The Robinson Research Institute's research changes policy and practice, leading to improved patient treatments and better community health. Some recent examples include:
- Global Obstetrics Network (GONet)
In 2010, Professor Ben Mol co-initiated the Global Obstetric Network, which he leads as Chair. The primary goal of this network is to facilitate a worldwide collaborative approach to clinical trials and observational studies in the field of maternal-fetal medicine and obstetrics.
During the last five years GONet has developed or completed 10 individual patient data meta-analyses from merged large data sets of randomised studies, defined uniform and relevant endpoints for clinical trials in preterm birth, and facilitated the development of clinical guidelines.
GONet has been invited to present its philosophy for collaborative research at the annual general meeting of the Global Coalition to Advance Preterm birth Research, a coalition of the main funders for preterm birth research around the world.
- Preterm Birth International Collaborative (PREBIC)
The Preterm Birth International Collaborative is a multinational collaboration of clinicians and research scientists. The collaboration aims to improve pregnancy and birth outcomes, thereby optimising infant health and long-term development.
Professor Ben Mol is a member of PREBIC, and has played an instrumental role in the scientific meetings and workshops. These workshops provide an opportunity for members to meet and discuss the latest developments in preterm birth research, identify knowledge gaps, and plan future projects.
- World Health Organisation Taskforce
Associate Professor Helen Marshall was appointed to the World Health Organisation Taskforce to: Evaluate influenza to inform vaccine impact and economic modeling, particularly in relation to maternal influenza immunisation.
While this taskforce seeks to inform maternal influenza vaccination programs globally, it has a particular focus on low resource settings, and evaluates the evidence of the burden of influenza, and the safety and effectiveness of influenza vaccines in pregnant women.
Additionally, the taskforce will review the evidence of the impact of influenza on the developing fetus, including the potential for congenital abnormalities from influenza infection in early pregnancy. The taskforce will develop guidelines to inform decision-making for the introduction of influenza vaccine programs in low resource countries.
- NHMRC Embryo Research Licensing Committee
Professor Robert Norman AO has been a member of the NHMRC Embryo Research Licensing Committee for the past six years. This committee is involved in regulating human embryo research and embryonic stem cell development from laboratories throughout Australia.
The Committee meets every three months to discuss research proposals in the areas of embryonic stem cell research, human embryo culture and training for procedures such as pre-implantation genetic diagnosis biopsies.
Additionally the committee is heavily involved in discussion regarding mitochondrial transfer, development of embryonic stem cell lines for particular diseases and research into their origins and treatment, and authorisation of the use of embryos for development of new culture techniques and equipment.
- Expert Panel to the NHMRC
The Australian Research Centre for Health of Women and Babies (ARCH) team, led by Philippa Middleton, was re-appointed to the NHMRC panel of providers with expertise relevant to the development and presentation of evidence based health advice. ARCH continues to develop the national evidence-based antenatal care guidelines.
- Perinatal Practice and Guidelines
Professor Jodie Dodd is actively involved in translating research findings into improved clinical practice and health policy. Through her role as Chair of the South Australian Maternal and Neonatal Clinical Network and Chair of the SA Maternal and Perinatal Mortality Committee, she regularly contributes to the development of statewide perinatal practice guidelines and policy documents, which promote evidence-based health care within hospitals and the wider perinatal community.
Her research findings have improved clinical practice in South Australia with several states developing subsequent guidelines based on the South Australian model. Additionally her findings have been incorporated into the United Kingdom’s guidelines relating to the management of women with twin pregnancies.
- Guidelines for PCOS
In collaboration with Monash University, RRI members are developing clinical guidelines for the evaluation, management and health care needs of polycystic ovary syndrome through the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence.
The guidelines have been distributed to every general practitioner and specialist in Australia. The CRE are forming a taskforce to implement their guidelines internationally, which will significantly impact the health and treatment of millions of women around the world living with PCOS.
- Antenatal Corticosteriod Guidelines
Professor Caroline Crowther and Associate Professor Philippa Middleton were part of a bi-national, multidisciplinary development panel that prepared the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Practice Guidelines for Antenatal Corticosteroids given to women prior to birth to improve fetal, infant, child and adult health.
These guidelines identify research priorities and provide clinical practice recommendations for administration of antenatal corticosteriods to women at risk of preterm birth, women having an elective caesarean section at term, and women with diabetes during pregnancy.
- Immunisation Clinic
Associate Professor Helen Marshall's research team identified that pregnant women often miss out on life-saving immunisations and as such established the Adelaide Immunisation Centre of Excellence within the Women's and Children's Hospital.
The midwife-led immunisation program has resulted in pregnant women increasing uptake of the pertussis vaccine (whooping cough) from 20% to 82% and the influenza vaccine from 30% to 75%. The majority of pregnant women attending the Women's and Children's Hospital and their newborn babies are now protected against potentially life-threatening infections as a result of this clinic.