Graeme's Message, 4 June 2015

Dear Rotarians and Friends,

As mentioned in my letter of May 21st, District 9800, has a number of District endorsed community programs. Australian Rotary Health (ARH) is one such program and it is worth reflecting on the contribution this organisation makes to Australian based medical research.

Rotarian Ian Scott of the RC of Mornington (District 9820), established ARH in 1981, to research Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). With the generous support of Rotarians and other supporters, ARH has funded over $33M of medical research since its inception. Clubs raise funds for ARH in a variety of ways, including golf days, photographic exhibitions, fun runs and bike rides. 

In 2015 nearly $3.7M has been allocated to research projects, scholarships for PhD students, rural medicine and indigenous health scholarships. The focus of ARH has particularly been for mental health projects. For example, Dr. Felice Jacka, received an Ian Scott Scholarship between the years 2005-2008 for her PhD. Her project examined ‘the relationship between mood and anxiety disorders and nutrition’ and she has identified a definite link between foods common in western society and disorders such as anxiety and depression. 

Other areas of research funded by ARH include bowel cancer, dementia and autoimmune disease.

So ARH with its funding from around Australia is able to make a significant contribution to the medical community. Individual clubs like our own also make worthwhile contributions to their local communities. 

It is pleasing that The Rotary Club of Footscray House of Friendship and Community Service Fund has recently distributed $57,000 to local community based organisations. These include, Tweddle Family Child and Family Health Service, Catholic Homes for the Aged, Foodbank, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Douta Galla, Shine for Kids and Willing Older Workers. We can be thankful for the vision by club members in the mid 70’s that established the initial fund. Some of the early committee are still club members - Frank Trimboli, Frank Brown and PDG Lawrence Atley. Subsequent sound financial management currently led by Darcy Brennan ensures that each year the community benefits from the fund.