Medical students showcase research projects

Document Type

Media Release

Publication Date

Spring 26-10-2011

Publisher Name

The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus

Publication Place



The serotonergic system1 and hypertension, Dupuytren’s disease2 and the antibiotic treatment of head and neck infection were just some of the research projects presented by fourth year Medicine students and PHD candidates at the inaugural Notre Dame Medical Student Showcase on the Fremantle Campus.

Initiated by Fremantle School of Medicine Associate Dean (Preclinical), Professor Kathryn Hird, the Showcase provided final year Medicine students with a forum to present their findings to medical experts, academics, fellow students and the general public.

The inspiration for the event stemmed from the need for all medical students to undertake clinical audit projects in their chosen fields before graduating combined with requisite presentations by Honours students.

“We were seeking the students’ clarity in communicating medical information accurately and whether or not they understood the concepts in their presentations.” Professor Hird said.

The Showcase was divided into three sections – Personal and Professional Development (PPD) Case Studies; Clinical Audit Finalist Presentations and Honours Presentations – with all students presenting for 10 minutes, then responding to audience questions.

PPD presentations covered topics related to ethical, medico-legal, clinical governance and personal development areas.

“Finalists were expected to demonstrate an identification of a PPD issue, show strong evidence of reflective practice and be able to effectively present their findings,” said Associate Professor Chris Skinner, Chair of Personal and Professional Development.

Glen Meggs’ presentation - Four hour rule: For whom does it serve - was awarded the first prize in the PPD category. The prize was sponsored by the Medical Defence Association.

Seven students presented six clinical audits during the Clinical Audit Prize session of the Showcase.

Presentations were judged by an independent panel representing the Health Consumers’ Association, the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine and the Activity Performance and Quality Division of the Department of Health WA.

Christopher Donohue and David Edwardes’ presentation on ‘Diabetes management in an outer urban general practice’ won over the judges to take first prize for that category.

Both students have an invaluable opportunity to work with an editor from the Canadian medical journal Open Medicine to develop their clinical audit report for publication and attend editorial meetings with its journalists.

“Clinical audit topics ranged from timeliness of treatment for patients having a heart attack to the prevention of blood clots after hip surgery,” explains Professor Donna Mak, Chair of Population and Preventative Health.

“The presentations demonstrated the valuable contribution of Notre Dame medical students’ audits to the health services that hosted their audits.”

Professor Hird, who worked with the six Honours students on their presentations, said the diversity of topics covered reflected the many skills all Medicine students needed to acquire before entering the workforce.

“The students have to do a lot of research; they have to communicate with stakeholders and they have to work with consultants (both verbally and written) in order to get a deep understanding of their topic,” Professor Hird said.

“I wanted the Honours students to engage in clinical research rather than basic science research that is generally undertaken in a laboratory.

“The idea was to differentiate the Honours program at Notre Dame’s School of Medicine from the several Honours programs done at other medical schools because there are many issues in the application of clinical practice that need to be researched and documented.” 1 The serotonin system has an important role in a person’s well-being or happiness. 2 The abnormal thickening of the tissue beneath the skin, usually of the palm. MEDIA CONTACT: Michelle Ebbs, Tel (08) 9433 0569, Mob 0408 959 138 Leigh Dawson, Tel (08) 9433 0569, Mob 0405 441 093