This week Telethon Kids Institute and the Joondalup Health Campus received $26m in funding for the Origins project, the most comprehensive study into child health problems in Australia. The project investigates early environments, maternal physical health and genetics in order to determine when and why non-communicable diseases develop.
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the Federal Government would commit $13 million over ten years to the Origins project, matching the $13 million contribution by The Paul Ramsay Foundation.
The co-directors of the project are Joondalup Health Campus head of paediatrics Desiree Silva and Professor of Childhood Allergy and Immunology Research Susan Prescott. Professor Silva said the funding was an ‘invaluable contribution [that] will enable a unique large scale investigation into how pregnancy and early life exposure can influence a child’s growth, development and life-long health.’
Susan Prescott details her research into the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease in her book Origins (UWA Publishing). In Origins, Dr Prescott shows how a focus on early life in health promotion and timely interventions in parental health may limit transmission of diseases through generations. This paradigm forms the basis of the Origins project.
Telethon 2017 marked the 50th anniversary of Western Australia’s annual fundraiser, breaking the record with $36 million in donations raised.