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Meet the researcher - Professor Dinah Reddihough

Research News
Tuesday, October 11, 2016 - 4:45pm
Professor Dinah Reddihough
In Australia, one child is born with cerebral palsy every 15 hours. One in 500 children are affected and about 34,000 individuals have the condition. Professor Dinah Reddihough, Group Leader of MCRI's developmental disability and rehabilitation research has been changing the lives of families touched by cerebral palsy both nationally and internationally for more than 30 years. Here we learn what drives her passion and commitment to changing the face of child health.

What do you see as the ultimate goal of your work?

The ideal goal would be to have every individual child with cerebral palsy fully included in society, participating in all activities at home, at school and in the community and having an excellent quality of life.

Personally I’d like to increase knowledge about the causes of disability, to gain a further understanding of optimal treatments and improved ways of helping children and their families. 

How did you come to focus your research on cerebral palsy?

There was a real gap in our knowledge about cerebral palsy and whilst some of that gap has closed, there is still a huge amount of work to be done to ensure that every child with cerebral palsy and their family have the best quality of life. 

What are the biggest achievements of your career?

The establishment of the Victorian Cerebral Palsy Register in 1987 which has become the largest geographically-based register of individuals with cerebral palsy internationally; founding the Australasian Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine; establishing Solve!@RCH in 2004 to raise funds and profile for research in childhood disability which has resulted in the creation of two Chairs in Developmental Medicine; and finally, being awarded an NHMRC Centre of Excellence grant in cerebral palsy in 2013. 

But more important than any of these endeavours are the individual achievements of young people with cerebral palsy and other developmental disabilities. Their courage, determination and the love and commitment that the parents show for their children is awe-inspiring 

Can you pin point a notable turning point of your career?

Working in childhood disability has been a journey over many years, supported by many colleagues within the Melbourne Children's Campus and beyond.  Over the past 10 years the research program has grown exponentially, following years of earlier groundwork. 

What do you enjoy doing when you are not leading research in the institute?

Looking after four wonderful young grandchildren who live with us, my involvement in Wesley Church Melbourne and when I have time, gardening and cooking.  Holidays and trips overseas are also great!!

Learn more about Professor Dinah Reddihough's research here: