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Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children
30 May, 2014

New research partnership to improve the health of mothers and children

Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children

An exciting new research theme designed to help improve the health and wellbeing of mothers, babies and children in South Australia and beyond will officially be launched at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital tomorrow.

The South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute (SAHMRI) has partnered with the Women’s and Children’s Health Network (WCHN) and the Women’s and Children’s Health Research Institute (WCHRI) on the Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children research theme, with the goal of attracting research talent from around the world to join leading South Australian researchers to deliver better care for mothers and their children.

The SAHMRI Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children research theme, led by Professor Maria Makrides, will focus on testing diet and lifestyle interventions to improve the health of mothers and their children.

Theme Leader Professor Makrides is also Director, Women's and Children's Health Research Institute and a Professor of Human Nutrition at the University of Adelaide. Her particular expertise is dietary interventions and collaborative projects with other SAHMRI research themes already underway, including Infection and Immunity and Aboriginal Health.

“We have a special interest and commitment to address the needs of disadvantaged populations, because they’re the ones in greatest need. Through this collaboration, we now have the best opportunity to influence the health of our future generations,” Professor Makrides says.

“One of our major studies already underway is ORIP (Omega-3 fats to Reduce the Incidence of Prematurity), designed to prevent babies from being born too soon by understanding the benefits of taking omega-3 fats during pregnancy.”

SAHMRI Executive Director, Professor Steve Wesselingh says that SAHMRI is thrilled to be working in partnership with WCHRI, WCHN and the University of Adelaide on this important research theme.

“Though this new theme, Prof Makrides and her team have been able to work together with our existing themes at SAHMRI, because maternal and child issues integrate across all our research areas.”

Prof Makrides and her team have already proven their commitment to improving health outcomes for future generations, by engaging with the community and local health services to recruit thousands of young families to participate in recent studies.” Prof Wesselingh said.

Women’s and Children’s Health Network Chief Executive Officer Naomi Dwyer says it is an exciting time for health and medical research in South Australia.

“The Women’s and Children’s Health Network is excited about its new partnership with SAHMRI,” Ms Dwyer said.

“The Women’s and Children’s Hospital has been the birthplace of many important scientific discoveries and findings over the years, and this new partnership will strengthen the capacity of researchers to continue to achieve advances in public health.”

The Women’s and Children’s Hospital will host the headquarters of the Healthy Mothers, Babies and Children theme.

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SAHMRI is located on the traditional lands of the Kaurna people.

The SAHMRI community acknowledges and pays respect to the Kaurna people as the traditional custodians of the Adelaide region. We also acknowledge the deep feelings of attachment and the relationship of the Kaurna people to their country. We pay our respects to the Kaurna peoples' ancestors and the living Kaurna people today.