Future’s bright for Fulbright scholar

Global recognition for standardising clinical language in describing altered consciousness is part of the important work led by Flinders University Senior Lecturer, Dr Stephen Bacchi who has been named an Australian Fulbright Scholar for 2024.

The research paper ‘Toward a common clinical lexicon of consciousness’, authored by Dr Bacchi and colleagues from the College of Medicine and Public Health, addressed the confusion arising from varied descriptors across clinical disciplines, impacting the quality of care.

University campus, Harvard – Getty Images

Dr Bacchi will now travel to study and work at the esteemed Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital to develop the role of artificial intelligence and portable magnetic resonance imaging in the evaluation of acute unconsciousness.

Unconsciousness, including new-onset coma, can herald a number of disabling or life-threatening illnesses and it is hoped that Dr Bacchi’s line of work will improve outcomes for vulnerable patients in future.

“By protecting people who are rendered unconscious by acute medical illness we are able to transform and save lives.  We currently occupy a unique time in history, during which we can better diagnose and treat individuals afflicted by conditions rendering them unconscious,” says Dr Bacchi.

The Fulbright Program is the flagship foreign exchange scholarship program of the USA, aimed at increasing binational research collaboration, cultural understanding, and the exchange of ideas.

Since 1949, the Fulbright Program has provided funding for close to 6,000 Australian and American students, scholars, and professionals to undertake impactful programs of study and collaborative research exchange.

This year is the 75th anniversary of Fulbright in Australia and the full list can be found here 2024 Fulbright Scholar cohort.

Fulbright Australia says that “it was pleased to take this opportunity to acknowledge the exceptional talents and unwavering commitment to academic excellence demonstrated by this esteemed individual.  Their remarkable achievements will contribute to the rich academic tapestry of your university, and further strengthen the ties of collaboration and mutual understanding between Australia and the United States.”

Dr Bacchi is a neurology registrar with interests in research, clinical practice and medical education and his areas of research include healthcare systems and machine learning. Dr Bacchi is currently a Senior Lecturer at Flinders University and won Young Professional of the Year – SA Health Awards in 2020.

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College of Medicine and Public Health