November 17, 2020

New partnership with Australia’s Griffith University to advance wound care

An international collaboration to study in-hospital wound care, management and prevention is set to bring fellows to Michigan Medicine from Australia.

Post-graduate trainees will soon be coming to Ann Arbor from Australia's Griffith University in Brisbane as part of a new program to advance in-hospital wound care.

Associate Professor of Internal Medicine and Chief of Hospital Medicine, Vineet Chopra MD, MSc, is one of six Chief Investigators in a multi-center team launching a research center to improve acute wound care. Based in Australia’s Griffith University and funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council (the Australian equivalent of the National Institutes of Health), the Wiser Wound Care Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) will focus on three common wounds: pressure injuries, surgical wounds, and intravascular device-related wounds. All three are high-volume, potentially high-risk, and high-cost.

“Wounds and injuries of the nature we will study happen in US hospitals every day,” Chopra said. “Our collaboration with partners in Australia across a number of disciplines including nursing, engineering, safety, surgery and medicine will help develop better ways to detect, prevent and treat these common and morbid complications.”

The $2.5 million grant will fund the new Centre for the next five years with a primary focus on developing future clinical researchers. Senior research fellows funded through the new Centre will have the opportunity to travel to Ann Arbor to train with Chopra and other Michigan Medicine colleagues as part of the collaboration.

Provided international travel restrictions are lifted, the first fellows could arrive in Ann Arbor as early as 2021. Beyond a role in training, Michigan Medicine will participate in the Centre through providing mentorship to trainees, assistance with research methodology, and contextual and expert support related to various topics.

The partnership with Griffith University began several years ago with Chopra working closely with investigators in the Alliance for Vascular Access Teaching and Research (AVATAR) group based in Brisbane at Griffith University. The collaboration has informed research and clinical care at Michigan and beyond, including through the creation of guidelines for decision-making related to vascular access devices in adult and pediatric populations. 

Chopra has co-authored 17 papers in the last five years with colleagues from Griffith University, including several just this year exploring IV care, device management and best-practices for prevention of complications. He is the sole American on the CRE multidisciplinary research team, which comprises five renowned nurse researchers, three internationally recognized physicians, a health economist and a statistician.

Wounds are costly for hospitals. According to a 2018 review, Medicare expenses related to in-hospital wound care were as high as $23 billion in 2014. Of course, the problem isn’t confined to the United States.

“Almost all the 11.3 million hospital admissions in Australia each year involve one or more of these wounds,’’ said Professor Wendy Chaboyer, head of Griffith University’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, and the lead researcher on the project. “There is a lack of robust evidence in some key areas of wound care. Our CRE will tackle this lack of quality evidence by undertaking high-quality clinical trials to provide evidence of efficacy and cost effectiveness in priority areas.”