Homegrown health researcher’s new title

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Professor Brett Mitchell.

An academic whose prolific publications and competitive grants have given his infection control research national profile is the first to receive a professorship from Avondale College of Higher Education (NSW).

Professor Brett Mitchell’s promotion from associate professor reflects: the quantity and quality of the papers he has had published—more than 50 since moving to Avondale three-and-a-half years ago; the quantity and the size of the competitive research grants he has received—eight as a chief investigator, equating to $A1.2 million; and national and international recognition for his contribution to infection prevention and control—he is chair of a National Health and Medical Research Council committee revising national infection control guidelines.

The promotion is “personal recognition for much hard work”, said Prof Mitchell, director of the Lifestyle Research Centre at Avondale. Prof Mitchell and his team received a $A171,000 grant from the HCF Research Foundation earlier this year for a study of antiseptic cleaning solutions that may not only help prevent catheter-associated infections in hospitals, but also change national guidelines. The project is important, said Prof Mitchell, because one of his previous studies found nearly two in every 100 patients acquire a urinary tract infection and that these infections cost an extra 380,000 public hospital bed days in Australia each year.

Prof Mitchell is editor of the peer-reviewed journal Infection, Disease and Health and helped found the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control. He hopes his promotion will open up other personal and professional opportunities and increase Avondale’s profile for prospective students and academics.

“As Avondale’s first home-grown professor, Brett is an example of our growing stature in the Australian higher education sector,” said Avondale president Professor Ray Roennfeldt. His promotion “is a mark of a maturing re- search culture at Avondale [and] stands as one piece of evidence that we’re ready to step up to university college status”.

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