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Celebrating our NSW Health Award finalist

District collaboration recognised in NSW Health Awards. 

Five team members pose for a photo in their lab.
SydneyConnect Image: Associate Professor Vivien Chen and some of her team

The achievements of Sydney Local Health District staff have been recognised, with the naming of the finalists in the 2022 NSW Health Awards.

The District is a finalist in the Health Research and Innovation category, which focuses on collaboration between researchers, policy makers, service users, health managers and clinicians in research.

The Concord Hospital led Vaccine Induced Thrombosis and Thrombocytopenia (VITT) team has been recognised for its work developing a novel approach to diagnosing and managing a new disease which developed in some patients who had the AstraZeneca (AZ) COVID-19 vaccine.

The team worked to reduce mortality and morbidity of VITT in Australia before the AZ vaccine was in use in the country - empowering clinicians to recognise and treat VITT and mitigate vaccine hesitancy.

Data shows 13.6 million doses of AZ were administered in Australia, with 173 VITT cases reported and a mortality rate of five per cent compared with a mortality rate as high as 50 per cent in early reports from Europe.

District staff, led by Associate Professor Vivien Chen, a haematologist at Concord Hospital and the leader of the Platelet and Thrombosis Research Laboratory at the ANZAC Research Institute, worked alongside a team of specialists who included:

  • Dr Lisa Clarke, Haematologist, Lifeblood
  • Dr Christine Lee, Research Scientist, ANZAC Research Institute, Concord Hospital
  •  Eugenie Nuang, Laboratory Manager, Concord Diagnostic Pathology Unit
  • Dr Freda Passam, Department of Haematology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
  • Geoff Kershaw, Institute of Haematology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
  • Dr Timothy Brighton, Haemtologist, SEALS, Prince of Wales Hospital
  • Dr David Caparo, Diagnostic Scientist, Diagnostic Pathology Unit, Concord Hospital
  • Dr David Connor, Research Scientist, ANZAC Research Institute (seconded from Applied Medical Research, St Vincent's Hospital)
  • Dr. Brendan Beaton, Haematologist, Diagnostic Pathology Unit, Concord Hospital
  • Dr Emmanuel Favaloro, Senior Hospital Scientist, Institute of Clinical Pathology and Medical Research
  • Professor Christopher Ward, Haematologist, Royal North Shore Hospital
  • Dr Ibrahim Tohidi-Esfahani, PhD student, ANZAC Research Institute, Concord Hospital
  • Dr Danny Hsu, Haematologist, Liverpool Hospital
  • Dr Anoop Enjeti, Haematologist, Mater Calvary Hospital, Newcastle
  • Associate Professor Jennifer Curnow, Haematologist, Westmead Hospital.

"As a finalist, we're absolutely thrilled. So many people went above and beyond giving their time and expertise without any expectation of thanks. So, it's wonderful to have this recognition," Associate Professor Chen said.

The NSW Health Awards celebrate the excellence of nurses, clinicians, allied health professionals, support staff and researchers across all agencies and local health districts in NSW.

"I'd like to congratulate the VITT team as finalists in the 2022 NSW Health Awards. COVID-19 presented our District and NSW Health with so many unique challenges, requiring innovative responses," Dr Teresa Anderson, the District's Chief Executive, said.

"The recognition of the VITT team is a well-deserved acknowledgement of the extraordinary efforts of everyone involved in helping manage this novel disease," she said.

The NSW Health Awards winners will be announced at a ceremony on Thursday 1 December 2022.

View the complete list of 2022 NSW Health Awards finalists here.