APPRISE Research Fellow wins funds to drive pandemic infection control initiatives

December 9, 2019

After the recent award of an APPRISE Research Fellowship, Dr Mary Wyer has added to her haul with more funds to expand her research preparing Australia’s hospitals for infectious disease outbreaks.

Marie Bashir Institute awarded Dr Wyer $20,000 of seed funding for her project to develop and evaluate a national training and research strategy for infection prevention and control.

A second award of $15,000 was for the Cardinal Health Infection Control Scholarship 2019, which will drive a project applying video-reflexive methods to examine and improve how clinicians manage and care for potentially infectious patients in an infectious diseases unit.

“The projects are mentored by Professor Lyn Gilbert and will help to prepare Australia for infectious outbreaks at two levels. A high-level approach will create a national training strategy while the clinic-level approach will continue fine-tuning our training tool,” she says.

“The first project aims to collaboratively develop and evaluate core components of high-level infection control and training methods using video-reflexive and qualitative research methods.

“It starts with a stocktake across Australia of trainers and skilled frontline staff who can respond to new outbreaks. We will then establish a collaborative network of these people so they can share information and respond rapidly to an infectious emergency with the necessary training for staff anywhere in Australia.”

Dr Wyer says the second project is more hands-on and will continue her work developing and evaluating appropriate training tools for different groups of hospital staff that can be used during all outbreaks, including exotic or emerging infectious diseases.

The video-based training tool is designed to build a high standard of hospital infection prevention to protect workers, patients and the community from infections, especially in the early stages of an outbreak, when we may not have all the information about the pathogen.

Dr Wyer recently presented her work at the 8th International ACIPC Conference where judges gave her Best Poster Award for her presentation: Evaluating video-reflexive methods to improve infection prevention and use of personal protective equipment in Australian hospitals.

Dr Mary Wyer (left) and APPRISE PhD Scholar Ruth Barratt (right), at the 8th International Australasian College of Infection Prevention and Control Conference in November 2019