Associate Professor Jason Trubiano: Bachelor of Biomedical Science (2002), MBBS (2007) and PhD (2018). Infectious Diseases Physician at Austin Health and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, NHMRC Researcher Fellow with University of Melbourne, Head of COVID Unit at Austin Health,
When Associate Professor Jason Trubiano (Bachelor of Biomedical Science (2002), MBBS (2007) and PhD (2018)) embarked on his medical training, he never expected that he would one day be leading a hospital unit tackling a global pandemic.
In today’s climate, the spotlight is on infectious disease. But for Associate Professor Jason Trubiano, this area of Medicine has been his passion for many years. He was drawn into this specialty by its multi-system perspective, which allowed for a mix of clinical work, a public health interface and translational research. “I love that each day I am able to do a range of clinical duties that link with my research,” he reflects, with each day expanding his understanding of infectious diseases in immunocompromised patients, antibiotic allergy, and antimicrobial stewardship.
Nonetheless, the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly remodeled his work. With most infectious disease physicians at the Austin moved into roles coordinating the response, he has assumed the role of the Head of the COVID-19 Unit at Austin Health. For A/Prof. Trubiano, a typical day is now dominated by management of the team looking after patients with proven or suspected COVID-19 diagnoses and leadership of the outpatient COVID-19 screening clinic which tests up to 200 patients per day for the virus. Prior to the outbreak, his work had involved clinical rounds of patients with a spectrum of infective syndromes, working with the Austin’s antimicrobial stewardship service and pharmacists to review the use of the most restricted antibiotics, and diverse antibiotic allergy consultations. Concurrently, A/Prof. Trubiano would converge his clinical work with translational research projects with the University of Melbourne.
Despite the way his role has shifted to accommodate the tremendous effort of managing a pandemic, he is the first to acknowledge the positive side. “It has been very rewarding and something when I embarked on medical training, and particularly infectious diseases training, I was prepared to do but potentially never expected I would need to do,” he remarks, “ We have been fortunate to date in Australia with our response and have not had the hardship other countries have endured.”
A/Prof. Trubiano’s aforementioned medical training began with his undergraduate Bachelor’s in Biomedical Science at the University of Melbourne. Following this, he was determined to continue studying Medicine at the same institution. Describing himself as having always been a driven person, he reflects that his “friends at University were great motivation and pushed me along the journey.” Undoubtedly this same drive motivated his return to the University of Melbourne to undertake his PhD in research, which he completed in 2018.
It is a testament to his passion for discovery that A/Prof. Trubiano is most looking forward to returning to his antibiotic allergy research program after this pandemic. He also reflects on how the COVID-19 situation has actually broadened his professional network. “I am looking forward to working with a whole group of people I have met during the COVID-19 journey across a range of disciplines (e.g. executive, nursing, administration, health information systems, IT etc.) in non-COVID-19 work post the pandemic,” says A/Prof. Trubiano. And it is these very people that he assures us are a source of courage. He encourages current students to “Try and remain well rounded as a student, as good communication and people skills are possibly the number one attribute of a good doctor.” While we are tested by global health challenges, A/Prof. Trubiano reminds us to maintain a perspective that upholds the power of humanity. When asked what keeps him hopeful, “it is the people”, he says, “the hard work, generosity, and camaraderie demonstrated by my colleagues and the public is certainly something that inspires hope.”