Forging a flourishing future in healthcare

A message from Executive Dean of Health Sciences Professor Suzanne Chambers:

Launched last week, the university’s Vision 2033 places the human person and its flourishing at the core of all that we do, and the Faculty of Health Sciences has this at its heart.

Visiting the University of Cambridge recently, I was reminded that at ACU we are part of a global network of like-minded institutions, that carry social responsibility for learning, knowledge creation, and imagining and creating the future. As a leading Catholic university, our vision is to enable flourishing lives, foster thriving communities and forge an ethical future where we can make a difference in our own way.

In this regard, the Faculty’s researchers continue to be recognised for research excellence that is clearly focussed on improving health outcomes.

Professor Sandy Middleton and her team make a difference by translating observations from the lab into interventions with real life impact. Their life-changing Quality in Acute Stroke Care Research Program (QASC) implementing the Fever, Sugar, Swallow Protocols to manage post-stroke complications is saving lives and transforming stroke patient care around the world. Professor Middleton and her team won the prestigious 2023 Translation Award at the Australian Cardiovascular Alliance (ACvA) Excellence in Cardiovascular Research Awards announced 11 February.

Professor Middleton is also striving to make a difference to the lives of children presenting to regional and rural hospitals with bronchiolitis and is a chief investigator on a newly awarded $5M NHMRC Medical Research Frontier Research grant.

Fresh faces and furthering our footprint
This month the Nursing Research Institute welcomed Dr Nicola Straiton as the new Senior Research Fellow in cardiovascular care. Dr Straiton was awarded a highly competitive early mid-career researcher grant to focus on patient care after heart valve replacement and the impact of evidence-based frailty management approaches on patient outcomes.

This year we have welcomed our first cohort of Bachelor of Occupational Therapy students to the Ballarat campus, and work is underway to introduce the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy and Bachelor of Speech Pathology to Canberra in 2025, extending our footprint from metropolitan areas and helping to foster thriving health communities there.

With a new academic year commencing a fortnight ago, I think I speak on behalf of all my colleagues when I say how excited I am to welcome a new cohort of students to ACU to begin their journey in education.

With more than 6,000 new students enrolled in health sciences with strong enrolments across a range of disciplines, from psychology, to clinical nursing, to leadership and management and social work at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, the faculty continues to enable flourishing lives and to foster thriving communities through its training for the future health workforce.

And thus, we embrace Vision 2033 in all that we do.

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