Celebrating 35 years
of Creating Better Health

You make medical
advances possible

Without medical and clinical research, there would be no advancement in patient care or treatment, no cure for diseases which plague society, life expectancy would be shorter, and our quality of life would be poorer.

Thank you, Australia. We are all in this together.

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welcome to our 2020 donor impact report

You power medical research

Take a moment to imagine a world without medical and clinical research. There would be no advancement in patient care or treatment, no cure for diseases which plague society, life expectancy would be shorter and our quality of life would be poorer. Fortunately, because of the generosity of donors like you, we do not live in such a world.

For just over 150 years, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) has fostered a proud tradition of research and discovery, beginning in 1876 with Dr Joseph Bancroft who, as Visiting Surgeon, discovered the cause of the tropical disease Filariasis.

Since RBWH Foundation’s establishment in 1985, we have worked tirelessly alongside RBWH to nurture Australia’s brightest medical minds. Over the past 35 years, we have launched incredible careers through our Clinician Research Grants, fostered those careers through Fellowships and Funded Research Positions, and supported patients and visitors through our wonderful network of volunteers.

As Chair of RBWH Foundation, I am proud to announce the largest annual distribution in our 35-year history. In the 2020 financial year, the Foundation provided more than $9 million across hospital programs, including our biggest single investment of $5 million for the Herston Biofabrication Institute which is set to open in early 2021.

The last twelve months have been among the most impactful in our history. RBWH Foundation Coronavirus Action Fund was embraced by donors and enabled RBWH to add its expertise to the global body of work to fight COVID-19. As the race against the global pandemic is played out in laboratories and hospitals around the world, a proactive and well-funded research environment has never been more crucial.

We are proud that almost every area of RBWH has prospered throughFoundation funding and support. Our hospital and patient care programs have delivered a range of services from newspapers for elderly patients, through to support for young people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients facing mental health issues.

Thank you for your continued generosity. Your support has made these initiatives possible.

Leona Murphy
RBWH Foundation Chair

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World-Leading Research
and Patient Care by the Numbers

The RBWH has over 500 clinical researchers…

and partnerships with 14 universities

Over the past year at the RBWH...

Almost 700 research projects were underway

Over 220 RBWH clinical research trials were conducted

Almost 82,000 people presented to RBWH Emergency and Trauma

Close to 900 studies were published by RBWH clinical researchers

1,000,000 episodes of health care were provided

More than 150,000 cancer care treatments, consultations and admissions occured

27,000 surgeries were performed

1 in 13 Queensland babies were delivered

The RBWH Foundation has distributed more than
$50 million over the past 35 years.

Your donations have helped RBWH become a world-leading research, healthcare and education hub.

Better health today, tomorrow and always.

thank you for your generosity and compassion

It has been an incredible twelve months on so many fronts – the best of days and some of the worst. We have been tested as a community in ways we could not imagine. One recurring theme throughout all RBWH Foundation activities though, can be summed up in one simple word. Hope.

Medical research, the latest in equipment and technology, and world class patient care all provide hope to patients and their families.

And hope starts at RBWH Foundation with you, our donors, so thank you. This year RBWH Foundation celebrates 35 years of commitment to the incredible Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital. As the philanthropy arm of the hospital, RBWH Foundation’s role has always been to actively engage with the community to raise much needed funds to support advancements in healthcare.

Research has always been one of RBWH Foundation’s key priorities.We believe the outcomes of research can be far-reaching, benefiting not only the individual patient and their families, but potentially the health system and community at large.

We are very proud of the fact that 100% of the donations that we are entrusted with are used for the purpose they were intended – to further medical and clinical research, education and patient care at RBWH.

RBWH Foundation is truly grateful for all the support and donations we receive. Every donation makes a difference.

Thank you on behalf of everyone who has and will benefit from your generosity. Thank you on behalf of the clinical researchers racing against COVID-19. Thank you also on behalf of the parents watching sleeplessly over their premature babies, families staying strong in the face of adverse diagnosis and critical trauma of their loved ones, and elderly patients facing their health battles with dignity.

RBWH works hard to be the best it can be, every day, thanks to your generosity and compassion.

Simone Garske
RBWH Foundation CEO

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your support helps
create better health globally

Since it was first established in 1985, RBWH Foundation has advocated and raised funds for better health
today, tomorrow and always.

Over the past 35 years, more than $50 million dollars has been invested in improving health outcomes thanks to the philanthropic efforts of our committed donors.

It is the Foundation’s privilege to support some of Australia’s and the world’s most brilliant researchers and medical practitioners across a diverse range of healthcare specialities. Their research not only benefits RBWH patient care but also leaves a lasting impact on global human health.

At the heart of every dollar invested is the Foundation’s mission to invest in patient care, innovative clinical research, staff and community education that saves and improves lives.

life saving medical research

patient care


The Foundation’s efforts would not be possible without the generosity of individuals, businesses and the community at large.




clinican research

thank you for helping rbwh be one of the best, brightest and kindest hospitals.

