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DOMTRU – a collaborative success story

Professor David Simmons (photo courtesy of Sally Tsoutas)


Last year, South West Sydney Research awarded the 2018 Collaborative Achievement Award to DOMTRU (The Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism Translational Research Unit). The award was granted for their outstanding collaborative efforts in ensuring the translation of research into evidence-based services for people at risk and those living with diabetes across South Western Sydney.

Led by Professor David Simmons from the Western Sydney University’s School of Medicine and Translational Health Research Institute (THRI), DOMTRU’s work spans across six streams including Prevention, Integrated Care, Pregnancy, Complications, Type 1 diabetes, and trials. This diverse focus sees a team of multi-disciplinary researchers and professionals working together across 13 health and industry partners including South West Sydney Local Health District, Western Sydney University (SU) – School of Medicine, Translational Health Research Institute (THRI) and School of Science & Health and the Ingham Institute (LiveCru).

South West Sydney Research believes that collaboration is fundamental to research quality and success. With the recent announcement of NHMRC’s $1.4 million grant to DOMTRU to tackle the diabetes epidemic within Sydney’s Pasifika communities coupled with an additional $3.1 million pledged by their partners*, it is evident that DOMTRU’s collaborative approach is a success.

Professor Simmons said the funding will prove vital in addressing the growing diabetes epidemic and reiterating the importance of community-based solutions.

“Pasifika communities have some of the highest rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes globally, with high rates of diabetes complications including hospitalisation and dialysis. This, combined with pre-existing inherited predispositions to diabetes, are amplifying obesity and diabetes rates within these communities,” he said.

The funding will see the expansion of a pilot study, Le Taeao Afua (LTA), which involved the delivery of a lifestyle programme through three Sydney Samoan Churches – to a larger randomised trial introducing the LTA intervention into 48 Sydney Pacific churches over the next 51 months.

“Our pilot study showed that community-based solutions can make a big difference. Participants are more active and with their greater knowledge were more aware of how to eat more healthily, and shared these healthy habits with their families and communities. Seeing this project expanded on such a large scale will, no doubt, help us enormously in the fight against this growing epidemic,” said Dr Simmons.

* PPDP partners are: NSW Health, NSW Pathology, SWSLHD, WDLHD, NMBLHD, SESLHD, SWSPHN, WentWest, Wentworth Healthcare, CSESPHN, Sanofi, Diabetes Australia NSW & ACT, SPHERE.

The objective of the South West Sydney Research Collaborative Achievement Award is to recognise and nurture collaborative research amongst our member organisations. The winning collaborative research team will be awarded $5,000 that can be put towards any research-related expense(s).  Applications for the 2019 South West Sydney Collaborative Achievement Award are now open. Click here for an application form.


By Linda Music