APRN Newsletter Issue 8, December 2012

Play your part

Research topics you want to explore
Look out for the 2013 Multi-Topic Survey. It’s an amalgamation of several short surveys on important member-nominated topics into a single omnibus Survey. 
Current topics for the 2013 survey include chronic fatigue, oral health and autism.

The 2011/12 Multi-Topic Survey

  • Topics included management of food allergy, unsettled babies and e-learning. Of these topics, two were advanced trainee research projects.
  • The food allergy survey is directly informing the Paed Action on Food Allergy pilot (see below).
  • Dr Romi Rimer (advanced trainee, VIC) led the unsettled babies survey. This survey looked at how members assess and manage babies with persistent crying. The survey found that paediatricians:
    • Vary widely in their investigations and management and in turn, their practice differs from available guidelines.
    • Some general paediatricians (8%) offer treatments that are known to be ineffective (e.g. simethicone and antacids).
    • Most paediatricians routinely asked about maternal (88%) but not paternal (33%) mental health.
    • Generally, paediatricians received training around this issue before, rather than after, receiving their FRACP (61% vs 37%, respectively) and rate their training as satisfactory (67%). Despite this, only 39% feel very confident in managing this issue. 

Funding & Infrastructure
Our strategic planning process is ongoing. At present, we’re developing online templates for our APRN members including:

  • decision support via our food allergy trial
  • a data collection form to capture information about paediatric consultations via our ADHD project
  • ‘how to translate research’ modules and
  • a library of common child and parent measures

Tell us the resources you’d like to see available to APRN members.

Member Profile

Dr Brad Jongeling is a Developmental and General Paediatrician working at the Joondalup Child Development Centre, where he has been a consultant paediatrician for 13 years. He is currently Head of Paediatrics in the Child Development Service WA, Senior lecturer in Paediatrics for the University of Western Australia and Consultant Paediatrician at Joondalup health Campus (where he maintains involvement in the acute paediatric on-call roster) and in private practice. He is also the past chair of the Royal Australian College of Physicians, Western Australian branch of the Division of Paediatrics and Child Health. He remains active in RACP, currently on the Chapter of community child health committee.

Brad has a broad interest in Paediatrics and in particular Neuro-developmental and behavioural paediatrics including ADHD, Autism, genetic and learning disorders. He has been involved with both research and policy development in ADHD in WA and nationally. He is currently involved in two studies on ADHD, the Children’s Attention Project – (a NHMRC funded study in Melbourne) as an associate investigator and the APRN study -Australian Paediatric ADHD Study (APAS). Together with Dr Daryl Efron he is leading this study, which is looking at tracking children diagnosed with ADHD annually over a number of years to investigate a range of factors including the diagnostic stability of ADHD, pathways to diagnosis, comorbidities and the impact of a diagnosis on children and families.

Since August 2012, APRN members have achieved …

Funding & Infrastructure

  • Successful funding applications from:
    • the RACP for the Fellows Contribution Fellowship Award to support A/Prof Harriet Hiscock’s leadership and activities fundamental to the APRN; our annual multi-topic surveys, five-yearly Delphi survey of member research priorities, and five-yearly national two-week snapshot audit of paediatricians’ caseloads.
    • the Murdoch Childrens research Institute ($50,000) for an obesity and its co-morbidities pilot.

Publications & Awards

  • Pharmacological and Non-Pharmacological Management of Sleep Disturbance in Children: An Australian Paediatric Research Network Survey. Heussler H, Chan P, Price A, Waters K, Davey M, Hiscock H. Sleep Medicine, Accepted 11 September 2012.
  • Childhood obesity in secondary care: National prospective audit of Australian pediatric practice. Campbell M, Bryson H, Price A, Wake M. Provisionally accepted by Academic Pediatrics 19 September 2012.
  • Congratulations to Dr Daryl Efron, winner of the 2012 Royal College of Physicians Rue Wright Memorial Award for his presentation titled “Current Australian paediatric practice in the assessment and treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A survey and practice audit”

Do you have a new publication to share? APRN would love to hear about your newly published research. Let us know so that we can share it with the whole APRN.


  • The APRN. Paediatric Research Networks Symposium. Wake, M. Pediatric American Society Conference in Boston. April 2012.
  • 1) Tackling common problems in your practice and 2) Current Australian paediatric practice in the assessment and treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder: A survey and practice audit. Efron, D. The RACP Congress. May 2012.

What conferences have you presented at recently? APRN would love to hear about your latest presentation. Let us know so that we can share it with the whole APRN.

Research Projects

  • Parent Needs After a Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) (led by Dr Sabine Hennel, Monash Medical Centre, Vic): Approximately 60 paediatricians from around Australia have identified more than 1000 patients diagnosed with an ASD since Jan 2010. The research team are finalising data collection from families with results expected early 2013.
  • Australian Paediatric ADHD Study (APAS) (led by Dr Daryl Efron, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, Vic. & Dr Brad Jongeling, Complex Attention and Hyperactivity Disorders Service, WA): APAS is a longitudinal study following children from the point of diagnosis of ADHD. At enrolment, we explore aspects related to the initial diagnosis including the family’s journey toward a paediatrician, previous assessments, diagnostic processes and referrals made. Data will be collected from 4 sources: paediatricians, parents, teachers, and patients (if over 11yo). Ultimately, data linkage with NAPLAN and Medicare databases will provide information on academic progress and health service utilization.
    The VIC pilot has now commenced, and the WA pilot is awaiting ethics approval. The pilot data will be used to inform a funding application for a nation-wide study via APRN.
  • Paed Action on Food Allergy (led by Harriet Hiscock and Margie Danchin, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute): 10 paediatricians have attended an online training package, to effectively diagnose and manage simple food allergy in babies and children in the community. 30 children who are currently on the RCH allergy clinic wait list have been recruited to take part in this pilot. Paediatricians will see families over Oct-Dec 2012. Results will inform a 2013 NHMRC grant application to determine the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the online program in a national randomised controlled trial.
  • Growth and pubertal status of adolescent girls with ADHD (led by Dr Sally Poulton, Nepean Health, NSW): Ethics approval has been received and recruitment commenced. Please contact Sally if you would like to participate.

Member services

  • Launched the ‘Media and Awards’ web page.
  • Continue to work with the RACP to tailor our “How to” conduct research module. These modules are available at on the APRN website and will also be on the RACP website soon.

The APRN continues to grow.

More than 410 paediatricians around the country have now joined.

Thanks to all members who have contributed to its research and activities to date.

For more information on the APRN, please visit us at www.aprn.org.au