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Turner Institute Advisory Council set to make a difference

The new Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health Advisory Council, chaired by former federal Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Greg Hunt, has met for the first time. 

The Advisory Council will enhance the Turner Institute’s work as a world leader in research dedicated to preventative brain and mental health research, treatment and education. 

It features senior institute staff and community leaders who will provide operations and program advice reflecting the Turner pillars of Developing Well, Living Well and Ageing Well.

Director of the Turner Institute, Professor Kim Cornish, said the extensive and varied experience of Advisory Council members would help ensure that all projects reached their potential.

“The Advisory Council will complement Turner’s existing expertise and enhance its already strong reputation,” Professor Cornish said. 

The Advisory Council features a mix of public health, research, academia, and government experience.

It will help inform Turner Institute research and community priorities, providing strategic vision and supporting policy, projects, public awareness and general outreach.

Current projects include the Turner’s ‘Living Lab’ study, which will follow thousands of residents in the south-eastern suburbs of Melbourne, across all age groups over a 10-year period, monitoring and treating the signs of mental illness, dementia and other brain conditions.

The Turner Institute is also proposing an innovative new model of care for young children, their families and schools that will be scalable and inclusive. 

These Developing Well Clinics would begin with a Centre of Excellence in Melbourne’s South East Corridor, with possible later expansion to all states and territories. 

The clinics would screen and detect early ‘at-risk’ behaviours in children aged 4-9, and in partnership with parents and teachers design brief interventions for the home and at school.  

“Once their effectiveness is established, we hope the service will become a model for future Head to Health – Child and Family hubs,” Professor Cornish said. “This is just one of the many exciting projects the new Advisory Council will help to guide.”

Professor Cornish said the Advisory Council could complement Turner’s expertise and focus on early detection and improved treatment for a range of brain-related conditions. 

“As we are situated in the southeast corridor of Melbourne in an area of great unmet need, our vision is to make a long-lasting and sustainable impact on the lives of people in our community,” she said. 

“With our innovative neuroscience approach, we are set to become the leading brain and mental health research institution in the Asia-Pacific region.”

Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health – Advisory Council

  • Professor the Hon Greg Hunt (Chair), former federal Minister for Health and Aged Care, and newly appointed Honorary Melbourne Enterprise Professor at the University of Melbourne
  • Professor Kim Cornish, Turner Institute Director
  • Professor Shantha Rajaratnam, Turner Institute Deputy Director
  • Dr Vicky Au, CSIRO Deputy Lead, Hydrogen Industry Mission
  • Professor Rebekah Brown, Monash University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) and Senior Vice-President
  • Ms Shannon Checklin, Turner Institute lead, Government Strategy
  • Professor Pat Dudgeon, leading Aboriginal Australian psychologist and research professor at The University of Western Australia’s (UWA) School of Indigenous Studies 
  • Mr Ross Freeman, Minter Ellison Managing Partner, disputes, competition and insurance 
  • Dr Rob McDonald, occupational medicine physician
  • The Hon Jaala Pulford, former Victorian Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy 
  • Dr Di Winkler AM, Allied Health professional and CEO, Founder and Executive Director, Summer Foundation 
  • Ms Sonya Walker, business, digital transformation and technology industry expert
  • Professor Sophia Zoungas, Head, Monash University School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine 
  • Ms Darlene McGown, Executive Officer to the Turner Institute Director
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