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Media release: Murdoch Children's-led mobile health APP, PEERSTM, a top 20 finalist in the OzAPP awards

PEERS (Paediatric evaluation of emotions relationships and socialization) will be the first clinically-validated, digital assessment tool available to psychologists, educators and health professionals to assess social impairment and mental illness in children and adolescents, with future extension to adults.

PEERS will facilitate early intervention and targeted treatment for children and adolescents with autistic spectrum disorders, depression, ADHD, learning and language difficulties and a range of other social, medical and psychiatric conditions. 75% of mental health problems occur before the age of 25 and mental illness contributes to nearly half of the burden of disease in young people.

“There is currently no valid, comprehensive assessment tool to directly assess social skills and identify social impairments in children and youth” Prof Vicki Anderson, chief investigator of the project said.. “PEERS is a novel and innovative assessment tool that takes advantage of technology and allows early individually-tailored intervention.”

The top 20 OzAPP finalists each receive $24,000 worth of prizes.  The Murdoch Children's led team is in the running for the top prize of USD$100,000 to support further development of their app.

“PEERS is at the forefront of digital health, combining cutting edge research with technology to deliver increased accuracy, efficiencies and health benefits. Being a top 20 finalist in the OzAPP awards is great recognition of the digital health work at Murdoch Children's” said Dr James Dromey, Head of Commercialisation & Legal.

The OzAPP awards judging panel is comprised of leading international industry experts including, Young Sohn, President and Chief Strategy Officer for Samsung Electronics, Bill Tai, Venture Capitalist at Charles River Ventures, and Lars Rasmussen Co-Founder of Google Maps.

The PEERS project is led by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, the largest not-for-profit child health research institute in Australia, in collaboration with an international team of clinicians and researchers from Canada, the UK and the US. Product design and software development has been undertaken by Melbourne-based software development and innovation company, Curve Tomorrow.