NHMRC Health Tracker - May 2011 edition


Welcome to the first edition of NHMRC Health Tracker, NHMRC’s new monthly newsletter.

The NHMRC contributes to Australia’s health system through more than its role in funding research. NHMRC also works to ensure that research is translated into practice and that Australian health and medical research ethical framework is of the highest standard.

NHMRC Health Tracker represents the health related aspects of NHMRC’s work. Each edition we’ll focus on a current issue in health, as well as brief information on NHMRC achievements.

Building Research Translation

Senior clinical researchers involved in research translation (incorporating research outcomes into clinical practice and policy) met recently to discuss a NHMRC proposal for a National Network of NHMRC-funded clinical researchers and centres.

This workshop on April 20 allowed senior clinical researchers to discuss the aims, objectives, outcomes and operational model for the proposed network.

A Communiqué and Papers presented at the workshop are available from the NHMRC website. A proposal for a national network on research translation will be released for public consultation shortly.

Consumers and Community Group Workshop – 19 May

This workshop will improve the NHMRC’s understanding of the information needs and preferences of consumers.

Potential Impacts of Wind Turbines on Human Health Scientific Meeting - 7 June

This workshop will discuss NHMRC’s revision of its statement on the scientific evidence around potential health effects of wind turbines. Interested people from the wind farm sector, health experts, clean energy groups and public health researchers will be invited.

Australian Guideline Developers Network

Clinical practice guidelines are an important avenue for research results to influence the clinical decisions taken by health practitioners. They are also a resource for patients and their carers in making informed decisions about treatment in health care.

NHMRC invites members of the guideline community to join the Australian Guideline Developers Network. The Network is a community where developers can share knowledge and experiences, and consider collaboration with other organisations on interrelated areas for clinical practice guidelines.

The next work workshop of the Network is being held in Melbourne on Thursday 9 June. Proceedings from earlier Guideline Developers Network workshops are now available from the NHMRC website. For further information, please contact clinicalguidelines@nhmrc.gov.au.

Clinically Competitive Report

The Australian Government released the report Clinically Competitive: Boosting the business of clinical trials in Australia on 3 March 2011. The Government has accepted all 11 recommendations in the report, which will ensure that Australia continues to realise the benefits of clinical trials for patients, researchers and industry. The report can be found on the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research website.

Focus on Mental Health

The Australian Government has identified mental health as a priority - the 2011 – 12 Budget pinpoints mental health spending of $1.5b billion, there is a new peak advisory body led by Australian of the Year Professor Pat McGorry and announced significant new funding for initiatives including the prevention of Indigenous suicide and new hospital beds.

The NHMRC is one of the many organisations that have a role to play in ensuring better and more accessible mental health care for all Australians, a priority that we have committed to meeting in our 2010 – 2012 Strategic Plan.

Mental health research

The NHMRC will implement a special initiative to allocate $26.2 million over five years from 2011-2012 for additional research to support development of evidence for better treatment and health services in mental health.

The NHMRC Research Committee and Council will provide advice on the best way to make this funding available to the research community. As plans are developed we will keep the health sector informed about how we will deliver our additional support through this special initiative.

This initiative will fund research in addition to grants made to mental health researchers through existing NHMRC competitive grant schemes, which were $72 million in 2010 and $403 million 2000 – 2010.

Depression Guidelines

In March 2010, Beyondblue released Clinical Practice Guidelines on depression in young people and adolescents and perinatal mental health.

These NHMRC approved guidelines, give health professionals the evidence based information they need to provide the best possible health care to highly vulnerable groups – young people, pregnant women and new mothers. The Guidelines can be found on the Beyondblue website.

Borderline personality disorder clinical guideline

Borderline personality disorder is identified as one of the most difficult mental health conditions, potentially causing ongoing life problems for patients and treatment challenges for clinicians. To assist with treatment of this disorder, NHMRC has established a committee of mental health experts to develop a Borderline Personality Disorder Clinical Guideline.

After a period of preparation including literature review and public consultation release of the clinical guidelines is anticipated in November 2012.

Mental Health Workshop

NHMRC hosted 80 researchers, clinicians, clinical managers, non-government organisations, consumers and carers at a Mental Health Workshop on 13 April 2011. All areas of the mental health sector joined together to identify ways that research and research translation could play in a role in providing better services.

Outcomes from the workshop will be available on the NHMRC website soon and papers from the workshop are available on the NHMRC website.

Managing your subscription to NHMRC Health Tracker

The first edition of NHMRC Health Tracker has been sent to all existing NHMRC Tracker subscribers and recipients of our National Institute of Clinical Studies (NICS) Update.

NHMRC Tracker is now NHMRC Research Tracker, which will continue to be sent automatically to all current subscribers every fortnight. Research Tracker will provide relevant information for researchers and those interested in our research activities.

If you do not wish to continue receiving NHMRC Health Tracker please use the unsubscribe link in this email.