Home\For policy makers\The benefits of GenV
Back The benefits of GenV

The benefits of GenV

GenV provides a unique opportunity to address physical, mental and social issues experienced during childhood, as well as the antecedents of a wide range of diseases of ageing.

Through partnerships with practitioners, policy-makers, researchers and service providers, evaluation and research can more readily inform practice, policies and resourcing.

Ultimately, embedding research into usual practice across Victoria and beyond will transform how we solve our biggest problems in child and family health and wellbeing.

Here are some hypothetical examples of the many ways in which GenV may benefit Victorian families.

How GenV might improve access to services

Melanie gave birth to her daughter, Jill, at a local hospital. A couple of days later, she and her partner, Peter, were approached by a GenV researcher and agreed to take part.

The family lived in an outer Melbourne suburb, where Jill grew up a healthy and happy little girl.

As Jill entered her later years of high school, she became withdrawn and depressed. Melanie and Peter looked for support for Jill but there seemed to be a shortage of affordable mental health services in the area.

Researchers using GenV data were looking at mental health around the state. While they couldn’t see anything about Jill personally, researchers could see there was a spike in depression among young people in the outer suburbs like where Jill lived. They could also see that the mental health services in those suburbs would not be able to meet demand for much longer.

Working with policy-makers in government, the researchers were able to use the GenV data to make the case for increasing services in the outer suburbs. This led to new public mental health clinics opening in these areas, with young people like Jill among those to benefit.

How GenV might improve diagnosis

Sarah gave birth to her daughter, Kate, at a local hospital. A couple of days later, she and her partner, Andrew, were approached by a GenV researcher and agreed to take part.

When she was four, Kate became ill. She was tired more than usual, was not eating or sleeping properly, and often felt sick in the stomach.

Sarah and Andrew were beside themselves. They visited many specialists where Kate had many tests and tried lots of different treatments. After months of searching for an answer, Kate was found to have a complex food allergy that needed a special diet.

Researchers using GenV data had been looking at links between food allergies and a broad range of health data. While they couldn’t see anything about Kate personally, researchers saw a number of children with a similar pattern of symptoms to Kate.

They shared this knowledge among medical practitioners and scientists – ultimately leading to the discovery of a simple test for a range of food allergies.

Once the test was made available, many families were saved the experience of having a sick child with no diagnosis quickly available.

How GenV might improve prevention and treatment

Joanne gave birth to her daughter, Alice, at a local hospital. A couple of days later, she and her partner, Adam, were approached by a GenV researcher and agreed to take part.

From a young age, Alice was heavier than other children her age. The family’s GP encouraged Alice’s parents to focus on good eating habits and increasing Alice’s physical activity, but despite their efforts Alice’s weight continued to go up. Joanne and Adam worried about Alice’s future health but were lost about how to help her.

GenV captured data about Alice and the hundreds of children with obesity across the state. Researchers began to explore the causes of obesity using this data. They found clear patterns – not just in genetics but also in things like access to safe, local playgrounds and nutrition education in schools.

This helped experts develop new preventative and treatment programs, including making the case for funding for new kinds of recreation facilities in areas where GenV data showed child obesity rates were high.

Over time, researchers could see a decline in the number of children affected by obesity as the new prevention and treatment programs were taken up across the state.

Current policies which GenV could provide insights towards are:

  • Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Strategy 2013-2022
  • Early Childhood Reform
  • Marrung Aboriginal Education Plan 2016-2026
  • The Education State
  • Department of Education and Training Strategic Plan 2017-2021
  • Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s plan for change
  • Road Map for Reform – Strong Families, Safe Children – The First Steps
  • Health 2040: Advancing Health Access and Care
  • Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2015-2019
  • Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Outcomes Framework
  • Children and Families Research Strategy – Supporting the Roadmap for Reform 2017–2019
  • Victorian State Disability Plan 2017-2020
  • Healthier Lives, Stronger Economy – Victoria’s Health and Medical Research Strategy 2016-2020
  • Koori Maternity Services Guidelines
  • Victoria’s 10-Year Mental Health Plan