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The Pitch winners — September 2022

Three innovative projects share more than $100,000 in funding.

Winners of ‘The Pitch’ stand holding a giant cheque reading: ‘cool helmets for happy heads’, ‘fifty thousand dollars’
SydneyConnect Image: Royal Prince Alfred Hospital's Head of Orthotics Alan Miller and his team, winners of The Pitch in September 2022

More than $100,000 in funding was shared among the latest winners of The Pitch, a Sydney Local Health District staff innovation challenge to improve patient care.

The Head of RPA’s Department of Orthotics Alan Miller and his team won $50,000 for his pitch ‘COOL Helmets for Happy Heads.’

This innovation will design and manufacture new types of helmets for patients who require post-operative head protection for craniectomy, using artificial intelligence and state-of-the-art 3D printing.

“It’s going to have a huge impact on our patients' lives. The majority of people within this patient group are due to traumatic brain injury and are going through what is sure to be the most traumatic experience of their life,” Alan said.

The judges commented that the project has the potential to make a huge difference to a patient’s experience.

The Research Coordinator at the District’s Population Health Research and Evaluation Hub Erin Kerr won $43,100 for her pitch, ‘Co-designing and co-facilitating online early childhood nutrition workshops for culturally and linguistically diverse families.’

Under the project, the District’s Healthy Beginnings and Connecting the Dots teams will partner with the Cultural Support Program to adapt, develop, and translate parenting workshops with Arabic and Mongolian communities and co-facilitate workshops with cultural support workers.

“This money will help our project reach more families from culturally and linguistically diverse [backgrounds], empower these families and make them feel more trust in the services we provide and connect them to community services,” Erin said.

And, the Dietetics Manager at the Nutrition and Dietetics Department at Balmain Hospital, Andrea Alano, won $9,240 for her pitch ‘Don’t blame it on the boogie: meaningful music to improve the quality of life of patients with dementia and their carers.’

The project aims to alleviate the burden of behavioural and psychological symptoms of dementia on patients, families,carers and staff through music therapy, using the music app “Vera” which provides music that is personally significant and patient-centred, making it more meaningful and effective.

“A huge number of our patients at Balmain [Hospital] live with dementia. This will help them feel better, they will be calmer and hopefully they can engage in more therapy,” Andrea said.

The judging panel comprised the District’s Chief Executive Dr Teresa Anderson, the District’s Executive Director of Operations Dr Genevieve Wallace, the head of RPA’s Anaesthetics Department Dr Michael Paleologos, RPA Virtual Hospital’s General Manager Miranda and RPA Consumer and Community Advisory Network member Christa Hann.

Since The Pitch started 2014, the District has received almost 250 entries from across 50-plus departments. More than $1.6 million dollars has been provided to successful applicants, helping them to bring their innovative ideas to life.