Menzies secures critical funding to improve heart health

The quality of research at Menzies has again been recognised, this time through the Heart Foundation Research Program Awards.

Announced this week, the new suite of awards seek to strategically drive cardiovascular research and facilitate high quality research into the causes, diagnosis, treatment, management and prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Menzies senior research fellow, Dr Julie Brimblecombe has been awarded a Future Leader Fellowship for her project aiming to improve nutrition in remote communities, while Royal Darwin Hospital’s Dr Marcus Ilton was awarded a Focus Grant, in partnership with Menzies, for a study mapping how patients with heart failure engage with health services.

Menzies Director, Professor Alan Cass said the newly announced grants were a great opportunity to build upon Menzies’ collaborative research capacity.

“The synergies which exist between Menzies and the Heart Foundation, and our shared collaborative approach to working with government, health services and communities, stand us in good stead to undertake critical research to improve heart health,” Prof Cass said.

Chief Executive Officer, Heart Foundation NT, Ms Dorothy Morrison congratulated Dr Brimblecombe and Dr Ilton on securing their respective fellowships as part of this highly competitive round of awards.

“The Heart Foundation actively seeks opportunities with government, corporate, education and research institutions and other charities to maximise our opportunities to fund outstanding research,” she said.

“We’re extremely excited to follow the progress and outcomes of this collection of high quality cardiovascular research.”

A brief background of Dr Brimblecombe and Dr Ilton’s research projects are below.

To see the full list of award recipients visit the Heart Foundation website.

‘Impact of a price discount on food spending and cardiovascular health in remote Aboriginal Australia’: Dr Julie Brimblecombe 

This project aims to trial the effect of a 20 per cent price discount, with and without an in-store nutrition education strategy, on fruit and vegetables, water and diet drink purchasing in stores in remote Aboriginal Australia.

The effect of the intervention on community level cardiovascular health will be examined using routinely collected clinic data available through Adult Well Person Health Checks and the ABCD National Research Partnership for the 20 intervention communities and control communities matched by size and remoteness.

This work will provide evidence on the role of price discounts in nutrition and health improvement and determine if the expected change in diet can be detected in routinely collected available cardiovascular health data.

‘Improving the patient journey for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with heart disease’: Dr Marcus Ilton

A study to determine the effectiveness of implementing an established patient journey mapping tool to deliver better care and to improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians presenting with acute heart failure (AHF) in the Northern Territory.

During recent workshops in Darwin, Alice Springs and Adelaide, the tools were introduced and used to map complex journeys for Indigenous cardiac patient across multiple health care sites. Health professionals found the mapping process helpful in identifying specific communication and coordination gaps, from first presentation to cardiac rehabilitation.

Working closely with cardiac care coordinators and services in the Northern Territory, the mapping process will be used to identify existing gaps and enablers, and strategies to improve continuity of care. This will assist directly with service planning and priority setting within and across the Northern Territory and South Australia.