Desiree Silva


  • The University of Western Australia (M561), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from PlumX

Personal profile


Desiree is the Professor of Paediatrics at the University of Western Australia and Joondalup Health Campus since 2011. She is the current Head of Paediatrics and Neonatology at Joondalup Health Campus (2007-ongoing), adjunct Professor at Curtin University, and Edith Cowan University and Co Director of the ORIGINS project (2017-current), which is a collaborative initiative with Telethon Kids Institute to establish a new WA intervention birth cohort of 10,000 families at Joondalup Health Campus that is fully integrated into clinical and diagnostic services, and with strong community engagement, and partnerships. Desiree has been involved in a number of research projects, which include, Renal Treatment Program on Tiwi Island NT(1995-1997), the impact of swimming pools in two WA Aboriginal communities (2000-2005) and developed models of care for paediatric planning across Western Australia. The ORIGINS project has generated 20 subprojects which include a number of RCT’s and observational studies nested within the ORIGINS platform. She is a CI on 18 sub-projects. Desiree has generated funding opportunities for the ORIGINS project and subprojects of over 30 million dollars.  She received a Rapid Research Translational Grant (250K) to implement an app that assists women maintaining appropriate weight gain in pregnancy. She was awarded the WA Rising Star 2018. General paediatrician with an interest in neonatology, autism, ADHD, developmental disorders and mental health conditions. Translational research implementing the HEEADSSS screen to identify adolescents with mental health conditions. Public speaker on a range of health issues and author of the ADHD GO TO GUIDE. Published extensively on ADHD in particular early environmental risk factors and involved in setting up intervention trials. Talks to government to enable translation of evidence based research.



Collaboration: Currently with the ORIGINS Project Prof Silva is collaborating with 4 universities in WA (UWA, Curtin, ND and ECU), government, non-government organisations, and community organisations.  She is the CI on 18 nested subprojects within ORIGINS. These collaborations have enabled studies to be harmonised, obtain expert opinions and encourage research questions. Prof Silva has also collaborated with the Heath Department of WA on a Needs Analysis for Child and Adolescent Health in WA.

Community engagement

Community engagement and involvement: Prof Silva has been involved in a community reference group set up for the ORIGINS project and previously an ADHD reference group during her PhD. She is closely working with the mayor of Wanneroo and Joondalup. She is on the Board of advisors for LADS, a parent advocacy group for children with ADHD. Desiree has had regular newspaper articles in the West Australian, Australian and the local community newspapers, Joondalup and Wanneroo Times. She has had a number of radio interviews on ABC Perth and Brisbane and has been on television, channel 7, 10 and ABC.

Roles and responsibilities

Leadership and translation: Desiree has had extensive leadership experience in  her role  as professor of paediatrics since 2011, Head of Paediatrics for over 10  years  and  research experience for over 20 years. Working with HDWA on a Needs Analysis 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.  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 in August 2017 (In the top 5 books sold by UWAP). Desiree is also the co author on the World Federation ADHD guide (2019). Desiree has extensive translational achievements including the swimming pools in Aboriginal communities, PLAN app where pregnant mothers can monitor weight gain in pregnancy and lifestyle choices being introduced into the JHC antenatal clinic as part of a Rapid Research Translational Grant, and Real Time Feedback on the ORIGINS project which has an inbuilt framework for rapid translation.

Funding overview

Research Grants:

The ORIGINS project was enabled by a Stream 2 Telethon Perth Children’s Hospital Research Fund awarded in 2014; In 2017 she was instrumental in securing core funding for the ORIGINS Project , $26 million over 10 years  from the Federal government and philanthropic organization the Paul Ramsay Foundation. In 2019 she was the CI on an NHMRC grant relating to Early Moves (2.3 million), PI on a MRFF Rapid Research Translational Grant in 2019 (250K), PI on Charles Burnell 111 research grant- sceptics WA 2019(48.5K), CI on two WA Child Research Fund, WACRF (500K), and CI on ADAPT-microbiome study funded by Ramsay Research Foundation (119K).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 4 - Quality Education
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Medicine, PHD, Early risk factors of children diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and their education and justice outcomes (First comprehensive data linkage project on ADHD in WA), The University of Western Australia

Award Date: 2 Mar 2015

Paediatrics, FRACP

Award Date: 3 Nov 1997

Public Health, MPH, James Cook University (QLD)

Award Date: 1 Sept 1997

Medicine, MBBS, Royal Free Hospital

Award Date: 1 Jul 1985

External positions

Professor of paediatrics, Joondalup Health Campus

2011 → …

Paediatrician, Joondalup Health Campus

1998 → …

Research expertise keywords

  • DOHaD
  • ADHD/Conduct Disorders
  • Obesity
  • Early identification and intervention for developmental problems
  • Autism and autistic traits
  • allergy
  • Asthma and allergy


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