1800 244 735

Helpline (02) 9874 9777

HD Spotlight on John Conaghan

SOCIAL WORKER Hunter HD Service, John Hunter Hospital, Newcastle NSW

Q. Why did you decide to become a social worker?
A.  I think I had been pondering for a while about what to do with my life. I liked the humanities at uni and it probably grew from there. I also think that various life experiences propelled me to have a genuine interest in the relational and emotional self. Social work seemed to be the best fit for me.

Q. How did Huntington’s disease become your specialty?
A. I first was introduced to HD when I was studying social work in Melbourne in the early 1980s. I ended up working as a care assistant at a place called Mary’s Mount which was a care facility for people with HD. It was this experience which made me interested in HD and hence applying for the job I currently have back in 1991. I remember being challenged by how I could be helpful to people with an incurable disease and this stuck with me for some time before I went into the work.

Q. What’s the best part about working with HD families?
A. Without a doubt the longer term nature of the relationship with families, bearing witness to people’s courage, resilience, compassion, sadness and love for each other.

Q. What keeps you enthusiastic about your job?
A. The idea of working in the service of others, the development and maintenance of the relationship with people who have HD and their families and the hope of a better treatment.

Q. What is your ideal Sunday?
A. Knocking over a few jobs around the house, a pot of ginger infused chai tea with my partner Suzie over lunch and playing some cricket with my son Tomas at the nets in the afternoon.

Latest News and Stories

Wave Life Sciences Announces Positive Update from Phase 1b/2a SELECT-HD Trial

Published date: 29 September, 2022

SELECT-HD (NCT05032196) is an adaptive trial designed to rapidly optimize dose level and frequency based on early indicators of target engagement. The trial update announced today is being driven by the observation of reductions of mutant huntingtin (mHTT) protein in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) after study participants received either a single 30 or 60 mg dose ... Read more
HD news image

HD News Winter 2022

Published date: 1 August, 2022

This is your downloadable copy of the HD News Winter 2022 edition. In this edition you'll be able to read up on the Walk 4 Hope and how to register, HDNA and the map-HD registry and more.
Summer Foundation logo

Summer Foundation report on effective housing and support models

Published date: 19 July, 2022

People with Huntington’s disease require high levels of specialised care in order for them to manage daily living tasks. Specialised housing for people with Huntington’s disease in Australia is limited. This is in part due to a lack of funding and in part due to a lack of appropriate facilities. For many people, this means that their only option is to live in residential aged care (RAC). Living in RAC is generally not appropriate given that the environment often has a lack of age-appropriate activities, and social interaction.
Tax Appeal 2022

Tax Appeal – help Brendan get specialist support

Published date: 14 June, 2022

The end of the financial year is just around the corner, and we need your help. You can support the valuable work of Huntington’s NSW ACT by kindly making a tax-deductible donation before June 30. Your donations will help our team connect and care for individuals and families affected by Huntington’s Disease across NSW and the ACT.
Huntington's Disease Network of Australia logo

Join the Map-HD Registry today

Published date: 30 May, 2022

Please join with the HDNA as we work toward facilitating the best quality of life for every Australian affected by Huntington’s Disease (HD). Now more than ever, research teams and companies across the globe are testing possible treatments for Huntington’s Disease.
lady doing an announcement

NAA seeks commitments for the 2022 Federal Election

Published date: 10 May, 2022

The Neurological Alliance Australia (NAA) seeks commitments from parties and candidates for the upcoming Federal Election to address the urgent needs of adults and children living with neurological diseases in Australia.