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Barwon Health Strategic Research Symposium brings research to the forefront

Thursday, 15 December 2022

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The 2022- 2032 Barwon Health Research Strategic Plan formalises Barwon Health’s ten year vision; to make internationally important contributions to research that have a measurable impact on the health of our community.

This vision was celebrated at the recent Barwon Health Strategic Research Symposium at University Hospital Geelong.

 A crowd of over 80 people came together in person and online to hear from Barwon Health executive, research leadership and Barwon Health and Deakin University researchers of multiple areas and levels of experience across four excellent sessions.


In her opening remarks, Frances Diver, CEO, Barwon Health emphasised the commitment and investment being made into research to secure our position as a world class research ecosystem and culture.

We were also joined by representatives of our Strategic Research Programs, who outlined their key goals and plans. Spanning clinical and research focus areas, these Programs will collectively form a cohesive, coordinated and supported Barwon Health research effort. Presentations from Strategic Research Programs included:

  • Enhancing synergy between research, safety and quality to drive continuous improvements in care: Dr Lawrence Gray & Ms Keren Day
  • Building the exemplar listening and learning mental healthcare system: Ms Renae Carolin
  • Developing allied health research capacity to drive innovation in digital health: Dr Denise Jones
  • Improving outcomes for people with musculoskeletal disease: Professor Richard Page
  • Building the capacity and capability of cancer services research to drive improvements in person centred care: Ms Katrina Golden
  • Improving person centred care for people with Motor Neurone Disease: Associate Professor Paul Talman
  • Improving shared decision making and goal concordant care: Associate Professor Neil Orford
  • Improving outcomes for people who require surgery: Professor David Watters
  • Improving the physical and mental health of the frail and ageing: Professors Julie Pasco, Lana Williams and Mark Kotowicz
  • Improving the outcomes for people with infectious diseases: Professor Eugene Athan
  • Preventing childhood allergic disease and asthma: Professor Peter Vuillermin

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The Symposium also featured presentations by the finalists in the Best Research Paper of the Year Award, and an exhibition of the winners of the Best Research Poster Awards, both part of the annual Barwon Health and Deakin University Research Prize Program. With a record number of entries in 2022, judges were extremely impressed with the high quality of applicants, and found it challenging to select the winners.

The 2022 Barwon Health and Deakin University Research Prize Winners were announced by Prof Peter Enticott, Associate Dean of Research, Deakin University Faculty of Health. The winners are:

The BH DU Best Paper of the Year Awards

  • Clinician Researcher Category - Professor Eugene Athan: Environmental risk factors associated with the presence of Mycobacterium ulcerans in Victoria, Australia. Read the paper.
  • Scientist Category - Ms Yuan Gao: Maternal gut microbiota during pregnancy and the composition of immune cells in infancy. Read the paper.

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The BH DU Research Poster Awards

  • Allied Health/Pharmacy - Ms Erin Parker: “Exploring primary care clinician’s perspectives of the social work role in community health” (accepted by Paul Dodemaide). View poster.
  • Basic Science - Mrs Izel Eraslan: “in vivo behavioural characteristics of novel RXFP3-acting drugs”. View poster.
  • Medical - Dr Christine Roder: “Pregnancy -a key moment for engaging women with hepatitis B in care”. View poster.
  • Nursing - Mr Nathan Herbert: “Impact of COVID-19 pandemic lockdown on a Victorian regional ST-elevation myocardial infarction service”. View poster.
  • Population Health - Dr Naomi Clarke: “COVID-19 oral antiviral medication in South West Victoria: patterns, barriers, and use of targeted SMS messaging”. View poster.
  • Surgery - Dr John Kefalianos: “Does NELA accurately predict mortality in Australia” (absent). View poster.

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 In concluding the day, Professor Peter Vuillermin, Director of Research, Barwon Health, emphasised the importance of being sufficiently ambitious and deliberate to ensure our research efforts are both locally relevant and internationally important. Barwon Health will be measured not only by the evidence we produce, but the impact we have on people’s lives.