A proud Novocastrian, Mr Don Barker, has generously funded two PhD scholarships to provide career opportunities for two Hunter researchers working on projects that will improve the health of local people.
The University of Newcastle Foundation in conjunction with the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) last night awarded two $14,000 Barker Scholarships to clinical researchers Vanessa McDonald and Isobel Hubbard.
"Don Barker is a longstanding supporter of the University of Newcastle and is passionate about everything related to Newcastle. These scholarships will enable Hunter researchers to establish their careers locally," said Dr Bernie Curran, Executive Officer of the University of Newcastle Foundation.
Ms McDonald, a clinical nurse consultant at Hunter New England Health, is studying Obstructive Airways Diseases such as Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder in older people. Ms McDonald is in her second year of a PhD in The Faculty of Health at the University of Newcastle and works in collaboration with HMRI's Viruses, Infections/Immunity, Vaccines and Asthma (VIVA) Research Program.
"This funding will enable me to pursue my clinical research which aims to improve the management and quality of life of older people with chronic airways diseases, and to present my research at an international meeting of the European Respiratory Society. We will conduct a trial of two different management approaches. This type of research bridges the gap between laboratory based research and patient care," said Ms McDonald.
Ms Hubbard, an occupational therapist with Hunter New England Health and a lecturer in Stroke at the University of Newcastle, is investigating changes in the brain after Stroke using functional magnetic resonance imaging technology. Her PhD project will compare two rehabilitation approaches, measuring the effectiveness of each in relation to the recovery of the damaged brain tissue after a Stroke. Ms Hubbard works in collaboration with HMRI's Brain and Mental Health Research Program.
"We have a lot to learn about the effectiveness of rehabilitation, even three years after a Stroke. In Australia, Stroke is the greatest contributor to adult disability, so it is crucial that we look at ways to help people regain and maintain their ability to participate in every day life," said Ms Hubbard.
"We are lucky to have many talented clinical researchers in the Hunter who are focussed on delivering the very best health care to their patients," said Professor Maree Gleeson, HMRI Director.
HMRI is a partnership between the University of Newcastle, Hunter New England Health and the community.
Vanessa McDonald and Isobel Hubbard are available for interview.