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Leaps and Bounds into translation of the research findings – lessons learned from a UK trip

This blog is written by Cylie Williams.

I’m the Allied Health Research Lead at Peninsula Health and hold a research position at Monash University. My background is paediatric podiatry, and I was fortunate to recently receive funding from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Early Career Research Fellowship, and a Monash University Advancing Women’s Research Grant, to travel to the UK for study and a conference.

There is a great research project at the moment in the UK between two universities called Great Foundations. This research attracted £1.5M of funding and is changing what we know about children’s foot development, what messages are given to the public about children’s foot health and how we ensure that the messages and practices are in line with the latest research.

My first stop was at the Eastbourne Campus of the University of Brighton. The team were so welcoming and we rapidly mapped out the differences in children’s podiatry services, knowledge, and education prospects between Australia and the UK. I ran a workshop at the Leaf Hospital with a fabulous group of podiatry students and gave an evening lecture to local podiatrists and physiotherapists. This evening session was streamed live on the University of Brighton Facebook site and attracted over 3.1K views (glad I didn’t know this at the time I was talking).

The team ensured that we incorporated physical activity in as many team meetings as possible. One was up on Beachy Head, where we were very careful not to blow off. All the while, discussing how the information learned through the Great Foundations projects can take a leap and bound directly the practice of practicing health professionals and health professionals in training. Like the paths up on the head, there are many paths to getting the message out after research. This was the area I was most excited about, and keen to bring back learnings to Australia.

Researchers like to label everything, and these paths in research, are known as “Research Translation”. In this project, translation ensures that what researchers find out about children’s foot development, quickly makes its way to those who are leaders in foot health, parents are able to access this information and children ultimately benefits.

The last leg of the trip involved the UK podiatry conference in Liverpool – there were over 1,500 podiatrists. I met a great number of researchers making positive changes for people who have foot related disability relating to arthritis, diabetes and even ankle joint problems relating to Hemophilia. I presented some of our Peninsula Health research, and had two posters displayed at the conference.

I’m now back in very warm Melbourne and am grateful to all in the UK for making me feel so welcome, and especially the team Great Foundations Team at Brighton