Telethon Kids' CliniKids and Griffith University partner for autism research
Telethon Kids Institute’s CliniKids and Griffith University are excited to announce a new partnership which will help to grow autism research in Australia.
The formal agreement between the institutions takes the form of two co-funded full-time research positions, based at Griffith on the Gold Coast.
One of the positions sees David Trembath (pictured right), an Associate Professor in Speech Pathology at the Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, join the CliniKids team.
Associate Professor Trembath has more than 20 years’ experience as a speech pathologist working in clinical, clinical education, and academic roles within government, non-government, and university settings.
“My research is all about helping to ensure that all autistic children and families have access to safe, effective, and desirable services that support a healthy and happy start to life,” he said.
“I have a particular interest in supports for children with complex needs and their families, including children who communicate mainly in ways other than speech.”
Associate Professor Trembath said the partnership would bring together two teams of likeminded autism researchers to tackle the most pressing community-identified needs.
“If there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, it is that distance is no longer a barrier to collaboration, and in fact all of our work together will benefit from drawing on the skills, insights, and deep community partnerships within each of the two institutions,” he said.
“This is the modern way of working, drawing on our different and complementary strengths, in a way that will ultimately result in more children and families, from across Australia, having access to better information, services, and support.
“The partnership will also have a strong focus on connecting, supporting, and upskilling those who seek to support children and families, including allied health practitioners and educators.”
Associate Professor Trembath said a key focus of the work would be to expand the CliniKids network, which would result in more collaborative research around early supports for children and families, and outstanding training opportunities for practitioners and researchers.
“A unique aspect of a partnership like this, is that it will open the door to new and creative ideas, so some of the work we will do together is still to be mapped out,” he said.
“These new projects will be co-designed with autistic children and parents, and members of the broader autistic and autism communities.”
Associate Professor Trembath said he was delighted to be joining the CliniKids team and looked forward to meeting and learning from the children, families, researchers, practitioners, and supporters within the CliniKids community.
“Likewise, I can’t wait to welcome and connect the CliniKids community to our group of passionate and likeminded people at Griffith University. We have a lot of really important work to do, and I look forward to doing it together.”
CliniKids Director Professor Andrew Whitehouse agreed, adding the partnership expanded the national footprint of both institutions and would help to provide greater scale and impact for clinical research trials.
“We are beyond thrilled to strike up this partnership with Griffith University which will undoubtedly grow autism research in Australia so that children and families have better access to timely, evidence-based supports,” he said.