Telethon Kids Institute

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Telethon Kids Institute
Established 1990; 28 years ago (1990)
Mission Medical research
Director Jonathan Carapetis
Faculty University of Western Australia
Adjunct faculty Princess Margaret Hospital for Children
Key people Fiona Stanley AC, FAA
Formerly called Telethon Institute for Child Health Research
Location Subiaco, Perth, Western Australia, Australian

The Telethon Kids Institute is an Australian medical research institute focused on the prevention of paediatric disease and the development of improved treatments to improve the health and wellbeing of children. Telethon has developed a particular focus on Aboriginal health and has more than 500 staff, post-graduate students and visiting scholars.[1] The institute is located in the Perth suburb of Subiaco in Western Australia. The Telethon is an independent not-for-profit, non-government organisation with close affiliations with the University of Western Australia and the Princess Margaret Hospital for Children.

Established in 1990 by Professor Fiona Stanley AC, FAA,[1] the Director of the Institute since July 2012 is Professor Jonathan Carapetis. Stanley presently holds the role of Patron.


Research at the Telethon Kids Institute is grouped around four major research focus areas:

  • Aboriginal Health
  • Brain & Behaviour
  • Chronic Diseases of Childhood
  • Early Environment[2]

The Telethon Kids Institute is committed to ensuring that the benefits of its research are translated into real therapies and policies to improve the health and wellbeing of children. Since its establishment in 1990, researchers at the Institute have published more than 2600 scientific papers[when?] and advocated on behalf of children and families.

Some highlights include:

  • Discovering that folate can prevent spina bifida;
  • Hib meningitis vaccination;
  • Improving outcomes for Aboriginal babies and children;
  • Researching IVF outcomes;
  • Leading the world in the understanding, treatment and prevention of asthma;
  • Developing programs to reduce youth suicide;
  • Determining causes for cerebral palsy;
  • Improving the life chances for children with cystic fibrosis;
  • Increasing survival rates for children with leukaemia.

The Institute is a research hub for prominent scientists such as Patrick Holt, as well as the home of one of the largest longitudinal cohort studies, the Raine Study, which has been following the lives of thousands of children for more than 20 years.


Telethon is located in Subiaco, opposite the Princess Margaret Hospital for Children, with which it collaborates closely. Ongoing collaborations exist with the University of Western Australia (UWA) Department of Paediatrics, Curtin University and Seven Network's Telethon, a major funding partner.[2]

The Institute is expected to move in 2017 and be co-located with the new Perth Children's Hospital within the Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre site in Nedlands, Western Australia,[3] and adjacent to the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.


Formed in 1990 on the grounds of Princess Margaret Hospital (old nurses quarters) when Professor Fiona Stanley and a group of population scientists (epidemiologists) from UWA joined a group of lab based researchers from the hospital and formed the WA Research Institute for Child Health (WARICH). By 1994, due to rapid success and expansion, it became clear that a purpose built facility was required. A$11.2 million was raised from West Australian corporates and individuals through a capital campaign (where money was pledged over a 5-year period) with the state and federal governments then matching this with A$11.2 million each. The land was purchased from Perth Modern School, construction began in 1998, and the building was opened in February 2000. The original A$11.2 million raised through the capital campaign was invested in a capital account which earns interest to maintain infrastructure.

Channel 7's Telethon was the biggest single donor to the capital campaign (A$5 million over 5 years) and in recognition of this, the name was changed to the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research.

2016 immunisation seminar[edit]

In May 2016 the Telethon Kids Institute held an informational immunisation seminar in Perth.[4] Anti-vaccination activists reportedly hijacked the event, "abusing researchers and branding them liars" and forcing the event to close early.[4][5] An editorial in The West Australian called it an "ugly disruption" and said that "those who oppose vaccination programs, especially through the use of the tactics displayed on Monday, should examine their consciences".[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Telethon Kids Institute". The Conversation. 27 October 2015. Retrieved 7 June 2016. 
  2. ^ a b School of Population Health (2014). "Involving the community in health research" (PDF). ANU. The University of Western Australia. Retrieved 6 June 2016. 
  3. ^ "Our new home". Telethon Kids Institute. 2016. Retrieved 16 September 2016. 
  4. ^ a b . (6 June 2016). "High Wired: PwC takes stake in China-favoured higher ed outfit". The Australian. Retrieved 6 June 2016. 
  5. ^ O'Leary, Cathy (1 June 2016). "Anti-vaccination activists crash immunisation seminar". The West Australian. Retrieved 6 June 2016. 
  6. ^ "Ugly disruption of vaccination forum was unacceptable" (Editorial). The West Australian. 1 June 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2016. 

External links[edit]