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Associate Director, Research
Professor Melissa Wake, consultant paediatrician and Elizabeth Blackburn Fellow holds appointments with The Royal Children’s Hospital, Centre for Community Child Health, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, and University of Melbourne. Her research focus is on ‘population paediatrics’ – what universal and secondary care systems are needed to make a difference to children’s health and development? In 2013-17, she is leading the national Child Health CheckPoint, a physical and biomarkers module for the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children. Awards include the 2009 Australian Health Minister's Prize for Excellence in Health & Medical Research and consecutive NHMRC Excellence Awards (2009-12, 2013-16) as top-ranked Fellow in Australia.
Melissa has established Australia’s leading community child health randomized trials group within which she has led/co-led numerous trials targeting obesity and blood pressure, sleep, language, literacy and hearing, and mental health. For maximal policy relevance, her trials are highly harmonised on core measures and all include prospective economic analysis. In 2007, Melissa was instrumental in establishing the Australian Paediatric Research Network and continues to steer its direction so that, unique among paediatric networks, it has a strong focus on national health services research and systems.
In 2013-17, she is leading Growing Up in Australia’s Child Health CheckPoint. This cutting-edge physical and biomarkers module for the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children will be available to all researchers for discovery and policy-relevant research into the genesis, pathways and outcomes of childhood health and illness, with a particular focus on cardiorespiratory disease.
Melissa’s landmark work to solve common child health problems was celebrated in the 2009 Australian Health Minister's Award for Excellence in Health & Medical Research. Other prestigious national awards include the 2013 Elizabeth Blackburn Fellowship and consecutive Excellence Awards (2008, 2012) for the top-ranked NHMRC fellowship in Australia. In 2008, her work was showcased in the Australian National Health & Medical Research Council’s '10 of the Best'.
She has had major successes in research translation. For example, she secured the Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program, after a decade of epidemiological research and advocacy. VIHSP now screens nearly 80,000 babies annually, employs approximately 110 staff, and is spring-boarding a new program of ongoing population-based research into children’s congenital hearing loss.
Personal Assistant: Mark Farrell
Phone: +61 3 9345 5761
The Centre for Community Child Health is a department of The Royal Children’s Hospital and a research group of Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.