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Cheryl Critchley
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Research investigating chewing gum to treat post-operative nausea was among projects recognised when Melbourne Medical School anaesthetists and trainees won prestigious Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA) awards.  

Chair of Anaesthesia at the University of Melbourne, Professor David Story, was awarded ANZCA’s highest honour, the Robert Orton Medal, for his distinguished service to anaesthesia, perioperative and pain medicine.

ANZCA Director of Professional Affairs, Dr Lindy Roberts says Professor Story is a visionary exponent of collaborative care and translating research into improved patient outcomes. “He has given many invited international, national and regional presentations, where he often challenges his audience to think ‘outside the box’,” Dr Roberts says.

Professor Story is thrilled by the recognition awarded to all the recipients. “While I was aware that across our 14 hospitals the University of Melbourne has the strongest collection of anaesthesia researchers in the world, this prize success came as a pleasant surprise,” he says.

“The prizes demonstrate the breadth and depth of University of Melbourne anaesthesia and critical care research. An added pleasure was that the medal was presented by the current College President, Professor David A. Scott, who is a Univeristy of Melbourne honorary and Director of Anaesthesia at St Vincent’s Hospital, where he heads a world leading team in post-operative cognitive decline research.”

When the awards were presented at the recent ANZCA Annual Scientific Meeting in Brisbane, University of Melbourne-linked researchers were recognised in all categories. These included:

The Robert Orton Medal

Professor David Story (Foundation Chair of Anaesthesia at the University of Melbourne)
Prof Story was recognised for a long and distinguished career as a clinician, researcher and teacher. In 2012 he became the inaugural Melbourne Medical School Chair of Anaesthesia. He is also Director of Melbourne Clinical and Translational Sciences platform.

Gilbert Brown Prize

Dr Jai Darvall (Royal Melbourne Hospital Anaesthetist and Intensive Care Specialist, Clinical School Senior Lecturer)  

Dr Darvall researches process improvements in intensive care and anaesthesia. He has led two studies investigating chewing gum for post-operative nausea and vomiting (PONV), most recently, Chewing gum for the treatment of postoperative nausea and vomiting: a pilot randomised controlled trial, published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia. It found chewing gum was not inferior to anti-nausea medication ondansetron for PONV after general anaesthesia for laparoscopic or breast surgery in female patients.

Trainee Academic Prize

Dr Julia Dubowitz (Royal Melbourne Hospital advanced anaesthesia trainee)

Dr Dubowitz is a Royal Melbourne Hospital anaesthesia trainee and a PhD candidate under the supervision of Professor Bernhard Riedel (Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, University of Melbourne). She won for her onco-anaesthesia research on the impact of anaesthetic agents on breast cancer progression.

ePoster prize (joint winner)

Associate Professor David Canty (University of Melbourne Royse Research Group, Royal Melbourne Hospital Anaesthesia, Monash Medical Centre)

A specialist cardiothoracic anaesthetist, Associate Prof Canty’s ePoster discussed a pilot study on the impact of preoperative cardiac ultrasound on mortality, cardiac morbidity and health care costs after fractured neck or femur surgery. It showed that anaesthetists may improve outcomes in many patients by performing cardiac ultrasound before hip fracture surgery and a larger trial is needed to back this important finding.

ePoster prize

Dr Marissa Ferguson (Riedel onco-anaesthesia group, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre  and Anaesthesia Trainee)

Dr Ferguson will complete her fellowship at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in 2017. With interests in clinical research, perioperative medicine and quality improvement, her ePoster theme was Post-exercise cardiac PET imaging: A pilot study of cardiac risk assessment.

Robin Smallwood Bequest

Associate Professor Philip Peyton (Head of Austin Health Anaesthesia Research)

This award honours a project in anaesthesia, intensive care and/or pain medicine. Associate Prof Peyton won for his project, Redefining pulmonary uptake of anaesthetic agents.

ANZCA Melbourne Emerging Anaesthesia Researcher Award

Dr Lachlan Miles (Austin Health Staff Specialist)

Dr Miles specialises in areas including cardiac, hepatobiliary and liver transplant anaesthesia.He won for his project: Iron therapy for non-anaemic iron deficiency in perioperative colorectal malignancy (FeRIC-II).