Professor Christine Jenkins, Respiratory Division director
Professor Christine Jenkins leads the Respiratory Research Division at The George Institute for Global Health. She is featured as one of 14 of Australia's women leaders in The Climb - Conversations With Women In Power, by ABC presenter Geraldine Doogue.
What is your job and what does it involve?
I am Head of Respiratory Trials at The George Institute. My role is to initiate and implement Respiratory clinical trials – either investigator initiated studies or sponsored studies with George Clinical. Part of my work involves setting up an effective network of respiratory investigators in Asia, in order for us to develop triallists’ skills and expertise and a network of efficient centres through the region. The ultimate goal is to facilitate Asia-Pacific participation, patient recruitment, and successful trial completion in part of the world with a major burden of chronic respiratory disease.
How long have you been working at The George Institute/George Clinical? Two and a half years.
What inspires you in the work you do and why? Many things! I really enjoy the broad goals – the focus on major unmet needs, especially a burden of respiratory disease in Asia, where access to high quality treatments has been historically poor but has great potential to change. Given the rapidly increasing wealth of the region, governments and healthcare providers have opportunities to provide treatments and initiate preventative strategies that could change health outcomes significantly. I enjoy the engagement with people in The George and the opportunity to learn from people with such a broad range of skills. I also enjoy seeing what these people have achieved and working with those who are eager to do challenging trials and who see the “big picture” attraction of translating research into real world practice.
What is your current research focus OR what are you currently working on? We are implementing a very large COPD trial in China using established medications in a novel way, for people with COPD. This is a big burden disease in a country where the combination of tobacco smoking, biomass fuel exposure and air pollution has a cumulative impact on respiratory health.
What are examples of other work/projects you been involved with at The George Institute OR recent highlights/successes? We are undertaking a literature review of approaches to asthma education at present for Asthma Australia and a larger evaluation of their educational initiatives to achieve better outcomes in Australia for children and adults with asthma.
What impact will your work have on health and how? We hope that our trials will enhance our understanding of COPD and the most affordable, effective way to manage it especially in countries where the cost of new inhaled medications is out of reach of many people.
What is your professional background? I am currently Senior Staff Specialist Department of Thoracic Medicine Concord Hospital, Clinical Professor and Head of Respiratory Discipline, University of Sydney, and Head of Respiratory Trials at The George Institute for Global Health. The majority of my working week has always been and still is, in clinical work and patient care, which I enjoy immensely. My area of research interest is the clinical management of airways disease and I have been principal investigator for many competitively funded, investigator driven trials and sponsored clinical trials in airways disease. My research has ranged over treatment effectiveness and interventions in people with asthma and COPD, patient education, pulmonary rehabilitation, persistently symptomatic asthma, palliative care for COPD, older people with asthma and patient centred outcomes. I have had roles as Chair of several Federal Govt Committees advising on implementation of the programs associated with Asthma as a National Health Priority, have guided and contributed to national and international clinical guidelines, health policy, best practice and standard setting in asthma and COPD. I was president of the Thoracic Society of Australia & New Zealand from 2007-2009, chaired the Global Guidelines on Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD) Dissemination and Implementation Committee from 2004 – 2010, and was a member of the GOLD Executive for over 10 years. I received an Order of Australia in recognition of service to respiratory medicine as a physician, administrator and educator.
What value/s of The George Institute/George Clinical do you appreciate the most and why? The focus and effort to deliver better health care outcomes to people in low and middle income countries, particularly in our region, by undertaking rigorous studies to build the highest quality evidence. I value this as it seems the newest treatments are still only available to those people and countries that can afford high level investment in healthcare, yet simple, affordable treatments and preventative strategies can improve the health and quality of life of people across the spectrum.
Why do you enjoy working at The George Institute/George Clinical? I really enjoy the vision, the energy, the pursuit of excellence, and the people at TGI and GC. I feel aligned with The George’s goals : to provide the best evidence to guide critical health decisions, particularly in areas of major health burden, targeting globally important diseases and focusing on vulnerable populations to improve health outcomes.
To explain to people what I do I say…. I am working to develop an effective network of respiratory investigators in Asia, in order for us to develop triallists’ skills and expertise and a network of respiratory clinical trial centres through the region. The ultimate goal is to facilitate Asia-Pacific participation, patient recruitment, and successful trial completion in part of the world with a major burden of chronic respiratory disease.
A person I admire is Fiona Stanley
To unwind at the end of the day I meet with friends, see, read or do something completely different to my day time work. Always made better if accompanied by good food, wine or both.
A saying I live by is …..A few ideas motivate me: Who you are and what you do matters more than what you talk or dream about; to whom much is given much will be required; the secret is in the present; don’t sweat the small stuff…but do keep focused on multiple small acts of kindness.
One day I hope to…see a lot more of the world, trek in some even more fabulous mountains, go to the Galapagos, read a lot more books that keep opening my eyes and mind
My first job was teaching trombone