Students in the Doctor of Medical Leadership are expected to complete a scholarly medical leadership project or thesis (approximately 40,000 words). The scholarly project should closely align with and be able to be conducted in the context of the candidate’s clinical work. Students should discuss the project plan with their Clinical Supervisor to determine its feasibility and value within the organisation.

Some of our Clinical Academic Advisors has provided examples of projects that they would be interested in supervising. These are listed below as exemplars, noting that candidates are encouraged to develop projects of mutual interest and benefit to themselves and their clinical workplace.

Professor Darrell Crawford

Understanding and optimising medical leadership training

He would be interested in supervising projects related to leadership, incorporating a study of the degree of leadership training for senior clinical staff in clinical facilities in Queensland, a review of those skills that are important for clinical leadership and then proposing optimum pathways and resources for those in senior clinical leadership roles.

Professor David McIntyre

Improving clinical care in diabetes and pregnancy complications

In the context of the Doctorate of Medical Leadership, he is interested in mentoring students with research interests covering implementation science in the fields of diabetes care and medical complications of pregnancy.

Professor Ian Yang

Using mobile technologies to enhance patient self-management in COPD

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the third leading cause of death world-wide, and causes an estimated 8.8 billion dollars of direct health care costs annually in Australia. Educational resources for patients with COPD are widely available in hard copy and online; however, patients do not always access these appropriately in a timely manner. This randomised controlled trial will address these gaps, by using mobile technologies to deliver self-management tools to patients, for enhanced management of COPD. The expected outcomes of this study will be improved self-management of COPD by patients, through application of mobile phone health technologies, compared to usual care.

Professor Mieke van Driel

Antimicrobial stewardship in primary care

Australia is among the highest users of antibiotics in the OECD. Annually, approximately half of all Australians receive at least one prescription for antibiotics with a total of nearly 30 million prescriptions per year. The Australian government acknowledges the importance of action to preserve antibiotics and antimicrobial stewardship (AMS) is high on the agenda. As the majority of antibiotics are prescribed in the community, a focus on primary care is indispensable.

This project builds on the international literature on AMS interventions in primary care and experiences from hospital practice to develop a comprehensive model that can be tested in the Australian primary care setting. It involves review of the literature and consultation with stakeholders and has the potential to significantly progress the agenda for wise use of antibiotics in the community.

Associate Professor Ruth Hubbard

Assessment of frailty in the multi-disciplinary geriatric context

It is evident to all health care providers, and to the wider community, that chronological age is not a good marker of an individual patient’s ‘biological age’ – which is impacted by their co-morbidities, functional status, mood, sensorium and cognition. Frailty status is intended to capture this holistic conceptualisation of health. Patients who are more frail have lower physiological reserve, a reduced ability to recover after insults and are at risk of adverse outcomes including increasing disability, need for nursing home placement and death. Geriatricians undertake comprehensive assessments of their patients and learn to how to estimate frailty status by gestalt but for other specialists, who have expertise in a single disease or surgical procedure, this can be more of a challenge. As a result, some older people are subject to futile and distressing treatment at the end of their lives while others are denied potentially-beneficial interventions based on their chronological age alone.

Professor Hubbard is  keen to supervise research projects which investigate whether measurement of frailty is useful for non-geriatricians. It has been established that patients who are frail have poorer outcomes, further work should focus on clinical utility. For example, the focus of one of the MPhil projects I am supervising is whether a frailty measure can inform decision making for nephrologists regarding dialysis initiation. Oncologists and anaesthetists are also motivated to learn whether frailty can stratify the risk status of their patients, enabling them to individualise care and achieve better outcomes. The perspectives of patients themselves, and their care-givers, are also currently under-explored. Yet consideration of patients’ goals of care should be integral to collaborative decision-making.

Dr Fabiola Zandjani-Martin

Infectious disease and sexual health

Fabiola has expertise in infectious diseases, sexual health, HIV, HTLV-1 and admission research. Projects ideas are ideally proposed by the candidate who has observed an unmet need or a knowledge vacuum in their area of work. She aims to guide the candidate in developing their research ideas and provide the necessary expertise, which would make their challenging journey as smooth and enjoyable as possible.