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Research Project: Hunter Immunology Unit, HAPS

* reproduced from an article in Brainwaves magazine.

Meningitis Association Scotland would like to welcome Dr Maree Gleeson and the team at the Hunter Immunology Unit at the Royal Newcastle Hospital, New South Wales Australia, whose valuable work in the research field is vital.

Hunter Immunology Unit, HAPS

In May 1988, I was seconded by the Hunter Area Health Service to the Royal Newcastle Hospital for a period of two years as the Acting Scientific Director of the Hunter Immunology Unit. In 1990, I was appointed permanently to the position as Deputy Director of Immunology, in the HunterArea Pathology Service.

Dr Maree GleesonThe Hunter Immunology Unit provides a supraregional service for diagnostic immunology testing for the Hunter Area Pathology Service and its statewide Hub-centre partners. The laboratory performs diagnostic testing related to allergy, autoimmunity, investigations of immunodeficiency, immunoproliferative disorders and cellular immune function, and was the regional centre for AIDS testing and tumour markers until March 1997.

My role as the Deputy Director involves personnel management; financial management; supervision of the laboratories; monitoring of workload and quality control; on-going staff education; consultation with medical staff and test interpretation; coordination of the Unit with the clinical immunology service; and representation of the Hunter Immunology Unit laboratories at hospital and Hunter Area Health level.

I have had active participation with clinical colleagues through attendance at Grand Rounds at John Hunter Hospital and fulfil the role of providing an interface between the laboratories and medical staff. The Hunter Immunology Unit also has close associations with the University of Newcastle, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. I have been involved for some years in lecturing and tutoring medical students and developed the Immunology teaching program for the Discipline of Nursing. I have maintained my association with clinical research in Immunology and participate in supervision of higher degree students and in the training of Immunology medical registrars.

I have chaired the Pathology Education Subcommittee since its formation in 1991. The committee coordinates the educational activities of the Hunter Area Pathology Service. The main activities are the provision of seminar to HAPS staff, organising HAPS speakers for regional seminar programs throughout NSW, development of laboratory workshops, publication of newsletter, development of educational material for the Hunter Area Pathology Service Internet homepage, publication of biannual editions of the HAPS Handbook and organisation of the annual HAPS Education Symposium. I designed and established the HAPS web site in 1996 and continue to act as the Webmaster, with monthly updates of educational material.

Since my appointment to the Hunter Immunology Unit, I have been a representative for diagnostic irnmunology on national and international committees. These committees cover areas such as education, clinical practice, international standardisation, Medicare and laboratory financial costing and laboratory quality assurance.