Award for brain injury network pioneer

Dr Jennifer Farnden and Dr Richard Mackinnon

Flinders University researcher Dr Jennifer Farnden has won the Rural Doctors Workforce Agency Community Rural Health and Wellbeing Award in the 2013 Community Achievement Awards.

Founder and manager of the Families4Families Acquired Brain Injury Network, supported by Flinders and developed by researchers in the University’s Disability and Community Inclusion Unit, Dr Farnden received the award at a ceremony last week.

Dr Farnden founded the Network based on her experiences as a carer to her husband, Michael, who was critically injured in a head-on motor vehicle accident in 2008.

The Network, with the financial support of the Julia Farr MS McLeod Benevolent Fund, provides information, support, online resources, telephone advice and advocacy services for families living with an acquired brain injury across the state.

Dr Caroline Ellison, Head of the Disability and Community Inclusion Unit, said the Families4Families project was an innovative community initiative that “brings people sharing common life experiences together to build capacity and natural supports”.

“Such a project deserves recognition for the hard work and effort but it also deserves better funding to ensure its continued contribution to bridging significant gaps for families living with the experience of brain injury,” Dr Ellison said.

More than 350 guests including Minister for Communities and Social Inclusion Tony Piccolo attended the Awards gala event, held at the Stamford Grand Adelaide, which paid tribute to many of South Australia’s outstanding community contributors.

Dr Richard Mackinnon, Chair of the Rural Doctors Workforce Agency, presented Dr Farnden with a $2000 Everyday Account from the Commonwealth Bank and a trophy in recognition of her achievements.

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