At The Common Good, we are all about funding the highest quality research to find the best outcomes for patients challenged by a vast array of health issues.

Several researchers from The Prince Charles Hospital were recognised for their work at the annual Metro North Research Excellence awards last week, with three category winners and five highly commended awards coming from projects funded by The Common Good.

The awards attracted 66 outstanding submissions and showcased the diverse and far-reaching research projects conducted by individual researchers and teams from across all Metro North facilities.

Research is vital in driving change in clinical practice to improve patient outcomes, and it was a difficult task to select 21 finalists across seven categories and eight candidates for Researcher of the Year.

Congratulations to all winners and highly commended recipients. Below is a summary of the categories that saw success for TPCH researchers.

Discovery and Innovation Research Award

Winner, The Silicosis Research Program, The Prince Charles Hospital


Professor Dan Chambers, Dr Simon Apte, Maxine Tan and Dr Ivan Rapchuk of the Silicosis Research Program

Australia is facing a terrifying epidemic of silicosis in workers exposed during the cutting and polishing of engineered stone benchtops. In Queensland alone almost 200 young men have acquired silicosis and many are already gravely ill. Queensland has been at the forefront of the fight against this new occupational lung disease threat with an extensive screening program since 2018. Recognising the gravity of the situation, The Silicosis Research Program team has devoted resources to developing new ways to diagnose, monitor and treat silicosis using a combination of sophisticated laboratory techniques including advanced microscopy, flow cytometry, mass spectrometry, proteomics, metabolomics and scanning electron microscopy. With the support of Metro North, the team’s laboratory discoveries

have translated into a world first program of whole lung lavage or ‘lung washout’. Together, the team has rapidly built on fundamental scientific discoveries to implement a potentially curative treatment program for Queensland’s tradies.

Highly Commended: Critical Care Research Group, The Prince Charles Hospital

Complex Health Challenges Research

Winner, Allied Health Research Collaborative


Dr Jack Bell, Dr Tammy Aplin and Professor Norman Morris of the Allied Health Research Collaborative

The Allied Health Research Collaborative represents five researchers and clinicians with a common goal of improving rehabilitation processes through their research. This includes addressing issues using a multidisciplinary approach, across a range of chronic disease patients.

The group focusses more on vulnerable patients, such as those with multiple diseases or the frail and aging, as they are more likely to be at risk of harm or injury whilst in our care. Its vision is to be a nationally recognised research unit delivering outcomes that support healthy and productive lives. To achieve this, Allied Health Research Collaborative bring together clinicians from Allied Health, Internal Medicine and Nursing to implement an evidence-based practice that improves both in-hospital care and long-term outcomes for patients. There are many disciplines that fall under Allied Health including dietetics, occupational therapy, podiatry, physiotherapy and speech pathology, and to be successful as team, we strive for continuous improvement across each discipline.

Highly Commended: Critical Care Research Group, The Prince Charles Hospital

Professor Joan Webster Nursing and Midwifery Award

Winner, Professor Paul Fulbrook


Professor Joan Webster and Professor Paul Fulbrook

Professor Paul Fulbrook established the Nursing Research and Practice Development Centre (NRPDC) at The Prince Charles Hospital (TPCH) in 2010 as a collaborative research partnership between the nursing services at TPCH and the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Paramedicine of Australian Catholic University.

Through Paul’s directorship, the centre has enhanced nursing research capacity through high-quality research studies and publications, successful grant applications, graduation of local nurses from higher-degree research studies and collaboration with researchers across Metro North. As a recognised leader in critical care nursing, Paul receives many International guest speaker invitations. Paul’s focus on pressure injury (bedsore) prevention research has led to significant international recognition for Metro North research through four research citations in the most current International pressure injury (PI) prevention guidelines and national recognition via awards, specific research acknowledgement in accreditation surveys and citations in national PI prevention guidelines.

Clinical Research Award

Highly Commended: TPCH Skin Integrity Program


TPCH Director of Nursing Cherie Franks, Professor Paul Fulbrook, Dr Sandra Miles, Josie Lovegrove and Saroeun Ven of the TPCH Skin Integrity Program

Researcher of the Year Award

Highly Commended: Prof. John Fraser - Critical Care Research Group


Metro North Chief Executive Shaun Drummond and Professor John Fraser of the Critical Care Research Group

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