SLHD - Sydney Connect
A week of imagining, transforming and leading health and healthcare excellence.

Innovation Week 2018

June 2018

A week of imagining, transforming and leading health and healthcare excellence.

A week of imagining, transforming and leading health and healthcare excellence.

Sydney Local Health District’s Innovation Week 2018 was an outstanding success, with 150 speakers and more than 2500 people attending nine events showcasing excellence in health and healthcare.

Innovation Week began on Tuesday, June 19 with our inaugural Patient and Family Experience Symposium, because the experience of our patients, their families and friends is at the centre of everything we do. 

Empathy to action became the theme of the day as CEO of Friendly Faces, Helping Hands Kelly Foran used her experience to show us why it is important to ensure families from the bush get support when they come to the city for healthcare and treatment.

Michael Morris from the Samuel Morris Foundation reminded us about how in the most difficult of circumstances our patients and their families can help us to improve the systems we know by having one conversation at a time.

Clinical physiotherapist Dr Lissa Spencer and double lung transplant recipient Adam Wells demonstrated how creating a true patient-clinician relationship can have extraordinary results.

Our Master of Ceremonies Julie McCrossin handed over the microphone for a while to bravely share her own story as a survivor of head and neck cancer and advocate for the simple things that can make a meaningful difference for patients.

Chief Executive Dr Teresa Andersson and Patient Experience Manager Laila Hallam launched our new Partners in Care initiative. This innovative new policy welcomes family and friends of patients into our hospitals and health services as “partners in care”.

On Wednesday June 20, more than 200 women gathered in the beautiful Strangers’ Dining Room at NSW Parliament House for a Women’s Leadership Breakfast.

Secretary of NSW Health, Elizabeth Koff, shared some invaluable insights from her experience at the very top of health administration. Gwen Cherne showed her courage and leadership following the suicide of her husband Peter to give families of fallen soldiers a voice and the support they need. Dr Penny Stannard from NSW State Archives told fascinating stories of the trailblazing women who have forged a path for females in the NSW public sector for more than 150 years.

The breakfast was an opportunity for women in different stages of their careers to network, share stories and discuss how we can all support women to reach their leadership goals.

On Thursday, June 21 Innovation Week moved to Australian Technology Park at Eveleigh to focus on research and commercialisation. Translating research to patient care is central to innovation in Sydney Local Health District. More than 500 clinical trials are currently taking place within the District, including some high-profile, international, multi-centre trials with major ramifications for the future of healthcare.

At the Big Idea, the standard of our finalists was extremely high and their ideas spanned the whole of life - from a new device to prevent dose medication errors in neonates and young children - to a computerised platform to promote personalised exercise training programs for the frail aged.

Associate Professor Wojciech Chrzanowski and Sally Kim from the University of Sydney won the $45,000 Big Idea. Wojciech and his team are working on an innovative device for the treatment of cardiopulmonary obstructive disease.

The Sydney Innovation and Research Symposium on Friday, June 22 was our biggest yet with more than 1100 staff, community, industry and partner organisations joining us at Australian Technology Park.

The highlight of the day was the McKee family - Angus, Greg, Carmen, Phillipa and Brooke – joining the team from Concord Hospital’s Burns Unit on stage. The McKee family’s gratitude and appreciation for the amazing team effort that helped them to rebuild their lives after Angus was seriously injured in a bonfire accident in 2014 was clear for everyone to see.

Author and trend forecaster Michael McQueen had us all thinking about the future in his keynote presentation, Preparing Now for What’s Next. The 30 snapshot sessions showcased what’s new, what’s coming and what we need to know from across our health services.

Sleep scientists at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research presented the incredible work they are doing using a high-tech cap with 256 sensors to unlock the secrets of sleep. And RPA’s Professor John Rasko’s presented his internationally-acclaimed breakthrough treatment using gene therapy for genetic disorders.

With more than 150 applicants in The Pitch since it began in 2014, we reached the $1 million milestone. Congratulations to RPA’s Emergency Department and Sydney Dental Hospital’s Specialist Dental Services who took out a combined $100,000 to turn their innovative ideas into reality.

In its second year, the Sydney Robotics Summit on Saturday, June 23 was a chance to bring together robotic specialists from across Australia and around the world and showcase the District as a centre of excellence in this area. More than 600 delegates attended and watched a robotic surgery live-streamed from Macquarie University Hospital.

The week culminated with Care in Our Community - an event putting a spotlight on some of the health issues facing us as a community, talking about prevention and promoting positive health in our community. The event was in partnership with Central and Eastern Sydney PHN.

All the highlights including photos and videos of Innovation Week are available at and

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