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GenV – short for Generation Victoria, is a state-wide research project that has been created to help give researchers the most complete picture yet of the health and wellbeing of a generation of children and their parents.
Led by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute with the support of the Royal Children’s Hospital and The University of Melbourne, GenV gives all parents and their newborns born between 2021 and 2023, the opportunity to be part of a program that could lead to new and improved ways to treat and prevent problems such as pre-term birth, common allergies, anxiety, and obesity.
Joining the program is simple and requires little effort from parents. All children born during the research period will receive information about GenV as part of their standard birth experience and a GenV representative will visit or contact new parents in the hospital or parents will be contacted as soon as possible after they are discharged. Once a family has consented to join GenV and a few short forms have been completed, GenV will make brief contact with parents from time to time to follow their and their child’s health, development, and wellbeing.
The data gained from parents and children can be used for research to help improve how we predict, prevent and treat health and wellbeing problems. The findings are also expected to be used to help make changes to the way health education and social services are delivered.
Professor Melissa Wake, GenV Scientific Director and a pediatrician for over 30 years said that by 2035, GenV’s vision is to have helped create a happier and healthier future for many children and parents.
“By involving children and families in this once-in-a-generation initiative, GenV can help solve pressing problems like asthma, food allergies, obesity and mental illness.
Professor Wake also said research programs such as GenV are expected to vastly improve the speed in which answers to major issues affecting children and adults are handled.
“Over the next two years, around 150,000 children born in Victoria and their parents will have the opportunity to participate in the project. Put simply, by signing up to be a part of the GenV generation, parents will help to create a healthier future for all children and their families,” she said.
It’s the size of the project that sets GenV apart – never before has there been an initiative of this scale with an emphasis on child health.
Victorian mum Melissa Oliver who has been a midwife for 12 years, signed up to GenV when her baby Freddie was born. She said making the choice to be involved with GenV was an easy choice to make.
“My daughter had a lot of serious allergies, despite no family history. To me it is important to be involved in these studies to help understand why more children are affected by allergies. I believe we must be part of the change.”