Seen and heard: media and podcasts
Covid-19 dominated the headlines, and with it an array of tools, apps, resources and devices developed by University of Melbourne clinicians and researchers, who also provided expert comment on clinical trials, mental health, family violence and more. A selection is below.
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Australia's first Indigenous neurologist Angela Dos Santos talks about racism and protests during the pandemic
ABC Radio Melbourne, 26 June 2020
Dr Angie Dos Santos’ PhD is looking at stroke rates in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders: “Aboriginal people are younger, and they have pretty much a higher proportion of all of the risk factors for stroke.”
Study Explores COVID-19 Impact on Adults in Australia
Associate Professor Anita Goh (National Ageing Research Institute/ Department of Psychiatry) on a new weekly survey tracking Australia's responses to illness, social distancing and isolation.
Connecting Culture and Health
Pursuit, 22 June 2020
Associate Professor Luke Burchill (Department of Medicine, RMH), Australia’s first Aboriginal cardiologist: “A new generation of Aboriginal researchers and leaders is changing the script, ready to take a strengths and solutions-focused approach, rather than a deficit view”.
'The dangers of dodgy face masks'
A Current Affair, Nine Network, 21 June 2020
Professor David Story (Centre for Integrated Critical Care).
Experts pin hope on tuberculosis vaccine trial to prevent COVID-19 second wave
18 June 2020
The BRACE Clinical Trial (MCRI) has extended to Sydney frontline health workers. This came a month after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the trial, led by Professor Nigel Curtis (Department of Paediatrics), $10 million to expand internationally.
'Dangerous': Researchers note 'massive uptick' in anti-vaccination activity
The Age, 14 June 2020
Associate Professor Margie Danchin (Department of Paediatrics and MMS Director, Clinician Scientist Pathways): “COVID-19 has really rallied — and provided almost the perfect storm for — anti-vaccination activity”. Margie also co-authored How Can We Ensure the Kids Are Alright? for MJA Insight on 14 April.
A tragic reality: domestic violence is the main cause of homelessness for women
SBS, 10 June 2020
Professor Kelsey Hegarty (Department of General Practice, Safer Families CRE) has developed a world-first comprehensive framework that identifies healthcare professionals’ readiness to address family violence. See also Kelsey’s piece with Dr Laura Tarzia, Domestic Violence, Isolation and Covid-19 in Pursuit. (7 April)
Lessons for Covid-19 from the Ebola Frontline
Pursuit, 4 June 2020.
Dr Amanda Rojek (Centre for Integrated Critical Care) was on the frontline of the Ebola epidemic. Back in Australia, she is drawing on those lessons in the COVID-19 pandemic. “Crossing a potential treatment off the list is not failure, it’s progress. Nothing would make us happier than to be able to say we’ve got a cure, but it’s really difficult to find drugs that work.”
National Reconciliation Week: In This Together
News GP (RTACGP) 26 May 2020
Dr Ngaree Blow (Director of First Nations Health, Department of Medical Education) talks about the unacknowledged Indigenous contributions to Western medicine and the need for GPs to listen. “Remember that you’re working with a heterogeneous group of people who are from multiple nations, who have multiple different cultures, languages, ways of seeing the world.”
In This Together? Time for Doctors to Strive for Social Justice
MJA Insight, 22 June 2020
Dr Ngaree Blow: “If we are truly going to be “in this together” [the theme for this year’s Reconciliation Week] then we need to have strong non-Indigenous allies who not only speak up on racism and systemic issues, but acknowledge and use the privilege they have to act and make change”.
Therapists face 'unusual' struggle triggered by remote sessions
Sydney Morning Herald, 5 June 2020
At the beginning of COVID-19, The Black Dog Institute teamed up with various organisations, including Lifeline and the Phoenix Australia Centre For Posttraumatic Mental Health (Department of Psychiatry), to launch the TEN app, “a specialist mental health support system that provides healthcare professionals with resources, including an online clinic screening tool and a streamlined referral process for telehealth consultations with specialist clinicians, so they can get the treatment they need for stress, anxiety, and symptoms of depression”.
'How Melbourne doctors can now treat COVID-19 patients from home'
3AW 693, 3 June 2020
Dr Martin Dutch (Centre for Integrated Critical Care) and Emergency Physician at Royal Melbourne Hospital was interviewed on his remote monitoring program for COVID-19 patients. Also reported in The Australian and Nine News.
Med Ed Source podcast (Department of Medical Education) 27 May 2020
Professor Jill Klein (Melbourne Medical School, Melbourne Business School) on resilience and coping.
