Flinders University International Centre for Point-of-Care Testing
As Director of the Flinders University International Centre for Point-of-Care Testing, I am pleased to welcome you to the Centre's web site.
The Flinders University International Centre for Point-of-Care Testing was launched in March 2011, following approval for its establishment by the Academic Senate of Flinders University late in 2010.
The launch of the International Centre represents the culmination of 15 years of pioneering practical work and leadership in the field of point-of-care testing delivered principally by the Community Point-of-Care Services unit within the Flinders University Rural Clinical School.
Across the years, the Community Point-of-Care Services unit has implemented and delivered the largest number and most diverse range of community-based point-of-care testing models in Australia.
It has also become a national leader in delivering teaching programs for undergraduate university students.
As a result of its growing profile and through its wide-ranging research publications on point-of-care testing, the Community Point-of-Care Services unit continued to receive an increasing number of requests for assistance with point-of-care testing from a range of countries including Africa, the Western Pacific, New Guinea, New Zealand, Asia and Canada.
These requests provided the impetus for a successful submission to the University’s Academic Senate to establish an International Centre for Point-of-Care Testing at Flinders University (with the Community Point-of-Care Services unit merging under the umbrella of the new Centre).
The development of the International Centre for Point-of-Care Testing has positioned Flinders University as a recognised centre for excellence in teaching and research in this field internationally.
Indeed, to the best of my knowledge, the International Centre for Point-of-Care Testing is the first of its type to be created in the world.
The vision of the International Centre for Point-of-Care Testing is neatly aligned with Flinders University Strategic Plan 2010-2014 - Inspiring Flinders Future, which includes the following key strategies:
- Building supportive communities,
- Enhancing educational opportunities,
- Valuing quality in teaching,
- Focusing research and
- Strengthening internationalisation.
The first year and a half of the Centre’s operations have been exciting, rewarding and challenging, as we have sought to build strong foundations for the Centre’s initial research and teaching initiatives. In terms of research, the Centre has established a network of international collaborations with universities and professional organisations in 7 countries and commenced the rollout of a new international point-of-care testing program for diabetes management, called ACE (Analytical and Clinical Excellence), in rural and remote Indigenous communities in those countries.
With respect to education initiatives, the Centre has developed and commenced teaching the Graduate Certificate in Global Point-of-Care Testing, which is the first postgraduate academic qualification in this field to be offered at university level globally. The innovative on-line delivery of the course should appeal to health professionals from both Australian and international backgrounds, and a major article on the course that will be published in the international journal Point of Care later this year will greatly assist the promotion of the course to an international audience.
Nationally, the Centre (through the Community Point-of-Care Services unit) continues to deliver state-of-the art point-of-care testing field programs which encompass the Indigenous, remote health and general practice sectors and programs which span the prevention and management of chronic and acute diseases. These include the QAAMS (Quality Assurance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Medical Services) Program for diabetes management, which now reaches more than 160 Aboriginal medical services and continues to be the largest national point-of-care testing program in Australia; and the Northern Territory Point-of-Care Testing Program, which involves 33 remote health centres in the Territory. Our Centre’s participation in the new NHMRC-funded research trial called TTANGO (Test, Treat and Go) involving point-of-care testing for chlamydia and gonorrhoea in remote Aboriginal communities highlights its broad-ranging involvement, knowledge and expertise across all the major medical science disciplines in which point-of-care testing is now practised.
The academic output of the Centre in its first year has been strong with 10 refereed papers, one book chapter, and four conference posters either published or in press and 10 invited lectures or oral presentations either presented or about to be presented at national and international conferences. Current research grants secured by members of the Centre (and held at Flinders University) amount to $3.74 Million.
In summary, I wish to thank my loyal and talented staff members, who represent a blend of experienced and young researchers and educators, for their fine work, energy and enthusiasm. I also wish to acknowledge my senior colleagues Professor Jennene Greenhill, Professor Paul Worley and Professor Michael Kidd AM for their support, co-operation and advice during the development and initial growth of the Flinders University International Centre for Point-of-Care Testing.
Professor Mark Shephard OAM
Director of the Flinders University International Centre for Point-of-Care Testing