Researchers shine in excellence awards

Aug 25 2016

Professor Andrew Boyle, Dr Kym Rae and Professor John Wiggers

Three HMRI-aligned research projects featured prominently among the winners’ list at the Hunter New England Health 2016 Excellence Awards on Wednesday night.

HNE Health Chief Executive Michael DiRienzo said the Excellence Awards celebrated the pinnacle of clinical excellence, quality, innovation and outstanding achievement, with recipients coming from across the local health district, including Newcastle, Muswellbrook, Maitland, Armidale, Tamworth and Inverell.

“As an organisation, we are recognised as a leader in health care, with a reputation for fostering learning and innovation, and translating that into improved clinical practice. That reputation has been forged by dedicated people such as this year’s winners and finalists,” he said.

The award for Translational Research, sponsored by Hunter Medical Research Institute, went to the John Hunter Hospital Cardiology Department & HNE Health Cardiac Stream for their work with the landmark Prehospital Thrombolysis program.

Time-saving measures include enabling paramedics to administer the clot-busting drug Tenecteplase after consulting with a cardiologist via smartphone. Stenting surgery is also streamlined by bypassing Emergency.

Research by Professor Andrew Boyle shows the survival rate of patients who received the clot-dissolving therapy was 93 per cent – the same as city patients who live close to a major hospital equipped with a cardiac catheterisation laboratory.

The Preventive Health award went to the Hunter New England Population Health team led by Professor John Wiggers for the project Physical Activity for Everyone (PA4E) which was designed to counter declining physical activity levels in high school curriculums.

Tamworth’s Gomeroi gaaynggal program for Pregnant Indigenous Women was voted best Arts and Health project. Using art as a collaboration medium the program that helps develop the skill sets of Aboriginal mums, providing a culturally safe place for the transfer of knowledge from Aboriginal Elders and health professionals to young mothers.

Initial funding for Gomeroi gaaynggal was provided by the Thyne Reid Foundation and later by the Cages Foundation through HMRI. It operates in partnership with the University of Newcastle Faculty of Health and Medicine, Tamworth Aboriginal Medical Service, Walgett Aboriginal Medical Service, Community Health, Maternity Services, Oral Health and Population Health, Medicare Local staff and Women’s Refuge, along with the Elders groups of Tamworth (Gubba Binaal, and KADS) and Walhallow.

Other award recipients included included teams that have developed groundbreaking clinical programs in ante-natal care, diabetes management, telehealth, infection control, palliative care, and patient safety and improvement.