Partnership closes gaps in regional and metro clinical trials

Thursday, September 02, 2021
Partnership closes gaps in regional and metro clinical trials
Bendigo Health has partnered with a new initiative, TrialHub, to close the gap between city and regional delivery and access to potentially life-saving cancer treatments.

Based at Alfred Health, the Australian-first model TrialHub is working alongside regional and rural hospitals to identify gaps and opportunities to then work together in establishing, or improving, their own clinical trial centre.

Bendigo Health joins Latrobe Regional Hospital and Rosebud Hospital as pilot sites for the program.

Specifically, Bendigo Health and TrialHub have teamed up on a workforce development program, which includes a fellowship mentoring program and a clinical trial pharmacy program.

Clinical Trial Pharmacist, Mark Dewhurst, and Oncology Trials Fellow Chloe Georgiou are the first to participate in the workforce development programs.

Rob Blum, Bendigo Health Clinical Director Cancer Services, said while the hospital has been delivering clinical trials for 20 years, this program is about cementing their skillset and workforce so they can increase clinical trials capacity, and attract and take on new trials in order to become a regional hub for clinical trials.

“While we’ve been delivering clinical trials for some time, we have never formalised the structure and gaps to become a completely independent trial unit before.  This is about improving structural and skill gaps to take us to the next level but it also provides our staff an opportunity to specialise in clinical trials without having to leave the region.”

“We have amazing staff here who want to specialise in clinical trials and this program is enabling that. Chloe is our first fellow and dedicated clinical trials oncologist, and Mark has now formalised his clinical pharmacy training thanks to the TrialHub pharmacy train-the-trainer program,” he said.

TrialHub’s model works by having a metro hospital, Alfred Health, partnering with regional/rural hospitals to leverage its long-standing clinical trial portfolio.

Alfred Health has around 300 clinical trials open across 14 disease disciplines and most of them have a medication component.

Both Chloe and Mark have been matched with clinical trial experts from Alfred Health, where they receive on-going training and development opportunities and mentoring.

Anne Woollett, Director of TrialHub, said a goal of the program is to keep regional staff specialised in the regions.

“A big focus of the initiative is on workforce development, and training and mentoring for regional staff interested in building and formalising their expertise in clinical trials without relocating to a city hospital. Leveraging Alfred Health’s clinical trials excellence, TrialHub is providing a range of education and training opportunities for staff to upskill in a range of clinical trial areas of expertise.”

This investment is through the Federal Government’s Community Health and Hospitals Program.

More information about the TrialHub initiative, go to