Thursday, 14 March 2019

A child health researcher from The University of Western Australia and Telethon Kids Institute has been recognised with a national Research Excellence Award.

Dr Sally Brinkman, a paediatric epidemiologist, received a National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) Research Excellence Award for being the nation’s top ranked applicant in the Population Health (Level 1 category) of the 2018 Career Development Fellowship scheme.

Dr Brinkman was one of 23 of Australia’s most outstanding researchers honoured at the NHMRC’s Research Excellence Awards dinner in Canberra last night.

The awards recognise excellence in the health and medical research sector by celebrating individual achievements, leadership and the exceptional contributions of Australian researchers to their fields of research.

Dr Brinkman’s research is focused on improving the health and development of young children, particularly on those living in highly disadvantaged communities.

Dr Brinkman is well known for spearheading the use of the Early Development Instrument (EDI) in Australia, being the first to pilot the instrument outside of Canada. Dr Brinkman continues to work across the country to help facilitate the use of the Australian version of the EDI - the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC), a nationwide data collection of early childhood development - working with communities, service providers and governments.

Internationally, Dr Brinkman works with various Governments and donor organisations to monitor and evaluate policy and programs to enhance child health and development, including in Asia, the Pacific, Latin America and the Emirates.

Professor Jonathan Carapetis, Director of the Telethon Kids Institute, said Dr Brinkman is an outstanding researcher and the award was well deserved.

“Sally was the only applicant from a Western Australian institute or university to receive a NHMRC Career Development Fellowship,” Professor Carapetis said.  “To also be the top ranked in Australia is outstanding.”

Dr Brinkman has more than 120 publications including books, chapters, monographs and journal articles covering topics such as infant mouthing behaviours, child physical activity and nutrition levels, the measurement of alcohol related violence, the evaluation of teenage pregnancy prevention programs, how child development varies across communities and the impact of socio economics and service integration on child development.

Based in Adelaide, Dr Brinkman is the Head of the Child Health Development and Education team at Telethon Kids and a Senior Research Fellow at The University of Western Australia. She is also the Director of the Fraser Mustard Centre, an innovative initiative of the Telethon Kids Institute in partnership with the Department for Education in South Australia, to enhance research translation into policy and practice.

Media references

Jasmine Raisbeck (Telethon Kids Institute)                             08 6319 1642


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