MACH supports projects across its partnership including translational research funded through the Federal Government Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) Rapid Applied Research Translation (RART) grant scheme, and funding from the Victorian State Government.
These projects include translational pilot and proof-of-concept research projects, as well as work that supports the priorities of the Australian Health Research Alliance national collaboration.
Explore our projects using the search functions or by keywords below.
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The Next Big ThingDespite the increase in number and complexity of patients attending academic hospital outpatients, research is showing fragmentation in the interdisciplinary approach to care by medicine, nursing, and allied health clinicians. To better support patient care, clinician productivity and student experience, “The Next Big Thing” pilots the use of interdisciplinary student-led care (medicine, nursing, and allied health) in hospital outpatient departments to actively participate in direct patient care and communication with primary care practitioners and community support services.
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Late Gestation AbortionConducting abortions beyond 20 weeks gestation is known to result in complex health and psychosocial needs for the pregnant women. As there is only one Victorian service providing abortions at this gestational stage (Royal Women’s Hospital Abortion and Contraception Service), it is imperative that a high quality of care is provided for women and pregnant people accessing this service. This project will explore how women and people seeking abortions over 20 weeks experience this process and the subsequent care they receive.
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In my Prime: Promoting positive images of older women“Gendered ageism”, the combined effect of discrimination based on gender and age, most commonly affect older women owing to pervasive societal values that emphasise youth and physical appearance. Poor body image and ageism are known to directly impact health through reduced uptake of health screening, social isolation, eating disorders and reduced confidence, ultimately leading to accelerated physical and mental decline that shortens life expectancy. Education and intergenerational contact are key methods to reducing ageism; yet there remains a disconnect with the lack of diverse older women representation in today’s media.
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CoMaNDCollecting high quality data is crucial to informing health care changes, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. CoMaND (Collaborative Maternity and Newborn Dashboard), an interactive digital data display, was created to provide rapid access to maternity and newborn data for clinical services, allowing MACH maternity partners to monitor the indirect impacts of the pandemic on the maternity population.
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Be Sweet to BabiesNewborn blood screening tests are commonly performed using the heel lance procedure. Though understandably painful, high quality synthesised evidence reveals breastfeeding and skin-skin care (SSC) to have an analgesic effect for newborns. Unfortunately, these strategies are inconsistently used in practice for both healthy term newborns and preterm infants. There is need to investigate and address the barriers preventing this knowledge-to-action gap to reduce unnecessary pain during this procedure.
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Multi-Omics in Diagnosis and Research of Inherited Rare DiseasesInherited Rare Diseases affect thousands of Australians each year. Genomics (DNA sequencing) has transformed their diagnosis but about around half of cases remain unsolved. We have shown that omics methods that detect thousands of RNAs and proteins can boost the number of diagnoses markedly. We will explore translating these technologies to routine diagnostic use.
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ID-Predict (Tuberculosis): Predicting recent Tuberculosis infection and future disease risk in Victorian TB contactsApproximately 2 billion people (¼ of the world’s population), have been infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), and 5-10% of those will fall ill with Tuberculosis (TB). The risk of developing TB can be decreased by preventative therapy, however current diagnostic tests cannot determine which of the 2 billion people infected will be the 10 million people who progress to disease every 12 months.
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Understanding how immune pressure shapes immune escape mechanisms in non-small cell lung cancerLung cancer is a devastating disease causing 1.8 million deaths worldwide every year. Immunotherapy has dramatically improved the survival of a small subset of lung cancer patients. We aim to identify new ways to improve response to immunotherapy by understanding the communication between tumour and immune cells. We use novel approaches that integrate spatial information with molecular and cellular data to achieve this goal.
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Health Studies Australian National Data Asset (HeSANDA) programThe MACH Clinical Trials Consortium node aims to implement the objectives of the HeSANDA initiative throughout the consortium’s member institutions and its broader functioning environment by directly contributing to the building of the infrastructure and administrative requirements needed to support the sharing and reuse of clinical trial metadata.
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VCHRI Models of Virtual Care for Older AdultsThe models of virtual care project is funded by the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services to develop projects that contribute to the redesign and improvement of Victoria’s healthcare system, driving recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic through research-led innovation that aims to identify and assess the suitability of virtual care initiatives.
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VCHRI Value in Care – optimising surveillance COLonoscopy (VIC-COL)The VCHRI Value in Care project is a state-wide collaborative program of work shared between MACH, Monash Partners and Western Alliance that supports hospitals to optimise colonoscopy best practice and promote timely detection and treatment of bowel cancer.
