Click on the project titles below to find out more about the Deakin University and Western Health collaborative projects.


Project Title: Psychosocial wellbeing among new mothers with type 1 or type 2 diabetes: Refining and testing a novel screening tool derived from the Postnatal Wellbeing Transition Questionnaire

Project Description: A prospective cohort of women with type 1 or type 2 diabetes was recruited from three metropolitan hospitals in Melbourne, Australia. Women completed surveys across three postnatal time points. Data were pooled for the analysis

Collaborator Principal Investigator: Professor Bodil Rasmussen

WH Principal Investigator: Cheryl Steele

Project Completion Date: 2022

Project Title: PREDICT (PRogrEssion of DIabetes ComplicaTions)

Project Description: Diabetes complications are the main source of morbidity, mortality and cost related to diabetes. Since the development of ACE inhibitors 40 years ago, only two other drug classes have been found to control diabetic complications (anti-VEGF for maculopathy and SGLT2i for nephropathy), indicating the need for new discoveries. This study aims to improve our understanding of the progression of diabetic complications, with a specific aim of identifying novel risk factors. The availability of new techniques for retinal assessment (optical coherence tomography) and of a wide range of novel potential biomarkers provide significant opportunities to make important advancements. Furthermore, the increasing recognition of the importance of non-classical complications, such as heart failure, liver disease, and impairment of cognitive and physical function, requires understanding of their natural history, and identification of risk factors that may inform interventions. The study is funded by NHMRC and will continue over 5 years.

Collaborator Principal Investigator: Professor Jonathan Shaw

WH Principal Investigator: A/Prof Shane Hamblin

Project Completion Date: 2025

Project Title: Bilingual Community Healthcare Workers into a Nurse-led Model of Asthma Care to improve outcomes in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse communities

Project Description: While there are simple, effective strategies to manage asthma, they are not successfully integrated into clinical practice to help our patients who present frequently. Nurse led models of care have effectively reduced hospital admissions and improved clinical outcomes in chronic diseases such as emphysema, heart failure and diabetes. In our recent pilot study, it was identified that a shorter, earlier, nurse led intervention in younger patients can improve asthma control and health literacy significantly and reduce flare-ups.

This study aims to build on existing local research by partnering with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities to trial a linguistically and culturally tailored asthma education strategy that scaffolds onto our recently established early intervention asthma nurse lead education program.

Shortly following a hospital admission or clinic visit with asthma, patients from CALD and non-CALD communities will be seen by a Nurse Educator and a bicultural health care worker if required, for a detailed asthma education session. They will be supported by phone and in person over the next 12 weeks. Their asthma control will be assessed with a validated questionnaire at the beginning and end of the study.  By training bicultural health care workers to work alongside our asthma nurse educator, we hope to demonstrate that such a tailor-made programme of asthma education will improve asthma outcomes in all our patients.

Collaborator Principal Investigator: Professor Bodil Rasmussen

WH Principal Investigator: A/Prof Lata Jayaram

Project Completion Date: 2022

Project Title: SmartHeart: A smarthome ecosystem for people with heart failure

Project Description: Heart failure is a leading cause of preventable death and disability in Australia. Complex medication regimens, monitoring of symptoms, ongoing medical review, exercise, and attention to food and fluid intake are important components of heart failure management but require education and support to achieve. New approaches are needed to support people with heart failure to better self-manage their condition, and to enable the health system to optimise the delivery of care.

The aim of this study is to co-design and develop a smart home ecosystem to support self-management of heart failure, improve health outcomes and health-related quality of life. To do this, we will conduct interviews to better understand the activities someone with heart failure carries out to manage their condition, what additional support they would like, and how technology can improve self-management of their condition. Co-design workshops and pilot testing of identified solutions will then be conducted using an iterative, experiential design process to develop a prototype of a smart home ecosystem

Collaborator Principal Investigator: Professor Ralph Maddison

WH Principal Investigator: A/Prof Nicholas Cox

Project Completion Date: 2024

Project Title: Improving diabetes medication adherence among culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Australia

Project Description: The aim of this study is to understand the salient beliefs that influence adherence to diabetic medications among culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in Victoria.

This project focuses on medication taking behaviour and beliefs about diabetes medications among patients of CALD groups. Specifically, recruitment will be from the most common CALD group receiving care and treatment from the study hospital (Sunshine), Southeast Asia – Vietnamese. A qualitative and quantitative research design will be undertaken involving the conduct of interviews and surveys with outpatients living with type 2 diabetes from CALD backgrounds prescribed antidiabetic medications (oral hypoglycaemic agents and/or insulin regimens) for at least one month. Focus group discussions will also be conducted with health professionals involved in the provision of care and treatment for the Vietnamese patients with type 2 diabetes.

Using the knowledge gained, recommendations will be made about assisting patients to accomplish optimal adherence to diabetic medications and retention of treatment. Participants in this study will take part in interviewed in individual interview will be conducted for health professionals who are unable to participate in the focus groups. These interviews will be conducted by face to face within the clinic, by telephone or by zoom

Collaborator Principal Investigator: Professor Elizabeth Manias

WH Principal Investigator: Professor Bodil Rasmussen

Project Completion Date: 2024

Project Title: Improving the mental health of cancer survivors with an online mindfulness program: a partnership model to impact on cancer care

Project Description: Introduction Fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) is a common condition among cancer survivors that can lead to significant levels of distress, anxiety and depression. Online mindfulness programmes may provide the mechanism to support cancer survivors manage FCR and distress, and improve people’s well-being over the short, medium and long term. The primary aim of this study is to determine the potential efficacy of MindOnLine, a 9 session mindfulness-based programme for survivors of breast, prostate and colorectal cancer. A formal economic programme will also be conducted.

Methods and analysis A single-blind randomised controlled trial to determine the efficacy and cost-efficacy of a MindOnLine programme for cancer survivors. A total of 400 people living with cancer will be recruited via online advertisements on social media platforms, peak consumer advocacy groups or through outpatient services at healthcare providers across Victoria, Australia. People will be randomly allocated to either the MindOnLine programme (n=200) or waitlist control (n=200). Participant assessments will occur at baseline, at 9 weeks and 9-month follow-up. The primary outcome is change in Fear of Recurrence Index Score total score between baseline and 9 weeks; secondary outcomes are changes in depression and anxiety, quality of life and mindfulness. The economic analysis comprises a cost-consequences analysis where all outcomes will be compared with costs.

Collaborator Principal Investigator:  Professor Patricia Livingstone, Deakin University

WH Principal Investigator: Professor Bodil Rasmussen

Project Completion Date: 2023