$50,000 for research at Blacktown and Mount Druitt

The grant recipients gathered with key figures from across the health district, Western Sydney University and the Better Foundation at Blacktown Hospital last week.

Mental health, obesity and heart health are among the topics of research being funded by the $50,000 inaugural Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospitals Medical Kickstarter grants.

The grant recipients gathered at Blacktown Hospital last week to formally mark a step forward in the ambitious research plan for the two hospitals.

These are the first medical kick-starter grants specifically for Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospitals (BMDH), funded by Western Sydney University, the Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Research and Education Network (REN) and Better Foundation.

The six winners (see below) represented a wide range of specialities including infectious diseases, cardiology, renal medicine and mental health.

BMDH general manager Ned Katrib said he was excited by the continued development of research and education at the hospitals.

WSLHD chief executive Graeme Loy, WSU Dean of Medicine Prof Annemarie Hennessy, REN director Prof Stephen Leeder and Blacktown Hospital senior psychiatrist Vlasios Brakoulias.

“With the record growth in clinical activity and investment we’ve seen here, it makes sense to take research to the next level,” Mr Katrib said.

“Clinicians here don’t just have the very best facilities – they’re part of a robust and growing network committed to constantly improving the way we deliver health.”

REN director Professor Stephen Leeder congratulated all the recipients of the inaugural grants.

“Each of these researchers continues in the district’s rich tradition of cutting-edge research to improve clinical care,” Prof Leeder said.

“I look forward to seeing their results and how the findings are applied to practice.”

Medical Kickstarter Grant recipients Dr Aditya Bhat, Dr Katrina Chau and Dr Marianne Martinello.

BMHD Medical Research Kickstarter grant recipients

Ramanathan Ganapathy, Mental Health. Ramanathan’s research seeks to examine the causes of the high rates of emergency presentations for suicidal ideation and self-harm among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and provide recommendations to reduce such rates.

Katrina Chau, Renal Medicine. Katrina’s research aims to analyse the gut health of patients undergoing peritoneal dialysis at home, in order to understand the causes of abdominal infections that can lead to serious injury or death.

Marianne Martinello, Infectious Diseases. Marianne’s research aims to evaluate the effectiveness of shortened therapy for direct-acting antiviral treatment of hepatitis C for people with the infection and very early liver disease.

Ramy Bishay, Diabetes & Endocrinology. Ramy’s research aims to investigate the effectiveness of two widely available diabetes therapies in achieving diabetes control and reversal of liver damage at Blacktown Hospital’s Metabolic and Weight Loss Program.

Harsh Chalana, Mental Health. Harsh’s research will examine the link between oral and gut health and obesity among people with schizophrenia and other mental health conditions.

Aditya Bhat, Cardiology. Aditya’s research will evaluate the impact of a specialised atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat) clinic for frail, elderly patients to assess outcomes, symptom management and quality of life.