26th August 2022 South Regional Health Research Forum – Preliminary Program

Arguing the cost of meds for macular degeneration

funding for detecting diabetes in pregnancy in rural communities

Lishman Health Research welcomes additional funding for detecting diabetes in pregnancy in rural communities

In association with UWA’s Medical School and the Rural Clinical School of WA, Lishman Health Research is proud to initially support this study and congratulates the Collaborative team in gaining additional funding to develop this important work.

In our quest to promote health research resulting in significant health gains for people living in regional WA, a ground-breaking project set up to protect the health of Aboriginal mothers and their families in rural communities by optimising the screening and management of hyperglycaemia in pregnancy has received a $3.2 million funding boost from the Medical Research Future Fund.

Professor Julia Marley, a Senior Principal Research Fellow from The University of Western Australia’s Medical School and the Rural Clinical School of WA, is chief investigator of the ORCHID Study – a collaboration between the Rural Clinical School of WA, Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services and their member services, Diabetes WA and WA Country Health Services.

In welcoming the funding, Professor Marley said diabetes disproportionately impacts the lives of Aboriginal people, with predisposition beginning in pregnancy.

funding for detecting diabetes in pregnancy in rural communities

Image: From left, Emma Jamieson (Research Associate, RCSWA), Professor Julia Marley (Senior Principal Research Fellow, RCSWA), Janelle Dillon (Midwife and Diabetes educator at Bega Garnbirringu Health Service), Erica Spry (Research Fellow, RCSWA and Research Officer, KAMS).

“Hyperglycaemia or high blood glucose in pregnancy increases babies’ risk of birth defects and being born premature and by caesarean, as well as being born larger or smaller than optimum, with low blood glucose levels, and difficulty breathing,” Professor Marley said.

“Babies have increased risk for obesity and altered glucose metabolism in childhood and for future diabetes, and mothers have increased risk for future diabetes and cardiovascular disease – it is a significant and far- reaching health issue, particularly affecting remote and rural communities.”

Ms Erica Spry, Bardi Jawi traditional owner and co-chief investigator from the Kimberley Aboriginal Medical Services and the Rural Clinical School of WA, said the new funding would allow the project to implement, evaluate and refine the alternative screening that earlier phases of this study identified for detecting high blood glucose in pregnancy at regional, state and national levels.

“The ORCHID Study is to benefit all ethnicities, especially our Aboriginal women, it is important to acknowledge all the women across WA who have participated in the ORCHID Study, we thank you all,” Ms Spry said.

“With this grant, we will begin sharing  sugar management tools to help assist Aboriginal women with managing their high blood glucose levels in pregnancy and work on ways to support the family of the expecting mums. This funding will help us bring benefits back to our community members.

“As already proven effective, we’ll use three-way learning between Aboriginal community members, health providers and researchers to co-design and trial self-management strategies for high blood glucose in

“We want to help and assist empower Aboriginal women and their families to make positive lifestyle choices aimed at improving birth outcomes and health for subsequent pregnancies and prevent or delay progression to chronic disease.”

In congratulating Professor Marley and her team, UWA Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Anna Nowak said the funding would make a difference in tackling “an incredibly important health issue”.

“This project is improving and promoting the health and well-being for Aboriginal people in remote Australia through practical community and health services-based research and working hand in hand with local communities, work which is having tangible and significant outcomes,” Professor Nowak said.

The Medical Research Future Fund is a $20 billion long-term investment supporting Australian health and medical research. The fund aims to transform health and medical research and innovation to improve lives, build the economy and contribute to health system sustainability.

Rural adversity – Mental Health Impact of Covid-19 in South West WA

Just published.  With the support of Lishman this important paper describes results on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people with AOD use problems from a broader study exploring the experiences of AOD service users in WA’s South West (SW) region, and discusses the implications for community resilience and response to continuing rural adversity.

Click here to view the full paper

Just Published – Lishman Eye Injection treatment paper published by CSIRO Australian Health Review

Addressing eye injection treatment options for retinal vascular disease, this article by Lishman Board Member, Peter Heyworth, has just been accepted for publication in the Australian Health Review.  This article explores the the efficacy and cost of eye injection treatments Aflibercept (Eylea) and Bevacizumab (Avastin) and raises important questions regarding cost.

