ANZCA Foundation update: October 2021

11 October 2021

New this month: Foundation name change, research scholarship, updates on the new Environment and Sustainability Grant and the Patrons Emerging Investigator Research Award.

Foundation name change

To reflect the foundation’s role in supporting research and education in anaesthesia, pain medicine, perioperative medicine, global health equity, and Indigenous health, ANZCA Council has re-named the ANZCA Research Foundation the ‘ANZCA Foundation’.

The new name provides a simple, memorable link to all foundation-supported work in these domains. foundation communications will strongly connect the name to the work it supports, increasing the foundation’s name awareness and its associations with high quality work further advancing safety, quality, and equity in health outcomes delivered by anaesthetists and pain medicine physicians.

Generous first gift establishes Skantha Vallipuram research scholarship

A generous gift from Mrs Asoka Vallipuram has been received by the ANZCA Foundation, confirming the establishment of another exciting new annual research scholarship.

The new “Skantha Vallipuram ANZCA Research Scholarship” will be offered annually as part of the ANZCA research grants round, to support fellows or trainees embarking on new research careers. Mrs Vallipuram and the foundation have established the scholarship in memory of Dr Skantha Vallipuram, a respected Melbourne anaesthetist and pain medicine physician.

Dr Vallipuram dedicated his life to improving the lives of his patients through high standards of clinical care and compassion. His professionalism was complemented by his regular philanthropy, including significant contributions to the ANZCA Foundation over many years as a life patron, and service to those affected by the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004.

The foundation already offers the ANZCA Melbourne Emerging Researcher Scholarship, generously funded each year by our governor patron Dr Peter Lowe, for a fellow or trainee working at a University of Melbourne-affiliated hospital. The foundation is delighted that it will now also be able to offer this new scholarship, via the ANZCA Research Committee, to any eligible fellow or trainee enrolled in a higher research degree. 

Update on the Environment and Sustainability grant

The foundation has received enough donated funding to ensure we can offer the first exciting new Environment and Sustainability Award as part of the next grants round opening on 1 December 2021.

The award will come with a grant of $15,000 for research into understanding and mitigating the significant ongoing global environmental impact of anaesthesia and perioperative medicine.

This is an important way of encouraging more work to help reduce the total environmental impact of healthcare in the specialties, and the foundation aims to continue raising funds to ensure it can be offered again in following years.

To support future grants, donors can simply select this giving option in the foundation’s donation portal (just enter ‘ANZCA GiftOptions into your search engine).

Supporting the ANZCA Patrons Emerging Investigator Research Award

The foundation recently announced this new grant has been approved by the Research Committee, and will be offered for the first time in the grant round opening on 1 December 2021.

Available exclusively to emerging researcher applicants, but at the same $70,000 level as ANZCA Project Grants, the new grant aims to provide a deliberate stepping stone from the $20,000 Novice Investigator Grant category.

The foundation has also created this grant to honour the wonderful philanthropy of its esteemed patrons, who generously commit to donating $1000 or more each year.

Donors can help the foundation to fund this important grant every year, as planned, by joining up and becoming one of the foundation’s greatly valued patrons.

Microvascular protection study published

A foundation-funded study examining the feasibility of using dexamethasone and albumin to protect the endothelial glycocalyx layer in patients undergoing abdominal surgery has been published in the October issue of the leading journal Anesthesia & Analgesia.

The study was conducted at Austin Health, the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Auckland City Hospital, and funded by an ANZCA Foundation grant in 2020 to Associate Professor Laurence Weinberg, director of the Department of Anaesthesia at Austin Health. The investigators found that intravenous dexamethasone and albumin administration was feasible, but did not reduce the biomarker syndecan-1 on postoperative day one.

However, there were clinically significant reductions in pulmonary complications, as well as in heparin-sulphate and C-reactive protein in the ‘Dex-Alb’ intervention group. The investigators therefore concluded that a larger multi-arm, multistage trial assessing the associations between dexamethasone and albumin administration and these outcomes is warranted. 

New chair for the Professional Practice Research Network

Professor Kirsty Forrest is the new chair of ANZCA’s Professional Practice Research Network (PPRN) Executive.

Professor Forrest is dean of medicine at Bond University and a consultant anaesthetist at Gold Coast University Hospital on the Gold Coast, and a member of the ANZCA Research Committee. She takes over the leadership of the PPRN Executive from the founding chair, Professor Jennifer Weller.

The PPRN Executive recently welcomed three new members: Dr Cate McIntosh, Dr Kerry Warner and Dr Tim Marshall.

The PPRN was established to promote research in important domains of professional practice, including collaborator, communicator, health advocate, leader and manager, scholar, and professional in anaesthesia, perioperative and pain medicine.

It aims to build a network of researchers and foster excellent research with designs including qualitative methodologies, in fields including simulation, education, epidemiology or implementation science.

New chair for the Emerging Investigators Sub-committee

The outgoing inaugural chair of the Emerging Investigators Sub-committee, Professor David A Scott, has welcomed Professor Alicia Dennis as the new chair.

The subcommittee was originally established under the leadership of Professor Scott, who is the incumbent chair of the ANZCA Research Committee, to support the development of emerging investigators and related research networks in anaesthesia and pain medicine.

Professor Dennis is a member of the ANZCA Research Committee, a Professor at the School of Medicine in the Faculty of Health at Deakin University, and a staff specialist anaesthetist and the director of anaesthesia research at Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne.

Last updated 15:05 11.10.2021