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IC Specialist first clinician made honorary fellow of IPENZ

Christchurch Intensive Care Specialist first clinician made honorary fellow of IPENZ

A Christchurch Intensive Care Specialist has become the first clinician to be made an honorary fellow of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ).

Associate Professor Dr Geoff Shaw has tonight been acknowledged for his contribution to the application of engineering methods in medicine and for his championing of engineering-led research in intensive care medicine.

Associate Professor Dr Shaw says he feels “extremely privileged” to receive recognition from IPENZ.

“Improved health outcomes are linked to innovations in healthcare technologies. I am passionate about the link between engineering and medicine. My interest in bioengineering in particular stems from my curiosity about human physiology and it’s interactions with technology,” Associate Professor Dr Shaw says.

“In the future, computer modelling of physiological systems, such as glucose control or cardiovascular systems, will be used to customise care to individuals, making that care patient-specific. This approach is Model-Based Therapeutics.”

In Associate Professor Dr Shaw’s role as a Senior Specialist in Intensive Care Medicine at Christchurch Hospital he works with colleagues at the University Of Canterbury College Of Engineering, the University of Otago School of Medicine, and Universities in Belgium, Hungary, Germany, and Denmark to apply engineering methods in medicine.

“I am very grateful for the valuable contributions from my colleague Professor Geoff Chase, Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Canterbury, who has led the engineering side of these healthcare innovations,” Associate Professor Dr Shaw says.

Professor Chase, says that Associate Professor Dr Shaw’s recognition is significant.

“The University of Canterbury is very pleased by IPENZ’s recognition of Geoff’s contributions,” Professor Chase says.

“IPENZ only names an honorary fellow once a year and I’ve never known of any medical professional ever to receive one for their contributions to the field of engineering. This is a really big deal and CDHB should be proud.”

Professor Chase, who is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand (FRSNZ), says Associate Professor Dr Shaw has fostered engineering education and innovation in the hospital setting.

“The Intensive Care Unit in Christchurch is unique in that there are always at least five engineering students doing things there thanks to the work Geoff does to mentor up to 10-12 engineering students every year and close to 100 in the last 10 years,” Professor Chase says.

Associate Professor Dr Shaw’s engineering innovations have included the Specialised Relative Insulin-Nutrition Titration (SPRINT) and Stochastic TARgeted (STAR) protocols, which are leading glycaemic control methods applied in the Christchurch Intensive Care Unit, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and several hospitals overseas.

Associate Professor Dr Shaw says the SPRINT protocol has had many great benefits.

“A study has shown we might be saving up to 30 lives every year since developing these protocols and reducing hospital costs by up to $1 million annually,” he says.

Dr Andrew Cleland, IPENZ chief executive, says these successes create a clear pathway for engineering to directly impact medical care.

“Dr Shaw willingly engages with the profession and adopts novel engineering approaches to complex physiological problems,” Dr Cleland says.

He has been involved with two engineering start-up firms, one of which (LifeVent) produces uniquely engineered breathing devices.

“The work carried out by the multi-disciplinary team, in which Dr Shaw plays a leading role, shows the public benefits that can derive from integration of the medical and engineering bodies of knowledge.”


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