Invisible Alcohol Morbidity

Alcohol is said to be one of the major risks for both physical and social health. Studies have shown excessive alcohol consumption is a cause of a wide range of health and other harms including road and other accidents, domestic and public violence, crime, liver disease and brain damage, and contributes to family breakdown and broader social dysfunctional issues. Also a recent study found that 35% of patients presenting to Emergency Departments had alcohol or other drug problems.

This project aims to identify the gaps in effective assessment of alcohol related morbidity in Emergency Department, Wollongong Hospital and the subsequent clinical management.

Research findings will be used to transform the design and implementation of an alcohol screening tool and management protocols in Wollongong hospital.  It also aims to enhance collaboration and capacity of clinical research in University of Wollongong, Illawarra and Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD) and Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute. 




The team

This strategic research initiative is focused on transformative interdisciplinary research that targets a practical public health challenge. The research team is composed of researchers and clinicians, who have collaboratively developed research methods and approach to address a real-world challenge facing the clinicians in the past year.

  • Associate Professor Ping Yu is Director of Centre for IT-enabled Transformation. She is the lead researcher for this research project (School of Computing and Information Technology, Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences)
  • Professor Wilf Yeo is the Foundation Professor of Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology, and the Association Dean for Teaching Hospitals (School of Medicine, Faculty of Science Medicine and Health), and the Co-director for the Division of Medicine at the Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (ISLHD)
  • Mr David Reid is the Director of the Drug and Alcohol Service in the ISLHD. He oversees the Drug and Alcohol clinical operations and is responsible for ensuring that clinical best practice is reflected across all services (ISLHD)
  • Dr Xiaoqi Feng is a Senior Lecturer in Epidemiology and Co-director of the Population Wellbeing and Environment Research Lab (‘PowerLab’) (School of Health and Society, Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities)
  • Dr Barbara Sinclair is the Medical Director in the Drug and Alcohol Service (ISLHD)
  • Ms Susan Bresnahan is the Manager of Nursing Services at the Drug and Alcohol Service (ISLHD)
  • Mr Peter Lynch is a Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Drug and Alcohol service (ISLHD)
  • Dr Renee Brighton is a lecturer in the School of Nursing who has a clinical background in drug and alcohol nursing and who recently completed a PhD exploring the topic of women and alcohol.
  • Dr Siyu Qian holds PhD in Health Informatics and is the project manager for this research project.