Category: News

Two new Academic Surgeon positions to be advertised through the SERT Institute

Two academic lead roles relating to the ‘Masters of Surgery’ program and to ‘Postgraduate Research and Training’ will be advertised shortly (0.2FTE each). The SERT Institute will send out an Expression of Interest once these positions are on e-Recruit. Please submit an application if either of these two roles interest you.
The successful candidates will need to demonstrate surgical practice integrated with teaching and research. There are no clinical privileges associated with this appointment other than what a candidate already has or can be separately negotiated with a clinical department.

Data Analysis and Surgical Outcomes (DASO) Unit Update

by Maria Albania

The DASO Unit has already started making progress by increasing the number of resources for data management and audit support within the Division of Surgery. Two data manager positions are currently in the approval process to be recruited through the DASO Unit.

The NSLHD is committed to supporting existing and additional data management and audit services in the Division of Surgery & Anaesthesia at RNSH. The DASO Unit also has access to ongoing funding for distribution to departments across the division for the purpose of supporting surgical data management and audit activities.
To apply for resources for data support for your department please address each of the criteria below in a short application letter to the DASO unit:

  1. Surgical data/audit tasks & processes – outline both current and proposed data/audit processes to be undertaken in your department
  2. Current resources – describe what data management/support resources are currently available to your department
  3. Data capture & database systems – outline which systems and software packages are currently or will be used to capture clinical data in your department
  4. Reporting & analysis – outline how the data for your department will be analysed and reported and the intended use/purpose of the data
  5. Level of clinician engagement – detail the department’s expectation of how clinicians will be engaged in data and audit processes. Specifically please nominate a clinician who will be the data and audit champion for your department
  6. Requested resources – provide an estimate of the data management workload and personnel you might require

For more information please contact Maria Albania, DASO Unit Manager at or 02 9926 4560.

New Academic Appointment at RNSH

Dr Jonathon Parkinson

Dr Jonathon Parkinson was a medical student at RNSH, before going on to complete Neurosurgical training across Sydney and Newcastle. During this time, he also completed a PhD in the Cancer Genetics Laboratory at the Kolling Institute, examining the molecular biology of glioma.

Following his Neurosurgical training, Jonathon undertook a fellowship in complex spinal surgery at the Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, Alberta. On his return to Australia, he took up his current appointments as a VMO at Royal North Shore, North Shore Private and Sydney Adventist Hospitals.
Jonathon’s main areas of clinical and research interest are in complex spinal surgery and neuro-oncology, with the latter seeing him on the Management Committee of the Co-operative Trials Group in Neuro-oncology (COGNO), Australasia’s dominant neuro-oncology society. He also has a keen interest in medical student, registrar and fellow education across both clinical and academic areas.

Dr Parkinson has arranged for a RACS Foundation Skills for Surgical Educators (FSSE) course to be run at RNSH on Saturday 28th October 2017. This is a compulsory but highly regarded course for all surgeons who are in contact with surgical trainees. For more information about attending this or future courses please contact Jonathon at

Message From Professor Tom Hugh

Professor Hugh

Welcome to the third newsletter of the RNS SERT Institute. Congratulations to Dr Jonathon Parkinson, who was recently appointed into an academic position working at Northern and within the Institute. Jonathon brings great clinical, research and teaching experience; and will be an asset for surgical academia.

Two more academic surgical positions will be advertised in the coming weeks. We encourage all surgeons within the NSLHD to consider applying for these positions.

Shelly Dhaliwal, Maria Albania and I have been visiting surgical departments to provide an update on the activities of the RNS SERT Institute and the DASO unit. We have presented to nine surgical departments so far with several more to go. The main focus of our visit has been to make everyone aware that the Institute is now in consultation phase, where we need input and insights from surgeons to help develop our work-plan. In conjunction with the Division of Surgery, the DASO unit has created some simple application criteria for all departments and is now offering funds for data management support. 

I would like to remind all surgeons that the RNS SERT Institute is a joint venture and we need your involvement to optimise the resources available to us and to strengthen the presence of surgical academia on the campus.

Director of Surgical Skills Training Update

by Dr Anubhav Mittal

The Sydney Clinical Skills and Simulation Centre (SCSSC) located on level 6 of the Kolling Building routinely runs skills courses for the University of Sydney, industry, Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, GSA and the ANZHPBA and ANSGOSA. These courses range from the basic skills courses that lay the foundation for future surgical skills learning to more advanced courses aimed at experienced surgeons. In addition, the centre also runs several ‘homegrown’ surgical skills courses that teach laparoscopic skills, bowel anastomosis and vascular anastomosis. The faculty for these courses is largely derived from surgeons at RNSH, and we are grateful for their ongoing help and support.

For example, the basic laparoscopy course (pictured below) teaches the participants both the theory and practice of safe laparoscopic procedures. Models are used to teach the principles behind appendectomy and cholecystectomy.

We are fortunate to have such a “state of the art” facility run by full-time staff on our campus. The RACS ASSET courses in NSW are all run through the SCSSC. We encourage you to contact either Jenny Ludeman (Jennifer Ludeman or Anubhav Mittal ( if you are interested in running or hosting a skills course related to your sub-speciality.

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.