“We are bringing the best brains in the country together so we can support families and caregivers in a holistic way, from the minute a developmental need is identified or a diagnosis is made. We’re not so much interested in disorder-labelling but making sure we provide a framework to identify developmental and mental health needs for the child and family and evidence for an adequate and appropriate response to that need,” said Professor Adam Guastella, the Michael Crouch Chair in Child and Youth Mental Health at the Sydney Children’s Hospital and University of Sydney.
The national summit will be at the University of Sydney’s Brain and Mind Centre with leading researchers from hospitals, universities and health districts across Australia. The summit will establish a network of clinicians, researchers, and treatment options that will transform healthcare outcomes in the next 10 years as well as find significant long-term cost-savings.
“Failing to coordinate and support families adequately is costing the Australian Government tens of billions of dollars each year and resulting in more limited outcomes from programs such as the NDIS,” said Professor Guastella.
One of the key discussions will be to establish partnerships to provide innovative ways for researchers to store and share critical clinical data that can be used to revolutionise research, assessment and diagnosis, treatments and community supports, especially for families who live outside metropolitan areas.
“We want to build from the ground up approaches to research that have reach into communities and regional centres currently isolated from national research networks. An inclusive network that reaches the largest number of kids with neurodevelopmental disorders in the country,” explained Professor Christel Middeldorp, Child Psychiatrist from Children’s Health Queensland.
It is expected that in the first step of a digital strategy, a series of national hubs focusing on biomarkers and clinical trials, parent support, and maximising community participation, will be formed.
“Our experts are at the coalface every day providing evidence-based care to the most complex cases, many of whom are from very diverse backgrounds. We need to be able to share our information to support as many children as possible,” said Professor Russel Dale, Head of Kids Neuroscience Centre at the Children's Hospital at Westmead.
We need a network that will connect families seamlessly to community and clinical services and improves their everyday lives