Early-career researchers awarded for contributions to newborn medicine

The Royal Women's Hospital Dr Kate Hodgson and Murdoch Children's Research Institute (MCRI) Ms Free Coulston have been recognised for their contributions to newborn medicine research.  

The MCRI-led Centre for Research Excellence (CRE) in Newborn Medicine symposium included presentations from 11 students on research aimed at improving the health outcomes of newborn babies and their families. 

Dr Hodgson received the People's Choice Award for a presentation on her trial that aims to improve the safety and success of intubation, a procedure that's used when newborn babies need help with their breathing.   

The SHINE (Stabilisation with nasal High flow during Intubation of NEonates) trial is studying a new method to enable paediatricians to better treat newborns with breathing difficulties.  

Ms Coulston was also recognised for developing a physical activity intervention for preschool children who were born extremely preterm, receiving the People's Choice runner-up prize for her presentation.  

She said children who were born premature had decreased physical activity levels and an increased risk of motor, cognitive and behavioural impairments at preschool age, compared with their full-term born peers.  

Her project CirqAll, provides preschool circus activities for those born premature and aims to bridge the physical activity gap. Co-design in healthcare involves the equal partnership of individuals who work within the system (healthcare staff), individuals who have lived experience of using the system (patients and their families/carers) and the 'designers' of the new system (researchers who are designing interventions to improve health systems). This process is used to achieve better outcomes for patients.  

 The CRE in Newborn Medicine brings together a team of world-renowned clinicians, researchers and students coming together to collaborate on newborn medicine.  

Globally, about 15 million babies are born prematurely each year, and present with a range of immediate and longer-term health needs that can significantly impact their future. 

The CRE in Newborn Medicine team is working to generate new knowledge in this field, and translate it into policy and practice, to improve the outcomes of preterm and sick infants.