It is an enormous privilege to be able to lead such an amazing team that delivers healthcare to all of Queensland and beyond.

As one of the Top 100 Hospitals in the world, we have the amazing ability to deliver quality healthcare, education and research, and to make a huge impact on the lives of all the people who depend on us.

Over the past 35 years, RBWH Foundation has been a critical contributor to ensure that we are one of the best, brightest and kindest healthcare providers.

Across the hospital, we deliver care at every stage of life. RBWH Foundation partners with us in supporting clinical care, education, research and investment in new technology – a whole range of initiatives that we could not do on our own.

We are not just a healthcare provider, we educate the future healthcare workforce for Queensland and in some instances, nationally and internationally.We also deliver extraordinary research including first-in-human trials that allow us to push boundaries, find new and better ways to treat diseases and find medical cures.

Our partnership with RBWH Foundation is absolutely integral to everything that we do. With your support, through RBWH Foundation, we can continue to deliver quality patient care, world-leading research and health worker education.

Thank you for your contribution. Please do not underestimate the impact you have, or how valuable your contribution is to the welfare of all Queenslanders, Australians and the world. Thank you.

Dr David Rosengren
RBWH Executive Director

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life saving medical research

World-class researchers making global impact

RBWH plays a significant role not only for patient care within Queensland, Northern New South Wales, the Northern Territory and Pacific Rim, but also through its strong tradition of research on a national and international scale.

Between 2019-2020, RBWH Foundation again invested significant funding across a range of new and existing research programs, distributed through diverse grants programs and salary commitments.

As a quaternary and tertiary referral teaching hospital, RBWH prides itself on close teaching and research relationships with more than 14 universities and as the largest teaching hospital

in the Southern Hemisphere, the hospital’s role in training the future health workforce is considerable.

RBWH Foundation funded research has not only changed health practice internationally, but also enables our patients to be involved in the latest therapies and diagnostics, and provides access to the newest medicines and best models of care, under tight monitoring conditions.

Research can take years of commitment and dedication, and RBWH Foundation is proud to foster an environment that has enabled first-time grant recipients to become leaders in their areas of expertise.

Over the past year RBWH Foundation has supported:

10 fellowships

15 funded research positions

31 research projects

'did you know?'

Tertiary care refers to a level of highly specialised hospital equipment and expertise such as renal or hemodialysis, and some plastic surgeries or neurosurgeries. It also includes severe burn treatments and other very complex treatments or procedures.

Quaternary care is even more specialised and because it is so specific, is not available in every hospital. Some types of uncommon diagnostic or surgical procedures are considered quaternary care

you joined the race against coronavirus

In January 2020, all best laid plans for the new year were rewritten with critical urgency. COVID-19 had arrived on Australian shores and had spread around the world. Without any treatment or vaccine available, the only course of action in Australia and in many other countries was a Government enforced shutdown.

Knowing that RBWH researchers were perfectly positioned to turn their considerable expertise towards finding and testing COVID-19 treatments,

Mr Luca Fu, Foundation Board Member and Managing Director of YFG Shopping Centres made the first donation to the RBWH Foundation Coronavirus Action Fund. It was a donation that, within weeks, would result in the most critical - and overwhelmingly successful - fundraising campaign in RBWH Foundation’s 35 year history.

Thanks to the generosity of you, our donors - everyday Australians, philanthropic individuals and corporate entities - the Coronavirus Action Fund has raised almost $5.8 million for the race against COVID-19.

coronavirus action
fund amount raised



thank you for supporting covid-19 research

As an RBWH Infectious Diseases Physician, I not only treat patients, I spend much of my day conducting research.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we knew very little about the disease. We had not identified the full range of physiological effects, the best ways to treat coronavirus or how to prevent it.

We now know there are some treatments that will prevent a person dying from COVID-19 or that will shorten their hospital stay and while vaccines look promising, it is crucially important to continue research, so we can optimise our therapies for all COVID-19 patients.

On behalf of all the other Infectious Diseases physicians here at RBWH, and in fact all of our professional colleagues - whether they be pharmacists, microbiologists or nursing staff - across this hospital and Australia, thank you for the opportunities you have given us to further our research into this deadly infection.

Professor David Paterson,
RBWH Consultant Infectious Diseases Physician

key funding priorities

national clinical trials

The Australasian COVID-19 Trial (ASCOT) will generate clinical evidence that can be applied during the pandemic to reduce mortality or the need for mechanical ventilation in hospitalised, but not yet critically ill, patients with COVID-19.

medical equipment and ppe

The Coronavirus Action Fund was able to quickly secure personal protective equipment for frontline health workers and researchers.

special covid-19 research projects

The Special COVID-19 grants will analyse unprecedented changes in the delivery of healthcare including the impact of life-support on COVID-19 drugs, long-term COVID-19 side-effects and the impact of telehealth/virtual care on patient care.


