A leading expert from the University of Newcastle has been recognised for her research into best-practice nutrition and dietetic support with an international award from the renowned journal Nutrition.
Dr Clare Collins, a practising dietitian and senior lecturer in Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Newcastle, received the 11th John M. Kinney Award for General Nutrition for the most outstanding original work directly relevant to the field of general nutrition.
Dr Collins said the award related to a paper published in Nutrition: The International Journal of Applied and Basic Nutritional Sciences on her research into the efffects of nutritional supplements on wound-healing in the elderly.
"The paper outlines a research project I undertook to see if the wound-healing characteristics of eldery home-nursed people could be improved by having a daily high-energy, vitamin supplemented drink," Dr Collins said.
"Malnutrition can be common in elderly patients. The research found that of those nursed at home, this can have an impact on the healing of wounds.
"The project team was able to show that giving patients pre-packaged oral supplements to improve nutrition reduced the time it took for wounds to heal.
"It was a simple and effective solution and led to changes in standard care practices for all clients with wounds treated by the Community Health Services and Nursing home nursing team in the Hunter Area Health Service."
Dr Collins currently leads her own research team and teaches research methods and clinical dietetic practice at the University of Newcastle. She is also the nutrition consultant for the reality television program The Biggest Loser.
"I feel very proud to be the recipient of the award and it is proof that accredited practising dietitians can be research leaders.
"I hope that I can inspire the next generation of dietitians to play their part in evaluating clinical practices, identifying the gaps in evidence, undertaking research to address these gaps, transferring the findings into practice and measure the impact of changes.
"Improving patient care and the health of the population depends on a commitment to this process and is the best way to demonstrate the effectiveness of nutritional support strategies."