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Infection Prevention and Disease Control

Our goal is to improve health outcomes and health service delivery with respect to infectious diseases, infection prevention and disease control, and associated disciplines locally, nationally and internationally through leading, facilitating and evaluating quality research that develops new knowledge and advances in research and clinical practice.

Our two research streams

Led by Professor Ramon Shaban, we have a vision to lead Australia’s first joint academy-industry integrated Centre for Excellence in Infection Prevention and Disease Control within Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) and the University of Sydney.

Our workplan encompasses a wide range of integrated activities to:

  • Develop research-driven, strategic, and operational plans to reduce healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) as the number one hospital-acquired complication (HAC) for WSLHD
  • Strategically review and re-organise WSLHD Infection Control Services
  • Implement integrated district wide WSLHD Infection Control Program
  • Contribute to design, develop and establish the New South Wales Biocontainment Unit (NBC)
  • Build capacity in leadership of the Infection and Immunity node within Sydney Nursing School with respect to teaching, research and engagement
  • Boost strategic leadership and development of the Sydney Institute for  Infectious Diseases (Sydney ID), to include Infection Prevention and Disease Control
  • Establish Australia’s first academy-industry integrated Centre for Excellence in Infection Prevention and Control within WSLHD and the University of Sydney

Led by Professor Lyn Gilbert, our aim is to, collaboratively, promote a better understanding and more effective practice of infection prevention and control among health care workers and those they are tasked with caring for and protecting from avoidable harm.

Our workplan encompasses a wide range of integrated activities to:

  • Engage healthcare workers and consumers as co-researchers in infection prevention and control (IPC), using video-reflexive ethnography, to strengthen their IPC awareness and risk realisation and to assist them to articulate challenges and design context specific optimisation
  •  Develop research-based evidence for the safe implementation and use of PAPR and other new technologies
  • Develop nationally consistent and flexible training tools for infection prevention that can be adapted to different clinical situations.

Research to prevent and combat the spread of infection

Airprotect is looking at the nexus between air travel, the spread of communicable diseases and antimicrobial resistance (AMR):

  1. Project IMAC: Explores the availability of infection prevention and control information provided by international commercial airlines to their passengers via in-flight magazines.
  2. Project AWAC: Examines the availability of infection prevention and disease control information provided by international commercial airlines to their passengers via official airline websites.
  3. Project MAPIC: Examines the motivations, opportunities and capacities of commercial airline passengers to participate in travel-associated infection prevention and control measures.
  4. Project MAPS: Maps passenger and staff interactions with the aircraft in-cabin surfaces using a technique commonly used in hospital settings.
  5. Project WIPES: Evaluates passengers and staff habits and behavior with the aircraft environment in terms of personal hand hygiene and surfaces sanitation while on board.
  6. Project MARG: Identifies and characterises the AMR profile of microorganisms present on cabin surfaces of aircraft arriving into Australia from a jurisdiction with a significant burden of antibiotic resistance.

COVID-19 encompasses a diverse variety of clinical, public health and community-based research projects, whose aim is to enhance our understanding of the social, clinical and health-system impacts of COVID-19 pandemic in Australia.

  1. Project Case Aus: Reports the clinical and epidemiological features, laboratory data and outcomes of the first group of COVID-19 patients in Australia.
  2. Project Patient PoV: Explores and describes the lived experience of COVID-19 patients in New South Wales, Australia.
  3. Project Staff Exp: Examines health professionals’ knowledge, preparedness and experiences of managing SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 in the healthcare settings
  4. Project VidPrac: Assesses the accuracy, efficacy and efficiency of auditing by using video surveillance footage recorded in a real-time clinical setting.
  5. Project Westmead MoC: Examines staff experiences of implementing ward-based model within Westmead Hospital in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  6. Project PPE Predict: Determines current staff perspectives on how PPE use may be different post-COVID and providing a predictive model for PPE demand as hospital services come back ‘online’ post-COVID.
  7. Project BTC: Aims to evaluate the effectiveness of an education-focused model targeting the general public displaying effective IPC measures to break the chain of infection for COVID-19.

Design and implement Healthcare-Associated Infection (HAI) prevention and control toolkits to reduce Hospital-Acquired Complications (HACs) in adults and children

Identifying pragmatic, context-relevant solutions for ED clinicians’ safe, efficient and effective use of POCUS for percutaneous, needle-based procedures regarding infection prevention and control.

Examining patients’ perceptions about healthcare-associated infections, in particular (i) knowledge of the types and nature; (ii) risk factors; (iii) measures to reduce their risk of HAIs.

Researching the use video-reflexive ethnography to improve infection prevention

This project tests the feasibility and efficacy of video-reflexive methods (VRM) in training, to improve HCWs’ confidence and skill in applying the PPE protocols required for different categories of infection transmission risk. This project helps us evaluate if, and how, VRM can assist in maintaining and sustaining effective infection prevention and control (IPC) practices.

This project explores the feasibility and efficacy of using video-reflexive methods (VRM) in training to improve HCWs compliance and safety with using PPE for high consequence infectious diseases

This project aims to strengthen bio-preparedness using simulation and video-reflexive methods to evaluate and improve the management and care of patients with suspected high consequence infectious disease (HCID). This includes attention to a) current policies and pathways, b) staff training, and c) interdepartmental/inter-hospital communication and collaboration.

This study assesses the ability of local trained staff to produce a subjective “correct fit” of the CleanSpace HALO on healthcare workers when compared with standardised quantitative fit testing.

This project evaluates the implementation of PAPR use during the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to improve efficiency, satisfaction and safety of users.

This study explores healthcare workers’ perspectives of video feedback for training in the use of powered air purifying respirators (PAPR) at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This project used video-reflexive ethnography to improve communication between clinicians and patients around infection prevention and control, particularly around multidrug-resistant organism screening and identification.

This project explores peoples’ perceptions and experiences of being involved in video-reflexive ethnographic research with a view to informing researchers’ future approach to video-reflexive study design and participant relationships.

This project sought to initiate and facilitate clinician-led practice improvement projects using video-reflexive (VR) methods in Westmead Hospital.

This study explored clinicians’ opinions about what PPE they think is appropriate (i.e. safe and practicable) in different situations so as to contribute to the development of optimal PPE protocols and increased rates of compliance. 

Get in touch

Professor Ramon Shaban
  • The Westmead Institute Building, 176 Hawkesbury Road, Westmead

Professor Lyn Gilbert

  • The Westmead Institute, 176 Hawkesbury Road, Westmead