An integrated approach to research, education and clinical trials is reliant on effective leadership across the alliance and a culture of collaboration to establish structures and achieve outcomes.
The VCCC alliance is built on the collective expertise and knowledge of its members; delivering outcomes that are greater than the sum of our parts. The distributed leadership model is demonstrated through the VCCC board, advisory committees, steering committees, Leaders in Cancer Strategy and Research & Education Leads, as well as the alliance’s commitment to consultation.
Consultation setting strategic direction
Since the Strategic Research Plan 2017-20 was launched, new and innovative programs have been activated, driving improvements in key areas such as workforce development, regional oncology, cancer genomics, cancer immunotherapy, primary care and cancer survivorship, nurse-led research, consumer engagement and more.
The alliance community is what makes the VCCC unique. As a collective, the members have started to plan future directions through workshops, discussion groups and blue-sky thinking forums that have galvanised the VCCC community. To date 250 people from across the alliance have contributed to imagining, discussing and prioritising the work that will drive future innovation and drive high impact programs to benefit patients.
United leaders to bolster research and education
The VCCC’s flagship collaborative initiative is the Research & Education Lead (R&E Lead) program. Spanning organisations and disciplines, the 13 R&E Leads use their skills, knowledge and networks to identify key opportunities within 10 tumour streams as well as cancer nursing and primary care, to convert
important research into routine practice.
Completing this full suite of specialist areas, Dr Belinda Yeo and Professor Bruce Mann were appointed joint VCCC Research & Education Leads, Breast Cancer in January 2019. Dr Yeo is a medical oncologist and clinician-scientist at the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute. Professor Mann is a surgical oncologist; Director of Breast Cancer Services for Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Royal Women’s Hospital, and Professor of Surgery at the University of Melbourne.
Their complementary skills and experience further enhances a tumour stream that was already a standout model of multi-disciplinary care from prevention and screening to genomics and cutting-edge treatments.
Field leader supporting the next generation
Professor Maarten J IJzerman, Chair of Cancer Health Services Research at the University of Melbourne and Western Health is driving new efforts to connect scientific discovery with health policy. His research group is focusing on change and innovation to improve cancer service delivery, and satisfaction for patients and healthcare professionals. He is also training the next generation of researchers in this priority field.
The VCCC has supported three new fellowship positions, working across disciplines including immunotherapy, registry trials and clinical trials within Professor IJzerman’s research group. The positions have contributed to building analytical capability for data-driven research to be implemented into the VCCC alliance, facilitating data sharing, data sciences and clinical expertise.