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2 posts from March 2009


Fulbright scholarship to advance trauma research

Brisbane nurse researcher Professor Leanne Aitken has been awarded a prestigious Fulbright Senior Scholarship to develop collaborative research with US colleagues in the area of trauma care.

Professor Aitken, Chair in Critical Care Nursing at Griffith University and Princess Alexandra Hospital, said the research will focus on improving pain relief and the management of sedation in intensive care and trauma patients.

“Severe, penetrating trauma such as gun shot injuries are much more common in the US, and as a result they have very experienced trauma networks and a well developed understanding of what systems make for effective trauma care.

“This is an opportunity to grow research on a multinational basis and find solutions which are potentially applicable to both health care systems,” she said.

Professor Aitken said effective management of trauma patients relied on multidisciplinary teams of medical, nursing and allied health professionals working together across the acute care continuum.

“Trauma care cannot be limited to one particular area such as the emergency department or intensive care unit.”

She said while technological advances had improved survival for many critically ill patients, there was room for improvement in long-term outcomes and quality of life.

“There is some evidence that the management of pain and sedation can affect patients’ psychological recovery. However if we can improve clinical care during the acute phase of treatment, hopefully we can also improve their long term recovery.”

Professor Aitken will visit the University of Pennsylvania for four months next year where she is looking forward to working with Associate Professor Therese Richmond, who is recognised internationally for her expertise in the field of trauma nursing.

“As the number of trauma patients in Australia is low compared to many other countries and trauma nursing is a relatively new specialty here, access to an extensive team of trauma advanced practice nurses will provide me with new insights and perspective.”

The Fulbright program is the largest educational scholarship of its kind and aims to promote mutual understanding through educational exchange. Professor Aitken is one of only four Australians to be recognised as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 2009.

Landmark enviro partnership launched at Griffith

THE Government of Indonesia today opened a research centre at Griffith University dedicated to battling the effects of climate change and preventing environmental degradation in the Indonesian region.

Indonesian Minister for Environment His Excellency Mr Rachmat Witoelar opened the Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Development for Indonesia centre at Griffith University's Nathan Campus.

A world-first for Indonesia, the centre will provide a range of initiatives to assist the nation develop sustainably and mitigate the impact of climate change on the region.

Programs include:

  • Education in environmental science; resource management; pollution and environmental degradation and urban planning education for Environment Ministry staff at national and regional level.
  • A range of PhD projects including an International Environmental Higher Education program to enable graduates to provide sustainable development education in Indonesia.
  • Specific research programs responding to regional climate change threats such as coastal erosion, wildfire, hurricane-driven flooding, sea level rise and drought, environmental degradation.
  • Setting up emergency technical consultancies on specific issues.

The Centre's reach extends right into the heartland of Indonesia, with Griffith providing intensive training for Indonesian Government staff at a central, district and provincial level, both on campus, and on the ground in Indonesia.

Griffith University Vice Chancellor Ian O'Connor said Australia – and in particular Griffith University – had established an outstanding reputation as a regional hub for environmental expertise.

"This centre is the culmination of a long and successful education and research association with the Indonesian Government dating back to the early 1980s," he said.

Director of the Griffith University Centre for Environment and Population Health Professor Cordia Chu said the centre symbolised the fact that environmental issues have no national borders.

"It demonstrates that our closest neighbours are as committed to issues of sustainable development, environmental protection and climate change mitigation as we are," she said.

"Working in partnership with Indonesia creates unprecedented opportunities for Australian students and researchers in engineering, science and urban planning to shape our region's future, by helping to build essential knowledge and capacity in Indonesia."

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