Tracy Hess loves her ‘Tribe’ and she is happiest when she is given the opportunity to explain who they are and what they do.
The clinical research co-ordinator recently presented at an international symposium held in Melbourne on the achievements of the Mackay Base Hospital anaesthetics team, or the ‘Trial Tribe’.
“I love research and I love this job,” Tracy said.
“Every day is different.
“The work we do today with the clinical trials we are running in anaesthetics will change the practice we undertake tomorrow, and everything we’ve done so far is because someone decided to research.”
Tracy works in the clinical trials unit of MIRI (Mackay Institute of Research and Innovation), the research arm of the Mackay Hospital and Health Service.
She provided a presentation at an international symposium hosted by the Australian Clinical Trials Alliance (ACTA) which supports research sites and provides a strong focus on consumer engagement.
“We are very innovative,” Tracy said.
“There are not many places that have heard of running a trial unit in this way.”
The ‘Tribe’ concept began in 2018 as a result of the anaesthetics department director’s passion for research.
“Dr Danny Bartlett started a new clinical trial and his idea was to embed research daily into the practice of our junior doctors,” Tracy said.
“They have a day per week they spend on research, recruiting patients for trials, following them through the theatre and helping administer the study drug.
“The junior doctors on their rotation to anaesthetics are not only learning about the department, but they’re learning about what it means to do clinical research at an early stage.
“We find they actually really liked this idea because it immerses them into research very early.”
The ‘Trial Tribe’ have now opened their eighth trial and one example of the work they are doing is the ROCKet trial.
“We are sitting in the top 10 worldwide recruiting sites for a large international trial which has been going since 2019,” Tracy said.
“This is the ROCKet trial, which is a ketamine infusion to treat post-operative chronic pain.”
Though public speaking can be daunting for many, Tracy takes presentations to specialists in her stride.
“I love presenting, but I think it’s because I am passionate about it so I’m more than happy to talk,” Tracy said.
“I could talk forever about it.
“For me, the beauty of it is you’ve got tiny little Mackay up here in Queensland being represented at an international symposium.
“That’s what gives me joy.
“Because of the work that the ‘Trial Tribe’ do, you can say to someone at an international symposium ‘we might be small, but we’re doing great things with research.’ “We’ve got the experience, the capability and now we’re having success.”