Barwon Health of Geelong Australia emerges as an important clinical trial site in a promising research hub as that healthcare organization in just over the past 12 months conducted nearly 200 clinical trials involving almost 700 participants. Geelong is about 75km to the southwest of Melbourne—a major biomedical research hub itself. Now Geelong residents have access to new and emerging therapies in several important therapeutic areas from diabetes and cardiology to pulmonary and investigational therapies targeting COVID-19. Situated in the state of Victoria, that government is known for proactive support of clinical trials, including aid for a Clinical Trial Research Support Service launched last year at Barwon Health as well as Bendigo Health, Ballarat Health, North East Health Wangaratta, and Goulburn Valley Health. Although Melbourne is a much bigger and more internationally recognized city and research center, Geelong emerges as a key regional clinical research nexus, especially with a proactive Barwon Health on the move.
A Place to Consider for Research
Set an hour to the southwest of Melbourne, the 269,000 inhabitants make the port city of Geelong Australia’s fastest-growing city and Victoria’s second-largest city. Located on Corio Bay and the Barwon River, the place was founded in 1827. This appealing place is known as the ‘Gateway City’ as it’s in the middle of Victoria adjacent to other locations such as Ballarat to the northwest, Torquay, Great Ocean Road, and Warrnambool in the southwest, Hamilton, Colac, and Winchelsea to the west, and of course Melbourne, the state capital and internationally known clinical research hub to the northeast.
Part of the broader biomedical research cluster, Victoria as a whole becomes an ever more desirable place for biomedical research as that state offers significant local funding and other incentives.
Most recently, the Victorian government injected $14.7 million into 17 dedicated COVID-19 projects led by this southern state’s leading research investigators and $37 million toward other important life-saving medical research.
Jaala Pulford, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research, and the Digital Economy, commented, “There is a groundbreaking work done in Geelong in medical research and clinical trials. The impact for the wider community and the Geelong economy are profound.”
Recently shared in a public press release, Mirage News showcases important research, including a collaboration involving Barwon Health, Deakin University, and the Geelong Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases investigating the long-term biological, physiological, and psychological impacts of COVID-19 on the regional population here.
Opened up in 1998, Barwon Health is among the largest comprehensive regional health services organizations in Australia and one of the largest regional employers in the country. Its facilities include University Hospital, Geelong (formerly Geelong Hospital), the McKellar Centre, and five community service centers in Victoria (Corio, Belmont, Newcomb, Torquay, and Anglesea).
Barwon Health Research includes a wide array of therapeutic areas. This regional health system is committed to developing a vibrant culture of education, training, and research with a commitment to translational research endeavors.
One of Barwon Health’s key strategic pillars, research is conducted every day by every Barwon Health department. Committed to clinical research as a care option paradigm, this regional health system embarks on several research endeavors to not only develop new therapeutics, but also improve quality and patient experience. The Barwon Health Research Ethics, Governance & Integrity (REGI) Unit ensures that the research here complies with national and international research ethics and governance guidelines and laws and exemplifies best practice.
In 2019 alone, Barwon Health employed 400 researchers, produced 440 publications, and 560 research projects; the regional health organization’s research arm conducted 159 clinical trials enrolling nearly 700 participants while collaborating with 100 organizations.
The health organization’s partnership with Deakin University enables the ability to rapidly assemble interdisciplinary teams with various critical skills from nursing and allied health to laboratory sciences, biostatistics, computer sciences, etc.
Research is led by Director of Research Professor Peter Vuillermin, MBBS, BMedSci, FRACP, PhD