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Victorian Clinical Trials Education Centre (V-CTEC)V-CTEC will see the establishment of a not-for-profit, Victoria wide, member-based education centre, with a dedicated Learning Management System (LMS) hosting a suite of evidence- based, interactive clinical trials education opportunities suitable for a range of learning needs.
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Social Isolation and Social Prescribing Community of PracticeA collaboration with the Australian Disease Management Association (ADMA), Bolton Clarke Research Institute, Melbourne Academic Centre for Health (MACH), Melbourne School of Population & Global Health (MSPGH), Monash Partners, and the Western Alliance has developed an extensive network of stakeholders researching or developing programs of support for social isolation.
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Investigator-Initiated Clinical Trial ToolkitIIT resources on the VCCC website provide the Victorian clinical trials sector with a one-stop-shop to understanding and implementing an investigator-initiated trial.
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National review of Practice Based Research Networks (PBRN)The University of Melbourne Department of General Practice undertook a national review of practice-based research networks (PBRN) to determine the research capacity of PBRNs which exist in Australia in the primary care setting.
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National Clinical Trials Governance FrameworkThe National Clinical Trials Governance Framework (Governance Framework) was developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care and is based on the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (NSQHS Standards), in particular, Standard 1: Clinical Governance and Standard 2: Partnering with Consumers.
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Biostatistical Support ClinicsBiostatistical consultation is critical in the proposal design, especially if an adaptive or complex methodology is being considered. The MACH Clinical Trials Committee identified a need for the provision of FREE biostatistical clinics
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Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Ethics Resources (CALDER)The Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Ethics Resources (CALDER) project is part of an ongoing interdisciplinary project by University of Melbourne researchers to improve research equity and inclusion of CALD patients in medical research. A key finding from earlier work was the need to raise awareness of clinical research amongst older CALD people. Brief in-language videos with captioning have been developed for broad dissemination.
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Transformational Data CollaborationMACH leads the national Transformational Data Collaboration on behalf of the Australian Health Research Alliance (AHRA) to directly address the ‘integration of large data sets across the care continuum’ priority area. Australia has fragmented data holdings across all clinical domains, extending to terminologies, data models, and the quality assurance mechanisms employed. This collaboration will uplift the use of clinical data for research across Australia and engage national partners to support a consistent strategy in advancing Health Data Science.
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WEHI Consumer Buddy Program EvaluationThe WEHI buddy program is one of few programs linking consumers with laboratory researchers. Evaluation of this style of consumer engagement will strengthen the program at WEHI and guide other MACH and AHRA partners on this model.
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Culturally Adaptive Governance FrameworkIn the hopes to developing a standardised way of enabling organisations and projects to adapt and change in the face of uncertainty and complexity Developing, the project, ‘Culturally Adaptive Governance Framework’ (CAGF), is currently being explored. In doing so, the proposed CAGF empowers and maintains fidelity to everchanging Indigenous knowledge, values, principles, and expertise.
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Remote expert nurse consultation for pressure injury prevention and management in residential aged carePressure injuries (pressure ulcers) affect up to 28% of aged care residents and cost AU$983 million per annum. E-health interventions can stem the personal, system and economic burden of wounds and are necessary when isolation or distancing is required to protect residents and healthcare workers from harm such as COVID-19.
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Safety and RescueHealth professionals must maintain currency in a range of competencies such as hand hygiene, basic life support, and safe handling of blood. If they move from one hospital to another, proving they have recently completed these courses is a laborious process. To automate this process, MACH and a technology specialist Androgogic are creating a software solution that stores the completion dates of these courses for all healthcare professionals working at Austin Health and Eastin Health.
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The threat of COVID-19 impacting on a quaternary healthcare service: a retrospective cohort study of administrative dataThe threat of a pandemic, over and above the disease itself, may have significant and broad effects on a healthcare system. MACH and the Royal Melbourne Hospital described the impact of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and associated societal restrictions on presentations, admissions and outpatient visits.
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Engaging older Italian-Australian and Vietnamese-Australian communities in medical researchClinical researchers are often faced with the challenge of recruiting people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. MACH and Health Issues Centre are conducting a pilot study to compare how successful Facebook is for engaging older-Italian-Australian and older-Vietnamese Australians compared with more traditional approaches such as community groups.
