University of Newcastle - GP Synergy

University of Newcastle

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The Discipline of General Practice has centres in Newcastle and on the NSW Central Coast (at Wyong). Research within the discipline revolves around dementia identification and management in the community, and aged care issues generally, with a subfocus on mental health. Conjoint Professor Parker Magin runs a series of other studies from the GP Synergy offices in Newcastle (see below).

AddressUniversity Drive, Callaghan, NSW 2308
Phone0416 081 283
Head of DepartmentProfessor Dimity Pond
Contact person for academic mattersProfessor Dimity Pond –
Contact person for administrative mattersAlastair Campbell

Areas of research interest/activity/expertise

Professor Dimity Pond

Content areas:

  • Dementia/aged care/mental health research with a focus on mechanisms for translation of guidelines into practice


  • We use literature reviews, qualitative interviews and evaluation of health service innovations. The registrar would be welcome to piggy back onto an existing study or start their own.

Professor Parker Magin


  • the in-practice clinical and educational experience of GP registrars (the ReCEnT study)
  • TIA and minor stroke in community practice
  • Medicines use in the elderly – especially psychotropic medicines
  • Psychological associations of skin disease

Methodological – broad range of methodologies suitable for supervision in an academic term:

  • Cross-sectional questionnaire based studies
  • Studies nested in or using data from cohort studies – including cross-sectional or longitudinal analyses

Qualitative research – interview, focus group etc

Current research projects in which there is potential for academic registrar involvement

Professor Dimity Pond

  • Guidelines around dementia identification and management in GP
  • Translation of the guidelines using collaboration between GPs, practice nurses and others via a range of different services
  • Assessment of functional ability in the elderly (eg dressing, shopping)

Professor Parker Magin

  • The ReCEnT study – a very broad range of academic registrars’ topic/interest areas can be accommodated, including with co-supervision for clinical content expertise. Cross-sectional, longitudinal analyses of appropriate topics; in 2018, controlled non-randomized evaluations of educational interventions in benzodiazepine prescribing; back pain management; deprescribing of medicines in the elderly


Teaching opportunities for registrars

The discipline runs GP placements with GP debriefing small group sessions afterwards. We also have some lectures, and some skills sessions for common GP skills. The registrar would be welcome to participate in the generic PBL tutoring that occurs in the undergraduate medical curriculum.

Registrars in the past have also participated in teaching a special studies option on social determinants of health, where students do placements across a range of non-government organisations servicing disadvantaged folk. We have also run shopping centre events with undergraduate nursing and allied health students, as well as medical students, in disadvantaged areas.

Previous registrar research

  • Screening for chlamydia by GP registrars (ReCEnT analysis)
  • Utility of absolute cardiovascular risk assessment in patients presenting with possible TIA or minor stroke (cross-sectional analysis within a cohort study)
  • Recording of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status in GP electronic records (cross-sectional study)
  • Prevalence and association of GP registrars’ consultations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients (cross-sectional ReCEnT analysis)
  • Prevalence and association of GP registrars’ consultations for skin disease (cross-sectional ReCEnT analysis) & Registrars and supervisors experience of diagnosing and managing TIA (qualitative study – individual interviews)
  • Validation of a clinical prediction rule in TIA (cross-sectional analysis within a cohort study)
  • Topical treatments for infantile seborrhoeic dermatitis (Cochrane review)
  • Reporting of SES in stroke trails (review)
  • Prevalence and association of GP registrars’ consultations for TIA & Use of dermatoscopy by GP registrars (cross-sectional ReCEnT analyses: supervised by University of Adelaide, co-supervised by University of Newcastle)
  • Prevalence and association of GP registrars’ antibiotic prescribing for URTI, acute bronchitis, sore throat and acute sinusitis (cross-sectional ReCEnT analysis: supervised by University of Queensland, co-supervised by University of Newcastle)


Academic supervisors

Professor Dimity Pond

Dimity Pond is Professor of General Practice at the University of Newcastle. She has also been a GP in clinical practice since 1984. She has spent around 20 years working on research in the area of dementia, mainly on how to streamline the GP approach to this difficult and increasingly common problem. She is currently working on GP consensus guidelines for common GP aspects of dementia identification and care

More information:

Conjoint Professor Parker Magin

Parker Magin is Conjoint Professor, Discipline of General Practice, University of Newcastle; and Director, NSW and ACT Research and Evaluation Unit, GP Synergy.

He has a clinical background as a GP. He has been an NHMRC post-graduate scholar; Director of the Primary Health Care Research Evaluation and Development program, University of Newcastle; GP Medical Educator; member of the 2007 cohort of the Oxford International Primary Care Research Leadership Programme, University of Oxford; and is a member of the RACGP Expert Committee-Research; and Associate Editor, British Journal of Dermatology.

He has a number of areas of research interests across the spectrum of general practice and has experience with a number of research methodologies, having led studies employing quantitative (cross-sectional and cohort studies) and qualitative methods (focus group, semi-structured interviews and Delphi methodologies) and having been an investigator on RCTs and led non-equivalent control group studies.

More information:



The academic registrar term was a great chance to see a different side to General Practice. I enjoyed being involved in research and teaching and working alongside people who are passionate about evidence based medicine. The term strengthened my clinical skills and knowledge and also my ability to critically evaluate what I was putting into practice.


My academic registrar term gave me a taste of GP research, with lots of support and excellent supervision.  I was co-supervised by Prof Magin and Prof van Driel to do a mixed methods project as study within ReCEnT.  We looked at quantitative data around registrar prescribing of antibiotics for respiratory infections, and then followed it up with a qualitative study of registrars’ prescribing experiences.  I appreciated being able to try two methodologies within a larger established project, and having a meaningful and self-contained component to work on for the year.  My supervisors gave me great support and direction, allowing me to take ownership of the design and implementation of the work while providing the scaffolding.  I never felt like the task was too daunting because I was mentored by experienced researchers with excellent supervision skills.  Our partnership was very productive and has lead to several publications, conference presentations and further research opportunities for me.  The term was a great springboard into the world of research.

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