Aussie philanthropist’s million dollar gift to change future for kids with illness and disability

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11 Aug 2014

Len Ainsworth funds world’s first Chair of Technology and Innovation to focus on finding solutions and interventions in area of children’s health and disability

Len Ainsworth funds world’s first Chair of Technology and Innovation to focus on finding solutions and interventions in area of children’s health and disability
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It is a gift of monumental proportions which looks set to change the future for children with a disability and critical illness.

Australian philanthropist Len Ainsworth has pledged to donate $1.25 million over the next five years to create the Ainsworth Chair of Technology and Innovation, a position focussing on harnessing advancing technology and innovation to accelerate the search for new and improved treatments and interventions for childhood disabilities and illnesses.

Jointly managed by Cerebral Palsy Alliance and the Grace Centre for Newborn Care (The Children’s Hospital at Westmead), the Ainsworth Chair of Technology and Innovation is believed to be the first in the world focussing on children’s health, in particular disability.

CEO of Cerebral Palsy Alliance Rob White says advances in technology have already resulted in major breakthroughs in cerebral palsy treatment, prevention and cure, but this was just the tip of the iceberg.

‘We have children using computer generated speech devices that they control with their eyes to tell their parents they love them; we have critically ill newborns being medically cooled to enable their tiny damaged brains to repair themselves; and we have small babies undergoing intense early intervention therapy after being identified at high risk of cerebral palsy’, Mr White said.

‘All would have seemed impossible a decade ago – just imagine what can be achieved if we really focus our attention on using technology and innovation to produce better outcomes for these children and those suffering critical illness. The sky is the limit.’

Macquarie Group Foundation Chair of Cerebral Palsy, and Medical Director of the Grace Centre for Newborn Care, Professor Nadia Badawi AM, says Len Ainsworth’s foresight in funding this position could change the landscape of children’s health.

‘We see critically ill babies and their families every day and we are committed to ensuring we are turning every stone in our efforts to find new and effective treatments and cures’, Professor Badawi said. ‘This position will inspire collaboration from the world’s best technological minds to produce innovative and ground-breaking medical interventions for children’s health and disability.

‘Just how far new technology can take us is the new unknown, but it is an exciting unknown’, she said.

Cerebral Palsy Alliance and the Grace Centre for Newborn Care are in the process of recruiting for the position of the Ainsworth Chair of Technology and Innovation.

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