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Foundation grants a ‘critical support’ for GP researchers


Morgan Liotta


25/02/2022 4:26:01 PM

Applications for the 2022 RACGP Foundation Grants and Awards open 1 March.

GP researcher telling explaining to colleague.
Applications for the 2022 RACGP Foundation Grants and Awards are available on the RACGP website.

The RACGP Foundation Grants and Awards program is designed to demonstrate to GPs and GPs in training that general practice research is a respected and viable career pathway, providing an evidence base to inform and improve practice and patient outcomes.
 
According Dr Elizabeth Sturgiss, recipient of the 2021 RACGP Foundation/HCF Research Foundation Research Grant, the Foundation provides an ideal opportunity to expand on ‘big ideas’ and make a valuable contribution to Australia’s healthcare system.
 
‘The foundation is a critical support for GP researchers,’ she told newsGP.
 
‘Everyone has heard about the increasing difficulties in searching for research funding. The grants are a great opportunity to get funding to look at new ideas and to discover more about how and why general practice really works.’
 
Dr Sturgiss said the general practice researchers at local university departments can help shape ideas into a solid research proposal that is feasible for an application.
 
Among other projects, her awarded 2021 research project, ‘Change talk: Supporting high-quality behaviour change in general practice’, builds on her 2019 RACGP Foundation/Diabetes Australia Research Grant, and investigates how GPs can be best supported to provide high-quality, evidence-based behaviour change consultations for patients.
 
‘We will work with GPs and practice nurses to find out what interests them most, as well as the best way to access upskilling in behaviour change,’ Dr Sturgiss said.
 
‘Behaviour change is an essential part of being a GP to support patients with all kinds of behaviours – from remembering to take the right medications, to smoking, alcohol and nutrition.
 
‘I was lucky to be awarded a grant [in 2019] to explore more about the “5As” and how they work in clinical practice, [leading] a team of researchers who bring skills from different parts of primary care as well as international research experts.’
 
The Real 5As project will develop ‘in-depth and nuanced knowledge’ of how and why the 5As work in general practice for patients with type 2 diabetes.
 
Dr Sturgiss said that through a series of qualitative interviews with patients with type 2 diabetes, their GPs and behavioural change experts, the project will:

  • identify important factors that are missing from current general practice guidelines for lifestyle change for patients living with type 2 diabetes
  • inform specialty training and CPD for GPs and practice nurses.
‘The findings of this study have the potential to influence the care received by people living with type 2 diabetes to improve their quality of life, health outcomes, and overall mortality,’ Dr Sturgiss said.
 
‘They will also inform future policies relating to type 2 diabetes management in Australia, while helping to reduce the $292 million spent each year in healthcare costs attributed to diabetes-related complications.’
 
Reiterating the benefits of applying for a research grant, Dr Sturgiss states the importance of continuous investment and participation in general practice research.
 
‘General practice is a specialty with a foundation of high-quality research, but there are many areas that are yet to be explored,’ she said.
 
‘Over time the general practice research community is getting stronger, with more GPs interested in research after seeing the benefits for their own clinical practice.
 
‘It is important that GPs are involved in general practice research, as we understand how GPs work day-to-day and we often see what is really needed by patients in the community.’
 
Applications for the 2022 RACGP Foundation Grants and Awards are available on the RACGP website.
 
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behaviour change general practice research RACGP Foundation type 2 diabetes


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