COVID-19 research coordinators are assisting in the planning, implementation and maintenance of data collection and analysis systems in support of research protocol.

infectious diseases initiatives

Planning is underway to improve the outcomes of patients with serious infections, leverage grant and philanthropic funding, and train the next generation of infectious diseases researchers.

health worker support

A significant medical event like the Coronavirus pandemic can add considerable stress to hospital staff. The Coronavirus Action Fund provides RBWH staff additional support through a variety of initiatives.


The Coronavirus Action Fund has supported a number of initiatives, including the national Australasian COVID-19 Trial (ASCOT), which will test COVID-19 treatments such as convalescent plasma. RBWH was also chosen as the pharmacy distribution centre for the ASCOT trials.

The first round of Special COVID-19 research grants has been distributed, which, among other things, will help with an analysis of the unprecedented changes in the way RBWH delivered healthcare as a result of the pandemic. These outcomes will be shared with health networks globally.

Key COVID-19 projects underway:

  • The impact of life-support on COVID-19 drugs
  • Long-term COVID-19 side-effects
  • The impact of telehealth/virtual care on patient care
  • Face time and virtual visiting of patients in ICU
  • Changes in gestational diabetes testing
  • Impacts on maternity and neonatal health workers
  • Impacts on maternal depression and related disorders
  • A new fast, low-cost COVID-19 test
  • How many hours clinicians can wear personal, protective equipment.

Other potentially life saving medical research projects and preventative projects have been proposed, including:

  • Repurposing a tuberculosis vaccine to boost the immunity of frontline healthcare workers
  • Developing COVID-19 related superbug treatments
  • An aged care health worker smartphone App to improve COVID-19 infection control.

"We've got to beat the bloody virus"

The Drake family have been humble heroes in
the race against COVID-19.

Motivated by their family’s experience with the medical sector, Keith and Glenda Drake initially pledged $100,000 to the Coronavirus Action Fund. The Drake’s eldest son, 57-year old Neville, was born with quadriplegia cerebral palsy and requires around the clock care.

The Drakes have a long history of philanthropy, including previously helping to establish three schools on the island of Kitava in Papua New Guinea’s Milne Bay Province.
Earlier this year, after talking with RBWH Consultant Infectious Diseases Physician Professor David Paterson about the urgency of the COVID-19 research required, the Drakes increased their pledge to include the family’s former home, a luxury 2-storey Maroochydore penthouse.

As the face of RBWH Foundation’s 2020 Tax Appeal, Keith committed to matching all donations up to $100,000.

‘It goes to the virus,’ said Keith, ‘It’s got to beat this bloody virus!’


It is not often that children beg their parents to be allowed back to school, but that’s exactly the motivation behind a suburban car wash.

When COVID-19 temporarily closed schools, a group of school children decided to raise funds for RBWH Foundation Coronavirus Action Fund. They wanted the money to help speed up research into a possible treatment.

With neighbours, friends and family members remaining in their cars to maintain social distancing, the group hosed and scrubbed their way to well over $110.

There was only one problem - due to their height the car roofs were a little hard to clean! We cannot thank these little heroes enough for their incredible support.

Infectious Diseases Initiatives

Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) has a long history of infectious diseases research, influenced by Queensland’s subtropical climate. In the 1800s, the cause of Elephantiasis was discovered at Herston, a world-first led by father and son Doctors Joseph and Thomas Bancroft...

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Previous publications have stated that by 2050, antibiotic resistance will kill more people than cancer. It is a grim prediction often talked about in medical circles and confirmed in a United Kingdom Government funded review of antimicrobial resistance.

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surviving burns thanks to medical research

New Ways to Make New Skin

Biofabrication for Better Burns Care is a program that involves using many advanced 3D printing and imaging technologies to improve burns care.

“RBWH is fortunate to be able to provide world-class care for burns victims, delivered by a team of health professionals from many different disciplines,” said Dr Jason Brown, Director of the Queensland Skin Culture Centre (QSCC) and RBWH Professor Stuart Pegg Adult Burns Centre.

“We are at the same time forging ahead with clinically relevant research which we hope will further advance the care and lives of burns victims treated in Queensland.”

The Burns Centre is internationally renowned, treating around 450 badly burned patients every year. It already has one of the lowest mortality rates in the world and the opening of the QSCC in 2017 has further improved outcomes for traumatically injured burns patients.

RBWH develops cultured skin substitutes, which reduce the pain and scarring caused by taking a skin graft from unburnt skin to treat a burn area. This enables patients to significantly reduce their stay in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and hospital, and their chance of survival increases.

On average, a burns patient gets 20-24 sheets (10 x 10cm) of skin grown. Larger burns may need two rounds of cultured skin. It takes 15-20 days to produce this skin through a small biopsy the size of a credit card.

