New Krongold Clinic Director of Research at Monash Education
Professor Nicole Rinehart has been appointed as the Director of Research at the Krongold Clinic and will take up the position of Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychology at Monash Education, starting July 1.
Professor Rinehart is an international leader in neurodevelopmental disorders and a practising clinical psychologist specialising in Autism Spectrum Disorders and ADHD.
“Professor Rinehart has been at the forefront of international efforts to improve the diagnosis and treatment of childhood disorders and is a respected leader in her field", Monash Education Dean Professor Viv Ellis said. “We are delighted to welcome Nicole to our world-class team.”
Professor Rinehart has described her appointment as a full-circle moment in her career, returning to the university where she first trained as a psychologist, and where she completed her PhD.
“To say I’m excited is an understatement. Our job is to put research into the hands of the community, and the Faculty exemplifies everything I align with."
“Working with the Krongold Clinic has been a life-long dream for me. It was one of the first centres in an Australian university involved with both research and providing clinical services to children and the community,” she said.
Improving the quality of life and mental health of young people who experience developmental challenges or disabilities – as well as the supports for families – has been at the heart of Professor Rinehart’s career.
“When I was training as a clinical psychologist what really struck me was that parents were given a diagnosis, handed a tissue and a pamphlet and were told to go on their way. There was nothing after.”
Professor Rinehart wanted to change that and embarked on a mission to understand what she calls the ‘underlying brain ecology’ of neurodevelopmental disorders as well as the most effective ways to ensure every child has the best outcome in life.
“The problem is not how do we change children with disabilities and get them to fit into our world. [It’s] how do we change the world to make it fit for those children. How do we take a strength-based approach?”
Professor Rinehart said one of her ah-ha moments came from watching her own children start to participate in community activities such as dance and sport, and the ease in which they could take part.
“I realised there were no children with disabilities participating. And that moment was a real call to action. Why should it just be typically developing kids who have these opportunities?”
Professor Rinehart has worked as a clinician for more than 20 years and has held multiple National Health and Medical Research Council grants. Her CV and publication history runs to 80 pages, but she acknowledges there’s only three things she knows for sure.
“I know that if you want to learn about disability, speak to children, families and teachers. I know that despite trillions of dollars of research, the world doesn’t fit for all kids. And that the future of improving mental health for children with disabilities can only occur at the intersection of psychology, education and policy. I can’t think of a better place in the world than the Faculty of Education at Monash and the Krongold Centre where I can have an opportunity to be a part of that.”
Professor Rinehart currently serves on the Board of Directors at AMAZE (Autism Victoria) and the Victorian Department of Education Inclusion Committee. She has contributed to the NHMRC Clinical Practice Statement for ADHD and the revision of the Australian Therapeutic Guidelines for Developmental Disabilities.
Career awards include the College of Clinical Psychologists Rising Star Award and the Queens Trust for Young Australians, Australian Financial Review (AFR) Higher Education Award for Community Engagement. She is an active member of the Australian Psychological Society and College of Clinical Psychologists.