Supporting research that builds better healthcare: CALHN’s 2023 Research Grants

Seven research teams from the Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) have been awarded $950,000 in grants to continue their hospital-based projects aimed at improving healthcare services.

The 2023 Research Grants were announced in October during CALHN Research Week, which includes RAHsearch and The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Research Expo.

Dr Liz Sutton is Director of Research at CALHN.

“Research underpins everything we do here at CALHN, and we are committed to continuing to push the boundaries and explore new possibilities in health services,” said Dr Sutton.


“I congratulate all of our researchers who received an award or grant; all of us at CALHN are very proud to have such talented people working with us.”

Grants were awarded in three categories: John Beltrame CEO Innovation Award, CEO Clinical Rapid Implementation Project Scheme (CRIPS) and Allied Health Pharmacy and Nursing.

With the new research commencing in 2024, Liz said the grants will help deliver long term benefits for all South Australians.

“These research projects are based on a clinical ‘hunch’ so we can investigate something new that will benefit our patients,” said Dr Sutton.


“The 2023 Research Grants funding enables projects to get started with a shorter lead-in time than traditional research funding frameworks.”

The grants were supported by the Health Services Charitable Gift Board, using funds from generous Royal Adelaide Hospital donors.

Applying intelligence to improve patient care

The John Beltrame CEO Innovation Award is named to honour Prof John Beltrame, who in 2023 stepped down from his role as CALHN’s Director of Research.

“John’s impact on CALHN research is immense, and spans decades,” said Dr Sutton.


“Renaming the CEO Innovation Award to become the John Beltrame CEO Innovation Award honours his incredible work advancing research for our network and for the community.”

The recipient of the inaugural John Beltrame CEO Innovation Award is general medicine consultant physician Dr Danny Liew, for the research project Health Intelligence to inform value-based care.

The project is part of a larger initiative at the RAH, the Adelaide EpiCentre (Centre of Clinical Epidemiology), which will be a platform to provide support for and training in clinical and applied research. The work will assist CALHN in applying health intelligence to inform quality, safety and efficiency of care for patients.

CALHN’s Dr Rebecca Munt and Prof Anne Burke are co-investigators on the project.

Enhancing recovery for intensive care survivors

CALHN Senior Dietician A/Prof Lee-anne Chapple has been awarded CRIPS funding for the project Enhancing recovery for intensive care survivors through an allied health-led follow-up clinic.

The research aims to examine whether allied health follow-up clinics used by patients after they are discharged from hospital can improve post-intensive care syndrome (PICS). PICS is characterised by patients experiencing persistent cognitive, physical and psychological impacts after surviving critical illness or trauma.

CALHN’s A/Prof Mark Plummer, Prof Anne Burke, Simone Dafoe, Matthew Summers and Brianna McCade are co-investigators on the project.


Supporting patients with severe obesity

CALHN physician and endocrinologist Dr Emily Meyer has been awarded CRIPS funding for the project Development and implementation of a digital tool for the personalised weight loss management within the Comprehensive Metabolic Care Clinic (CMCC).

The CMCC provides services to Royal Adelaide Hospital patients who require tailored healthcare for severe obesity. Applied by CMCC nurse consultants, the new research aims to trial a new digital tool and compare it against standard care for patient. The trial will assess capacity, efficacy and safety of the tool, as well as costs and patient reported outcomes.

CALHN’s Prof Gary Wittert, Ms Katie Belobrajdic, Ms Melani Mallee, A/Prof Adam Nelson, Dr Shalvin Prasad, A/Prof David Jesudason and Prof Leonie Heilbronn are co-investigators on the project.


Early detection of clinical deterioration

CALHN Consultant and RAH Intensive Care and Medical Lead A/Prof Arthas Flabouris has been awarded CRIPS funding for the project Wearable continuous physiological monitoring and early intervention to detect and prevent acute clinical deterioration.

Wireless physiological monitoring (wearables) technology is accurate, and capable of capturing patient vital signs and providing alerts warning of clinical deterioration. This research will examine if wearable continuous physiological monitoring can detect and prevent acute clinical deterioration earlier than current intermittent vital sign monitoring.

CALHN’s Dr Alice O’Connell, Lisa Thiele, A/Prof Gary O’Callaghan, A/Prof Krishnaswamy Sundararajan and Dr Toby Gilbert are co-investigators on the project.


Improving health after heart attack

CALHN’s Cardiac Quality Assessment Officer Dr Clementine Labrosciano has been awarded CRIPS funding for the project Developing a patient centred toolkit to reduce representations and improve the discharge process for patients after a heart attack.

The research aims to develop a customised toolkit for heart attack patients, supporting them through their transition from inpatient to outpatient care. The tool will be designed to assist in reducing risk factors, improving health literacy and reducing readmission.

CALHN’s A/Prof Chris Zeitz, A/Prof Adam Nelson, A/Prof Rosanna Tavella, A/Prof Matthew Worthley and Lyn Chan are co-investigators on the project.

Better preparation for stem cell transplant

CALHN exercise physiologist Karlee Naumann has been awarded Allied Health Pharmacy and Nursing funding for the project Investigating the effect of multidisciplinary prehabilitation on deconditioning, hospital-acquired complications and length of stay in patients offered haematopoietic allogenic stem cell transplant: a feasibility trial.

The research aims to develop and pilot a prehab program for patients receiving stem cell transplants at the RAH, with an emphasis on safety and feasibility. Prehab, short for multi-disciplinary prehabilitation, is an approach that ensures patients are prepared physically and psychologically for medical procedures.

CALHN’s Morgan Atkinson, Samuel Bushaway, Swapna Deepak, Amie Hartland, Vanessa Kay, Peter Konstantopoulos, Vanessa Pallotta, Annabel Tolfts, Alison Virieux, Michelle Wall and Dr Sarah Wilksch are co-investigators on the project.


Optimal nutrition for critically ill patients

CALHN critical care dietician Ms Cait Davis has been awarded Allied Health Pharmacy and Nursing funding for the project Nutrition practices in the long-stay critically ill patient.

The research aims to study nutrition in long-stay critically ill adult patients, looking at how protein and other kinds of nutrition are provided to patients and what impact nutrition has on muscle mass, recovery and physical wellbeing after intensive care.

CALHN’s A/Prof Lee-anne Chapple, Ms Emma Chittleborough, A/Prof Benjamin Reddi and Prof Sandra Peake are co-investigators on the project.