The Foundation continues to support the QSCC via grants which give staff access to equipment that is used daily to produce life saving Culture Epidermal Autografts (CEA), as well as funding for research on how to improve CEA and the benefits it offers patients.

Your Support Helped Save Captain Crispy Dave

Among RBWH staff, North Queensland skipper David Andersen is considered a walking miracle after surviving a 2015 boat explosion which left him with burns to 90 percent of his body. To his mates back in the Whitsundays, he’s Captain Crispy Dave.

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Supporting research to save tiny lives

Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital has a reputation as a leader in the care of premature and sick babies.

Around 1600 premature and sick babies are admitted every year to the Hospital's Grantley Stable Neonatal Unit (GSNU) for specialist care and management. Any baby born less than 37 week's gestation, or which requires diagnosis and care for surgical, genetic or breathing problems, will be cared for by this incredible team. Care ranges from very simple and delicate procedure to the most stringent infection control and vigilant monitoring of tiny organs.

These tiny fighters are given greater odds than ever, thanks to the RBWH's Perinatal Research Centre. Since opening in 1992 as an initiative of RBWH Foundation, the Centre has established itself as Australia's premier research centre for pre-term births, focusing on improving the survival rate of premature and seriously ill babies, and quality of life for both the baby and mother.

Eighty-five per cent of babies born twelve weeks premature now survive thanks to the life saving work of Perinatal Research Centre staff and the hospital's Grantley Stable Neonatal Unit.


Bundaberg mother, Anna Holden, was warned early in her pregnancy it was unlikely she would carry her much anticipated twins to full-term. Nothing, though, prepared her to welcome them eight weeks early.

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Perinatal Research Centre

When hospitals have the funds to create world-class research facilities, they produce world-class research results– and the Perinatal Research Centre is doing just that.

In the past year, the Centre has received international acclaim for numerous exciting research findings. These include studies that could revolutionise treatment for newborn babies with Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR), which occurs when a baby fails to grow at the normal rate inside the womb.

The common painkiller reducing newborn brain injury

Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR) babies can have a wide range of neurodevelopmental disabilities, ranging from lower academic performance and attention deficit disorders through to cerebral palsy. The exact nature of these serious long-term neurological impairments can be difficult to establish at birth.

Currently, there is no treatment to reduce these longterm adverse outcomes, however researchers at the Perinatal Research Centre have recently discovered a potentially revolutionary treatment from a surprisingly simple source: ibuprofen.

The researchers on this project first established the presence of inflammation in the FGR newborn brain. There is growing evidence that neuroinflammation plays a critical role in FGR brain injury.

Next, the researchers examined how therapeutically targeting inflammation using ibuprofen could not only reduce sustained inflammation, but also reduce neuronal and white matter impairment.

“By administering ibuprofen for three days after birth, we were able to reduce damage to brain cells,” said Postdoctoral Researcher Dr Julie Wixey.

Ibuprofen is already given to preterm newborns suffering from heart valve closure and this study demonstrates that it can also be safely used as a neuroprotective treatment. However, further safety studies in this vulnerable population are currently underway.

This groundbreaking study could herald a change in clinical practice for the 32 million FGR babies born across the world each year.

RBWH Milk bank

RBWH opened Queensland’s first hospital-based milk bank in 2012 and has since provided over 3,000 litres of donor human milk to premature babies. Natural breastmilk is extremely beneficial to a premature baby.

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NeoRESQ is the neonatal retrieval service which supports regional centres in Central and South East Queensland and Northern New South Wales. The service transports premature or critically ill babies to life saving treatment.

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Through the strategic use of new technologies and the latest portable medical equipment, RBWH has been able to extend its reach far beyond our Herston campus. Not only do clinicians treat thousands of Queenslanders each year, but also patients from Northern New South Wales, the Northern Territory and surrounding Pacific Region.

The hospital offers all major health specialities and is renowned for its pre-eminent cancer care, maternity, trauma and burns care.

RBWH Foundation donors have long assisted RBWH expand its radius of care and in 2019-2020, again committed considerable investment in projects to support that focus.


One of the stars among RBWH services during the COVID-19 lockdown was Telehealth. Telehealth uses secure video conferencing technology to connect healthcare professionals with patients closer to their own homes.

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You saved our boy

A Donor's gratitude

Before 20-year old Tony Bonato suffered a devastating brain aneurysm in July last year, his family had little experience with the public hospital system. Twelve months later, with Tony again home, the family’s trauma is beginning to fade but their overwhelming gratitude has not.

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Research can take years of commitment and dedication, and RBWH Foundation is proud to foster an environment that has enabled first-time grant recipients to become leaders in their areas of expertise.

