Invited speakers - Tuesday 27 July

Big initiatives

HealthANSWERS: Improving service-university collaboration to improve health in our region

Professor Christine Phillips
Associate Dean, Health Social Science Research, The Australian National University

HealthANSWERS (ACT NSW Education, Research and Services) is a new regional collaboration between 14 health sector organisations across southern NSW and the ACT and three universities (University of Canberra, ANU and University of Wollongong).  The collaboration includes three regional LHDs, primary care, hospitals, Aboriginal Health Services and a consumer organisation.  Unlike many health sector-research collaborations, the HealthANSWERS collaboration is committed to service-relevant translational research that directly impacts upon health care and health outcomes in our region.  Drawing on the work of the HealthANSWERS Implementation Working Group, this presentation discusses the principles and governance of HealthANSWERS, and its approach to capacity development for clinician researchers, regional priority setting, and supporting translational research.  The session also outlines areas of early implementation through the bushfires and COVID-19.

Research Innovation Fund – overview

The ACT Government, through the ACT Health Directorate’s (ACTHD) Centre for Health and Medical Research (CHMR) has established the $3 million Research and Innovation Fund (RIF) to deliver health research within the ACT. Objectives of the fund are to create a world leading health research program to support high quality health care, promote cross disciplinary collaboration and engagement and deliver impacts on health outcomes beyond the life of the project. Four areas of impact focus are knowledge, health, economics, and social impact.

Mobilisation of Knowledge

Professor Lyndall Strazdins
Director, Research School of Population Health, The Australian National University

Mr Alan Philp
Executive Group Manager, Preventive and Population Health, ACT Health Directorate

Knowledge mobilisation partnerships are recognised as a critical strategy for solving complex population health problems. In June 2020, the Preventive and Population Health Division, ACT Health and the Research School of Population Health, ANU, initiated a deliberative partnership to build a solid foundation for the co-production and mobilization of knowledge. We are evaluating the partnership and researching enabling factors that may inform other successful partnerships between health leaders and researchers. In the first twelve months outcomes have exceeded expectations and there is strong commitment to continue. Our shared vision is for our two organisations to have better capacity to work together to make the ACT healthier and more equitable.


Big initiatives: UNSW Canberra

Improving systems for eliminating crusted scabies in Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory Australia

Dr Karen Gardner
Senior Research Fellow, Public Service Research Group, School of Business

This study reports on a mixed method before-and-after evaluation of a systems-based program for eliminating crusted scabies in the Northern Territory. We assessed the extent of program implementation and impacts on numbers of new cases, recurrences; primary health care and hospital activity.  Marked improvements in treatment completion and follow-up were observed, but patients return to scabies endemic environments. In the context of overcrowding, risk of re-infection is high. We reflect on lessons learned.

The impact of COVID-19 disruptions on children and young people with disability and their families

Dr Sophie Yates
Postdoctoral Fellow, Public Service Research Group, School of Business

This presentation draws from two surveys about the impacts of the pandemic on children and young people with disability and their families. One assessed respondents’ experiences during the early weeks of the pandemic, while the second asked students and their families about their experiences of remote learning. It was clear that respondents faced many inequalities prior to the pandemic, and COVID-19 has further exposed and often exacerbated them. We consider some actions to mitigate these problems.


Big initiatives: Australian Catholic University

Blood sampling from PIVC’s – where is the evidence?

Associate Professor Elisabeth Jacob
Head, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine VIC, Faculty of Health Science

Needle pricks for blood sampling are one of the most painful patient experiences in hospitals – they don’t have to be.  We can prioritise patient comfort without compromising the quality of care.

Incorporating the social determinants of health in patient assessment

Associate Professor Vasiliki Betihavas
Deputy Head of School NSW, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine NSW/ACT, Faculty of Health Science

Currently, assessments of patients managing chronic conditions tends to focus on biomedical factors. However, social determinants of health (SDH) have been shown to influence disease management as well as hospital presentations. Incorporating SDH into patient assessments may improve self-management and potentially decrease hospital admissions.

