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La Trobe University scholar to create a world first spinal cord injury registry for children

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

This media release was provided to the Spinal Cord Injury Network by the SpineCare Foundation.

The SpineCare Foundation has awarded a one-year Masters scholarship to La Trobe University scholar, Erin Garner, to complete research to establish an Australian national database of cases of spinal cord injury in children.

The 29-year-old from Carlton is an Occupational Therapist at the Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne.

She previously practiced privately in adult spinal cord injury care in both Australia and Germany before moving into paediatric spinal cord injury care in 2012.

“I quickly realised that there is extremely limited research in the area of paediatric spinal cord injuries, and very little guidance for clinicians working in this field,” said Erin.

“As a result, I became incredibly motivated to commence research in this area, and the award of a scholarship from the SpineCare Foundation to enable me to contribute to this knowledge base was just a fantastic opportunity.

“I’m very excited to be involved in a project that will have such a big impact for not only children with spinal cord injuries and their families, but that will also give Australia the potential to be a world leader in creating a national population based register that will help to predict future funding, research and preventative strategies.

“Accurate information is vital in the planning of appropriate lifelong health services for these children, and at the moment this information only exists for adults, so little is known about the short and longer-term functional outcomes for those who sustain spinal cord injuries in childhood.”

SpineCare Foundation Chairperson, Kerry Stubbs, said: “the establishment of such a register will enable those working in the field to better collaborate on research, treatment and prevention of spinal cord injuries in children.

“We are delighted to have Erin working with the SpineCare Foundation to undertake this world first initiative to improve long term health outcomes for children with spinal cord injuries, which is a lifelong condition with major impacts for both children and their families,” she said.

La Trobe University Vice-Chancellor Professor, John Dewar, said: “this scholarship is wonderful recognition of Erin’s work and the importance of such research.

“It is also a great reinforcement of our research themes of building healthy communities and working with communities to make a difference.”

About the SpineCare Foundation

The SpineCare Foundation is a division of disability service provider Northcott that focusses on supporting education and research into childhood spinal conditions.

About Northcott

Northcott is a not-for-profit organisation which provides support to more than 13,000 children and adults living with a disability, their families and carers across NSW and the ACT.

Please click here to download the original media release.

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