August newsletter

“Research gives us the latest evidence for best practise and improves health equity, leading to better patient outcomes.” – Policy project working group chair Professor Christina Mitchell

Welcome to our August newsletter. In this edition:

Have your say on research in healthcare

The Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences has launched a project to improve healthcare for Australians by better enabling research to be conducted within the health system. Help us build a robust understanding of the current issues and opportunities in the healthcare and research sector by sharing your experiences via an online survey. Your perspectives will inform AAHMS’ major policy project, which will result in a strategy to guide research in healthcare, resulting in better integration and patient care and outcomes. Find out more on the AAHMS website.

Meet our mentees

The Academy has welcomed eight new mentees to our Mentorship Program. These rising stars in the health and medical sciences come from a diverse range of specialties, including ethics, osteo-arthritis and immunobiology.

Academy Mentorship Program

Applications are currently open for the next round of mentees. Both mentees and mentors speak highly of this program, which pairs early-to-mid career researchers with appropriate Fellows for guidance on a wide range of matters. Mentees also attend an annual workshop to hone their skills, and contribute to Academy activities. Find out more about the program online.

Victorian Life as a Clinician-Scientist symposium

“I think the very best doctors are also researchers, thinking constantly of what is important for patient care and ensuring sound evidence-based best practice for their patients,” Professor Kathyrn North AC advised the audience at our 6th Victorian Life as a Clinician-Scientist (LACS) symposium on 31 July 2021. Read a recap of the event, including advice from leading clinician-scientists, on our website.

Online Life as a Clinician-Scientist event

The next LACS symposium will be held online over two mornings on 4 and 11 September. Registrations are now open. This is a great opportunity for junior doctors, medical students, or young researchers to learn more about this exciting career path.

Policy update

Fellow Professor Carolyn Sue represented the Academy at a Senate Committee hearing on Mitochondrial Donation Law Reform on 6 August. AAHMS and the Academy of Science provided a joint submission in response to a call for feedback on “Maeve’s Bill”, which, if passed, would allow for further research and clinical application of mitochondrial donation. The Academies joint submission can be read online, and the Hansard of the Senate Committee hearing is also available online.

The Academy responded to the NHMRC consultation on the draft guide for Research Integrity Advisors (RIAs), which accompanies the Australian Code for Responsible Conduct of Research (2018). Read the full submission online.

Fellows in the news

  • Fellows Professors Bruce Robinson, Tony Cunningham, Tania Sorrell and Ian Frazer contributed to an open letter addressing vaccination concerns and calling for people to get AstraZeneca, if eligible. It was published in The Australian.
  • Seven News spoke to Fellow Professor Ian Frazer about COVID19 vaccine options, and medical research funding.
  • Associate Member Associate Professor Margie Danchin has continued her work combating vaccine hesitancy, speaking to several media outlets, including ABC’s Life Matters. She also led a study on vaccine uptake.
  • Academy Fellow Professor Tony Cunningham spoke to ABC News 24 about the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, encouraging the public to get vaccinated. He also discussed the Delta variant with The Sydney Morning Herald, and the history of coronaviruses with the Financial Review.
  • Fellows Professors Margaret Hellard and Sharon Lewin contributed to an open access Nature article, Consensus statement on the role of health systems in advancing the long-term well-being of people living with HIV.
  • Academy Fellow Professor Brendan Crabb discussed new pandemic modelling from the Burnet Institute on ABC’s 7.30 and the Sydney Morning Herald. He also spoke to Radio National.
  • Professors Crabb and Hellard also contributed to an MJA InSight article on lockdown restrictions and pandemic modelling for Sydney.
  • The Age spoke to Fellow Professor Jennifer Martin about COVID-19 trials and government funding.
  • Academy Fellow Professor Michelle Haber spoke to Nature and The Scientist about the research impact of the impending closure of the Animal Resources Centre.
  • Academy Fellow Professor Peter Doherty spoke to the ABC about life in lockdown, working from home, and why he chose to get vaccinated as soon as possible. He was also featured on Radio National’s Health Report,  and the Herald Sun.
  • Academy Fellow Professor Stephen Duckett discussed COVID-19 and pandemic restrictions on ABC’s The Drum and News 24.
  • The Australian Academy of Science has launched a campaign to tackle vaccine hesitancy, featuring AAHMS Fellows Professors Peter Doherty and Ian Frazer, and Associate Member Associate Professor Margie Danchin. It was featured across News Limited sites.
  • Fellow Professor Adrian Bauman led a study on the Olympics and the impact on host cities physical activity level, published in Lancet.
  • Radio National spoke to Fellow Professor Ian Hickie about mental health and COVID-19.
  • Fellow Professor Ian Olver published research in Springer: Communicating cancer and its treatment to Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients with cancer: a qualitative study.

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