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CDU Menzies Medical Program

Public lectures

CDU Menzies Medical Program presents...
Public lecture

Past public lectures

Professor Ric Price: The history of Malaria and its global elimination: herbs, wars, dracula, syphilis, hippopottomuses and icebergs

24 February 2022 

Malaria is a deadly disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito. For millennia it has defined human evolution, impacting societies, wars, empires and our genetic make up. 

In the 1800s almost the entire world was endemic for malaria, the disease being one of the greatest causes of infant mortality.  The 20th Century was a turning point, with scientific discoveries leading to new drugs and better ways of controlling the disease. 

However, the parasite is resilient and fighting back, evolving to become resistant to our best drugs and evade detection.

Malaria remains endemic to 87 countries with almost 2.8 billion people at risk of infection, mostly in low income countries and poorly resourced communities.

Each year it makes >200 million patients sick and causes >400,000 deaths.  In 2007 this unacceptable burden triggered Bill and Melinda Gates to call for the elimination of the disease globally by 2050. 

In this talk Professor Ric Price, will present some of the key discoveries of the last 100 years, and the modern efforts and hurdles to the control and ultimate elimination of this deadly disease.

About Professor Ric Price

Professor Ric Price is a Professor of Global Health at the Menzies School of Health Research, Charles Darwin University, Australia and Professor of Tropical Medicine at the Centre of Tropical Medicine, University of Oxford, UK.

His translational research program focuses on improving the diagnosis and management of multidrug resistant P. falciparum and P. vivax infections.

He is recognised internationally as an authority on the burden of malaria and public health strategies for its elimination.

Ric Price lecture
Professor Di Stephens: Don’t panic it’s a disaster!

10 May 2022

The global incidence of disease outbreaks, natural disasters and manmade disasters has increased over recent years and health emergencies resulting from these incidents require a coordinated and planned response.

Darwin is home to the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (NCCTRC) which is the Australian Government’s health emergency response capability providing health emergency preparedness, planning, education and training and response through the deployment of the Australian Medical Assistance Teams (AUSMAT).

The NCCTRC provides clinical and academic leadership in health emergency disciplines such as trauma, communicable disease outbreaks and critical care.

It builds capacity and capability through strategic partnerships in the Indo Pacific region and prepares Australian clinicians for deployment and local emergencies, through its unique education and training programs.

In addition to ensuring Australia has the best readily deployable medical workforce, the NCCTRC also maintains a fully equipped rapidly deployable field hospital.

In this talk Professor Dianne Stephens OAM explores the history of the NCCTRC, the role of the NCCTRC in health emergency response and share some pictures and stories from the field.

About Professor Dianne Stephens

Professor Dianne Stephens OAM graduated MBBS in 1988 and holds Fellowship in Anaesthesia, Intensive Care and Health Service Management.

Dianne was the first ICU Specialist in the Northern Territory and inaugural Director of Royal Darwin Hospital (RDH) Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and developed the RDH ICU into a nationally respected tertiary level ICU.

She established the first organ donation agency in the NT in 2001 and led this program until 2015.

Pursuing a passion for new knowledge and exploring evidence-based medicine, Dianne developed and led the RDH ICU research program, was an Executive member of the ANZICS Clinical Trials Group for more than 15 years and contributed to research governance and development of collaborative ICU research in our region.

As Director of ICU at RDH for 19 years, Professor Stephens provided leadership in clinical governance and quality committees across the hospital system with the aim of driving translation of evidence into practice to improve NT health outcomes.

Her research interests include sepsis, melioidosis, critical illness, renal disease, Indigenous critical illness outcomes and end-of-life communication and disaster medicine.

In 2017 she moved into the role of Medical Director of the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre (NCCTRC) and led the organisation to ACHS accreditation and an ACHS global innovation award.

Professor Stephens leads the academic and research partnerships portfolio for the NCCTRC including the development of postgraduate courses in aeromedical retrieval and health emergency preparedness and response at Charles Darwin University translating evidence into academic programs to better equip our health graduates for leadership in challenging settings.

In January 2022 Prof Stephens commenced in the role of Foundation Dean of the CDU Menzies School of Medicine.

Dr Sufyan Akram: From Holograms to human: Teaching medicine to the millennials

Do you prefer to input your symptoms to the internet, get advice on laboratory investigations, and get a diagnosis, or you would rather sit with a doctor who listens to you with a caring smile, understands your problems and advises you with compassion?

Can you have both?

Advancement in science and technology are shaping the way we care for our patients.

Patients have 24/7 access to health advice. They have better, well-informed control over their health. But one question pops up every now and then: Will reliance on technology take away the human touch?

This presentation suggests that it shouldn’t and that the technological tools at our disposal can be used to foster better doctor-patient relationship.

Our vision for the future of healthcare education is training doctors through authentic and immersive simulated experiences, enabling them in technology and at the same time developing soft skills such as empathy.

Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (XR) can make a difference in a student’s learning by providing more engagement with the material, a more immersive interaction, and more relevant testing.

Each aspect of those immersive technologies can add a major improvement on almost every milestone of a student’s journey. When applied properly, they can create an immersive environment where learners can gain both technical knowledge and develop emotional intelligence to deal with difficult situations, for example:

  • it can simulate an accurate stressful situation where a patient is being rushed through emergency
  • dealing with an aggressive patient
  • it can also create immersive mental and social health scenarios.

Providing instant, accessible, and efficient motivators of learning will indeed shape the healthcare industry for years to come. 

During this presentation, you will have the opportunity to experience some immersive tech hand-on, so bring along your curiosity and be amazed.

About Sufyan Akram

Sufyan Akram is a Senior Lecturer in biomedical science at Charles Darwin University with his research interests being the molecular basis of cancer.

Sufyan completed his medical qualification and basic medical training before pursuing his PhD at the National University of Singapore.

Since completing his PhD in 2005, he has worked in various universities around the globe.

He has been at CDU since 2018 and has served in various roles in the Faculty of Health, advocating for innovation in learning and teaching.

He has been involved extensively in curriculum development and student engagement.

He is not afraid of trying new ways of learning and teaching in his classroom, be it physical or virtual.

His keen interest in health profession education led him to do a master’s degree in medical education.

He has collaborated actively with researchers in several other disciplines and has published many peer-reviewed articles.  

Outside of work, Sufyan can be found playing cricket with his kids.

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