Major gift to Neonatal Paediatrics

Financial Markets Foundation for Children donation to establish new Chair in Neonatal Paediatrics.

A new Chair in Neonatal Paediatrics will fast-track Hudson Institute, Monash University and Monash Health’s joint vision for newborn medicine and serve the community through advanced treatments and interventions and education programs.

Professor Rod Hunt

A philanthropic gift, from Australia’s major banks including the Reserve Bank of Australia, helped establish this Chair, a first for the south-east corridor of Melbourne.  Thanks to the $5 million gift to Monash University from the Financial Markets Foundation for Children in 2019, and an extensive global search, we are delighted to announce that Professor Rod Hunt has accepted the prestigious Chair and will join us in October 2020.

Professor Hunt will be responsible for leadership and ongoing strategic development of newborn medicine research, and training innovation at Monash University, as well as fulfilling a clinical role at Monash Children’s Hospital. Professor Hunt will build and lead research, from discovery through translation to improved clinical care in neonatal paediatrics.

Professor Rod Hunt has been the Director of Neonatal Medicine at The Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne since 2010 and the Co-Director of Neonatal Research at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Melbourne.  His clinical and research expertise is in the area of Neonatal Neurology.

The Financial Markets Foundation for Children supports projects that promote and improve the health and welfare of Australian children.

The Chair has been integrated under the joint leadership of Professor Katrina Williams, Head of Paediatrics at Monash University and Dr Alice Stewart at Monash Health.

“Professor Hunt’s work focuses on the most vulnerable newborns who have high early life support needs and greater risk of health and development challenges throughout their life. With its bench to bedside and community care opportunities, the University is well-placed to lead discoveries and clinical innovations that will improve the lives of newborn children, and their families” Professor Williams said.

The Financial Markets Foundation for Children Chair in Neonatal Paediatrics will work with a talented team to improve in utero, birthing and early life events to prevent vital organ damage and maximise the chance of brain and body health for every child. Laboratory discoveries leading to innovative interventions, early life review and partnerships with hospital and community health professionals provide every child the best chance for a healthy life. Their parents will be reassured that all that can be done is being done for their child.

“It is a truism to say that the first weeks of infancy is the first phase of a new life; newborns in need of intensive care treatment have amongst the most difficult starts to life that can be imagined. Whether through premature birth, or early life illness, care of society’s most fragile people is both one of the most technically and emotionally demanding facets of medicine,” said Professor Eric Morand, Monash University’s Head of Clinical Sciences. The opportunity to bring clinical insights directly into the lab, and new breakthroughs directly into practice, ensures that no stone is unturned in our efforts to improve the long journey that follows these early life challenges”.

The new position, which will work closely with Hudson Institute and Monash Children’s Hospital, completes a perfect triad for Monash and its partners by adding excellence in clinical research to outstanding clinical care and world-leading fundamental research.

“We look forward to welcoming Professor Hunt to Monash University as Chair in Neonatal Paediatrics,” said Professor Christina Mitchell, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Monash University.

“This generous gift from the Financial Markets Foundation for Children will allow us to translate research into improved quality of life and outcomes for the 1 in 5 babies that are admitted to a special care nursery (SCN) or neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in Australia.”

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