Burnet researcher wins Hepatitis Victoria Award

Burnet’s Dr Alisa Pedrana, has been recognised for her outstanding contribution to eliminate hepatitis C, winning Hepatitis Victoria LiverWELL Individual Contribution Award for 2020.

Accepting the honour at Hepatitis Victoria’s virtual award ceremony this week, Dr Pedrana said it was recognition of her talented team and their commitment to work closely with Victorian communities to eliminate the chronic disease.

“I’m really excited that this work, not necessarily my own work, but the work of the entire EC Victoria team and partnership is being recognised, Dr Alisa Pedrana said.

Burnet Deputy Director and head of EC Australia, Professor Margaret Hellard AM, paid tribute to Dr Pedrana’s leadership and significant contribution to the success of the Victorian partnership.

“Through working closely with affected communities and collaborating with organisations such as Hepatitis Victoria, Dr Pedrana has maximised reach and impact, ultimately increasing testing and treatment and saving lives,” Professor Hellard said.

Australia has treated and cured over 80,000 people of their hepatitis C infection; which represents approximately 40-50 percent of all people living with hepatitis C.

This means the country is on track to meet the World Health Organization’s hepatitis C elimination targets by 2030; however to stay on track require considerable and sustained effort.

As a senior research fellow and EC Australia coordinator, Dr Pedrana has played a pivotal role since the earliest days of the eliminate hepatitis C (HCV) initiative.

In Victoria and throughout Australia, she leads a multi-disciplinary team of more than 80 researchers, implementation scientists, government workers and health services and community organisation members to develop a cohesive national response to increase access to hepatitis C testing and treatment.

Dr Pedrana continues to work closely with affected communities to increase awareness of risk and identify simplified pathways for people at risk of HCV to engage and undertake testing and provide treatment for people living with hepatitis C.

“The EC Victoria partnership program is a Victorian-based program that’s exploring supportive new models of care to improve access and uptake of hepatitis C treatment amongst people who inject drugs,” Dr Pedrana said.

“We work really closely together to solve complex and important challenges around both individuals’ experience, their positions, and some of the challenges people face in trying to access treatments, as well as some of those broader systemic, structural barriers,” she said.

“These are places where the solution is not often known and there can be multiple solutions. So it’s really helpful to be working in a team, with lots of partners who bring different experiences to that same vision.”

During the COVID-19 pandemic Dr Pedrana has been a key member of the COVID-19 Optimise Study team.

You can watch the virtual award ceremony here

EC Australia was funded through the Paul Ramsay Foundation.

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