Dr Ruth Webster - Researching the polypill

Dr Ruth Webster is a senior research fellow at The George Institute for Global Health. Recently, she presented the results of TGI's polypill studies, SPACE and TRIUMPH, at the World Cardiology Congress.

How long have you been working at The George Institute/George Clinical?

Nearly 9 years.

What inspires you in the work you do and why?

The George Institute conducts high quality research that has the potential to positively impact peoples’ health directly. The research that I am involved in could potentially prevent millions of heart attacks and strokes if implemented at a globally level. The opportunity to play even a small part in that inspires me.

What is your current research focus

I am currently the International Co-ordinator of the SPACE Collaboration and Study Director of the TRIUMPH study. Both of these studies are aiming to more effectively use medications that are currently available to prevent heart attacks and strokes by combining multiple medications into one pill. By doing this we can simplify medication regimens and make recommended medications more affordable for people at highest risk of heart attacks and strokes.

What are examples of other work/projects you been involved with at The George Institute

I recently presented the initial results of my work on the SPACE Collaboration at the World Congress of Cardiology and at the same time also co-convened a global Summit for the key people who are involved in polypill research across the world. Having the opportunity to work with these world leaders and being able to contribute to this area of research was incredibly exciting. This area is definitely one where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts and it is inspiring being able to work with global leaders of high calibre in this area.

What is your professional background?

I trained as a doctor at the University of Sydney and worked as a junior doctor at St George Hospital and Calvary Hospital before doing a Masters of International Public Health.

Are you currently studying and if so what?

I am almost finished my PhD, looking at the potential impact of a Polypill on improving patient adherence to recommended medications.

What value/s of The George Institute/George Clinical do you appreciate the most and why

I most appreciate the commitment of the George Institute to conducting high quality studies that maximise impact on the diseases that cause the largest burden of disease globally. I also really appreciate the focus on mentoring and educating young researchers to achieve their full potential.

Why do you enjoy working at The George Institute/George Clinical?

I really enjoy working in a job where I have the capacity to see improvements in global health as a result of my research in the short term (perhaps even as soon as a few years’ time) as opposed to basic science research where the timelines from research to implementation are more often in the range of decades. I also enjoy the company of my colleagues and the stimulation to think at a global level and not just the local level.

To unwind at the end of the day I…. watch Disney movies with my kids whilst doing school readers and colouring in!

My first job was…. Working in a delicatessen in high school.

My biggest achievement so far…. Managing to juggle being a wife and Mum (to two beautiful little girls) whilst completing a PhD and working part-time.