Mater Researcher receives Research in Practice award

Wednesday 31 May 2017

Mater Researcher, Dr Shelley Wilkinson was successful in receiving the Research in Practice award at the recent Dietitians Association of Australia (DAA) national conference, held in Hobart at the end of May.

Dr Wilkinson is a Mater clinician and researcher and received the award for her work on Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) and disseminating best practice care to two regional centres, one in Cairns and one in Toowoomba.

Dr Wilkinson said that GDM occurs in more than 5 per cent of pregnancies and poorly controlled gestational diabetes can result in significant negative pregnancy, delivery and long-term outcomes.

“Medical Nutrition Therapy is the primary intervention strategy for GDM and guidelines recommend women receive this in an evidence-based appointment schedule, via set individual sessions with a dietitian,” Dr Wilkinson said.
“Unfortunately, this rarely happens in Australian centres.

“When the best practice model was delivered in Mater Mothers’ Hospitals we found this decreased patient’s need for medication and increased physical activity was noted.  There were also other positive effects such as improved diet quality, lower healthcare costs and increased satisfaction from patients and staff.”

After implementing the best practice model at Mater Mothers’ Hospitals, Dr Wilkinson’s project aimed to identify strategies to facilitate implementation at other centres.

“We worked closely with two different centres in Cairns and Toowoomba and we saw a significant increase in the proportion of women who received best practice care at both centres,” Dr Wilkinson said.

Dr Wilkinson is now working on a qualitative analysis of the sites’ experiences to further inform expanded engagement with dietitians across the state to adopt this approach.

Mater’s Director Nutrition and Dietetics Sally McCray was also announced as the winner of the DAA President’s Award for Innovation in 2017.

The President’s Award for Innovation acknowledges Ms McCray’s work on the implementation and measuring outcomes of Australia’s first hotel-style hospital room service at Mater’s South Brisbane campus.