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Five winners for the September Pitch

Generous support given from RPA and Concord Hospital General Managers.

Four women holding a giant cheque
SydneyConnect Image: The Pitch competitors win $15,000 to engage young people with a role-playing game program for mental health recovery

From therapeutic Dragon Taming for mental health to Innovative Bronchosopic Lung Biopsy Procedures, this round of The Pitch was an exciting watch.

Judges awarded all five finalists funding to explore solutions to address very different public health concerns.

Dr Kim Hill, one of six judges on the panel, could not hide her excitement to support each presenter.

“The panel is just overwhelmed by what we saw today, and the reality is any one of these innovations would make a great difference to Sydney Local Health District and its patients.”

The Pitch is Sydney Local Health District’s quarterly innovation challenge. Started in August 2014, the Pitch has had over 300 entries and has awarded $1.9 million in funding.

Terry Rae, Early Intervention Clinical Psychologist and colleague Abigail Palmer from Croydon and Canterbury Mental Health Services, secured $15,000 for their quest to engage young people by introducing a Therapeutic Dragon Taming role-playing game program for mental health recovery.

Associate Professor Sarah Aitken and her team of anaesthetic and surgical junior medical officers from Concord Hospital were awarded $9,000 for a suite of five co-designed patient support videos that answer questions about surgery.

‘We are YOUR Surgical Team’ will provide a digital introduction for patients on their surgical journey, aiming to  help ease anxiety and boost the overall quality of care.

Kristine Millar, Clinical Nurse Consultant, and Dr Peter Bradhurst from RPA’s Clinical Immunology and Allergy Department received $10,000 for “Penicill-IN and Penicill-out!”, an innovation that addresses antibiotic allergy through penicillin.

De-labelling allergy status will prevent the use of inappropriate or less effective antibiotics, reduce length ofhospital stays and prevent complications and risk of antimicrobial resistance. The program will also include education for clinicians and ongoing engagement with stakeholders.

Two finalists received additional funding from the exceptional support from hospital general managers.

Professor Matthew Peters, Head of Respiratory Medicine at Concord Hospital, received $20,000 from the Pitch and an additional $70,000 from Concord Hospital to researchearly lung screening using advanced bronchoscopic biopsy procedures to improve cancer detection and treatment.

“We’re really happy for the patients who are going to benefit, and we think this is really important, people know what they’ve got and what they haven’t got, do it accurately and safely, and they push the boundaries of patient care,” he said.

Dr Luke Tran and his ophthalmology colleagues, Dr Athena Roufas and Dr Jay Yohendran, also secured $5,000 for the first ever ophthalmology pitch, and an additional support of $35,000 from Kiel Harvey, RPA General Manager.

Their innovation uses Corneal Collagen Crosslinking to strengthen the molecular bonds between the corneal collagen, effectively halting the progression of keratoconus disease.

Judges included Dr Teresa Anderson AM, District Chief Executive, Lou-Anne Blunden, District Executive Director Clinical Services Integration and Population Health, Associate Professor Ghauri Aggarwal, Head of Concord Centre for Palliative Care and District Deputy Clinical Director Cancer Services and Palliative Care, Dr Kim Hill, District Executive Clinical Advisor, Emily Dargan, Digital Health & Innovation A/Director Clinical Information Systems, and Lyn White, Consumer Representative from the Balmain Hospital Consumer Advisory Committee.

View The Pitch honour roll.