Staff member in Cath Lab in scrubsStaff in scrubs in the Cath LabStaff in scrubs in the Cath Lab


Respiratory and Sleep Medicine team receive several prestigious awards

21 July 2021

Austin Health’s Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine have recently received several prestigious awards from the Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ), the Australian and New Zealand Society for Respiratory Science (ANZSRS) and the Australia Pacific Society for Respirology (APSR).

Director of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine, Professor Christine McDonald AM, received one of TSANZ’s highest honours as joint recipient of the 50th Anniversary Medal, recognising outstanding contributions to respiratory education and training. 

“I was delighted to be recognised for my impact on education and training in respiratory medicine in Australia, through a range of roles,” said Professor McDonald.

“None is more important than my role in educating and advocating for patients and consumers. As a clinician researcher it’s also very exciting to see staff in our Department dedicating themselves to research that will hopefully improve the lives of our current and future patients, and to receive peer recognition at our Society’s annual meeting and elsewhere.’​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Head Respiratory and Sleep Scientist, Tom Churchward, says this is well-deserved recognition for Professor McDonald’s long-term commitment to education, training and mentoring.

“The numerous awards received by other members of our Respiratory and Sleep Medicine Department and the Institute for Breathing and Sleep reflect the culture of excellence that Professor McDonald has built at Austin Health,” said Tom.  

Nicole, Dave and Lassy

Dr Nicole Sheers, VRSS Physiotherapist, received TSANZ's Ann Woolcock New Investigator Award which recognises early researchers and is awarded to the best conference abstract for the highest scientific quality and impact.

“It was wonderful to receive this recognition from the Society of my 5-year research journey performing the largest randomised controlled trial of its type in the world,” said Nicole.

“This work to improve treatment for patients with respiratory disorders relating to neuromuscular disease was important. I am particularly proud of the high level of participant engagement with this project, without whom this award would not have been possible."

Danny Brazzale, Senior Respiratory Scientist, was awarded best oral presentation at the ANZSRS meeting, where he presented on lung function abnormalities following recovery from COVID-19 infection.

“I was really pleased to be receive this award recognising the importance of this research conducted here at Austin Health,” said Danny.

Institute for Breathing and Sleep (IBAS) post-doctorate and Respiratory and Sleep Physician, Dr Yet Khor, was recognised by TSANZ, as well as the American Thoracic Society and the Asian Pacific Society of Respirology for her work in interstitial lung disease.

“My vision is to improve health outcomes of people with interstitial lung disease through evidence-based comprehensive patient care.

“This is a group of chronic lung-scarring conditions, with no current cure and little in the way of treatment to improve how people feel or function. These awards support my work focusing on the evaluation and management of nocturnal hypoxaemia (low oxygen levels) and sleep apnoea for better sleep health in this population,” said Dr Khor.

Thoracic Society of Australia and New Zealand (TSANZ) award recipients:

  • Professor Christine McDonald, Director, Respiratory and Sleep Medicine - Joint recipient of the 50th Anniversary Medal for Education and Training
  • Professor Anne Holland, IBAS Fellow - Society Medal
  • Dr Nicole Sheers, VRSS Physiotherapist - The Ann Woolcock New Investigator Award
  • Dr Mariana Hoffman Barbosa, IBAS - Janet Elder Travel Award - Early Career
  • Dr Yet Khor, Respiratory and Sleep Physician - The PACT Grant-in-Aid for investigator-led pulmonary fibrosis research; APSR/ATS best abstract from the Asia Pacific region

Australian and New Zealand Society for Respiratory Science (ANZSRS) award recipients:

  • Danny Brazzale, Senior Respiratory Scientist - Best Oral Presentation Award
  • Peter Rochford, recently retired Head Scientist - Life membership of ANZSRS