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Bupa Health Foundation announces winners of 2011 health awards

Bupa Health Foundation announces winners of 2011 health awards

Australian health initiatives to receive $2.1m boost

Outstanding Australian health initiatives promoting healthy living and tackling long-term health issues such as dementia, skin cancer and mental health will receive a significant boost following the announcement of the Bupa Health Foundation 2011 health awards.

One of the country's leading charitable organisations dedicated to health, the Bupa Health Foundation has this year provided more than $2 million dollars for a range of programs at leading health organisations.

"The Foundation invests in initiatives and partners that have the potential to make a real difference to improving Australian health and healthcare. This support means that great ideas are turned into real action," said Dr Christine Bennett, Chair of the Bupa Health Foundation Steering Committee.

Over the past five years, the Bupa Health Foundation has invested $17 million into health research and health programs across its key focus areas: promoting wellness, managing chronic disease, healthy ageing, empowering people about their health; and keeping healthcare affordable.

Commenting on the work of the Foundation, Dr Bennett said: "The ongoing commitment and achievements of the Bupa Health Foundation demonstrates the vital role that independent charitable organisations can play in developing great ideas that will make a real difference to health and healthcare.

"While government provides the bulk of funding, more and more researchers are turning to the Foundation to support their vitally important work."

"The Foundation has seen a 25% increase in the number of applications it receives from a variety of health organisations to support their work. We are proud to be working with some outstanding partners through these health awards. We hope these awards will inspire other organisations and companies to get involved and support ongoing research and health innovation in Australia," Dr Bennett said.

The Bupa Health Foundation's investment is directed to partnerships that make a difference through translational research, seed funding in support of proof-of-concept research, educating the community in health or investing in community based programs that impact on policy and practice.

2011 Health Awards recipients:

Mental Health and Brain Science

Title: End-of-life care planning for people with dementia
Location: Alzheimer's Australia
This initiative will empower people with dementia and their families and carers to make informed end-of-life decisions through a better understanding of their legal rights and care options, including palliative care, through market research, consumer guides and media campaigns.

Title: Dementia Care in Hospital Program (DCIHP)
Location: Ballarat Health Services
The majority of older people with dementia are admitted to hospital for reasons other than dementia, which leads to adverse events, additional care costs and family anxiety. This initiative will test the ability of the Dementia Care in Hospital Program to deliver improved outcomes for people with dementia seen in both the public and private sectors by evaluating the program's impact on commonly measured adverse events.

Title: Understanding oxidative stress in the brain to prevent neurodegenerative diseases
Location: Australasian Research Institute
Evidence points to Oxidative Stress as a major underlying factor in brain cell degeneration. This project seeks to identify lifestyle and biochemical factors that are linked to Oxidative Stress which may be useful in the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. This will be accompanied by the development of strategies to help maintain brain cell function into older age.

Title: Early sleep interventions to reduce the risk of post natal depression in new mothers
Location: Woolcock Institute
Post natal depression (PND) is a common yet rarely acknowledged disorder and is strongly associated with sleep difficulties for the mother and child. This initiative seeks to increase awareness and help parents to seek help for sleep related difficulties prior to full onset of PND symptoms.

Title: Alzheimer's Disease (AD) after anaesthesia
Location: St Vincent's Hospital, Melbourne
This second phase project uses previous baseline cognitive evaluations in elderly subjects who have received anaesthesia for hip surgery. The objective is to test for incidence of dementia after convincing laboratory evidence suggests an association of anaesthesia with Alzheimer's Disease. This will have far reaching ramifications and could significantly alter the delivery of anaesthesia in Western medical practice.

Cancer

Title: Nicotinamide (vitamin B3) for skin cancer chemoprevention
Location: University of Sydney
Skin cancer affects 60% of Australians. Nicotinamide protects against many of sunlight's damaging effects and reduces premalignant keratoses - the thick, scaly, or crusty patches of skin which are often the precursor to skin cancer. This study proposes to determine nicotinamide's effects on skin cancer, with the potential for harm minimisation and secondary prevention with a vitamin to protect skin from progressive deterioration once damaged.

Title: Randomised controlled trial of vitamin A in patients with radiation proctitis
Location: St George Hospital and University of NSW
Radiation proctitis (damage and inflammation of the lower bowel, including the anus), is a major adverse outcome for cancer patients following pelvic radiation therapy and occurs in 5-15% of all patients. This study will examine if vitamin A supplementation assists in improving the rectal wall compliance in patients with chronic radiation proctitis.

Education and Prevention

Title: TEXT ME - Tobacco Exercise and DieT Messages
Location: The George Institute for Global Health, University of Sydney
This study will evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, effect of cardiovascular (CV) risk factors and cost-effectiveness of repeated semi-personalised lifestyle reminders sent via mobile phone text messages in a population at high CV risk. Messages will provide advice, motivation and support to quit smoking (if relevant), engage in healthy diets and exercise.

Title: Adolescents' and parents' shared decision-making about HPV vaccination
Location: University of Sydney
The goal of this study is to develop a decision support tool to help educate parents and adolescents as to whether to vaccinate against the human papilloma virus, which protects against cervical cancer. The decision-aid will incorporate information about values clarification, personalised risk information and testimonials. This initiative will also encompass evaluating the effects of the decision-aid implementation in schools on encouraging parent and adolescent shared decision-making.

Title: Development of Australian clinical indicators for potentially preventable hospitalisations
Location: University of South Australia
With over 90,000 hospitalisations per year considered potentially preventable, this study aims to develop and validate Australian clinical indicators of potentially preventable medication-related and primary care-related hospitalisations. From these indicators a population-based administrative health database will be created with the potential to save the healthcare system $330 million annually.

Title: Online education for pain management in primary care
Location: Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and Faculty of Pain Medicine, ANZCA
The development of an accredited online educational program for Primary Healthcare Professionals to address pain management will build upon previous advocacy for pain. This program will align with the national strategy for compulsory and continuing education and will be of particular importance to regional and rural practitioners who have difficulty accessing quality education.

Total grants awarded: $2,104,509

ENDS

For media enquiries or further information on the health awards winners please contact:

Fionnuala Maye / Lindsay McHugh
Porter Novelli
Phone: 02 8987 2100

Matt Allison
Bupa Australia
Phone: 03 9937 4624

About the Bupa Health Foundation

The Bupa Health Foundation helps build a healthier Australian community through its support of important health research, health education and other healthy living programs. Established as a charitable foundation in 2005, the Bupa Health Foundation has partnered in over 60 initiatives nationally, with a combined investment of around $17 million, across its key focus areas: promoting wellness, managing chronic disease, healthy ageing, empowering people about their health; and keeping healthcare affordable. www.bupa.com.au/foundation