Authority on anorexia joins $125m initiative

Members of the advisory panel for the federal government’s new $125 million Million Minds Research Mission were announced last week, with Flinders’ Professor Tracey Wade joining other accomplished researchers and clinicians tasked with advancing Australia’s mental health outcomes over the ten-year project.

The mission’s roadmap was finalised at the panel’s first meeting last week, with five focus areas selected including three initial priorities; child and youth mental health, Indigenous mental health, and eating disorders.

Announced in the 2018 budget, the Million Minds Research Mission is aiming to support one million people with mental health issues to access new approaches to prevention, diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Mental illness is the leading cause of disability and premature death in Australia and almost one in two Australians will experience a mental health condition at some point in their lives.

Professor Wade is a Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor in psychology, whose key interests are eating disorders and perfectionism, with a focus on translation and reaching large numbers of people through preventative action, practical programs and new technologies.

She is currently leading research that uses cutting-edge gene analysis to identify people at risk of eating disorders, through a Breakthrough Mental Health Research Foundation project. This builds on her role with the major international project, the Australian Anorexia Nervosa Genetics Initiative, which is providing insights into genetic predisposition for the disorder using data collected from over 13,000 volunteers across Australia, the United States, New Zealand, Sweden and Denmark.

Professor Wade is also working with Dr Simon Wilksch on an online program which has proven successful in helping to prevent eating disorders developing in young women.

Together with her new advisory panel role, she is a member of the Steering Committee of the National Eating Disorder Collaboration and is on the Management Committee of the Flinders Medical Centre based Statewide Eating Disorders Service, which provides assessment, care and information for people developing, or living with, an eating disorder.

Professor Wade is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, President of the Eating Disorder Research Society and Associate Editor of the International Journal of Eating Disorders. Her next book will be published in 2019, on the topic of new methods to prevent, evaluate and treat eating disorders.

With 30 years clinical background and a staggering body of research and papers, she is a valuable asset to help ensure the Million Minds Research Mission makes a powerful impact.

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