Three Western Health doctors have been named as the 2023/2024 recipients of the prestigious Arlene Wake Chronic Disease Fellowships. Doctors Matthew Wei, Annabel Jones and Christopher Preston were each awarded $75,000 to fund their research projects at the Western Health 2023 Closing and Awards Ceremony on Friday 20 October. The fellowships aim to support and recognise medical research and innovation that tackles chronic diseases in the community. The fellowships were made possible by an anonymous donation and are named in honour of Dr. Arlene Wake, who previously served as Western Health's Chief Medical Office. Dr. Wake is a passionate supporter of Western Health and the people of the west, especially those impacted by some of Australia's highest rates of chronic disease.
Dr. Wei's project is a digital health solution that utilises AI to predict colorectal cancer patient response to chemotherapy. This data is used to create tailored treatment plans, allowing Western Health staff and University of Melbourne researchers to provide individualised care. The funding from the Fellowship will allow Dr. Wei to integrate his research into surgery, which he hopes will translate into real-world outcomes and benefits for patients.
Dr. Jones will use funding to further her research into gestational diabetes. Western Health has one of the largest maternity hospitals in Australia with high rates of gestational diabetes and endocrine disease, and 1 in 5 women based in Melbourne's west develop the condition. Due to the high case the rising prevalence of diabetes in our population, Dr. Jones' project is anticipated to provide insight into treatment options and prevention for the Western Health community.
Dr. Preston's research will trial the effectiveness of a tool called Future Health Today. Developed as a collaboration between University of Melbourne and Western Health, Future Health Today reviews patient records and identifies patients who require further testing, diagnosis or management. It is hoped that this will help GPs to more effectively diagnose chronic disease.
Prior recipients of the Arlene Wake Chronic Disease Fellowships are Endocrinologist Dr. Rinky Giri and Cardiology Research Fellow Dr. Neville Tan. Dr. Giri's research focuses on the development of an app to measure and manage gestational diabetes, and is a significant development in the improvement of maternal and foetal outcomes in our population. Dr. Tan's project is a research study aimed at understanding the risk factors involved with heart attacks. Dr. Tan notes the benefit the Arlene Wake Chronic Disease Fellowship has had on his study, saying, "The generous support has played a crucial role in my research. My hope is that our findings offer deeper insights
The projects recognised via the Arlene Wake Chronic Disease Fellowships and associated funding assist Western Health in shaping the health outcomes of our often vulnerable population, and are crucial in helping Western Health provide the best care for our patients. These fellowships address some of the most pressing health problems impacting our community in the west, and we are thankful to have funding that focuses on specialised issues. Other research grants, sponsored by BankVic, Plenary Health, Victoria University and Medtronic were also awarded as part of the Research Week Closing and Awards Ceremony. Community members can donate to Western Health Foundation and contribute to other research initiatives at Western Health here: https://give.whfoundation.org.au/donate-now