Prof. Desiree Silva

Head of Paediatrics, Joondalup Health Campus

Professor Desiree Silva MBBS; FRACP; MPH; PhD, is the Head of Paediatrics at Joondalup Health Campus and the University of Western Australia. She is also a board member for Nature Play WA.


Desiree qualified as a doctor in the UK and completed her paediatric specialist training in Western Australia and Northern Territory. She has a strong interest in nature connectedness and improving mental and physical health. She has recently published the ADHD GO-TO GUIDE for parents and teachers. Desiree is currently the project co-director for the ORIGINS study, which is a community intervention birth cohort in Perth Northern suburbs.

Childhood Summit 2019 Keynote - Health -

The ORIGIN PROJECT – Understanding the implications of the early environment for children’s long-term health and wellbeing

Day 1 Afternoon - Thought Leader Forum - Health

Day 1 Afternoon - Keynote

Sponsored by:


The ORIGIN PROJECT – Understanding the implications of the early environment for children’s long-term health and wellbeing 

Keynote Synopsis

There is a pressing need to understand how the modern environment is contributing to the unsustainable health burden of non-communicable diseases which include allergies, eczema, asthma, obesity, autism, anxiety to name a few. Research shows that a healthy start to life can have long term benefits for all aspects of the health and development of our children. What a pregnant mum eats, drinks, how well she sleeps, how much stress she has and how much time she spends in nature can all impact on the health of her child. 

Nature connectedness has been shown to improve mental, cardiovascular and physical health, reduce stress, improve sleep and alters the microbiome. A closer relationship with nature is one of our best strategies to improve microbial diversity. Being outside and interacting with nature is key to our human development.  Most programs worldwide focus on diet and physical activity, but we are researching the impact of connectedness to nature on physical and mental health outcomes. This is part of the ORIGINS project which is a community birth cohort in Western Australia where we hope to understand the effects of the early environment on 10,000 children born at Joondalup Health Campus and followed up for 5 years.


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