In a world-first, the health of a generation of Victorian children will be tracked and the data collated to create a holistic picture of the health of these children and help find solutions to our most intractable diseases and chronic health issues.
Generation Victoria aims to invite parents of all babies born in 2020 and 2021 across the state to participate, which translates to a potential pool 160,000 children for Gen V’s living laboratory.
Gen V has been made possible through a $24.5 million partnership with the Paul Ramsay Foundation over five years.
Paul Ramsay Foundation CEO, Simon Freeman, said the initiative will be significant because of its far-reaching effects and potential to unlock further research.
“We’re partnering with Gen V to give future researchers a platform and the infrastructure they need to base their research. This means studies will be completed faster and with less cost, translating to better preventions and treatments for all Australians,” Freeman said.
“This investment is a great example of how the Foundation’s strategy will target systemic change and improvement in population wide health through research in Australia,” he said.
Gen V Project Lead, Professor Melissa Wake, said the unique partnership between philanthropy, the Andrews Labor Government, researchers and families was ground breaking.
“It will mean we’re able to connect up the fantastic statewide services and data sets in place in Victoria, and in doing so provide improved personalised support, as well as targeted preventions and care for children and families,” Dr Wake said.
“This is the first time this kind of data has been bought together at a statewide level anywhere in the world. By doing this, we’ll be enabling solutions to diverse issues like obesity, allergies, infection, social exclusion, poor mental health and learning and other chronic health conditions,” she said.
Victorian Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy, said the Victorian government was supporting Gen V as a part of their long-term investment in specialist and community health programs.
“Victoria is a prime location for the project because of its world-renowned medical research facilities and universities,” Minister Hennessy said.
Minister Hennessy said the Andrews Labor government is committed to investing in research and will contribute $2 million towards the Gen V initiative.
“Our focus is on studies like Gen V that emphasise prevention as well as treatment to ensure better outcomes for Victorians,” she said.
Gen V will be led from The Melbourne Children’s Campus (Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Royal Children’s Hospital and The University of Melbourne Department of Paediatrics) with a coalition of partners across the health and education sectors.
The Longitudinal View: Patient Story
Beth (grandmother), Anita (mother) and Rose (daughter, 2-years-old), are three generations of family involved in an ongoing longitudinal study. Beth enrolled her newborn daughter in the Australian Temperament Project, which has tracked about 1000 Victorian children from infancy to adulthood and is now following their children.
Now Anita’s daughter Rose was recruited when she was born, carrying on the ‘tradition’. Anita said she’s enjoyed being a part of the study that looks at social behaviours and relationships.
Every four years, Beth and Anita have undertaken interviews, questionnaires, online surveys and more recently Rose has undertaken a behavioural ‘play study’.
“It’s been a nice experience to share with my mum and now I get to experience that with my daughter.” Anita said.
The Gen V initiative follows on the heels of another project that brings together philanthropy, government, researchers, clinicians and families, the landmark $26 million ORIGINS Project, a longitudinal birth cohort study that aims to uncover the origins of non-communicable diseases and was co-funded by the Paul Ramsay Foundation and the federal government.