Professor Chris Levi to leave Hunter New England Health to work at Sydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise

Change direction: Professor Chris Levi said many thought he was “rusted on up here”. He said the Hunter had “fantastic clinicians and researchers doing translational research that makes a difference to patients”.INTERNATIONALLY renowned stroke neurologist and researcherChris Levi will leave his Hunter New England Health rolesto join a Sydney organisation, a decision he said was “incredibly tough” to make.
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Conjoint Professor Levi has resigned from his positionsas HNEH director of clinical research and translation and acting director of the acute stroke service to join theSydney Partnership for Health, Education, Research and Enterprise as executive director. He will start his new role in July.

“It’s an academic health science partnership so it brings together universities, hospitals and research institutes to drive translationresearch, so a move up the food chain in a way,” said Professor Levi, who was headhunted for the job.

“It was a point in my career where the opportunity to lead a very large metropolitan consortium and develop skills and knowledge was there and so I considered it.

“It was getting very difficult for me to remain productive in the areas I was moving with my own research and research management, because in hospital jobs you always have a lot of pressure on clinical service delivery.

“It was just not possible for me to restructure the role because the awards are very inflexible. It was an incredibly tough decision because my heart is here, but I’ll skill up and strengthen up and look to come back if the opportunities emerge –I’ve probably got another good 10 years left in me!”

Professor Levi said his new employer will pay for him to work in Newcastle one day a week on his research projects. He will retain his position asco-leader of the Priority Research Centre for Stroke and Brain Injury.

He said he also hopedto volunteer his services to the Hunter when needed, as an HNEHhonorary medical officer. “The rostering can be quite onerous so I’m happy to do on-call work on weekends.”

When Professor Levi joined John Hunter Hospital, there was no stroke research in the region. He helped in 1999 to establish the hospital’s stroke unit and the acute stroke research group – which is recognised as an international leader in the field – made a number of ground breaking discoveries and led clinical trials.

Professor Levi saidcareer highlights included developing a pre-hospital stroke triage system, as well as pioneeringthe use of a clot-busting drug,Tenecteplase, which “could change practice globally”.

HNEH chief executive Michael DiRienzo said ProfessorLevi made an “outstanding contribution” to stroke services in the Hunter and internationally.

“He will leave a lasting legacy, including a coordinated and evidence-based approach to the diagnosis and treatment of acute stroke in our district; a concussion clinic at John Hunter Hospital; and telestroke and interventional stroke services for HNEH.

“In his role as director of clinical research and translation, Conjoint Professor Levi has led the development of a strategic plan for research and established a Clinical Research Fellowship program.

“He is a gifted teacher and mentor to the many students and registrars who will continue his excellent work.”

Mr DiRienzosaidProfessor Levi will maintain a close connection with the Hunter as an honorary medical officer.

“We will recruit to Conjoint Professor Levi’s position shortly, with a view to maintaining the outstanding clinical service and research, especially for stroke patients.”

HMRI directorProfessor Michael Nilsson said he was“very very sad” to hear about his“outstanding”colleague and friend’s decision, but hoped they could collaborate in his new role.

“He has helped to build capacity within healthcare because he wants to see better treatment for all patients.”

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