The application period for the 2022 cohort has now closed. The MacHSR (pronounced “Maxer”) Future Leader Fellowship program is open to fully qualified clinicians (Doctors, Nurses, Allied Health professionals) who are keen to bring Health Services Research (HSR) to bear on practical healthcare problems and take steps towards becoming a leader of innovative care. The program will support a select cadre of established front-line clinical staff to address practical healthcare problems through HSR training and solutions. Without detriment to salary, each Fellow will be released from clinical duties for 0.2 FTE per week for 12 months, on a flexible basis, to upskill in HSR knowledge and work with (an) expert academic supervisor(s) to address a problem pertinent to their health service.

MacHSR will bring clinicians with the best research-tractable ideas together with academic HSR experts to define the research needed to find an evidence-based solution to a practical healthcare problem. This process will be started with award of a one year, 0.2 FTE MacHSR Future Leader Fellowship. Successful Fellows will be released from clinical duties flexibly on a 0.2 FTE basis, in a manner that minimises service disruption, to undertake with (an) academic supervisor(s) work that is preparatory for a formal HSR project pertinent to providing an evidence-based solution to the problem that interests the Fellow. Deliverables at the end of the one-year fellowship could include an evidence-based solution to the identified problem, or more likely, a pilot study, collaborative application for research grant funding to address the problem, or a full-time problem-solving secondment such as those competitively offered by Safer Care Victoria. Fellows will continue to be paid in full by their health service (or at existing commitment) but allowed 0.2 FTE for MacHSR work for one year. Back-fill is to be funded by the health service employing the Fellow, MACH does not provide these funds. On completion of the fellowship, the cohort will be supported by MACH to maintain regular interaction between themselves and the HSR experts with whom they have trained.

Formal part-time HSR training will be offered to the Fellows during the first six months of appointment in the form of registration for the University of Melbourne Master of Public Health (MPH) 6-month part-time elective in HSR. A fee would be levied ($4,424 for those seeking assessment leading to 12.5 points towards the MPH; and $2,656 for unassessed work). Where Fellows have access to personal CME resources (e.g., medical consultants) it would be expected that these monies are used to cover the fee. For staff without access to equivalent funding from their health service department the Melbourne Medical School will provide a scholarship. The MPH elective in HSR will provide Fellows with formal training in HSR methods, coupled with time to begin refining the problem of interest for an HSR approach.

Director

  • Professor Harriet Hiscock. Consultant paediatrician, NHMRC Practitioner Fellow, inaugural Director of the Health Services Research Unit at The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne, Group Leader of the Health Services Research Group at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Professorial Fellow at the University of Melbourne.

Co-Directors

  • Professor Kim Dalziel. Principal Research Fellow (Health Economics) at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, and Head of the Health Economics Group, Centre for Health Policy at the University of Melbourne.
  • Professor Jill Francis. Professor of Implementation Science in the School of Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne. Formerly Professor of Health Services Research at City University of London (serving as Associate Dean for Research 2013–2016 and Senior Strategic Research Adviser in 2019) and Professor of Health Psychology at the University of Aberdeen (2011–2013).
  • Dr Megan Robertson. Group Chief Research Officer at St Vincent’s Health Australia, Director of Research at St Vincent’s Hospital Melbourne, and Senior Intensive Care Consultant at Epworth HealthCare (Richmond and Freemasons).
  • Professor David Story. Professor and Foundation Chair of Anaesthesia at the University of Melbourne, Head of the University of Melbourne Department of Critical Care, member of the Council of the Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA), Deputy Chair of the ANZCA Research Committee, Chair of the ANZCA Safety and Quality Committee, and Staff Anaesthetist at the Austin Hospital.
  • Professor Karin Thursky. Director of the National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship, Deputy Head of Infectious Diseases at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and Director of the Guidance Group at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

HSR is defined by the Health Services Research Association of Australia and New Zealand as:

“The study of the funding, organisation and delivery of health services and involves multidisciplinary perspectives. Outcomes are usually at the population level rather than the individual – this approach contrasts with clinical research which emphasises outcomes for individuals. The aim is to provide evidence to influence policy at all levels, in order to improve the health of the public. Health services research is not a scientific discipline of its own, but draws on and uses a wide range of methods from several disciplines, particularly economics, epidemiology, statistics and psychology. It also requires input from and an understanding of biology, medicine, nursing, and other clinical areas. Health services research seeks to answer questions like: What kind of health care should we have? How should services be provided? How should services be funded? Who should receive health care services?”

