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The award will bring two senior Thai researchers and two senior policymakers to the University to help them implement effective Chronic Disease Self-Management (CSDM) programs in Thailand.
The two senior researchers, both from Mahidol University, are Dr Napaporn Wanitkun and Dr Tipa Toskulkao.
The two senior policymakers from the Ministry of Public Health are Dr Grit Leetangin and Dr Charay Vichathai.
Professor Richard Osborne, the Director of Public Health Innovation at Deakin, said the award was recognition of the University’s international research leadership in the area of CSDM.
“It is an honour to receive the award from AusAID and to be able to take part in a partnership that will benefit the people of both Thailand and Australia,” he said.
“The four ALA Fellows have been chosen as they have complementary skills, expertise and roles that will enhance the outputs of the Fellowship.
“Deakin’s participation in the training will generate reciprocal learning across clinical, research and policy disciplines and facilitate ongoing partnerships once they return to Thailand.
“This model of combining sector roles (research and policy) to generate a CSDM framework will enhance the likelihood of the Fellowship outputs being incorporated into Thai healthcare programs and into public policy.”
The four ALA Fellows will spend five weeks at Deakin, participating in training programs, attending local and national forums and visiting the University’s Nursing Professorial Units across Victorian hospitals.
They will be formally welcomed to Deakin University by Professor Osborne and Professor John Catford, Dean of the Faculty of Health, Medicine, Nursing and Behaviour Sciences, on March 31st.
Background and broad agenda of Thai delegation:
Dr Napaporn Wanitkun is the research project director with a nursing background and a PhD that focused on Gerontological Nursing, research design and advanced statistics. To date, she has completed the design and implementation of the Thai CDSM program including key knowledge exchange activities of pulling together all 18 health services in the Sakon Nakhon province (population ~1,000,000) and participation in a cluster randomised controlled trial. She has led the training of doctors, nurses and community health workers. This area of public health requires strong research design, and best practice in implementation, analyses and reporting. Professor Osborne has been formally mentoring Dr Wanitkun since June 2009. As an outstanding faculty of a top rank university in Thailand, her school has high expectations, and is supporting her progression as a leader in the chronic disease management research arena and fully supports the expansion of her research leading to improvement in the standardisation and quality of care for people with chronic conditions.
The Surgical Nursing Department is currently establishing a “Recovery Management Centre of Excellence” for promoting optimal recovery among patients treated with surgery. The Centre will focus on research, teaching, and training. Dr Toskulkao as the Head of Department has been selected to develop strategies for implementing an effective research-based program across clinical settings to generate rigorous scientific evidence. Through the training program, she will obtain in-depth knowledge in this area that will facilitate her professional development as a leader. Importantly, she will observe several other Centres of Excellence to help inform how she will grow and develop her Centre back in Thailand. Deakin’s School of Nursing is recognized and one of the strongest in Australia. The delegation will visit the Deakin Nursing Professorial Units across Victorian hospitals.
Two senior policymakers from the Thai Government are also participating - one from the Department of Health System Research Institute and the other from the National Health Security Office, Ministry of Public Health. These are key departments that have major roles in public health policy formation and implementation in Thailand. It is widely recognised that chronic disease is the leading burden for Thai people and well-considered and evidence-based policies are required. Dr Leetangin and Dr Vichathai already work with other government departments that recognise the burden of chronic disease and the opportunity through this fellowship will enable them to generate a cross-departmental policy framework. Such a policy framework that builds Thai awareness, workforce, pathways and programs will be much more strategic and better informed by Dr Leetangin and Dr Vichathai through the immersion in CDSM policy and practice in Australia. This ALA Fellowship will enable them to see all the steps required for whole of system change and implementation. Professor Osborne and colleagues have been involved in informing and developing policy at the state and Commonwealth levels.