Skip to main content

Researcher of the Year reflects on growth at Gold Coast Health

Dr Gerben Keijzers is the Gold Coast Health Researcher of the Year

Winning the 2023 Researcher of the Year was the culmination of more than a decade of work for Dr Gerben Keijzers.

Dr Keijzers, Senior Staff Specialist Emergency Physician and Adjunct Professor of Emergency Medicine at Gold Coast Health, is one of seven Research and Transformation Award winners, announced at the recent Research, Innovation and Transformation Showcase.

The categories included Higher Degree by Research (HDR) Student, Emerging Researcher of the Year, Researcher of the Year, Research Support, Research Team of the Year, Translating Research into Practice and Health System Transformation.

Dr Keijzers said there were several researchers in Gold Coast Health who were deserving of receiving a Researcher of the Year Award, many who had been working with him for years growing the research capacity of the Gold Coast Health emergency departments.

Looking back, Dr Keijzers pinpoints the late 2000s as a turning point for research at the Health Service. Around that time, the medical programs at Bond and Griffith Universities matured and they began embedding interns at Gold Coast Health.

Simultaneously, Griffith, Bond and Southern Cross University had a burgeoning interest in engaging with the health service on research projects, and a new source of finance became available when the Queensland Emergency Medicine Research Foundation was founded in 2007.

“Around 2007-08, we really saw a turning point for medical research and education here on the Gold Coast,” Dr Keijzers said. “And at that time myself and several other key staff were ready to accelerate our research careers, and it was the right moment for us to take the lead.”

“We were able to capitalise on the various changes happening around us; we secured funding, built collaborations and built the framework for staff at Gold Coast Health to create meaningful research outputs that improve patient outcomes, save staff time and energy and save healthcare dollars.”

The Emergency Department Collaborative Research Group emerged from the work of various clinician researchers and has been meeting for about five years. It has organised ED research under seven pillars, and Dr Keijzers leads the Appropriate Emergency Care pillar.

He has championed research in several areas, including:

  • appropriate testing for pulmonary embolisms
  • reducing the use of IV fluids for alcohol intoxication
  • reducing unnecessary cannulation attempts and cannulations
  • using appropriate antibiotics
  • and changing practice in the management of spontaneous pneumothorax, meaning no more chest drains.

Professor Julia Crilly OAM presented Dr Keijzers his award on behalf of award sponsor Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University. Professor Crilly is a long-time colleague of Dr Keijzers and said he was a ‘truly deserving’ recipient of the award.

“Gerben’s work is a great example of what research looks like in an ED and how that research can be integrated into clinical practice. Improving patient care is a key aspect that drives our work at Gold Coast Health and Gerben has shown how research translation helps us achieve that aim,” Professor Crilly said.

The ED Collaborative Research Group is unified behind a shared vision to make research an integral part of clinical practice and education, and to create new guidelines and policies based on the results of research.

There are currently scores of ED-related research projects ongoing at Gold Coast Health, and clinician researchers have been published by top global journals, including The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine.

“We’ve been lucky enough to put things forward for those journals and being published, and when you do get into those high impact journals it makes it easier to translate the research into stage one national policy – it can certainly be a springboard to changing policy and guidelines,” Dr Keijzers said.

Professor Crilly added that engaging with research partners such as Griffith University, Bond University and Southern Cross University helps enhance the quality of research and subsequent publication of Gold Coast Health research in high quality journals.

“And that means that Gold Coast Health is put on the map in that regard, and it results in further interest from people who want to be involved in research led out of this health service,” Professor Crilly said.

Other Research and Transformation Award winners were:

  • Dr Peter Snelling (HDR Student Award)
  • Dr Luke Chan (Novice/Emerging Researcher of the Year)
  • Elizabeth Wake (Research Support Award)
  • Gold Coast Health Allied Health Research Team (Research Project of the Year)
  • Gold Coast Health Mood Disorder Service (Translating Research into Practice Award)
  • Gold Coast Health Digital Experience - Integration and Automation Team - Robotic Process Automation (Health Systems Transformation Award).

Read more about the winners by clicking this link.

Recipients of the inaugural Gold Coast Health Clinician Researcher Fellowships and the 2023 Collaborative Research Grant Scheme were also announced at the Showcase.

Last updated 24 Jan 2024