Westmead Hospital Charitable Trust funds $1 million of research

Westmead Hospital Charitable trustee Associate Professor Peter Klineberg (centre) with six of the nine most recent recipients. Not pictured: Dr Tania Moujaber, Dr Ahmer Hameed, Dr Pierre Qian, cardiologist.

Nine clinicians will be able to complete research aimed at improving patient outcomes thanks to a record number of grants distributed by the Westmead Hospital Charitable Trust.

The trustees approved funding of $1.02 million for research grants over 2021-2022, awarded on a competitive basis to an equal split of medical, nursing and allied health staff.

The recipients are all clinicians, meaning their research will have practical implications for patients from fields including newborn care, cardiothoracic surgery and kidney transplantation.

Westmead Hospital clinical midwife consultant Sarah Melov received a $50,000 per annum grant to help women with complex pregnancies who are at high risk of future heart problems.

“I’m very grateful to the trustees for this much-needed support. Translational research is very important for patient care so it’s wonderful to support clinicians who are researchers,” Sarah said.

“Western Sydney has a uniquely diverse population, which makes it an ideal spot to provide world class research.”

Allied Health grant recipients Marie March, Nicole D’Souza and Melanie Boyce.

Blacktown Hospital senior physiotherapist Marie March received a $50,000 per annum grant to support work on two projects. The first project explores how psychological health impacts recovery after knee replacement, and is testing a new method of physiotherapy using new approaches from psychology and chronic pain research.

The second project is investigating how hospitals can provide more support to patients after a hip fracture, which can have life-threatening complications.

“Research opportunities for clinicians are few and far between as grants often prioritise academic results over clinical work. It’s fantastic to see support and funding for research with great translational opportunities,” Marie said.

“This funding means dedicated time to focus on research, which also means time and space to build capacity and seed new research opportunities among other clinicians.”

Nursing & Midwifery grant recipients Cheryl Dickson, Sarah Melov and Joby Alex.

The Westmead Hospital Charitable trust was established in 1982 and initially received funds from the private practice earnings of staff specialists to support teaching, education and study expenses, and to buy hospital and research equipment.

Since 2010, the trust has primarily supported early career researchers across Western Sydney Local Health District, and the externally-reviewed process has extended to include all clinicians including allied health and nursing.

Dr Tania Moujaber is researching the treatment of a type of ovarian cancer

The trust supplies the money to the WSLHD Research and Education Network (REN), which oversees research and teaching across the district. REN advertised and coordinated the grant applications, including organising independent review, while the Westmead Hospital Charitable trust ultimately decided which projects to fund.

“This year we are really happy to be funding grants to three medical clinician researchers, to three allied health clinician researchers, and for the first time to three nursing clinician researchers,” Associate Professor Peter Klineberg said.

“We anticipate funding for two years to each person. The aim is to support clinicians to pursue parallel clinical and research career goals.”

The Westmead Charitable Trust also funds two travelling fellowships, the BJ Amos fellowship and for the first time this year, the Peter Castaldi fellowship, managed by The Westmead Association. In addition, the trust funds medical student option terms to developing countries and Indigenous health projects.

The nine recipients for 2020-2021 are as follows:

Early career medical grants

  • Dr Tania Moujaber, medical oncologist Crown Princess Mary Cancer Centre
  • Dr Ahmer Hameed, kidney transplant surgical trainee, Westmead Hospital
  • Dr Pierre Qian, cardiologist, Westmead Hospital

Allied Health career development grants

  • Marie March, senior physiotherapist, Blacktown Hospital
  • Melanie Boyce, senior physiotherapist, Westmead Hospital
  • Nicole D’Souza, senior physiotherapist, Osteoarthritis Chronic Care Program, Westmead and Auburn Hospitals

Nursing & Midwifery career development grants

  • Joby Alex, chronic and complex care, Integrated and Community Health
  • Cheryl Dickson, cardiothoracic surgery and intensive care, Westmead Hospital
  • Sarah Melov, Women’s and Newborn Care, Westmead Hospital