SAHMRI’s Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children Theme began in August 2013 with the appointment of Professor Maria Makrides as theme leader.
The Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children Theme has its headquarters at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital campus. The theme is expanding the already successful nutrition intervention trials which focus on enhancing cognitive outcomes, achieving optimal growth and preventing allergic disease in young children, with a particular attention to vulnerable and disadvantaged groups.
In January 2016, a significant new collaboration started between the Women’s and Children’s Health Research Institute, the University of Adelaide and SAHMRI to form a new Child Nutrition Research Centre (CNRC). This CNRC builds on the successful research already undertaken and ensures the Centre can grow, thrive and be sustainable. It will continue as the conduit for all hospital- and community-based clinical studies related to the neurodevelopmental outcomes of young children and the effect of immunomodulating nutrient interventions on allergy reduction.
Professor Maria Makrides leads the Child Nutrition Research Centre. She says the approach of this CNRC is unique in providing an integrated interface between the more basic nutritional/biological sciences, agricultural and food sciences and applied nutrition intervention trials to improve health outcomes of young families.
The Theme is particularly proud of its relationship with the Wardliparingga Aboriginal Research Unit of the Aboriginal Health Theme. Together, we are in the process of setting up the Aboriginal Families Health Research Partnership, a strong and sustainable collaboration of national researchers, service providers, community and government.
The vision of the partnership is ‘A healthy and just future for Aboriginal families’, based upon the nine principles of the South Australian Aboriginal health research accord and the priorities identified within the Next Steps for Aboriginal health research report in 2015. The aim of the partnership is to create and conduct community-driven research which will be translated into holistic, culturally respectful and sustained improvements for the health and wellbeing of South Australian Aboriginal individuals, families and communities. One of the projects under the new partnership is an exciting collaboration between Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia, SAHMRI, and the University of Adelaide.
An NHMRC grant has been awarded to conduct a five year follow up of the very successful Aboriginal Families Study – a population-based study that investigated the views and experiences of mothers having an Aboriginal baby in South Australia between July 2011 and June 2013. The study is being conducted in partnership with the Aboriginal Health Council of South Australia and is led by Stephanie Brown, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (MCRI), Karen Glover (SAHMRI Wardliparingga), Donna Weetra, Fiona Mensah, Rebecca Giallo, Deidre Gartland, and Sheena Reilly (all from MCRI), Philippa Middleton and Maria Makrides (both from SAHMRI Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children) and Jonathan Newbury (University of Adelaide). The multidisciplinary team of investigators is an excellent reflection of what we are aiming to achieve with our emerging Aboriginal Families Health Research Partnership.