Consultant paediatrician Dr Melissa Wake is Director of Research and Associate Director at the Centre for Community Child Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital. She understands that common child health problems need practical solutions to avert their massive future burdens and costs. Her focus is community-based strategies in the areas of language and literacy, hearing loss, overweight and obesity, and early mental health.
Melissa seeks sustainable clinical solutions that can be applied at the population level by primary and secondary care clinicians. Her numerous intervention trials are informed by her epidemiological studies, including leadership roles in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children and other large-scale collaborations. She is assisted by a team of around 40 researchers.
Since completing her MD in 1999, Melissa has achieved an exceptional record in competitive funding and has published around 120 peer-reviewed papers. In 2008, her work was showcased in the NHMRC’s ’10 of the Best’, celebrating ten exceptional Project Grants each year, and she was one of seven recipients of an NHMRC Achievement Award for ‘outstanding contribution to the success of research in this country’. This was followed In 2009 by the Australian Health Minister’s Award for Excellence in Health and Medical Research - recognising her landmark work to solve common child health problems.
Achievements in research translation include the Victorian Infant Hearing Screening Program; development of a Universal Language Promotion Strategy and obesity detection resources for all Victorian maternal and child health nurses; and major contributions to the Victorian Child Health and Wellbeing Survey and the forthcoming Victorian Child and Adolescent Disability Survey.