AADDM News

Introducing the Head for the Centre for Developmental Disability Health (CDDH)

Reece Adams was appointed as the Head of the CDDH in late 2019. His appointment follows three previous leads of the CDDH; Steve Trumble (1991- 1997), Bob Davis (1997 – 2013) and Jane Tracy (2013 – 2019).

Reece has a background in Occupational Therapy with a strong commitment to human rights and improving the health and lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Reece’s 17-year career in the disability sector has included the roles of: Disability Support Worker, Occupational Therapist, Lead Researcher for the CDDH and now Head of the CDDH. He has worked with people with complex physical and behavioural needs, and has a broad and deep clinical experience and understanding of the needs of people with disabilities, particularly intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Reece brings to the role as Head of the CDDH clinical knowledge and experience, a passion for improving equity in healthcare and improved health outcomes for people with disabilities, and deep compassion and strong advocacy to his work. In 2020/2021 Reece has worked at a national, statewide and health network level to improve the support for people with a disability during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reece continues the work of CDDH leads before him, developing and strengthening partnerships across the disability sector to continue to improve the health outcomes of people with disabilities.

AADDM members Bob and Jane greatly enjoy working with him, see him as a fantastic new Head for the Centre, and look forward to the outcomes of the new initiatives he is undertaking.

2021-22 Budget Announcement

In May 2021, some details of the 12.7 million investments to improve the health and care of people with an intellectual disability were announced. AADDM has been a pivotal player in advocacy for investment in these areas.

The investment included:

  1. $6.7 million for Annual Health Assessments (AHAs)
  2. $1.4 million for scoping and co-design of a National Centre of Excellence in Intellectual Disability Health
  3. $4.6 million for intellectual disability health curriculum development

These initiatives in the 2021-22 Budget build on the investment of $6.6 million over four years (from 2020-21) for the development of the Primary Care Enhancement Program (PCEP) for people with intellectual disability.

Nick Lennox appointed Senior Advisor to the Australian Government Department of Health

Since April 2020, Prof Nick Lennox has been working with the Australian Government Department of Health as a senior advisory on disability and health. The role has two substantial areas, the Department’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the development and roll out of the National Roadmap to improve health services for people with intellectual disability. The roadmap has a whole of life perspective and has been informed by many people, including people with intellectual disability, their family and paid support staff, as well as self-advocates and advocacy organisations. Many members of AADDM have provided input into the development of the Roadmap, including Dr Jacki Small, Dr Jane Tracy, Prof Julian Trollor and Mr Jim Simpson.

Nick continues to advise the Department on how to best implement the roadmap initiatives, and is pleased that the Department has emphasised the input of those with a lived experience. He looks forward working with other AADDM members to maximise the health and well-being gains for all people with intellectual disability during the implementation of the roadmap, as well as the ongoing response to the pandemic.

AADDM advocates for change at the National Roundtable on the Health of People with Intellectual Disability

AADDM has been involved at advocating for changes to our health and related systems to improve health of people with intellectual disabilities. A national Roundtable was held on 2 August 2019 and hosted by Minister Greg Hunt, which resulted in funding enhancement for primary health care and an agreement to establish a future roadmap.

For more details, please see the link below.
National roadmap for improving the health of Australians with intellectual disability

Associate Professor Helen Leonard is the Winner of the 2019 Bob Davis Award

AADDM congratulates Associate Professor Helen Leonard, Telethon Kids Institute, on being this year’s successful nominee for the 2019 Bob Davis Award.

Her research work built on 20 years of clinical practice which primarily involved the management of children and adults with intellectual disability, has resulted in a remarkable 286 publications. She has also been awarded two highly sort after NHMRC Senior Research Fellowship.

Helen has established a population-based intellectual disability database in Western Australia, is a member of an innovative autism registry collaboration, and she set up the internationally unique population-based Australian Rett Syndrome Database.

Helen has exhibited drive, energy, tenacity and an enormous capacity for hard work. AADDM is very proud of her ongoing contributions to improving health of people with ID and continues in her role as AADDM committee member.

For more information on the Bob Davis Award, please click here.

Mr Jim Simpson receives the Bob Davis Award for 2018

Mr Jim Simpson was the 2018 recipient of the Bob Davis Award. As Legal Advocate, NSW Council for Intellectual Disability and member, AADDM, he has made a tremendous impact on the health and wellbeing of people with intellectual disability, not just in NSW, but Australia wide. Some of his achievements include: led numerous submissions to ensure that people with an ID are involved in policy, the 2013 National Roundtable on the mental health of people with an ID, contributed to the inclusion in 2006 of items in Medicare for annual health assessments of people with ID, major contribution to 2012 NSW Health, Ageing, Disability and Home Care, Health Service Framework to improve the health care of people with an ID in 2012 and in 2018, funding boost of $4.7m for specialised ID health teams and contributed to enhanced disability support in NSW for offenders with an intellectual disability, including the 400 client Community Justice Program. Much of his advocacy has been in partnership with AADDM and our members.

For more information on the Bob Davis Award, please click here.

Dying for change – Lightning talks for action on improving the health and life expectancy of Australian people with intellectual disability

Join us as we hear from international and local experts, including people with intellectual disability, advocates, researchers and medical practitioners as we ask the big questions. What is at the root of this issue? What needs to be done? And whose responsibility is it?

Venue: UNSW CBD campus
Date: Monday 5th November
Time: 4-6pm

Please click here to register.