Healthy Trajectories Seed Funding Recipients

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We congratulate the recipients of our 2022 Healthy Trajectories seed funding round! Four new and exciting projects have been selected to receive funding of up to $30,000 each and you can read more about each of these projects below.


Loneliness, social isolation and mental health for young people with disability.

This project is led by Dr Zoe Aitken in partnership with Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA). It aims to advance understanding of loneliness and social isolation experienced by young people with child-onset disability and its impact on their mental health. In collaboration with CYDA and a group of peer researchers with disability, we will integrate lived experience with high-quality existing data to generate evidence of the interactions between loneliness, social isolation, and mental health of young people with child-onset disability.

Zoe is a Senior Research Fellow at the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne.  Her research focuses on understanding the determinants of the poor mental health experienced by people with disability and identifying solutions to address the inequalities.



Feasibility of goal sharing digital interface to empower children with disability and their families and improve collaboration: A qualitative, pre-implementation study.

This study is led by Dr Sarah Knight in partnership with Sameview. It aims to identify facilitators and barriers to implementing a goal sharing interface between hospitals and health care programs, and community systems like NDIS providers, to enable families to share their goals with their service providers. Ultimately, this project will lead to a more empowering, and integrated experience for children with disability and their families.

Sarah is a Team Leader in Neurodisability and Rehabilitation at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Sarah has established partnerships with multiple local and national community disability organisations and oversees the research, education and knowledge translation programs across the statewide Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service (VPRS).



Consumer preferences and early life predictors of physical activity for children born very preterm: A mixed methods study.

In this project Dr Tara Fitzgerald will address important knowledge gaps which are crucial to effectively promote physical activity participation for children born very preterm (less than 32 weeks’ gestation). Each year in Australia, approximately 5,000 infants are born preterm. These infants have greater risk of diverse developmental disabilities than children born at term (30 to 42 weeks’ gestation). Additionally, they are more vulnerable to low physical activity levels and reduced participation than their term-born peers. It is not yet known why this is the case and initiatives designed to optimise physical activity participation, specifically for this population, are lacking.

Tara is a Lecturer in Physiotherapy and an early career researcher investigating physical activity and motor development in children born preterm. Dr FitzGerald brings an in-depth understanding of objectively-measured physical activity to this project, along with considerable knowledge and experience with the group of children and families involved in the longitudinal study in which this project is embedded.



Music technologies for people with disabilities: Creating a framework to assess suitability for individual students.

Dr Anthea Skinner is a musicologist with lived experience of disability. Over the last decade, advances in computer science and 3D printing technology have caused rapid development in adaptive musical instruments aimed at people with disability, making participation in instrumental education possible for many children for the first time. The seed funding will allow Anthea and her team to create a framework to evaluate adaptive musical instruments and accessible music technology, so that musicians with disability and their teachers can choose the equipment that best suits their individual needs.

Anthea is a McKenzie Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne. She coordinates Melbourne Youth Orchestras’ Adaptive Music Bridging Program, providing instrumental music education to children with disability. Anthea is passionate about supporting musicians with disability at all stages of their careers.



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