Excellence award for researcher who pioneered AEDC, making national impact
Telethon Kids Institute and University of Western Australia (UWA) researcher, Dr Sally Brinkman, has been recognised with a national Research Excellence Award for her work in establishing the Australian Early Development Census (ADEC) and improving the health and development of young children, particularly those living in highly disadvantaged communities.
Dr Brinkman is a paediatric epidemiologist, and was one of 23 of Australia’s most outstanding researchers honoured at the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) awards, held in Canberra last week.
The awards recognise excellence in the health and medical research sector by celebrating individual achievements, leadership and the exceptional contributions of Australian researchers to their fields of research.
Dr Brinkman gained attention in the Australian research community for “spearheading the use of the Early Development Instrument (EDI) in Australia,” and being the first to pilot the instrument outside of Canada. She continues to work across the country to help facilitate the use of the Australian version of the EDI – the AEDC, a nationwide data collection of early childhood development – working with communities, service providers and governments.
On the international stage, Dr Brinkman works with various governments and donor organisations to monitor and evaluate policy and programs to enhance child health and development, including in Asia, the Pacific, Latin America and the Emirates.
Director of the Telethon Kids Institute Professor Jonathan Carapetis said Dr Brinkman is an outstanding researcher and the award was well deserved, outlining that Dr Brinkman was the only applicant from a Western Australian institute or university to receive a NHMRC Career Development Fellowship.
Professor Carapetis said Dr Brinkman’s research is practical, pragmatic and translatable, and the national and international impact of her work was a source of pride for the institute. Her research spans over 120 publications including books, chapters, monographs and journal articles covering topics such as infant mouthing behaviours; child physical activity and nutrition levels; the measurement of alcohol related violence; the evaluation of teenage pregnancy prevention programs; how child development varies across communities; and, the impact of socio economics and service integration on child development.
Based in Adelaide, South Australia, Dr Brinkman is the Head of the Child Health Development and Education team at Telethon Kids and a Senior Research Fellow at The University of Western Australia. She is also the Director of the Fraser Mustard Centre, an innovative initiative of the Telethon Kids Institute in partnership with the Department for Education in South Australia, to enhance research translation into policy and practice.