2023 - Avant Member Grant recipients

Early career research grants

Full-time grants

Identifying ancestry-apecific lupus molecular profiles that could uncover new genetic causes of SLE

Autophagic flux in primary open angle glaucoma

Sexually transmitted infections and prostate cancer - a whole population-based observational study

Part-time grants - accredited trainee

Perinatal events and childhood school outcomes

Vision empowerment: expanding possibilities through presbyopia correction in cataract surgery

Dementia prevention and blood pressure control – using big data and genomics to develop precision medicine

Imaging pheNotypeS in Prostate cancer for Improved Risk stratificATION (INSPIRATION)

Part-time grants - pre-vocational

Assessment of the diagnostic utility of multi-parametric MRI before cystoscopy with usage of novel kurtosis imaging in patients presenting with a bladder tumour: a multicentre prospective study

Machine learning to automate volume measurement of orbital soft tissues in thyroid eye disease: a pilot project

Antimicrobial sealants at lower uterine section caesarean section on rate of surgical site infection: a pilot trial (The SEAL trial)

Short-term grants - accredited trainee

Novel use of therapeutic drug monitoring for long-acting anti-retroviral therapy in patients with human immunodeficiency virus

Indocyanine green Fluorescence Axillary Reverse Mapping for axillary lymph node dissection in breast cancer: the FARM trial

Short-term grants - pre-vocational

The Melbourne University Statewide Cancer Data-Linkage Project (MSCD) – delineating population dynamics of patients with cancer across Victoria

Short- to medium-term outcomes on the comparison between injection therapy (botulinum toxin) and percutaneous endoscopic plantar fascia release

Microgrants - accredited trainee

Novel blood test for diagnostic and prognostic aid in mood disorders

Investigating melanoma nodal tumour volume as an independent prognostic indicator for survival, to inform and refine pathological and radiological reporting of melanoma nodal metastases, as well as current and future melanoma staging systems

Developing clinical decision support tools with oscillometry to untangle asthma, inducible laryngeal obstruction and dysfunctional breathing

Spinal surveillance for scoliosis, in children with cerebral palsy Gross Motor Functional Classification Scale (GMFCS) III, IV and V

Perioperative glycaemic control and post-operative outcomes in Indigenous Australians undergoing surgery in South Australia

Microgrants – pre-vocational

Epidemiology of herpes zoster ophthalmicus in Australia

Subacromial bursitis in asymptomatic shoulders

Artificial intelligence use for detection of suspected intracranial haemorrhages on non-contrast computed tomography of the head

The accuracy of a potential acuity meter in patients undergoing cataract surgery – a prospective study

Considerations for infection prevention in sacral nerve stimulator implantation

Variance in perinatal outcomes between babies whose mothers underwent emergency caesarean section during business hours versus those whose mothers underwent section during after-hours in a regional hospital

Topical dorzolamide for central serous chorioretinopathy

Mechanical factors affecting hearing preservation in cochlear implantation

Do RA patients have worse survival after their first FF compared to patients with no rheumatic disease?

Quality of life among adults after body contouring in massive weight loss patients: a systematic review

2023 Avant Grant recipients

Delivering timely, locally tailored, subspecialist care to rural patients – locally co-ordinated stroke telehealth clinic

Without proper intervention and management, stroke patients are likely to suffer a recurrent event. Recurrent stroke accounts for almost 25% of total stroke presentations. This project allows timely specialist care which reduces the risk of recurrent stroke and consists of a stroke neurologist via video conference to an outpatient clinic room at the rural hospital, with the stroke coordinator and patient.

Solving ward round woes: an intervention to improve patient care

Ward-round quality directly impacts patient outcomes, and poor conduct is associated with increased rates of adverse events. In time-pressured and chaotic environments such as the ward round, there is an increased chance of miscommunication and mistakes. Poor quality ward rounds can lead to delayed discharge, increased patient complications, and additional costs for hospitals. This project has identified areas of the surgical ward round that can be greatly improved to optimise patient care and improve safe discharge practices. By using interventions such as the ‘sterile cockpit’ in the surgical ward round (another context where an error can be catastrophic), this project aims to improve timely discharge, reduce patient complications and readmissions, and ultimately, bring standardisation and order to the chaos that is the ward round.