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‘Find and Follow’: scoping the data capture, reporting and follow-up of (i) pregnancies complicated by congenital abnormalities, (ii) health and development among ‘high risk’ newborns.There is currently no standardised approach to identifying and following up high-risk newborns, including those with a prenatal diagnosis of congenital abnormality. High-risk newborns are at risk of poor health and delayed developmental outcomes. Early intervention is key to support infants and families, yet there remains a disconnect between research and clinical practice.
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Clinical utility of plasma neurofilament light chain in the diagnostic screening of psychiatric and neurological disorders: An “ESR” for the brain?Primary care physicians and specialists often have difficulty distinguishing between neurological and psychiatric disorders due to the overlap in symptoms. The availability of a simple blood test that gauges the degree of brain cell injury (high in neurological disorders, low in psychiatric disorders) would be invaluable for clinicians.
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Hips on Track: A state-wide approach to preventing hip dislocation for young people with cerebral palsyHip displacement is a serious complication of cerebral palsy (CP), occurring in 85 percent of non-ambulant children. It develops insidiously. If detected early, treatment is effective. If not, hip dislocation occurs, causing intractable pain, reduced function and quality of life extending across the lifespan. There is no effective treatment for hip dislocation.
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Clinical Decision Support Integrated with e-Screening for Postnatal DepressionOne in seven women experience postnatal depression, yet only 10 percent receive adequate treatment. Postnatal depression screening is mainly conducted by time-poor Maternal & Child Health Nurses (MCHNs) who are not mental health specialists and receive limited clinical guidance for ongoing management and referrals. Current paper-and-pencil procedures are inconsistent and error-prone.
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Clinical and community service provision for people with disabilities: Investigating the perspectives of the health care workforce and their clientsThe full-scale ‘roll out’ of the National Disability Insurance Scheme began in 2016 and represents the largest social welfare reform since the introduction of Medicare in Australia. This project will unpack the influence of federally imposed changes to disability service delivery on healthcare workers, as well as persons with disabilities (PWD).
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Physical activity guidelines implementation via information and communication technology for vulnerable older adults with poor cognitive and mental health living in the communityOlder adults with poor mental and cognitive health are particularly vulnerable during self-isolation. Physical activity (PA) offers physical, cognitive and mental health benefits, and the Australian Government advises all self-isolating Australians to create a home-based exercise routine. PA guidelines for older adults are available, and there is an urgent need for implementation.
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Can flash glucose monitoring improve blood glucose control in Indigenous Australians with type 2 diabetesDiabetes is a major problem for Indigenous Australians. Currently, monitoring blood glucose levels through frequent painful finger pricks is inconsistent. Flash glucose monitors are easy-to use, new devices worn on the arm providing real-time blood glucose levels to guide treatment. The project team will analyse whether these monitors help Indigenous Australians understand and manage blood glucose levels to avoid downstream complications of diabetes like heart disease and kidney failure.
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Consolidation of record linkage algorithms in Victoria and beyondMany state and national data repositories, for example BioGrid and NPS MedicineInsight, use GRHANITE privacy protecting data linkage algorithms and are incompatible for data linkage with those using alternative algorithms such as Outcome Health. This significantly impacts the ability to link and use GP data across Victoria and nationally.
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Research capacity building through complex trial design symposiaThe design and statistical analysis of clinical trials is progressing to include more complex designs to reduce the cost and time of running clinical trials. There are few experts in complex designs and importantly clinical researchers are not also aware of or familiar with new more complex designs. ally taken an observational role with minimal active participation and experiential learning.
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Evaluating the impact of a psychological intervention to reduce the severe stress and psychological morbidity of people with chronic kidney disease: The Kidney Optimal Health Program (KOHP): Stage 2The progressive loss of kidney function leading to end-stage chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a severe and debilitating health problem, with the prevalence of CKD in Australians steadily increasing. Aside from the physical effects, CKD patients experience high rates of comorbid depression and anxiety.
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Mapping of ageing and aged care expertise across the MACH network and development of plain English articles translating research outcomes and recommendations for consumersThis activity will map expertise in ageing and aged care research across the MACH network and beyond to increase collaboration opportunities. The findings will be nationally disseminated and made publicly available to enhance translational research collaboration.
