Nurturing the researchers of tomorrow

One woman and five men standing in a building lobby
Dr Emma Hamilton and Professor Bu Yeap with student researchers
September 5, 2019

A study led by medical students on treatment options for diabetic foot ulcers is strengthening South Metropolitan Health Service’s reputation for supporting up-and-coming researchers.

The incidence of diabetes and its healthcare burden is considerable, with diabetic foot ulcers accounting for more hospitalisations than any diabetic complication. Despite best practice management, many patients still experience physical, psychological, and financial health outcomes.

The study was proposed by The University of Western Australia medical students Marcel Nejatian, Blake Sanchez  and Salar Sobhi, and runs in parallel with clinical care provided by the Fiona Stanley Hospital Multidisciplinary Diabetic Foot Ulcer Team. The team won the Excellence in Clinical Care category at the inaugural 2019 South Metropolitan Health Service Excellence Awards for its outstanding delivery of safe, high quality clinical care.

This was our first experience designing and conducting a research project and at the start the whole process seemed overwhelming,”Marcel Nejatian said.

“The easily accessible, one-on-one support provided by the SMHS Human Research Ethics Committee team streamlined the entire process, especially the ethics approval and governance processes.”

Consultant endocrinologist Professor Bu Yeap supervised the study and connected the medical students with other research collaborators.

“This study, led by medical students and supported by both hospital and university staff from multiple disciplines, highlights the role of research in improving patient care,” Professor Yeap said.

“It also firmly cements Fiona Stanley Hospital as a centre of excellence for medical research,” he said.

The study has been an invaluable opportunity for the students to design, conduct and deliver high quality research while building relationships with new colleagues and future mentors.

“We’ve networked with numerous medical and allied health staff from different specialties, developed project management skills and improved our patient communication and clinical skills,” Marcel said.

“Given our journey, we recommend anyone looking at conducting high quality research should consider SMHS – their support of the research environment is exceptional.”

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