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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 18 March 2017
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 18 MARCH 2017 7 NEWS Inaugural Greek-Australian Fellowship completed Dr Stefanos Dimitrakopoulos’ invaluable contribution to Melbourne research that will advance our understanding of brain changes in schizophrenia (L-R): Professor Dennis Velakoulis, Dr Stefanos Dimitrakopoulos, Professor Christos Pantelis In December 2015 the Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre (MNC) established the first Greek-Australian Travelling Fellowship in Neuropsychiatry, a collaborative initiative between Melbourne Health and the University of Melbourne. The fellowship aims to support promising young clinical researchers from the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece to participate in clinical research at the Centre's clinical and university facilities at the Royal Melbourne Hospital and Sunshine Hospital. The Centre was delighted to welcome the first fellow, Dr Stefanos Dimitrakopoulos, to Melbourne in August 2016 with costs funded with the support of Servier Laboratories Australia. Dr Dimitrakopoulos spent six months in Melbourne developing and contributing to a project that will advance our understanding of brain changes in schizophrenia, especially in those with severe forms of the illness. "We will continue to collaborate with Stefanos and the team led by Professor Nikos Stefanis in Greece to evolve this work," stated Professor Christos Pantelis, Scientific Director and Foundation Professor of Neuropsychiatry at MNC. "Following this first successful fellowship period, the Centre aims to further enhance neuropsychiatry research in Greece by continuing this initiative." Meanwhile, Dr Dimitrakopoulos expressed his gratitude to the Centre. "This research fellowship, which I accepted with enthusiasm," he said, "has been a great gift and unique opportunity for me." "I feel honoured to share the expertise gained over the last six months with the scientific community and to establish ongoing collaborations between the University of Athens and the University of Melbourne. During my fellowship I have been able to participate in pioneer research and collaborate with experts in the field of neuropsychiatry." The Centre's goal is to continue the prestigious fellowship scheme for years to come and to provide promising young Greek researchers the opportunity to start their research careers, and to become research leaders in neuropsychiatry in Greece. The fellowship scheme provides support for indi- vidual researchers and represents an opportunity to build a community of additional support for young clinical researchers by providing training opportunities in Melbourne for fellows to gain skills and feel part of a wider movement of people committed to this important area of psychiatry. The fellowships will provide the opportunity for researchers from Greece to ultimately publish high quality research. The initiative will establish collaborations between Australian and Greek colleagues and facilitate successful grants. Through generous pub- lic support, the Centre has already raised a further $7,500 (at 27 February) through crowdfunding, contributing to the costs involved for the next fellowships. To contribute to the Melbourne Neuropsychiatry Centre Greek-Australian Travelling Fellowship in Neuropsychiatry go to https://doyourownthing. everydayhero.com/au/ greek-australian-travelling-fellowship *This crowdfunding initiative is supported by Melbourne Health and The Royal Melbourne Hospital Foundation. Mikakos opens new child care and kinder rooms at Brunswick’s iconic Hartnett House Brunswick welcomes the opening of two new children's rooms and redeveloped facilities at the Melbourne City Mission's Hartnett House Integrated Children's Centre. Victorian Minister for Families and Children, Jenny Mikakos toured the centre earlier this week with Member for Brunswick Jane Garrett MP, Mayor of Moreland Cr Helen Davidson, and Melbourne City Mission's CEO Vicki Sutton. The redevelopment was made possible by a funding contribution of $350,000 from the Victorian Government that also enabled Melbourne City Mission to open a new Early Childhood Intervention Services community room at Harnett House, and the creation of a new all-weather indoor and outdoor play area. Moreover, the recently completed works have seen the centre's licence capacity boosted to 126 places for children – an increase of 32 places, comprising 11 additional places for children in fouryear-old kindergarten and 21 long day care places, representing a significant boost in early years services for Moreland families. "We are delighted to be joined by Minister Mikakos as children and staff enjoy the new rooms and play areas, and we would like to thank the State Government for its support," Ms Sutton said. "Families are increasingly time-poor. It is essential that our community can have its child care and education needs met locally. At Hartnett House we're delivering high quality child care and kindergarten that sets children up for education success. We know that the early years are a critical period that shapes long-term futures." Ongoing federal government funding is an area of concern for Victorian childcare providers. Under the National Partnership Agreement on Uni- versal Access to Early Childhood Education - introduced in 2008 - Victoria pays for more than two-thirds of government funding of 15 hours of kindergarten in the year before school, with the Federal Government contributing the rest. "The Universal Access funding arrangement is set to run out at the end of 2017. Melbourne City Mission is deeply concerned the Federal Government has not committed to continued funding in this area," Ms Sutton added. "High rates of participation in early childhood education are vital for Australia's economic future. We need the Univer- sal Access funding arrangement renewed and secured. This lack of certainty – and continual cycle of short-term agreements – is not fair to families or the services that support them. "We urge the Prime Minister and the Federal Minister for Education and Training to ensure all Australian children can keep accessing the full 15 hours of funded kindergarten a week."
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