Author's posts

SERT Office Space

We are excited to have moved into our own physical space in the old Medical Illustrations Unit on the ground floor of the Kolling building. We are in the process of cleaning up and reorganizing the office area. Plans are also being drawn up to carry out a more definitive renovation in the near future. Here is a sneak peek!

SERT Entrance
SERT Waiting Area
SERT Office

New Academic Surgeon position in Surgery at RNSH

An advertisement for an Academic Surgeon with a specific role as “Co-Director of Surgery for the Sydney Medical Program at the Northern Clinical School” (0.2 FTE) is now on e-recruit. This position is the first of several new part-time academic surgeon appointments to work in conjunction with the Professor of Surgery and the SERT Institute. The successful applicant will work in a multidisciplinary environment in conjunction with the current administrative and clinical staff in the Northern Clinical School to expand and strengthen the surgical component of the SMP at Northern.

Manager, Data Analysis and Surgical Outcomes Unit (DASO) – Maria Albania

Ms Maria Albania

Maria Albania is a trained Biostatistician experienced in clinical data management. She is keen to ensure that clinicians have adequate data resources and that high-quality data is available in the public health sector. She has extensive experience in data management, statistics and health research including a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and a Masters in Biostatistics. Maria has previously worked for the Cancer Council NSW on research projects focused on skin cancer and prostate cancer. Maria has also spent time in the UK working in research management and governance at the National Institute for Health Research. In 2014 Maria moved her career to the NSW public health sector with previous roles as the Upper Gastrointestinal Surgery Data Manager at Royal North Shore Hospital and the Intensive Care Unit Data and Research Manager at Prince of Wales Hospital.

Manager, SERT Institute – Shelly Dhaliwal

Ms Shelly Dhaliwal

Shelly started her management career at a young age and was trained by the Australasian College of Health Service Management to take up leadership roles within the NSW Health. This included a Master’s degree scholarship in public health management. Shelly has since managed large portfolios both within and outside of NSW Health. She also had a brief career break, which led her to the Native Indian communities in Central and South America.
Shelly is enthusiastic about her new role and is looking forward to working with surgeons to enhance surgical academia on the Northern campus.

Message from Professor Tom Hugh

Professor Hugh

This is our second newsletter and I am pleased to announce that full-time managers of the SERT Institute (Ms Shelly Dhaliwal) and the Data Analysis and Surgical Outcomes (DASO) Unit (Ms Maria Albania) have now been appointed. Both have started in their new roles and they are excited about the work ahead (see their profiles below). Also, we have now advertised the first of four new part-time academic surgeon positions. The title of the new appointment will be Co-Director of Surgery for the Sydney Medical Program at the Northern Clinical School. See page 2 for more details.

A few weeks ago we visited the Institute of Academic Surgery (IAS) at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. This is a new and innovative surgical research and education centre run by Michael Solomon and Paul Bannon. We sat in one of their fortnightly Executive meetings as observers and were then given a tour of the IAS facility. This includes a simulation theatre with robotic technology, a skills laboratory, and numerous tutorial and meeting rooms. The IAS is certainly changing the landscape of surgical training on their side of the bridge. It was inspiring to think what we might achieve here at RNSH!

We have put together two brief documents outlining the purpose, vision and mission of the SERT Institute and the DASO Unit. These will be distributed widely in the next few weeks with the aim of providing a deeper understanding of what we are trying to achieve in surgical acadaemia on the campus. I encourage you to be part of this initiative at RNSH.
There are many ways that busy clinical surgeons can get involved. I am hoping that the work of the SERT Institute will stimulate you to think about your own role as a surgeon in a major teaching hospital. I would welcome any comments or feedback.

Masters of Surgery – 17-19th November 2016

The Surgical Skills Module of the University of Sydney Masters of Surgery course was attended by 17 candidates. The cohort comprised future surgeons of varying experience – from medical students to surgical registrars. Over three days, the candidates were presented a number of lectures closely reflecting the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons nine core competencies. Candidates spent time undertaking supervised laboratory learning and practising essential basic surgical skills ranging from knot tying, skin lesion excision, suturing, use of energy devices, hand-sewn bowel anastomoses and laparoscopic skills. The course culminated in a practical assessment of these skills. Candidates were also required to complete a number of supplementary online modules and will also develop their own online video following the course which will be submitted for assessment.

Prof Tom Hugh with surgical residents at the Masters of Surgery Surgical Skills Course in November 2016.


  • Dr Anubhav Mittal (Director, Sydney Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre)
  • Prof. Tom Hugh (Chair of Surgery, Northern Clinical School)
  • Dr Yasser Salama (Consultant Colorectal Surgeon)
  • Dr Shahrir Kabir (Consultant Colorectal Surgeon)
  • Dr Chris Nahm (Surgical Fellow)


  • Assoc. Prof. Margaret Schnitzler (Associate Professor of Surgery)
  • Dr. Andrew Pearson (RNSH HPB Surgical Fellow)
  • Dr. Kai Brown (Surgical Registrar)
Dr Anubhav Mittal and Dr Shahrir Kabir demonstrating laparoscopic suturing to Masters of Surgery Candidates.
Masters of Surgery Course, Surgical Skills Centre, RNSH.