

Dr Prasad Ranaweera has been involved in preparing the National Health Policy of Sri Lanka 2016–2025.  This document has taken two years and has input from almost all professional colleges. View 2016–2025 policy (English is from page 43 onwards).

Painkiller pills spilling from a bottle

Painkillers could raise heart attack risk

SBS News, 10 May 2017
Prof John McNeil

Routinely taking common anti-inflammatory painkillers could put people at a heightened risk of heart attack, Canadian research has found.

Experts have drawn a link between taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which are used to treat pain and inflammation, and an increased risk of heart attacks.

Doctors should consider the "risks and benefits" before dishing out the commonly prescribed drugs, particularly at higher doses, the authors cautioned.

The study published in journal The BMJ adds to growing evidence that suggests NSAIDs, including ibuprofen and naproxen, are potentially dangerous in some patients with cardiac risk factors, says Professor John McNeil, head of the Monash University School of Public Health & Preventive Medicine …

Read the full article here.

ANZIC-RC nutrition study

Emma Ridley secures $2.4m funding for study

Congratulations to Principal Investigator Emma Ridley, and Chief Investigators Lee-Anne Chapple, A/Prof Andrew Davies, Adam Deane, Shay McGuinness, A/Prof Carol Hodgson, Rachael Parke, Prof Jamie Cooper and Prof Michael Bailey (Senior Statistician), on $2.4m of funding from Baxter Healthcare Corporation US for a follow-on nutrition study to the small pilot they recently completed (also funded by Baxter).
Emma Ridley is the Nutrition Program Manager at the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Research Centre (ANZIC-RC) within the SPHPM and a current NHMRC Postgraduate Scholar/PhD candidate.

Prof Paul Myles

ATACAS wins the ACTA Trial of the Year

Congratulations to Prof Paul Myles and the Aspirin and Tranexamic Acid for Coronary Artery Surgery (ATACAS) study team for winning the ACTA Trial of the Year. The ATACAS trial was coordinated at Monash University and Alfred Health and received seed funding from ANZCA Research Foundation and two large NHMRC grants. The trial took more than 10 years to complete and recruited over 4600 patients across 31 hospitals in 7 countries. Paul Myles was presented this award at the ACTA National Tribute and Awards Ceremony on Friday 19 May in Sydney by the Hon. Greg Hunt MP. This ceremony celebrated the hard work and dedication by research teams who conduct public good clinical trials to change clinical practice to improve patient care in the Australian community. We thank Rhiannon Tate for her exceptional work with ACTA based at the SPHPM. 

Edward Zimbudzi

Edward Zimbudzi honoured as Nurse of the Year

Congratulations to Edward Zimbudzi who received the Excellence in Nursing award and also the Nurse of the Year award at the 2017 Monash Health Nursing & Midwifery Awards.
Edward is currently undertaking a PhD in the Monash Centre for Health Research and Implementation, under the supervision of Prof Sophia Zoungas and Prof Peter Kerr, whilst also working part-time as a Unit Manager for MMC’s acute adult hemodialysis unit.

Prof Elsdon Storey receives ANZAN medal

Prof Elsdon Storey receives ANZAN medal

Prof Elsdon Storey received the 2017 ANZAN medal for service to the Australian and New Zealand Association of Neurologists at their Annual Scientific meeting earlier this month. Congratulations, Elsdon!

STAREE reaches 1000 participants

STAREE reaches 1000!

The STAtins in Reducing Events in the Elderly (STAREE) study has reached an important milestone with the registration of its 1000th participant. We have reached this milestone with the help of 400 general practices based across Australia.
Please join us in acknowledging all who have assisted with the successful progress of this leading world-first, public health trial exploring statin therapy on health outcomes in those aged 70 and above.

Older person with a walker and a fall risk bracelet

Many older people in care die prematurely, and not from natural causes

The Conversation, 29 May 2017
Prof Joseph Ibrahim

Most readers may be surprised to learn that frail older people living in residential aged care services, often referred to as nursing homes or care facilities, die prematurely. We tend to think the deaths of older people, and especially those in care, are due to natural causes. But although confronting to contemplate, residents die prematurely due to injury and violence. 

Read the full article in The Conversation.