We have a 'superstar' in our midst…

Vanessa McDonald has been awarded Associate Professorship for outstanding performance in research! We only just got used to calling her 'Dr' McDonald and now we need to start calling her 'Professor'!!

For those of you who may not be familiar with Vanessa, she was the Clinical Nurse Consultant for Respiratory Medicine at John Hunter Hospital and was awarded her PhD in 2011 from University of Newcastle. She is currently a practising clinician working as a clinical associate in the Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine at John Hunter Hospital.

We have been honoured to have Vanessa present at the RNIG Education Days in the past. She is always captivating, innovative, approachable and brilliant!

During her PhD candidature, Vanessa advanced a new project area of immense importance to patients and clinicians alike, developing a novel multidimensional assessment that comprehensively describes the symptoms, pathology, psychological status, educational and self-management needs of older people with asthma, COPD and asthma-COPD overlap, and she designed effective treatment approaches that significantly improved health status and biological outcomes.

Vanessa was supported by an NHMRC Centre for Respiratory and Sleep Medicine PhD Scholarship. Complimenting this she received several other competitive PhD scholarships to support her research training, including the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for asthma and airways PhD scholarship, the University of Newcastle's Barker PhD award and the Hunter Medical Research Institute's (HMRI) PhD support grant.

In addition to the support awarded during her candidature she has received several other awards and prizes for international travel including the Japanese Respiratory Society Early Career Development award (2013), the TSANZ Dr Janet Elder International Travel Awards (2012), a CRC for Asthma and Airways Travel Scholarship (2011), and a HMRI Pulse Early Career Education Prize (2010).

Since then she has established a new research group within the Priority Research Centre for Asthma and Respiratory Disease. This Airways Disease Management Group investigates innovative approaches to the management of chronic airway diseases. This translational research programme links biomedicine, clinical effectiveness and health policy development. The programme focuses on clinical trials of treatment interventions that are individualised and targeted to biomarkers, clinical, functional and self-management needs. Imperative to this programme is a strong interdisciplinary focus, as such she leads a multidisciplinary research team.

She has truly bridged the gap between research and clinical practice.

Despite having only very recently been awarded her PhD, she has already established a track record as an effective researcher. She has published over 30 peer reviewed journal articles (over 50% as first author), four book chapters, an economic impact national report, multimedia resources, over 60 peer reviewed abstracts from national and international meetings, and national patient education publications. She has published in high impact journals including the Lancet, the AJRCCM, Thorax and the European Respiratory Journal.

Please join me and the rest of the Respiratory Nurses Interest Group NSW (Inc) Executive Committee in offering our sincere congratulations to Associate Professor Vanessa McDonald and best wishes for her ongoing career in Respiratory and Sleep Medicine.

We can only aspire to be like her!!

Congratulations Vanessa!!!


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