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Associate Professor Adam Scheinberg receives RACP award for clinical service in rural and remote Australia

Institute News
Thursday, April 21, 2016 - 11:30am
Associate Professor Adam Scheinberg
Associate Professor Adam Scheinberg, Statewide Medical Director of the Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service (VPRS) and Murdoch Children's Honorary Research Fellow, has been jointly awarded The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP) Medal for Clinical Service in Rural and Remote Areas for 2016.

The prestigious medal recognises the significant contribution A/Prof Scheinberg has made in providing outstanding clinical service in rural and remote areas of Australia.

The VPRS provides specialist rehabilitation services for both admitted and non-admitted patients at the Royal Childrens Hospital, and A/Prof Scheinberg plays a crucial role in delivering best practice treatment and translating clinical research into services provided by the VPRS.

Currently, A/Prof Scheinberg and his team are exploring the use of a robot called 'NAO' to engage and motivate children during rehabilitation.

"Rehabilitation requires more than a child’s attention, it requires ongoing compliance with therapist instructions and the motivation to persevere," said A/Prof Scheinberg.

"We have programmed NAO for three new roles to meet the needs of a therapy assistant: the motivator; the demonstrator; and the instructor," he explained.

Over the past 12 months, NAO has worked with more than 30 different individual patients at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne with promising results.

"Later this year, we hope to conduct a trial with children with cerebral palsy undergoing rehabilitation following gait corrective surgery. The aim will be to use NAO as a therapeutic aid in post-surgery inpatient rehabilitation programs, and through this, gain a more accurate measure of NAO’s effectiveness as a therapeutic device," said Professor Scheinberg.

A fascinating window of exploration is opening up for future social robotics research. The key next step is to move beyond proof-of-concept studies to formal trials that establish the effectiveness and legitimacy of this promising technology.

Adam said that while he was pleasantly surprised to see the letter arrive announcing his award, he credits the hard work of the entire VPRS team, including the general paediatricians who support the VPRS teams at their regional sites, for the accolade.

“It is lovely to see the work of all the VPRS staff and in particular those at our regional sites in Bendigo, Ballarat, Latrobe, Eastern, Goulburn Valley and Barwon acknowledged. VPRS has also been supporting rehabilitation programs in Launceston and Hobart. So many people contribute to making the service a great success,” Adam said.

Adam was nominated for this award by staff at regional sites and will attend the College Ceremony in Adelaide on May 15 to formally accept the award.

Learn more about A/Prof  Scheinberg's research