Globally, common respiratory diseases including acute respiratory infections (ARIs) and asthma are the most common causes of morbidity and mortality in children. Our internationally recognised program of research aims to determine the socio-demographic and other modifiable factors associated with poor health outcomes in children with common respiratory disease and translate that knowledge into developing, implementing and evaluating novel models of care to improve health outcomes.

Our goals

  1. Prevention of disease:
    1. Estimating of burden of disease including hospitalisation, mortality, and economic burden.
    2. Evaluating impact of vaccine in preventing respiratory infections.
    3. Impact of viral and bacterial co-infections and health outcomes.
  2. Assessment of quality of care:
    1. Adherence to guidelines and variation in clinical management pathways.
  3. Improving quality, access and equity of care:
    1. Improving quality: Standardisation of clinical care.
    2. Improving access to care: Technology-enabled model of care.
    3. Improving equity to care: Evaluating novel model for carer in rural areas.

Research Strengths

Designing and establishing surveillance, application and analysis of record-linked administrative health data ("big data"); design and conduct of randomised controlled trials, clinical surveys, diagnostic studies and longitudinal studies, systematic reviews and meta-analyses and health service research.

Our results

Our program of research has demonstrated:

  1. Globally respiratory viruses including respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza viruses are the leading causes of morbidity in children aged <5 year.
  2. Maternal smoking is a strong risk factor for severe RSV disease in infancy.
  3. Burden of RSV disease is double in Aboriginal compared to non-Aboriginal children.
  4. There is wide variation in clinical management of RSV disease.
  5. COVID-19 is associated with mild disease in children aged <5 years.
  6. Parents/carers of children with lung conditions are willing to get their children vaccinated against COVID-19.
  7. Childhood empyema in Australian children has increased since the introduction of 13v pneumococcal conjugate vaccine.
  8. The 13v pneumococcal conjugate vaccine does not provide optimal protection against invasive pneumococcal pneumonia in Australian children.
  9. There is need for newer formulation of pneumococcal vaccines.
  10. Australian children with asthma receive guideline-adherent care on <60% of occasions of care.
  11. 3,500 Australian children aged <5 years are inappropriately dispensed fixed dose combination inhalers for asthma management annually, which is not adherent to guidelines.
  12. Children hospitalised with asthma ≥4 times in 12 months have a 16 times higher risk of being hospitalised with life-threatening asthma.
  13. Post-hospital discharge asthma management pathways vary between different local health districts, different hospitals in the same LHD and even different departments within the same hospital.
  14. Comprehensive multicomponent integrated asthma model of care can reduce asthma hospital presentation by 80%.

Our experts

Senior Lecturer
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John Beveridge Professor of Paediatrics; Head, Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health; Head, Randwick Clinical Campus
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