HSR can address (Academy Health, Washington 2013):

Example 1: Outreach care for cancer

There is a well-recognised geographical influence on cancer outcomes with patients from regional settings faring less well than those in metropolitan centres. Recognised contributors to the disparity include access to multidisciplinary care teams, availability, or accessibility of expertise and/or facilities, and opportunity to participate in clinical trials. The PeterMac has had success in piloting regional cancer care hubs, with patients offered the full range of therapy (including palliation), consultation, and clinical trial access through co-management and leadership by local practitioners. It is proposed to expand this service to more regional Victorian towns and to a wider range of cancers. The project is a joint initiative of the PeterMac and the Melbourne Medical School and will involve multi-disciplinary training, care provision, research, and evaluation with the overall aim of high quality and cost-effective cancer care for all patients, irrespective of postcode.

Example 2: Reducing GP referrals for urgent hospital care

Hospitals are facing increased demand on their outpatient and emergency department services with children aged 0-4 years the largest age group attending Victorian EDs. RCH piloted an integrated GP-paediatrician model of care in 5 GP practices (state government funded) to upskill GPs in the care of children via co-consults and case discussions with paediatricians. This successfully reduced GP referrals to hospital emergency departments and improved GP quality of care. Subsequently the team secured an NHMRC Partnership grant ($3M, 11 partners) to test the effectiveness of this integrated model of care in 22 general practices (122 GPs) in reducing GP referrals to hospitals across Victoria and NSW. If effective, this model will be a game changer for reducing the burden on public hospitals and could be readily translated to other healthcare areas.

Eligible applicants must:

  1. Be a fully qualified Doctor, Nurse or Allied Health professional employed at over 0.5 FTE by a MACH-affiliated health service (vocational trainees are not eligible).
  2. Want to gain HSR expertise to share at the frontline.
  3. Have identified an important problem within their health service that could be addressed with a HSR solution.
  4. Show promise to become a leader in innovative care.
  5. Have written support from their manager to accompany their application (see application details below).

Prior research experience is desirable.

The deadline for applications is 9am, Monday 21st March 2022.

Interviews will be held on Tuesday 17th May 2022 ahead of a mid July 2022 start.

Selection will be undertaken through an application and interview process led by the Director for MacHSR, Prof Harriet Hiscock. The highly competitive program will welcome up to 5 Fellows in the inaugural intake.

Pre-application enquiries may be sent to Lauren Wallis ([email protected]).

Applications should be sent by 9am Monday 21st March 2022 to [email protected] and must include:

  1. Full CV, including brief details of any research projects undertaken, the applicant’s role in the research, and how findings were disseminated (report for supervisors, abstract presentation at meeting, publication etc).
  2. A maximum two-page proposal outlining the practical problem of interest pertinent to the health service and how it might be addressed by HSR.
  3. A brief letter of support from the Health Service divisional/operational/professional manager responsible to senior management for the clinician’s unit confirming that the applicant is well placed to develop an interest in HSR, has the potential to become a future leader of innovative care, has in principle support for 0.2 FTE per week time-release from clinical duties for 12 months if successful, and that the identified problem is important to address (please use letter of support template provided below).

The MacHSR Future Leaders Fellowship program has support from all MACH-affiliated health service CEOs. Each CEO has nominated a MacHSR lead for their health service.

If the application is successful, details of the 0.2 FTE time-release will be finalised between the applicant, unit manager, and CEO-nominated MacHSR lead at the relevant health service.

Please note: Back-fill of the 0.2 FTE clinical time is to be funded by the health service employing the Fellow, MACH does not provide these funds.

This template is to be downloaded, completed by the relevant unit manager, and submitted by the applicant together with the remaining required documents.

Download MacHSR letter of support template