Meet our graduate researchers - Elise Mitri
Research title: Multi-disciplinary Health Services Approaches to Low-risk Penicillin Allergy Delabelling
Started PhD studies in 2023
"Elise's PhD program will change the way we implement penicillin allergy delabelling programs across Australia and internationally. She is coordinating the National Antibiotic Allergy Network Database, the largest study of inpatient oral penicillin challenge including over 40 Australian and International sites, examining the safety and impacts of penicillin allergy on healthcare. Further, her program will validate the role of pharmacists, as leads in health services penicillin allergy programs" - Professor Jason Trubiano
Please tell us about your PhD research
The impact of antibiotic allergy labels is well documented in the Australian setting, yet access to antibiotic allergy delabelling pathways is limited in many areas of Australia. My research is focussed on Health Services implementation of penicillin allergy delabelling programs at a national and international scale. I am also exploring the role that Australian pharmacists may have in providing penicillin allergy delabelling services.
What and where did you study/work/undertake placement/training before your PhD?
I completed a Bachelor of Pharmacy at Monash University in 2006 and undertook my intern training year at Austin Health. Since then, I have completed a Masters of Pharmacy Practice through Monash University, gained extensive clinical pharmacy experience in various specialties, developed clinical research skills, and grown my young family. In 2021, I commenced a newly developed role as a Drug Allergy Pharmacist within the Centre for Antibiotic Allergy and Research (CAAR) and the Department of Infectious Diseases at Austin Health. Almost immediately, I realised I had found my clinical interest and passion!
What made you decide to first undertake a PhD and then to choose to undertake a PhD at the Doherty Institute?
The role of a Drug Allergy Pharmacist, and its potential scope of practice, is an emerging area for research in the Australian landscape. Additionally, the CAAR was motivated to explore penicillin allergy delabelling programs on a large national scale. Given its reputation, The Doherty Institute was a natural choice to commence my studies. Furthermore, the CAAR and my supervisors’ affiliation with the Doherty allowed me an insight into the Doherty Institute’s history of translating research into clinical practice and implementation of Health Service programs.
How do you combine your PhD research with your role as a Clinical Pharmacist?
During my day-to-day clinical workload, I see the very real impact that antibiotic allergy labels have on patient and health service outcomes. Our multidisciplinary team provides access to antibiotic allergy delabelling services that improve antimicrobial prescribing for patients for current and future infections. As a clinician researcher, I value the opportunity to see improved individual patient outcomes whilst continuing to work towards the bigger picture – practice change and standardisation of antibiotic allergy management at a national health service level.
When do you hope to complete and what are your plans post-PhD?
I plan to complete my PhD in 2026 and hope to continue work as a clinician researcher, within the multidisciplinary team at CAAR whilst simultaneously progressing the scope of practice of Australian pharmacists in Drug and Antibiotic Allergy.
What advice do you have for a clinician who is considering a PhD?
Take the time to gain solid clinical practice experience in your field and then identify your area of interest that will excite and motivate you to drive your research forward.