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Cancer care SERVICES

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critical care & Clinical services

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medical imaging clinical support

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surgical & perioperative

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women & newborns

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The Ideas You Seed

The successful and highly innovative research projects must:

  • Directly affect the care provided to RBWH patients
  • Foster collaborations across hospital departments, or between RBWH and other facilities and external partners
  • Support staff development

Cutting edge research can take years, if not decades, and cost many millions of dollars. All research, however, starts with a question.

Forty percent of funds available for research project grants are allocated to early career researchers and the remaining sixty percent is available for more experienced researchers.

An early career researcher is an individual defined as having completed their research ‘higher degree’ Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) within the past five years.

Thanks to you, we have invested in the following areas of research which continue to build on the strength and expertise of our experts.

RBWH Foundation Funded Research Projects


Dr Peter Window

Testing of a screening instrument to select people with knee osteoarthritis most likely to benefit from non-surgical care.


Dr Shaun O’Leary

Investigating sustainable career pathways for clinician-scientists in Australian public health.

Nutrition and Dietetics

Dr Helen MacLaughlin

Assessing Mediterranean diet as an additional therapy to help treat kidney disease.

Nutrition and Dietetics

Sarah Anderson

Investigating whether energy expenditure increases during allogeneic stem cell transplantation.


Dr Ashish Wadhawan

Development of an Artificial Intelligence screening tool to identify patients requiring a CT scan following wrist fractures.

Speech Pathology & Audio Department

Dr Clare Burns

Using virtual reality for individuals with communication disorders.

Grantley Stable Neonatal Unit

Dr Jany Pienaar

Assessing whether Ibuprofen is associated with neuroprotection in Small for Gestational Age (SGA) infants.

Grantley Stable Neonatal Unit

Dr Pieter Koorts

Establishing an effective treatment of sedation for newborns requiring life saving tracheal intubation.

Division of Neonatology

Dr Timothy Donovan

Investigating whether weight and lean body growth may be related to early brain development in late preterm babies.

Queensland Centre forGynaecological Cancer Research

Prof. Andreas Obermair

Assessing sentinel node biopsy in endometrial cancer.

Emergency and Trauma Centre

Dr Gary Mitchell

Assessing novel biomarkers for mild traumatic brain injury.

Emergency and Trauma Centre

Dr Jaimi Greenslade

Brain imaging for traumatic brain injuries.

Nursing and Midwifery Centrefor Research Vascular Access Team

Dr Deanne L August

Using a team approach and a Near-infrared (NIR) tool to aid the placement of catheters in newborns.

Maternal Fetal Medicine and Exosome Research Laboratory

Dr Greg Duncombe

Evaluating a novel test for preeclampsia in the first trimester of pregnancy based on the analysis of extracellular vesicles.

Nursing and Midwifery Centre

Dr Nicole Marsh

How to determine the right size catheter for a vein to prevent device failure.


Assoc. Prof. Lata Vadlamudi

Personalising refractory epilepsy management.


Dr Shyuan Ngo

Investigating the immunometabolic nature of motor neurone disease (MND): a study linking metabolism, inflammation and clinical outcomes in MND patients.


Assoc. Prof. Andrew Wong

Monitoring brain activity, pre-hospital, in patients with stroke.

Nuclear Medicine

Assoc. Prof. Paul Thomas

Assessing advanced medical imaging and a blood test for DNA markers to predict outcome following brain injury.

Renal Medicine

Assoc. Prof. Andrew Mallett

Use of a groundbreaking gene technology, Spatial Transcriptomics, to examine kidney disease and facilitate kidney biopsies.

Infectious Diseases

Dr Adam Stewart

Assessing the effects of new and old antibiotics on the gut flora of hospitalised patients.

Brisbane Colorectal Research Unit

Assoc. Prof. David Clark

Investigating the preoperative microbiome to reduce potential surgical leaks following ileal pouch construction in patients with Ulcerative Colitis.


Assoc. Prof. Sandhir Prasad

Advanced echocardiography in healthy pregnancy – a serial evaluation.

Department of Vascular Surgery

Dr Jason Jenkins

Assessment of a new treatment for Peripheral Artery Disease.

Herston Biofabrication Institute

Dr Craig Winter

A 3D predictive model looking at brain aneurysm.

Burns, Trauma and Critical Care Research Centre

Dr Jayesh Dhanani

Decreasing delirium in intensive care patients with the use of clonidine and assessing two alternate delivery methods.

Thank you for your support during International
Year of the Nurse and Midwife

Of all healthcare professions, nursing and midwifery is among the most selfless. These amazing carers are beside us when we are born, care for us through every major health event and are by our side until the very end.

This is their year to be celebrated. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. It is also the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale.

RBWH Foundation celebrates the 3200 nurses and midwives at RBWH, including Pre-admissions Acting Nurse Unit Manager Kymberley Herbst, who is featured in the video below.

