The world as we knew it changed dramatically with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. We do hope that you and your families have adapted to the ‘new normal’ of physical distancing, practising good hand hygiene and staying home when unwell.
Staff at the Raine Study, like many individuals and organisations, had to adjust to the evolving health advice and new ways of working. We worked from home and held online meetings, and in some cases, were ably ‘assisted’ by our furry and feathered friends, as some of you would have seen in our social media posts.
As a result of COVID-19, and as advised via emails, news items on our website and through our social media channels, our 30th anniversary celebration had to be postponed until next year. In the meantime, we are planning a series of webinarspresenting the Raine Study research for the interest of participants, their family and friends and the broader community. We will let you know more in the coming weeks.
Please keep in touch and if you have changed contact details recently, please reply to this email to let us know or update your details here.
Working from home ...
Eyes were on Sydney for 28-year follow-up
In an exciting opportunity for the 28-year follow-up, we had planned to run some vision appointments in Sydney, Melbourne and London. Although Melbourne and London didn’t eventuate due to COVID-19, we were thrilled to hold a very successful vision appointment day in Sydney. We are hopeful in the future to offer this opportunity again to our interstate and international participants as well as the valuable online questionnaires.
We would like to thank all those who made Sydney possible, including Professor David Mackey, Dr Samantha Lee, Dr Seyhan Yazar, Donna Glenn, Prof John Griggs, and the rest of the Gordon Eye Surgery staff.
And on the home front …
A big thank you too to all the participants, researchers and study team who took part in the 28-Year Vision and Vessels follow up which concluded in March 2020 as planned. Learn more about what was involved in the 28 year follow–up here. Special thanks to the UWA School of Human Science vessels researchers Dr Andy Haynes and Prof Danny Green and the Lions Eye Institute Vision research staff as mentioned above and Gareth Lingham, Maria Franchina and Magdalena Blaszkowska.
Have you visited our website lately?
Our website is updated regularly with news and information. A recent addition is the Raine Study Activity Report 2019. This report outlines highlights for 2019, activities planned for 2020 and details regarding our participants, research and project updates.
Another section that might be of interest to you is the Raine Study History. Please see here for more information.
Our participants are a well-travelled bunch Our participants live all over the world and this map shows where participants were located during the 28-year follow-up. We are grateful that distance proved no barrier though and that our amazing participants were able to contribute through online questionnaires and even cross-continental trips to visit us in Perth. Let us know if you live in faraway places not shown below. We would love to hear from you!
We bid farewell to Professor Straker
We bid a fond farewell to Professor Leon Straker, who will leave the Raine Study at the end of June after seven years in the role of Scientific Director. Leon has recently been successful in being awarded a multimillion dollar grant to better understand the realities of a child’s life in a digital world, including producing practical guidance for families in navigating the digital environment, and informing technology innovation for young children.
Leon is one of the lead investigators on the grant which will run over the next seven years as the Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child. It is very likely that the centre’s research program will have a major impact on the future health and well-being of our children’s lives in the years to come. While we wish Leon well in this new endeavour, we will miss him greatly.
During his time at the Raine Study, Leon has worked with Director Prof Peter Eastwood to update, revise and modernise the Raine Study’s technical systems and human operations. These changes were substantial and were required to be implemented to ensure the survival and growth of the Raine Study as the cohort moves into adulthood.
Over the past seven years, Leon initiated and oversaw huge changes to the Raine Study including: the broadening of its scientific framework; increasing its engagement with participants, increasing its emphasis on research translation, restructuring the researcher teams and research themes, providing a more efficient infrastructure and ensuring more stable funding of all of these activities.
The changes will ensure that the Raine Study continues to deliver on its enormous potential for discovery and translation of outcomes to improve the lives of future generations.
All of us at the Raine Study will miss Leon professionally and personally and wish him all the very best for his exciting future endeavours.
In other news ….
The Raine Study welcomes the University of Newcastle as an Institutional Member The Raine Study has a new institutional associate member – the University of Newcastle, New South Wales – the second university to join since the category was launched in 2019.
The new institutional membership category was designed to provide non-WA-based institutions with easier access to the rich collection of data held by the Raine Study – 30 years of data across multiple generations.
Until now, external access for University of Newcastle researchers to the Raine Study resources required each project to be costed and managed individually. As an institutional member, researchers from the University of Newcastle will be able to submit and carry out up to 12 consortia projects and six new individual projects each year.
The recently established institutional associate membership category acknowledged the value that non-WA-based institutions place on Raine Study data and highlighted the collaborative approach and ethos at the core of the Raine Study.
The Raine Study Director Peter Eastwood said: “We welcome the University of Newcastle as our latest institutional associate member, joining South Australia’s Flinders University in this category.”
Top-up scholarships go to promising researchers
The Raine Study has awarded PhD Top-up scholarships, each worth $10,000, to two students demonstrating outstanding research promise using Raine Study data. Ashish Yadav from the University of WA and Bereket Duko Adema from Curtin University will both receive scholarships from the Raine Study with an additional $2,500 travel allowance.
Ashish’s research is looking at the association of fetal growth and ectopic fat with cardio-metabolic risk factors in young adults, while Bereket’s research explores prenatal alcohol and tobacco use and the risk of substance use and adverse mental health outcomes in offspring.
New and returning staff members
Liz Rehfeldt has joined the Raine Study as Communications Manager. Liz has worked extensively in media and communications for State Government, non-government organisations, hospitals and the university sector in senior roles and through her own communications consultancy. Liz is very keen to bring her skills and experience to the Raine Study and to work with all those involved in the study, including participants, researchers, partners, management and staff.
Monique Priston has returned to the Raine Study in the new role of Scientific Support Officer and will be working closely with Scientific Manager Juliana Gomes Zabatiero and Scientific Director Anne Smith on science-related activities. She will be researcher's point of contact for any project management and ROSS-related queries.
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