A little research goes a long way

Dr Anton Isaacs sees research as a thirst for knowledge.

He believes researchers are driven by a desire to know why things happen and find answers to questions.

Dr Isaacs has been a lecturer and researcher with Monash University’s Department of Rural Health in Moe for about 10 years.

He has been appointed to a new position to build the research capacity at Monash Rural Health Latrobe Valley and West Gippsland, and to increase inter-professional education, a role he is relishing.

“The whole purpose of research in the healthcare field is to improve it,” he said.

“Good research fills the gaps in current knowledge and enables us to improve the quality of healthcare at different levels.”

A qualified medical practitioner who lives in Warragul with his wife and two children, Dr Isaacs’ work in public health in India helped improve the lives of many disadvantaged people as has his work with Gippsland’s indigenous community.

While he has been acting in his new role for the past six months, Dr Isaacs has encouraged Monash medical students to consider undertaking research.

A number of medical students from both the Latrobe Valley and Warragul sites have already taken up the challenge with Dr Isaacs’ role as their guide and mentor. Dr Isaacs said simply presenting a paper at a conference was not considered “high quality research” and that “many clinicians do not realise that undertaking research that contributes to the knowledge base is a lengthy and laborious process”.

“First you need to identify your area of research, review literature around it, seek ethics approval, start collecting the data and analyse it, then try to get it published. It’s a rigorous process,” he said. However, while research is demanding, Dr Isaacs said it was rewarding and that people often did it without realising.

“A parent with a child who has a rare medical condition will do everything possible to find out about the illness,” he said.

“After a period of time, the parent will probably know more about the illness than the treating clinician.

“This strong desire to know why something happens can be sparked by different things… driven by a thirst for knowledge.”