A Commitment to Research Continues with YOU

In March this year, RBWH was ranked as one of the world’s top 100 hospitals by Newsweek. One of the reasons for this ranking is the quality and passion of RBWH staff. Almost 500 hands-on clinicians are active researchers, and over the past year, close to 900 studies have been published by our clinical researchers and almost 700 research projects were underway.

This year, donations to RBWH Foundation will help fund research positions in the following research areas:

mental health

Associate Professor Ed Heffernan

Associate Professor Ed Heffernan is passionate about enhancing the health and human rights of people living with mental illness who intersect with the criminal justice and mental health systems.

Social Work Model of Care

This funding allows RBWH researchers to incorporate telehealth into the Preadmission Social Work Model of Care. Preadmission procedures help identify patients who would benefit from social work support prior to coming into hospital for elective surgery.

Anaesthesia and Perioperative Medicine

A Nurse Researcher will work under Department Director, Associate Professor Kerstin Wyssusek, to study the relationship between iron deficiency, anaemia and chronic pain in patients presenting to the RBWH Chronic Pain Clinic.


Associate Professor David Clark

Associate Professor David Clark has a strong interest in inflammatory bowel disease and has presented internationally in the field of IBD and minimally invasive colorectal surgery.

Complex Spinal

Dr Steven Yang

Dr Yang specialises in complex spine reconstruction and vertebral tumour surgery, as well as all aspects of adult and paediatric spine, hand and peripheral nerve surgeries. His RBWH research is focused on spinal infection and oncology.

Nurse researcher

A Nurse Researcher will work under Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Kerri McLeod, to drive the research agenda within the Surgical and Perioperative environment.

Prostate Cancer

Professor Frank Gardiner

This grant funded by the RBWH YFG Prostate Cancer Research Fund, in collaboration with Professor John Yaxley, is investigating the identification of biomarkers for prostate cancer –the role of ejaculate in prostatic cancer diagnosis and prostate specific antigen, Kallikreins, and other related genes as markers of prostate cancer.

Motor Neurone Disease (MND)

RBWH Foundation funding contributes to a range of activities under Dr Robert Henderson. This includes testing a novel drug in ten MND patients, as well as involvement in two international and national trials investigating new therapies for MND.


As part of a larger body of work into MND by Dr Frederik Steyn and Dr Shyuan Ngo, blood samples provided by study participants have contributed to national and international research efforts identifying new genetic factors linked with MND that are associated with more rapid progression of the disease. This project will investigate these genetic factors.


Associate Professor Kerry Richard’s area of research is placental handling of thyroid hormone and iodine. RBWH Foundation funds assist Associate Professor Richard’s work through the Conjoint Endocrine Laboratories, a joint venture of Internal Medicine Services and Pathology Queensland.

Gut Health Research Group

Dr Anton Lord has led a number of successful, published studies which benefit patients and the hospital by enhancing care and understanding of gut health, disease and brain function.


Dr Andrew Kassianos has a keen research interest in understanding the signalling mechanisms that drive chronic kidney disease and in particular, how pathogenic dendritic cells cause injury in human kidney disease. RBWH is widely acknowledged as an emerging leader due to the quality of work being undertaken on campus.


Dr John Atherton and Dr Kris Guppy-Coles will investigate feasibility and diagnostic accuracy of new echocardiographic approaches to allow screening and monitoring for left ventricular systolic dysfunction by novice healthcare staff.

Antiobiotic Dosing

Professor Lipman’s work in microsampling allows doctors to measure antibiotic levels from a finger prick of blood.

Queensland motion analysis centre

The Queensland Motion Analysis Centre (QMAC) was established in 2014 and uses similar 3D technology to that used in video games and animated movies to provide assessment, intervention, planning and management of adults with complex gait (walking) disorders. RBWH Foundation funding assisted with the initial laboratory fit-out and continues to support research and clinic services.

YOU foster Incredible Research Talent

2019-2021 Robert and Janelle Bird Fellows

1. Dr Angela Byrnes

Assessing whether it is generally safe for patients to eat early after colorectal surgery.

2. Dr Teresa Brown

A feasibility study to investigate taste changes post-treatment in patients with head and neck cancer, and their association with genes and dietary behaviour.

3. Dr Monica Ng

Developing a screening tool for personalising treatment in renal patients.

2018-2020 Robert and Janelle Bird Fellows

1. Associate Professor Victoria Eley

Improving the accuracy of perioperative blood pressure monitoring in obese patients through the use of the ClearSight™ finger cuff.

2. Dr Elise Button

Identifying people with haematological malignancy who are at risk of deteriorating and dying to provide best-practice care near the end of life.

3. Dr Jill Campbell

Address gaps in understanding the burden and predictors of incontinence, hospital-acquired incontinence and incontinence-associated complications within the hospital setting.


