Two MICCN experts recognised for excellence

The Monash University Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences recognises the talent and dedication of its outstanding members through the Dean’s Awards for Excellence.

Professor Christina Mitchell, Dean of the Faculty, presented this year’s awards in August 2018, where the Team Award for Excellence in Research (Enterprise) was received by Dr Hannah Kirk and Professor Kim Cornish from MICCN and the School of Psychological Sciences.

The team are responsible for TALI Train, a breakthrough software application for training attention in early childhood. The program has been driven by 20 years of research, and is scientifically proven to improve core attention skills and academic outcomes. Development of the program was also made possible through collaboration with industry partners, Torus Games and TALI Health.

“We are delighted to have received this Dean’s Award,” said Dr Hannah Kirk. “To be selected from such a huge pool of talent really gives gravitas to what we have created, and what we are doing for Australian children. I am very proud of the whole team’s accomplishments.”

“400,000 children in Australia have significant attention difficulties, and yet the treatment of childhood attention is limited, expensive and often time-consuming,“ added Professor Kim Cornish. “There is a real need for a non-pharmacological, low-cost, home-based tool to improve inattention in early childhood, and TALI Train is the tool that is making this possible. I am very proud that our work has been recognised with such honour, and I congratulate all the runners-up who were also very deserving of their recognition.”

In May 2018, the TALI TrainTM game was approved as a registered NDIS provider meaning that it is now available to families through the NDIS. And, thanks to a Cooperative Research Centre Project (CRC-P) having been awarded to Australian Medical Technology Company Novita Healthcare Ltd, whose subsidiary company TALI Health acquired the TALI Train Program, the team are now creating a scalable detection tool for childhood inattention – TALI Detect – with a view to enabling national screening of attention difficulties for all children entering school.

MICCN congratulates Dr Hannah Kirk and Professor Kim Cornish on their achievement, and wishes them every success with TALI Detect.

MEET THE TEAM

Dr Hannah Kirk is an NHMRC Early Career Research Fellow at the MICCN, and the Chief Research Officer at public listed med-tech company Novita Healthcare. Her research focuses on utilising technology to assess, improve and support cognitive development and learning in childhood. Dr Kirk is the co-inventor of novel attention training program, TALI Train, for which she is listed on an international patent. TALI Train received an honourable mention in the 2016 Best Research Translation Award for TALI Train (BHERT) and was shortlisted for the Australian Innovation Award (2015). In 2016, Dr Kirk was awarded the Australian Psychological Society Thesis award and in 2018 was selected as one of Health Horizons “Top Five Female Innovators.”  Her translational research approach and strong connections with industry, place her in a unique position to continue developing tools to positively impact the lives of children in Australia and worldwide. Dr Kirk and Prof Cornish recently secured funding of <$1.2million with industry partners to develop an innovative tool to improve the detection of childhood inattention.

Professor Kim Cornish is Director of MICCN and the Head of the School of Psychological Sciences. Prior to joining Monash University in 2009, she was a Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) at McGill University (Montréal). In 2017, Professor Cornish was elected Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. Over her 25-year career, Professor Cornish has received over AUD$9.0M in competitive grant and fellowship funding for her work in delineating attention deficits in both clinical and non-clinical child populations. Most recently, Professor Cornish is the co-inventor of TALI Train – a novel interactive-technology platform for training attention deficits in early childhood. To date, TALI Train has been shortlisted for the Australian Innovation Award and received the Honourable Mention- B/HERT Award, both in 2016. In 2018 Prof Cornish along with Dr Kirk, and industry partners, were the recipients of a CRC-P to develop TALI Detect, the precursor to TALI Train aimed at developing new technology to detect early attention difficulties in young children before they start school

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