Medical research,

Meet our new senior clinical trials coordinator

The clinical trials unit at Latrobe Regional Health (LRH) is going from strength-to-strength with a newly-appointed senior coordinator who is on board to help mentor the unit’s growing team.

Ian Fraser joined the team at the end of 2023, moving to the Latrobe Valley from Queensland where he was helping run the cancer clinical trials unit.

Ian is using his skills to mentor the LRH clinical trial coordinators by helping them navigate their way through what he described as a “minefield” of dense regulatory governance and complex jargon, as well as developing the research unit’s trials processes.

“LRH has been growing its clinical trials unit in such a small space of time and I want to help put processes in place to help make running a clinical trial easier,” Ian said.

“I’ve seen a lot of junior staff  across my career and I want to help them up the ladder.

“Clinical trials require specialised education, so attention to detail and communication is paramount.”

Clinical trials coordinators help recruit participants, schedule their appointments to a strict time frame and capture all the associated data as well as providing patients with support.

Ian was born in Adelaide but moved to the Valley in the 80s when his UK-born dad took up a job working at the Loy Yang coal-fired power station.

He trained as registered nurse and ended-up specialising in coordinating oncology and haematology clinical trials on the Gold Coast before moving back in 2023 to be near family.

“It’s strange coming back to the Latrobe Valley, as the last time I was on this site was in the 80s and there was a drive-in cinema, and I didn’t even know the hospital was here now,” he said.

LRH began running clinical cancer trials in 2019 and has continued to expand the number of trials with the help of partnerships with Trialhub, the Regional Trials Networks and Australian Teletrial Program.

The partnership have supported LRH to develop a specialised clinical trials pharmacy and dedicated  staff who run clinical trials under strict regulations.

Last year, LRH recruited its 100th clinical trials participant in cancer services. Its trials program has saved Gippsland patients hours of travelling to Melbourne.

LRH is also expanding its suite of trials into other, non-cancer, clinical areas such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, stroke and palliative care.

“One of the reasons we run clinical trials in regional hospitals is to give patients access to the new therapies, and improve health outcomes in regional communities,” Ian said.