Supporting the collaborative spirit that improves healthcare

21 March 2022

Profile: Distinguished Professor Patsy Yates AM
Executive Dean, Faculty of Health
Director, Centre for Healthcare Transformation, QUT

Early in her career, Distinguished Professor Patsy Yates AM became interested in advancing the quality of life of people with cancer or other chronic diseases. She continually draws on her experience as an oncology nurse, in her research focused on developing workforce capacity in cancer, palliative and aged care and advancing the management of cancer-related symptoms and treatment side effects.

Patsy’s involvement with Health Translation Queensland started when she was an academic and researcher. The Queensland University of Technology (QUT is a founding partner, and Patsy helped to prepare the original bid to create Queensland’s first translational health research network – then Brisbane Diamantina Health Partners. Now the Executive Dean at the QUT Faculty of Health, Patsy is an integral part of the Health Translation Queensland Board.

“I’ve seen this Queensland network evolve into a group that recognises the benefits of partnering across health services and universities. Through this strengthened collaboration, we are improving the quality of healthcare,” Patsy said.

“Health Translation Queensland is a good model based on some of the best international frameworks for translational health research networks. There’s still much to do, but we now have a collaborative spirit among the partners that drives progress. Health Translation Queensland now acts as the facilitator or catalyst of the partnerships and connections that need to happen to advance healthcare and better treatments.”

“There’s some tremendous forward-thinking work happening. The partners are committed to the network’s new strategic plan and share a vision for the future. Health Translation Queensland’s recent analysis of research funding is an example of the type of advocacy work the network invests in,” Patsy said.

In addition to her research program and executive responsibilities, Patsy is a grants assessor and reviews applications for national and international grants, such as the Medical Research Futures Fund. It is a role that inspires and challenges her.

“There is so much quality research, but never enough money to fund all great ideas,” Patsy explained.

“Research today has to be flawless, and then the differentiator is innovation. When I review an application, I’m looking for how much impact the study will have on the health of our community. The challenge is that you can’t have translational impact without fundamental discoveries. As a scientific community, we need to get the balance right.”

“I am an experienced researcher, so being a grant assessor is important. We need rigorous stewardship of the scarce resources we have. I see it as an opportunity to give back to the field. Besides, reading new ideas about how we can improve healthcare always puts a smile on my face,” Patsy said.

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