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    Exploring Technologies to Improve Recruitment Workshop

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    Event description

    Improving clinical trial recruitment through innovative technologies

    Recruitment targets and timelines are often not met by clinical trial sites in Australia, which can cause lengthy research delays, and can impact the validity of trials. Although there are currently many different innovative technologies available to improve recruitment efficiency, there is a need to better implement these technologies into the organisational structure of healthcare systems by addressing systemic issues that may be barriers for successful implementation and utilisation.

    ACTA's work in this space is to increase awareness of new recruitment technologies, and this workshop will include two one-hour panel discussions, moderated by Prof Nik Zeps, which will engage renowned clinical researchers and technology experts in the field. Panel discussions will be on: 

    1. Technology implementation and utilisation

    2. Evaluating technologies and looking forward

    We look forward to your participation in such an important discussion for the clinical trials sector. Your input will be impactful in ACTA's future action plan to support more efficient patient recruitment to clinical trials through technology and digitisation.

    Workshop Facilitator: Prof Nik Zeps 

    Adjunct Professor Nik Zeps is an experienced Research Director with a demonstrated track record of leadership in clinical trials, biomarker discovery research, medical ethics, and regulatory affairs. He was most recently the Research Director of the largest non-profit healthcare chain in Victoria (Epworth Healthcare). Nik is an Adjunct Professor through the Eastern Health Clinical School of Monash University and is Clinical Research lead for Monash Partners.
    He is currently a consultant, through his company Chrysalis Health Group, to several organisations including Movember, the Cancer Council Victoria, the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Queensland Health, the Office for Health and Medical Research NSW, Nepean and Blue Mountains LHD, Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network, the University of Sydney, Northern Health, Barwon Health, and Deakin University.
    He has held leadership roles in National and International research programs including the NHMRC Research Committee and Australian Health Ethics Committee. In 2017 he was commissioned to co-write the current Australian Clinical Trials Handbook for the TGA and was awarded the NHMRC Ethics Prize in recognition of his contribution to human research ethics in Australia. Nik was a founding Director of the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) and leads the embedding trials and rapid trial start up initiatives.

    Panelists include: 

    Prof Yun-Hee Jeon
    A Susan and Isaac Wakil Professor of Healthy Ageing, Susan Wakil School of Nursing and Midwifery, the University of Sydney, and Director of StepUp for Dementia Research and StepUp for Ageing Research
    Dr Yun-Hee Jeon has expertise in dementia and aged care models of care focusing on person-centred care, reablement and rehabilitation, and clinical leadership in long-term care settings. She also leads a number of initiatives for public and patient involvement in research and citizen science.

    Dr Helen Kavnoudias  
    Head of The Alfred Radiology Research Unit, Adjunct Senior Lecturer/Senior Research Fellow, Department of Surgery, Monash University, Adjunct Senior Lecturer/Senior Research Fellow, Department of Neuroscience, Monash University

    Dr Helen Kavnoudias has worked in clinical research for 35 years, beginning with a PhD on Myeloid Leukaemia, followed by a post-doc, academic and teaching role in the Physiology Dept at Melbourne University. For the last 20 years her main role has been conducting investigator-initiated and commercial trials in the Radiology Dept at The Alfred. She has a keen interest in ‘searchable clinical databases’ and has helped inform the Health Informatics Dept at The Alfred on potential solutions for the development of ‘cohort discovery tools’ to facilitate clinical research.

    Dr Brendan Smyth 
    Nephrologist at St George Hospital, Sydney, and a post-doctoral fellow at the NHRMC Clinical Trials Centre, University of Sydney
    Dr Brendan Smyth completed a PhD in 2020 investigating randomized controlled trial methods and implementation in haemodialysis and led the development of the International Society of Nephrology Clinical Trials Toolkit. He is an ISN Emerging Leader for 2022-23 and now focuses on symptom management in kidney failure and innovative trial delivery in nephrology.

    Ms Christine Zahren
    Business Manager for ClinTrialRefer
    Christine Zahren has a background in nursing with over 30+ years experience in healthcare. She has worked in various areas of health including aged care, acute care, rehabilitation medicine, dermatology specialist clinics, and surgery. Christine has extensive experience as a clinical trial nurse coordinator and spent 5 years managing the Dermatology Clinical Trials Unit at the Skin Health Institute in Victoria. She is passionate about helping advance medical research and ensuring that people have access to medications and new therapies in their development phase.

    Prof Bruce Neal 
    Professor of Medicine at UNSW Sydney and Executive Director of The George Institute Australia
    Bruce has broad-based clinical and public health research expertise with a strong focus on the translation of research findings into enhanced care and better policies. He has particular experience in the fields of high blood pressure and diabetes and has played lead roles in multiple large-scale clinical trials. He has helped to design the Join Us research register for Australia with a view to transforming community engagement in medical research. 

    Prof Jason Pole
    Jason D. Pole is a Professor in the Centre for Health Services Research (CHSR) The University of Queensland
    Jason has a background in epidemiology and health services research with an emphasis in the use of real-world data. Jason is a member of the Queensland Digital Health Centre where he works with a multi-disciplinary team leading and collaborating on a variety of projects. These include analytics for clinical decisions support tools, methods for using real-world data to identify clinical trial participants and semi-autonomous analytic methods for text-based data arising from hospital-based incident reporting systems and patient reported experience and outcome measures. Jason sits on DSMBs for clinical trials largely in the area of paediatric oncology and additionally sits on The Australasian Kidney Trials Network (AKTN) Methodology Working Group.

    Nicole Scholes-Robertson
    Nicole Scholes-Roberston, BAppSci (Physiotherapy) is a physiotherapist, a post-doctoral research Fellow at The University of Sydney and a Patient Partner at the Centre for Kidney Research (CKR), with lived experience of peritoneal dialysis and kidney transplantation.
    Nicole's research focus is on rural/remote patient access to kidney replacement therapy. Her role as patient partner/consumer within the kidney research area is extensive with roles including co-chair Beat-CKD Consumer advisory board, consumer member of the Australasian Kidney Trials network (AKTN) scientific committee, and she is a CI on the NHMRC funded M-FIT, BEAT-BK and CRE-PACT, and a member SONG-GN steering committee. Nicole is also Consumer Editor for Cochrane Kidney and Transplant.

    

    Dr Stefan Harrer 
    Stefan joined IBM Research at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, New York, in 2008 where he worked together with Roche 454 on novel DNA-sequencing technologies. In 2015 he founded the Brain-Inspired Computing Research Program of IBM Research Australia. As IBM Senior Technical Staff Member, Global Lead of Epilepsy Research, and Member of the Neuroethics Working Group of the SVP and Director of IBM Research, he co-developed IBM’s global technology and ethics strategy in Health AI and Neurotech. In 2021 Stefan was appointed Chief Innovation Officer of Digital Health CRC Ltd., a $200M incubator and investor in digital health innovation. He is responsible for pre-seed incubation strategy, data & AI deep tech due diligence as well as commercial impact measurement & management due diligence. Stefan holds 71 granted patents in AI, bionanotech and medtech, a PhD in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from the Technical University Munich (Munich and Cambridge, MA, USA), and an Honours Master’s Degree in Technology Management from the Centre for Digital Technology and Management (Munich and Berkeley, CA, USA).


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