1. Haem-BMT Fellowship - Dr Heshani Mediwake

Developing a Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cell (CAR-T) program at RBWH, on the back of a successful New Technology Grant obtained by the unit in early 2019. CAR-T cell therapy modifies a patient’s immune cells (T cells) to treat cancer.

2. Complex Spinal Fellowship - Dr Stephen Yang

Undertaking ongoing research in spinal infection and oncology.

3. Neurology Fellowship

Feb 2019 - Jan 2020: Dr Matthew Katz
Feb 2020 - present: Dr Viral Upadhayay

This Fellowship is invaluable for assistance with clinical trials and also biomarker investigator-led research. It supports research on motor neurone disease and neuromuscular disorders.

4. Scott Sullivan Fellowship - Dr Shyuan Ngo

Understanding the causes and consequences of metabolic dysfunction in MND, identifying which metabolic pathways are disrupted in MND/ALS and how targeting these pathways might correct for defective energy balance and prolong survival.

thank you for empowering mental health researchers

Child and Youth Psychiatrist Professor James Scott has a bold vision - to unchain young people from the burden of severe mental illness, such as psychosis, even if it is just one percent at a time.

Psychosis, which occurs in illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, is characterised by episodes of seeing, hearing or believing things which are not real. It is not common but for some individuals, it is a life sentence. Thanks to RBWH Foundation donors who help fund research, Professor Scott and his team have been able to patiently find answers.

Since graduating in 2001, Professor Scott has established himself as an authority in his field and practices clinically as a Child and Youth Psychiatrist with the Metro North Mental Health Service, where he is Director of the Early Psychosis Service.

Back in 2010 when Professor Scott had just started with the RBWH Early Psychosis Service, international focus was largely on biological risk factors for schizophrenia. James, however, noted many of his patients had experienced severe abuse during childhood. With the assistance of an initial RBWH Foundation grant, Prof. Scott led the first study correlating exposure to child maltreatment with severity of psychosis symptoms.

It was a groundbreaking discovery.

“You have people with very severe schizophrenia, not responding to medications, and when you do therapeutic work addressing childhood maltreatment and get them to come to terms with what they were exposed to, their illness can improve.

“This led to a program of research in public health work. If we want to reduce the prevalence of child-maltreatment in the population, we need to skill up families to better support their kids and make them more aware of their child’s needs.”

A second RBWH Foundation grant, in 2012, once again led to world-first research.

Professor Scott tested 113 people with first episode psychosis over 18 months and discovered five percent tested positive for autoimmune encephalitis, a condition where antibodies from the patient’s own immune system attack the brain. His team showed patients treated with immunosuppressant therapy, rather than antipsychotic medication, made a full recovery.

“If we had not picked up these people and treated them (for autoimmune psychosis), they would be misdiagnosed with chronic schizophrenia. They would be disabled and not working because they would not have received the personalised treatment they needed.

“We will solve the mystery of schizophrenia, one percent at a time, and this research was supported originally by an RBWH Foundation grant."

The power of a research grant, explains Professor Scott, is it provides a clinician researcher with valuable time needed to solve questions they come across almost every day.

“Grants bridge the gap between asking an important clinical question and doing the work to answer it."

"They enable researchers to employ an extra staff member to collect data, to get the ethics in, to keep everything in order so that you’re complying with research integrity - all those things which if you area busy clinician you just don’t have time to do.”

"Research enriches careers, improves the standards of patient care and enhances the reputation of a hospital, says James Scott.

“I think the research that is going on in a whole range of different groups at RBWH is remarkable.

“It’s really cutting edge, sophisticated life changing research and it’s important to have a healthy grant environment because clinicians can’t undertake research otherwise.”

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The smallest gestures can often be priceless – such as a newspaper in the ward, taxi vouchers for the elderly or yoga sessions for young people suffering mental health issues.

RBWH Foundation places enormous value on programs which enhance the patient and visitor experience. From 2019-2020, six patient lounges were refurbished providing a relaxing, peaceful and quiet place for families to gather, patients to retreat and informal meetings to proceed.

Music was another focus with RBWH Foundation funding stereo equipment for the Hospital foyer and musicians from the Stairwell Project to provide live music in the foyer and stairwells.

Thanks to donors, this year RBWH Foundation provided:

2 simulation mannequins

1 Motion analysis system

2 3d mammography units

6 patient lounge refurbishments

5 virtual conference systems

3 3d wound assessment systems

Therapy Dogs

Animal-assisted therapy is a growing field that uses dogs or other animals to help people recover from, or better cope with, health problems. Therapy dogs primarily work with patients in the Geriatric and Mental Health wards, successfully providing comfort and distraction, leading to improved feelings of optimism and a reduction in feelings of tiredness and isolation.

Eat Walk Engage

The length of time elderly patients stay in hospital is being reduced thanks to the innovative program ‘Eat Walk Engage’. The collaborative care model focuses on early mobilisation, feeding assistance and cognitive stimulation in elderly patients.

