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SurfON Champions

SurfON trial is being supported by highly skilled SurfON Champions across various sites. Our Champions constitute staff members from the NHS sites who help to get more people involved in research locally at their unit and therefore help develop better care and treatment for late preterm and early term babies (trial population). They help voice to other healthcare professionals why they think SurfON is important, raise awareness about the trial, discuss & address recruitment related issues early on, provide training to staff members and help parents make informed decisions about trial participation. With their permission, we have created this page to acknowledge them and all their amazing work as a SurfON Champions on our trial!

Belfast Health & Social Care Trust

Left to right: Angela Abbate, Samantha LaRoche, Eileen Killen, and Jennifer McGowan, SurfON Champions – Belfast


We are the SurfON Champions based in the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust. Our Team has one Research Midwife, and Three Children`s Research Nurses. Our PI for SurfON at the Belfast site is Dr David Sweet, who is a Neonatologist. Our clinical backgrounds include Midwifery, Neonatal, and Cardiac Nursing, which means that our team is comprised of a varied, specialised skillset. We have been open and recruiting for SurfON Study in our local Neonatal Unit from February 2021. Our role is to follow the SurfON Protocol to screen babies, confirm eligibility with the Medical Team who perform consent, and randomise. We carry out all research activity including data collection, for example trial questionnaires, and respiratory logs which is then entered onto the Open Clinica Database. We are proactive in educating parents, nursing staff, and the medical team about SurfON Study. Our doctors rotate frequently. It is our role to ensure that new doctors have received training, and are GCP, and CV ready before recruiting to SurfON. So far, we have recruited 11 babies to SurfON Study. We are very grateful to all the support from The Trial Management Team! Although the study is currently on pause, we are looking forward to re commencing recruitment again! – Apr 2022.

Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Dorothy Frank
Rowan Toyer
Julie Bermejo

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust

Natasha Peplow
Hannah Johnson
Emma Griffiths
Jessica Houghton

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust

Rukshana Afzal

Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust

A pricture of Kathy Wood SurfON Champion from Darent Valley Hospital

Kathy Wood SurfON Champion from Darent Valley Hospital


Having a number of health issues myself, I have always been aware of the impact that research has had on current treatments. The ever-evolving knowledge and research that is linked to Neonatal Care has supported my personal awareness of the value of studies.

A recent change to a non-clinical role has allowed me the time to develop a research team as we are very Network interdependent and as a large SCBU we repatriate babies already enrolled on studies from our tertiary units. Supported by the Network, our Clinical Lead and DVH research team we now have trained personnel across all bands. I actively looked for the right study that our team could undertake and SurfON is well suited to a unit of our size, easy to enrol, with understandable and positive possible outcomes.

Becoming a SurfON Champion allows me to support not only my own team but cross working with Maternity to identify potential antenatal parents before the onset of labour to allow them to consider enrolling their baby at a less stressful time. I support staff that are using the study for the first time and promote awareness of inclusion criteria, even if the baby does not ultimately get randomized. The study comes along with initiation of the LISA technique for Surfactant administration so increases our scope of practice.

I have also encouraged working with our ward Charity, Little Buds as they purchased equipment for LISA administration so are feeding back to the supporters of our Charity, that their contributions really do impact on care. We are also giving Little Buds teddies to all the babies on the study, when we award them their SurfON Certificate.

Updated: Thursday, 02 February 2023 13:56 (v29)