A longitudinal study evaluating the health and economic burden of chronic-disease malnutrition in acute inpatients in the Northern Territory

Dr Natasha Franklin
Deputy Head of School NSW, BN Course Coordinator/Senior Lecturer in Nursing, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine NSW/ACT, Faculty of Health Science

Malnutrition is well-recognised as a major clinical problem in different clinical contexts; however is frequently under-reported/underdiagnosed resulting in significant loss of activity-based funding. The Northern Territory (NT) Government and NT hospitals are continuously striving for health efficiencies in their operations. A study in the ACT is the first to specifically measure long-term health and economic impact of chronic-disease related malnutrition in regional hospital inpatient settings to identify ways to increase health efficiencies through maximising financial reimbursements.


Big initiatives: The Australian National University

RNA: From pandemic to future technologies and treatments

Recently, the world has learned some of the best vaccines are made from RNA. In fact, RNA can perform nearly any function in biology. RNA can be an enzyme, drive telomeric extension, splicing, specific DNA and RNA cleavage. It forms the core of gene expression control of every cell. Not surprisingly, most diseases, whether inherited or acquired in the genomes or epigenetically, manifest through or at the level of RNA. RNA can be a virus or its dysregulation can drive malignancy. RNA controls development, including of the heart and brain. Many RNA therapeutic and diagnostic solutions were developed (mi/siRNA, CRISPR, exome profiling). Many more RNA tools are yet to come that fully exploit its structure forming capacity, biochemical modifications and splicing isoform variations. Using strong representative expertise of ANU RNA groups, we feature recent advances as part of the path in building a national RNA R&D ecosystem and onshore manufacturing.

Session introduction

RNA and RNA advances at College of Health and Medicine

Dr Nikolay Shirokikh
NHMRC Emerging Leadership Fellow, The John Curtin School of Medical Research

RNA in science and health

RNA as a versatile discovery platform in multi-omics research

Prof Thomas Preiss
Professor of RNA Biology, The John Curtin School of Medical Research

Biologically active RNA elements in single-cell biology

Dr Jean Wen
Group Leader and ARC Future Fellow, The John Curtin School of Medical Research

RNA in technology and innovation

RNA screening and ribosomopathies

Dr Amee George
Fellow, ACRF Department of Cancer Biology and Therapeutics, and Manager, Centre for Therapeutic Discovery, The John Curtin School of Medical Research

New technologies to characterise RNA molecules in health and disease

Prof Eduardo Eyras
Professor and EMBL Australia Group Leader, The John Curtin School of Medical Research

RNA in diagnosis and therapy

Understanding the molecular basis of tumour predisposition in ribosomopathy patients

Prof Leonie Quinn
Professor and Group Leader, The John Curtin School of Medical Research

Bringing microRNA into focus for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration

A/Prof Riccardo Natoli
Head of Clear Vision Research, ANU Medical School and The John Curtin School of Medical Research


Big initiatives: University of Canberra

COVID lockdown and wellbeing: What is the evidence?

A/Prof Jacki Schirmer
Health Research Institute

Jacki will present findings from a longitudinal study that examined wellbeing of ACT residents before, during and after COVID-19 movement restrictions in the ACT in 2020. The talk will identify which groups experienced short term loss of wellbeing followed by rapid recovery, and which were still experiencing lower wellbeing several months after lockdown ended in the ACT in 2020.

Protecting the young athlete from exertional heat illness

A/Prof Julien Périard
Institute for Sport and Exercise

Sport is an integral part of childhood in Australia with a significant feature of the Australian summer being hot ambient conditions. This presentation will discuss whether thermoregulatory differences exist between children and adults that may disadvantage young athletes during exercise-heat stress and increase their risk of exertional heat illness.

Putting cancer through its PACES:  Leading interdisciplinary person-centred cancer research

PACES Research Group

This presentation will introduce you to the PACES research group and their current and future research projects within the cancer field.

Page last updated on: 14 Jul 2021