16/01/2007 - 22:00

Not for profit: Boost for Alzheimer's research

16/01/2007 - 22:00

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The state government has effectively gifted a parcel of land valued at $2.2 million to the Alzheimer’s Association of WA to help the association generate cash flow for the establishment of a new research centre.

The state government has effectively gifted a parcel of land valued at $2.2 million to the Alzheimer’s Association of WA to help the association generate cash flow for the establishment of a new research centre.

 

The AAWA last week received a grant from the Health Department to buy a state-owned parcel of land adjacent to the organisation’s existing headquarters in Bedbrook Place, Shenton Park, which had been vested to the AAWA in 1999 for the construction of a respite centre.

 

Sale of the combined 11,679 square metre landholding will allow the AAWA to generate preliminary funding for the construction of a Centre of Excellence in Dementia Care, to be established in partnership with Curtin University at its Bentley campus.

 

Health Minister Jim McGinty told WA Business News the transaction was being performed on a cost-neutral basis and said the government would sell the vested land to the AAWA at market value, currently estimated at $2.2 million.

 

“As a result of this grant, we will see the development of a world-class centre for dementia research, education and training, which will be of enormous benefit for many Western Australians,” Mr McGinty said.

 

Alzheimer’s Australia WA chairman Craig Masarei said the purpose-built research and care facility would enable better training opportunities for people involved in dementia specialist services, such as nurses, occupational and speech therapists and social workers.

 

“We will be refocusing our strategic direction, which will include expanding our research and education activities in partnership with Curtin University’s Centre for Research in Ageing,” he said.

 

AAWA chief executive officer Frank Schaper said the centre would enable the development of education programs based on practice.

 

“Research will focus on care models and caring – clinical research is not part of our mandate. Our whole focus is on making sure care models are tested, that we know they work, and that we can teach them,” he said.

 

Mr Schaper said the centre would be a unique project, going beyond the standard liaison structure between Alzheimer’s research bodies and universities.

 

“To be located on the campus of the university and operate from there, and have a stronger ability to interface, especially with science faculties, is a world first,” he said.

 

The timeframe for the project has yet to be determined.

 

“We would hope to be designing and building within two years and be occupying within three years, but clearly we’ve still got to finalise our arrangements with Curtin,” Mr Schaper said.

 

While the AAWA would develop a budget for the project over the next six months, Mr Schaper indicated the association would be seeking partnerships with the business community.

 

“I think, because it’s a three-way partnership between the state government, Curtin University and our organisation, that strengthens our ability to interest corporate Australia in being involved with us,” he said.

 

Curtin University director of the Centre for Research on Ageing, Dr Barbara Horner, said the new centre would be the product of a four-year research partnership with the AAWA, which had included collaboration on a range of programs.

 

“The purpose was to build a research culture and evidence-based practice approach to the work we do in WA, and to support the work we do by providing us with a direct community service-provider link,” she said.

 

Dr Horner told WA Business News the new centre would strengthen the partnership between the two organisations by giving the AAWA with a physical presence on Curtin land, and would provide the opportunity for closer involvement on research projects.

 

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