Peter Mac’s Associate Professor Belinda Campbell will use a new fellowship to find practical solutions to improve equity of care for patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphomas – no matter where they live in Australia.

A/Prof Campbell, Deputy Director of Radiation Oncology, is one of nine clinicians selected in the inaugural MacHSR Future Leader Fellowship programme which supports front-line clinical staff to address practical healthcare problems. 

“Presently, disparity exists in the provision of care for patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphomas between Australian states and territories, and between regional and metropolitan areas,” A/Prof Campbell says. 

“This represents an important and urgent need for an innovative Health Services Research solution to improve equitable access. “

Cutaneous T-cell lymphomas are rare types of cancer that begin in white blood cells in the skin, and are frequently incurable. 

“For these patients, their treatment journeys are individualised according to disease stage, symptomatic burden, concurrent co-morbidities, and, unfortunately, the patient’s geographical accessibility to clinical expertise, treatment modalities and clinical trials,” explains A/Prof Campbell. 

“My work aims to reduce the geographic disparity and improve access to high quality care for all Australians with cutaneous T-cell lymphomas.”

Cutaneous T-cell lymphoma patients at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre have access to an expert multidisciplinary care team and highly specialised treatments which are not widely available elsewhere in Australia. 

Total skin electron therapy (TSE) and extracorporeal photopheresis (ECP) are two of these highly specialised treatments with Peter Mac being the only Australian centre to offer both on site for patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphomas.  

Patients at Peter Mac can also participate in clinical trials which are frequently unavailable at other centres due to the “rarity of these complex diseases or unavailability of medical expertise”.  

A/Prof Campbell’s goal is to translate her Health Services Research into effective action to address this geographic disparity and improve access to expert specialist care for all cutaneous lymphoma patients across Australia.

She is the first Peter Mac recipient of the fellowship. 

The MacHSR Future Leaders Fellowship programme supports fellows to address practical care-delivery problems through Health Services Research training and solutions.  Over this 12-month programme, fellows are released from clinical duties one day per week to undertake formal part-time training to upskill in Health Services Research knowledge and to work with expert academic supervisors to investigate an evidence-based solution to a pertinent healthcare problem.