Responding to occupational violence: a professionalism education initiative

Australian doctors experience a significant problem with violence and aggression from patients and families in hospital settings. Medical staff, particularly in emergency departments, encounter behaviours such as insults, racist abuse, sexual harassment, and assault, throwing objects, punching, scratching and biting. Many staff are already struggling with burnout and moral injury from the pandemic. This project aims to support clinicians’ wellbeing by developing an education intervention with a value-based framework for managing incidents of violence and aggression. The intervention will be developed based on emergency clinicians’ own values gathered through interview data. The interview data will be used to generate a value-based decision-making framework. The program will provide clinicians with an opportunity for professional reflection and integrate with other health service and state-wide initiatives (such as SafeWards).

Tackling burnout in Australian doctors by blending a custom-built digital cognitive-behavioural therapy program and specialist telehealth care.

The pandemic has fuelled moderate-to-severe burnout in ~50% of health professionals, with doctors more likely to experience physical and emotional exhaustion than their non-medical colleagues. Doctors working in regional and remote Australia are especially at risk of poor mental health due to limited access to appropriate services. The Essential Network (TEN) is Australia’s only blended care platform designed by-and-for health professionals that combines digital and telehealth care. Co-developed with Australian Medical Association and the Australian Psychological Society, TEN shows promise in delivering effective support at scale to establish comparative feasibility, cost-effectiveness, and therapeutic benefits of self-guided and therapist-assisted versions of the Navigating Burnout program. This will measure burnout, mental ill-health, psychosocial wellbeing, workforce engagement, and workforce attrition intentions before treatment, immediately after treatment, and three months after completing treatment.

Reducing variation in timing of birth through data-driven quality improvement.

Determining the optimal timing of birth in medically complex pregnancies is a challenge and there has been a rise in babies born before the full-term gestation of 39 to 40 weeks through increases in induced labour and early caesarean birth. This project will identify facilities with high rates of planned births prior to 39 weeks and institute measures to review the indication for early planned births. It will assess the appropriateness of the intervention through recent guidance distributed through the Australian Preterm Prevention Alliance. It will also support sites to apply recognised change principles of the Institute of Health Care Improvement to safely reduce early planned births and measure changes in planned births through real time run charts. This work will improve safety and outcomes for maternity patients in NSW and will serve as an example demonstrating the potential of a clinical data-driven system to enable quality improvement in obstetrics and medicine more broadly.

GPs and the care of trans and gender diverse young people: What is going on?

This study examines the GP experience, level of knowledge and comfort in the care of trans and gender diverse (TGD) young people. This is a population with significantly higher mental and physical health needs, such as much higher rates of depression and suicidality than their cis gendered peers but they often struggle to access appropriate care. There is a significant amount of research exploring TGD peoples' experiences of health care, which is well documented to frequently be unsatisfactory or perceived as harmful. There is very limited research looking at what is going on for the GPs in these consultations and care experiences. In this study we will interview GPs to better understand their experience and how they can be supported to provide best care to TGD young people. This research will benefit both TGD young people and GPs themselves.

Group clinical supervision to prevent burnout and support junior doctors, general practice registrars and general practitioners.

This project will trial group clinical supervision as a model to promote reflective practice, and to prevent burnout among medical practitioners, in junior doctors based in hospitals, general practice registrars and experienced general practitioners. It will use a quasi-experimental design and evaluation of a pilot of group clinical supervision with evaluation of feasibility and acceptability via focus group and by online survey, including measurement of burnout prevention. The intervention will consist of group clinical supervision, conducted for 1 to 1.5 hours, fortnightly for eight sessions. Groups will be conducted face to face or online and each group will comprise six to nine participants. The project will also involve further development of the clinical supervision model for medical practitioners and students, and preparation of training resources (webinar, manual, student support documents) around this model, if positive findings are made.

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