New app helps people monitor COVID-19 symptoms
RACGP News, 29 May 2020
Associate Professor Victoria Palmer (Department of General Practice) was part of a team that developed the CovidCare app. “Going forward, in a situation where we have to have some physical distancing measures in place for some time, we really need to be able to reach people not only to monitor those vital signs around COVID-related symptoms, but also vital signs in mental health”. See also the media release about the app and accompanying clinical trial.
Nine News, 16 May 2020
Associate Professor Tu’uhevaha Kaitu’u-Lino and Clinician Academics Dr Teresa MacDonald, Professor Sue Walker and Professor Stephen Tong (Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology) led research taking the world closer to developing a test to detect mothers and babies at risk of stillbirth. They found the SPINT1 protein was significantly reduced in the blood of women carrying a small baby. The team hopes that SPINT1 will be the first protein of a multi-marker test that could offer a red flag to clinicians, allowing intervention and a reduction in stillbirths.
Flattening the Curve: The health workers on the frontlines of the fight against COVID
Four Corners, ABC TV, 4 May 2020
Professor David Story (centre for Integrated Critical Care) recorded his experiences for ABC TV’s flagship current affairs program. “It really did feel like we were standing on the walls of a castle. I used the example of Helm's Deep in the second Lord of the Rings film, where we are waiting for disaster to come.”
Professor Story also spoke on the mechanics of ventilation, for a Guardian podcast and story in late March.
3D Printing Medical Equipment For Covid-19
Pursuit, 1 May 2020
Associate Professor Jason Chuen (Department of Surgery) helped establish COVID SOS, an online forum for 3D-printed solutions to clinical problems. “We’re trying to make sure we can put as many people in touch with each other as possible, and map those areas of expertise and projects.”
Is A Delayed Cancer Diagnosis A Consequence Of Covid-19?
Pursuit, 30 April, 2020
Professor Jon Emery (Department of General Practice) warns Australia could follow European countries in seeing a decline in cancer diagnoses.
COVID lockdowns have human costs as well as benefits. It’s time to consider both
The Conversation, 30 April 2020
Professor Martha Hickey (Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology) argues for a clear-eyed analysis of the costs and trade-offs of Covid-19 restrictions, not only in reduced deaths from the virus, but also from family violence, suicides, and crowding out of the health system.
How Should Medical Students respond to Covid-19?
Pursuit, 30 April, 2020
Final Year medical student Kieran Fahey points to research showing students taking part in relief and emergency were more likely to experience Post-Traumatic Growth – “a positive psychological change after experiencing difficult life circumstances”.
'Make Australia Make Again'
SBS News, 13 April 2020
CICC's Director Professor Rinaldo Bellomo (Centre for Integrated Critical Care) talking ventilators, stockpiles and self-sufficiency as a nation. “We need to have a national medical stockpile much greater than we've had, in multiple locations, in every state, ready for this to happen again”.
Researchers design ventilation hoods for hospital beds to help contain COVID-19 spread
University of Melbourne Newsroom, 9 April 2020
Associate Professor Forbes McGain (Centre for Integrated Critical Care) on his collaboration with the School of Engineering: “Our testing has shown that the hood allows healthcare workers to interact with their patients and get a visual sense of their condition through the clear plastic, but with a reduced risk of infection.”
Online rapid-response COVID-19 training to help health professionals diagnose lung disease
Medical Xpress, April 6, 2020
Professor Alistair Royse led the Ultrasound Education Group and Mobile Learning Unit in developing the COVID-19 Lung Ultrasound course. The technique is a safer, easier alternative to CT scans and stethoscopes to identify patients at risk of being critically ill. “A lung ultrasound can be done within minutes. It is superior to a physical examination with stethoscope—which is why we're recommending this training for GPs as well—and it is more sensitive than a plain chest X-ray.” Also in the Times Higher Education and Australian Hospital and Healthcare Bulletin .
Australia's 3D printing experts are banding together to make masks for at-risk health workers
SBS Online, 3 April 2020
Unimelb 3D printing experts, including Associate Professor Claudia di Bella (Department of Surgery), collaborate on the national effort to produce PPE. “We don't know whether a patient might potentially have the virus or not, so this collaboration has allowed the bio-fabrication world to really chip in and help in what we're trying to achieve, which is basically protection for everyone in the medical workforce.”
Covid-19 and Indigenous communities
Radiotherapy, RRR FM, 19 April 2020
Neurosurgeon Dr Ruth Mitchell (alumn/RMH) spoke on the threat to Indigenous communities of Covid-19, the importance of high-quality data and Indigenous data sovereignty. “Coronavirus discriminates because we do”. She was also a signatory to a letter to Indigenous Affairs Minister Ken Wyatt on the issues like FIFO workers, early release of Aboriginal people incarcerated for lesser offences, health information “in language”, and health worker support.