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Co-Head, The ORIGINS Project


Professor Desiree Silva is co-director for the ORIGINS Project and a professor of paediatrics at the University of Western Australia and Joondalup Health Campus. Desiree qualified as a doctor in the UK and completed her paediatric specialist training in Western Australia and the Northern Territory. She has a strong interest in neurodevelopmental disorders with over 20 years experience in managing children diagnosed with ADHD, autism, anxiety and developmental disorders.  She has had extensive leadership experience in her role as professor of paediatrics for over 6 years, head of paediatrics and neonataology at Joondalup Health Campus for over 12 years  and  research experience for over 20 years. In 1998 she worked with Western Australian Health Department on a Needs Analysis which has enabled her to be part of translational research with the Paediatric Implementation Plan  which  provides  state-wide  service  level  recommendations, strategies and actions for Western Australia. Desiree was the lead paediatrician in the swimming pool project, which looked at the health benefits of swimming pools in remote Aboriginal communities. Her PhD on risk factors and outcomes for ADHD enabled her to recognise the limited up to date information available for parents and teachers and published the ADHD GO-TO GUIDE for teachers and parents through UWA Publishing that is currently one of their top selling books. She also has a special interest in understanding early brain development, nature relatedness and improving the lives of children and parents who have mental health conditions.

More recently she is the founding project co-director for the ORIGINS Project. She was instrumental in developing relationships between the Paul Ramsay Foundation and Federal Government via Telethon to enable core funding of $26 million over 10 years for the ORIGINS project.

Desiree has published widely in international journals, which include Pediatrics and Lancet Psychiatry. She has been asked to speak at the world ADHD congress (2013, 2015, 2017). She was also an invited speaker at the International Paediatric Congress (2016) and at the International Data Linkage conference on the use of data linkage systems to understand ADHD. She was an invited speaker at the National Psychiatry Congress, Japan and the recipient of the rising Star award at Science on the Swan (2018). Desiree is currently a board member at St Mary’s Anglican Girls School since 2009 and Nature Play WA since 2015. She is on a number of hospital and community working groups which include the JHC Reconciliation Action Plan. She is a strong advocate for a good work life balance enjoying nature and adventure sports.