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Hearing a need for better health outcomes

In child medical research, it is a widely understood fact that early detection and intervention can markedly improve health outcomes. 

One key benefit of the GenV research project is that by its very design, GenV will enable early interventions and targeted prevention strategies for child and parent health. When designing the GenV research framework, the team had a successful, local example of early detection and intervention in practice they could refer to 

The Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program (VIHSP) screens the hearing of newborn babies in their first weeks of life. Following this screening, which occurs in all public and private maternity hospitals across the state, parents and guardians of babies identified as requiring audiology are fully supported along the pathway following screening, through diagnosis to early intervention, by the VIHSP Early Support Service. 

This is why it made sense for GenV to learn from, and work closely with, the VIHSP team in the clinical setting, explains GenV Cohort 2020s Manager William Siero, who leads the team responsible for working with the maternity hospitals and inviting families to participate in GenV.

VIHSP sees 99.8 percent of Victorian newborns within the first 30 days of their life to offer a hearing screening.

“It made perfect sense for GenV to partner with VIHSP to ensure that all newborns and their parents would also have the opportunity to decide if they would like take part in GenV,” he said.

VIHSP Director, Dr. Zeffie Poulakis, has welcomed the opportunity to work with GenV, and to share knowledge of VIHSP systems and processes so as to enable the GenV team to offer participation in GenV to as many families and parents as possible.  

This sharing has had benefits to both GenV and VIHSP so far, with further strategies being planned to ensure that new parents have every opportunity possible to learn more about GenV,” she said.

Will said GenV has been designed to help Victoria’s research community find new ways to predictprevent and treat common childhood conditions, just as VIHSP has led to early detection and intervention regarding childhood hearing loss.

“The important work of GenV will give researchers a more complete picture of the health and wellbeing of a whole generation. The quicker we can predict, prevent and treat, the better the overall health outcomes could be for Victorian children and their families,” Will concluded.