Bevacizumab for blinding eye disease – is it not time for the PBS to list for off-label use?

Peter Heyworth 0000-0003-2065-0775


Abstract Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) eye injections have become the most accepted and effective treatment modality for some of the leading causes of blindness. Aflibercept (Eylea) is now the most expensive item on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) with ranibizumab (Lucentis) eighth. In 2011 the pharmaceutical cost for these treatments stood at $237 million – now the figure is $665 million and climbing.1,2 Bevacizumab (Avastin) is part of the original molecular lineage for this group of biologic agents which were originally designed for cancer therapy. It has now been administered world-wide on an off-label basis and in very large numbers for retinal vascular disease. It has a proven efficacy and safety profile.3 Bevacizumab is thirty times cheaper than the Therapeutics Goods Association (TGA) approved alternatives and its use could reduce PBS costs by hundreds of millions of dollars. Should the TGA be the sole arbiter in the approval of drugs, or should alternative bodies have some say in the approval of off-label usage under such compelling circumstances? Legislation for this approach has been approved in France, the UK and Italy.4,5,6 Only by eliminating the legal risk to authorising bodies and physicians as well as removing the financial disincentive to the patient associated with off-label use, will drugs such as bevacizumab be more widely adopted.

AH21379  Accepted 16 December 2021

Read the full paper here

© CSIRO 2021Australian Health Review

End of Life Care – Best at Home or Residential Aged Care?

Lishman continues to support this important work and findings that impact our community and their end-of-life care.  These important findings can point the way to appropriate and supported at home care and make recommendations to General Practitioners caring for patients at the end of their life.

Comparison of end-of-life care for (1)

New WA Research projects funded

Lishman warmly congratulates the Western Australian recipients of innovative and translatable research projects.

Most recent NHMRC grants awarded for a variety of topics. Including childhood respiratory, genetics of rare diseases, mesothelioma, safer anaesthesia for children and mental health of gender diverse young people.

Investigator Grants

  • Prof Stephen Stick, UWA: Priority driven childhood respiratory research
  • Dr Gianina Ravenscroft, UWA: The missing genetics of rare diseases
  • Prof Anna Nowak, UWA: Leading the way in mesothelioma – a program of immunotherapy translational research nested within novel clinical trials
  • Prof Britta Regli-von Ungern-Sternberg, UWA: Safer anaesthesia for children – optimizing perioperative outcomes by advancing and translating knowledge into clinical practice using an international, interdisciplinary approach
  • A/Prof Ashleigh Lin, UWA: Improving the mental health of trans and gender diverse young people

Partnership Projects

  • A/Prof Julia Marley, UWA: Be Healthy: Implementing culturally secure programs for obesity and chronic disease prevention with remote Aboriginal communities and familie

Targeted Call for Research

  • A/Prof Glenn Arendts, UWA: A randomised trial of a Carer End of Life Planning Intervention (CELPI) in people dying with dementia

Mindful Margaret River

Please find community research translation activity from recent research


CAS MR Dec 2021 CAS MR Dec 2021

Welcome to new Board Member – Mr Wayne Rushton

It is with great pleasure that we welcome Mr. Wayne Rushton as our newest board member. Wayne brings a broad range of financial and strategic expertise that is of significant value to our board at a time when we are carving out a strong and sustainable future for Lishman Health Research.

Wayne Rushton is the Chief Financial Officer at Melchor and Firesafe.  Prior to taking up this role Wayne spent over 23 years working in a variety of practice roles including business/corporate advisory services, audit, corporate finance and restructuring, which included over 5 years as a partner at KPMG and Ferrier Hodgson.  Through his experience to date Wayne has developed a skill set that includes financial reporting/modelling, risk mitigation, working capital optimisation, strategic reviews and stakeholder management which has driven a passion for assisting businesses to pursue and optimise growth strategies and deliver outcomes that benefit all stakeholders.

South West Alcohol and Other Drug Paper

Professor Mathew Coleman recent publication in the Journal of Australian Psychiatry.