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    East Grampians Health Service.

Australian-first project open to Grampians babies

Babies born at East Grampians Health Service in Ararat have an opportunity to be involved in an Australian-first project designed to ‘transform the health and wellbeing of an entire generation’.

Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, MCRI, has launched an innovative GenV, Generation Victoria, research project, one of the world’s largest-ever birth and parent cohort studies.

The community partnership project involves collecting an array of life-time health and development statistics for Victorian newborns to enable better prediction, prevention and treatment of child health, development and wellbeing problems.

The opt-in project will follow babies and their parents to help solve problems such as asthma, food allergies, obesity and mental illness, primarily using data that is already routinely collected. 

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GenV scientific director Professor Melissa Wake, a paediatrician for 30 years, said the project aimed to help create a happier and healthier future for many children and parents, by 2035.

She said GenV was entering an important phase, upscaling to become available to all newborns and parents across Victoria by mid-2021. 

She said every family with a newborn baby would be able to join up over a two-year period, no matter where they lived.

“By involving children and families in this once-in-a-generation initiative, GenV can help solve pressing problems like asthma, food allergies, obesity and mental illness,” she said.

“In addition, we are seeking to address the inequities that face so many children and families across Victoria. Because GenV will be in every community, it may be especially helpful to the most vulnerable individuals and communities in our state.” About 100 new jobs will be created in clinical settings across the state throughout the life of the GenV project.

East Grampians Health Service joins other birthing hospitals across Victoria in offering regional families an opportunity to participate in GenV.

Health service chief executive Andrew Freeman invited families in Ararat district to join the project.

“Information will be available for families through their antenatal visits, whether that’s their GP or through their visits with our midwives,” he said.

“GenV is a fantastic statewide project and is also a great opportunity to improve the health of our own Ararat community.”

Professor Wake said large whole-of-state research projects such as GenV could speed up answers to the major issues facing children and adults, today and in the future.

“GenV truly is a collaborative study and a partnership of many. We are profoundly grateful to the team at East Grampians Health Service for partnering with us,” she said.

“Over the next two years, about 150,000 children born in Victoria and their parents will have the opportunity to participate in the project. 

“Put simply, by signing up to be a part of the GenV generation, parents will help to create a healthier future for all children and their families.”

Royal Children’s Hospital and University of Melbourne are supporting the MCRI-led project, funded by Paul Ramsay Foundation, the State Government and Royal Children’s Hospital Foundation.

People can visit website for more information about the project.

The entire May 5, 2021 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!