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Establishing a stroke biobank to examine protein and genetic biomarkers for post-stroke cognitive decline in the Post Ischaemic Stroke Cardiovascular Exercise Study (PISCES)Vascular brain burden is the greatest determinant of late-life cognition. People with stroke are at increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia, and yet are usually excluded from intervention studies. We need to target high-risk populations to reduce dementia risk and identify genetic and protein markers for post-stroke cognitive decline.
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Reducing persisting symptoms following child concussion: a randomised controlled clinical trialDespite being an increasing public health concern, and a 40 percent rate of debilitating, persisting post-concussive symptoms (PCS), current knowledge regarding child and adolescent concussion is inadequate to direct effective, timely, low cost treatment. To date, clinical management has failed to recognise the vastly different needs of the individual child.
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Dynamic consent as a new approach for engaging people in health research and upholding data sovereignty – Victorian Aboriginal perspectivesClinical research carries unique risks for Aboriginal people, particularly those providing broad consent such that their data and material may be shared widely. In the pursuit of self-determination Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people are seeking new approaches to consent that support Indigenous data sovereignty, decisional autonomy and research engagement.
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Future Health Today Project: Co-design of PrototypeNearly half of all Australians have at least one chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease and chronic kidney disease, and most of these people will attend general practice. Early diagnosis and management is critical to ensure optimal health outcomes and technology has the capacity to facilitate this.
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Improving the care of children with frequent asthma admissions through partnerships with hospitals, GPs and familiesAsthma is the most common chronic childhood illness and accounts for most paediatric hospital admissions. Approximately 1 in 5 Australian children are re-admitted to hospital after their first admission. To prevent frequent, costly admissions, we need to understand factors in a child’s care journey associated with re-admissions.
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Integrating Osteoporosis in Primary Care: The Osteoporosis Risk and Management (ORMA) ProjectBy 2022, it is estimated that 6.2 million Australians older than 50 years of age will have osteoporosis or osteopenia, a rise of 31% from 2012. However, less than 20% of patients presenting to healthcare services with minimal trauma fractures are investigated or treated for osteoporosis.
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Liberal glUcose Control in critically Ill patient with pre-existing type 2 Diabetes (LUCID): a phase IIB multi-centre parallel group randomised clinical trialEach year more than 30,000 patients with type 2 diabetes require Intensive Care Unit (ICU) admission. Hyperglycaemia (high blood glucose) is treated identically in all ICU patients regardless of pre-existing diabetes but treatment increases the risk of hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose), which is harmful.
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Closing the gap on Indigenous cardiovascular (CV) health: Improving community outcomes through high impact policy relevant research.We need to understand why Indigenous Australians are less likely to receive evidence-based-cardiovascular (CV) care despite being at higher risk for heart attack and stroke. To motivate change, we also need to demonstrate the health and economic savings that could be achieved if evidence-based-CV care were better implemented in this community.
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Tenecteplase versus Alteplase for Stroke Thrombolysis Evaluation Trial in the Ambulance (TASTEa)Currently, alteplase is the standard clot-dissolving therapy for ischemic stroke, however this treatment is only effective in 30-45% of patients. Importantly, treatment of ischemic stroke is more effective when given within 90 minutes of stroke onset. Means of treating patients earlier with more effective therapies are needed.
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Developing precision medicine for the developmental and epileptic encephalopathiesEpileptic encephalopathies (EEs) are severe epilepsies that begin in infancy and childhood with devastating outcomes. Children have uncontrolled epilepsy, severe to profound developmental impairment, and other conditions such as autism spectrum disorder and high mortality risk.
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Enhancing Muscle POWER in Geriatric Rehabilitation: EMPOWER-GRThe worldwide population is ageing; it is expected that the proportion of people aged 60 years and above will triple over the next 30 years. The longer we live, the more age-related diseases we get. Sarcopenia – low muscle mass – is a significant problem for us as we age.
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Integration of retinal photography and artificial intelligence to build opportunistic screening services in primary care settingsVision impairment and blindness are major public health problems in Australia. Over 50% of the blindness in those aged over 40 years is caused by just three diseases. Even though 80% of vision loss is avoidable, around 50% of cases in Australia are undiagnosed. These diseases are hard to catch early though as patients often have no symptoms.
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Melbourne Thunderstorm Epidemic of Asthma: Solving the puzzleIn 2016, Melbourne suffered an asthma epidemic that led to the activation of disaster codes. Emergency services were overwhelmed and 10 people died. Currently there is no reason to believe this will not occur again. To be prepared we need to understand what puts certain people at risk, develop treatments and build an early warning system.
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