Researchers awarded $300,000 in funding

Westmead Research and Education Network director Professor Stephen Leeder (rear centre) with researchers (rear) Dr Siddharth Trivedi, Dr Grahame Elder, (front) Helen Abouyanni, Dr Samia Kazi, Professor Vicki Flood and Sarah Tapp.

Smart phone heart monitoring and birth room design are among the topics to be studied by researchers awarded a total of $300,000 worth of grants from the Western Sydney Local Health District Research and Education Network (REN).

Six projects have received funding in the 2019-2020 REN Grant Scheme, including two based at Auburn Hospital – the first time the hospital has been awarded a grant.

The grants are split evenly between early, mid and established career researchers, with two awarded in each category.

Staff specialist Dr Grahame Elder and registered nurse Sarah Tapp are the first researchers based at Auburn Hospital to be awarded REN grants.

REN director Professor Stephen Leeder said the grants for projects at Auburn, Blacktown and Westmead Hospitals reflect the breadth of research currently under way across the health district.

“We have more than 2,000 active clinical research studies, involving medical, nursing, allied health, oral health and community health staff,” Professor Leeder said.

The six grants have been awarded to the following research projects:

At Auburn Hospital, to midwife Sarah Tapp, for a new birth room design to increase mobilisation during labour, and to nephrologist Professor Grahame Elder, investigating a medication to reduce the risk of fractures in patients with end-stage kidney disease.

At Blacktown Hospital, to endocrinologist Dr Ramy Bishay, investigating change in diet and lifestyle in combination with new diabetes medications.

At Westmead Hospital, to Dr Samia Kazi, investigating a smart phone-based ECG monitor for patients with palpitations, to cardiologist Dr Siddharth Trivedi, examining the size and function of the left atrium of patients with fibrillation to see if they would benefit from correction of the irregular heart beat, and to Professor of Allied Health Vicki Flood, investigating a low inflammatory diet for patients with liver disease.