A trial program, conducted over 18 months, saw the length of stay for older inpatients fall by three days. This has dramatic implications for the health system as around two thirds of patients in hospitals are aged over 65.

thank you for helping us

Our volunteer Compassion Crew help make all the difference.

In 2013, a new era began when volunteer management was transitioned to RBWH Foundation. Up until coronavirus restrictions, around 120 members of our Compassion Crew regularly donated their time to assist with hospital activities.

On any given day, you would find volunteers conducting bingo with dialysis patients in the Renal Ward or assisting morning and afternoon tea delivery with the Eat Walk Engage Program. Those qualified as Justice of the Peace offered a bedside service for immobile patients requiring witnesses for legal documents such as Enduring Power of Attorneys and Wills.
COVID-19 social distancing restricted these activities, so many RBWH volunteers turned to craft instead. They were kept busy sewing scrub caps for the Neonatal Unit; creating fiddle mats for dementia, stroke and mental health patients; tote bags for various wards; and ‘ISO’ packs for Eat Walk Engage staff to hand out. These handmade tote bags included colouring-in books, crossword puzzles and hand sewn pencil cases.

A return date is eagerly awaited by volunteers, staff, patients and their families.

What volunteering gave me

University student, Lavinia Arias, is no stranger to RBWH. Her mother, Anusia Thiagendran, works in finance at the Metro North Hospital and Health Service.

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RBWH Foundation is incredibly proud that 100 per cent of all donations are committed to world-leading clinical research, new and groundbreaking equipment and training, and support for patients and staff.

Inaugural Royal Giving Day
In November 2019, RBWH Foundation held its first Royal Giving Day. Spread over 24 hours, RBWH staff, volunteers and a range of Team Royal celebrity fans participated in a range of activities.

The final tally of almost $520,000 surpassed all expectations and was largely thanks to the dedication and support of volunteers, corporate partners, community groups, individuals and wonderful RBWH staff. Funds raised will support RBWH patient care and clinical research projects.

Fundraising Events 2019

Launch of RBWH Foundation bequest program

The Royal Legacy Club is a wonderfully philanthropic group of individuals who have generously decided to leave a gift in their Will to the RBWH Foundation. Membership offers personalised opportunities to engage in the active Hospital community in recognition of their legacy.

Support for Crucial Motor
Neurone Disease (MND) Research

The Royal Daytime Do is a special lunch to raise funds for one of the most devastating medical conditions in modern medicine, Motor Neurone Disease (MND), also known as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Walking for Medical Research

The Royal Run for Research is a fun, family friendly fun run and walk suitable for people of all ages and fitness levels, which raises funds for life saving medical research.

Stroke Research Support

The Master Stroke Business Lunch brings Brisbane’s business community together to raise money for RBWH stroke research.

Life Saving Medical Research

The Australasian Tunnelling Society (ATS) is a technical society that aims to advance the knowledge of the tunnelling industry through design, construction and utilisation of underground space. The ATS Annual Charity Golf Day promotes member networking and raises valuable funds for medical research.

Neonatal Unit Equipment and Technology

The QSuper Butterfly Ball supports Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, particularly its smallest, yet most precious patients - babies. Money raised helps purchase new equipment and technology for the Neonatal Unit and also funds life-changing medical research into conditions such as stillbirth, prematurity and birth-related injury.

Motor Neurone Disease (MND)

Hosted by investment and wealth management firm, Shaw and Partners, the Melbourne Cup by the River luncheon raised money for the Motor Neurone Disease Research Future Fund to support the Scott Sullivan Fellowship and other RBWH MND research.

A legacy with enduring impacts

“I can imagine the look of pride on Lloyd’s face!”

One of the most powerful ways to support medical research, patient care and health worker education through the RBWH Foundation is by leaving a gift in your Will. Large or small, such gifts may start a brilliant young researcher on their path to a medical breakthrough or assist with the provision of additional equipment, health worker education and training, and other initiatives that enhance RBWH’s world leading patient care.

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You are helping save young lives through education

Preventative programs, across a range of medical areas, is a major priority for RBWH patient care. Among the range of initiatives supported is the acclaimed P.A.R.T.Y. program for young people.

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Thank you for being Loyal
to the Royal

Donations – large and small – are already destined for great things.
Here is a sneak preview of what the future holds.

Herston Biofabrication Institute

Imagine a future where bone cancer patients would not be at risk of amputation, or where skin burns damage could be repaired because replacement tissue was able to be engineered and manufactured through personalised 3D printing. That future is closer because of research soon to commence at the new Herston Biofabrication Insitute.

Prostrate cancer therapeutic vaccine

Prostate cancer is the most common malignancy diagnosed in Australian men. The ImmunoPro research project aims to develop an effective vaccine therapy for all prostate cancer patients. It is an exciting challenge and plans are already well advanced.



Donate today
Donate today