CHERI is the inspiration of Dr John Yu, who was Chief Executive of The Children’s Hospital at Westmead from 1978 to 1997, and Dr Paul Hutchins, Head, Child Development Unit, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. CHERI was
formed to help children with significant medical, developmental and psychological conditions achieve their full potential through a partnership between health and education. Parties involved in this creative endeavour were The Children’s Hospital
at Westmead, University of Western Sydney, University of Sydney, NSW Department of Education and Training, and the Catholic Education Commission of NSW.
The planning for CHERI commenced in 1992. In February, 1996, Professor Jeff Bailey was appointed as inaugural Director of CHERI and Professor of Special Education, University of Western Sydney. This joint appointment reflected the partnership between the
Hospital and the University. Professor Bailey came to CHERI with an extensive background in teaching, special education and research experience, with a particular interest in children’s health and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
He was also a registered psychologist, with his career in education spanning 35 years.
In recognition of the very generous support of Mr James Packer, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead was able to establish the James Packer Chair of Educational Research. As a result of this support, CHERI is able to continue to study the relationships between medicine, psychology and education, particularly as they affect the education and development of children with significant illnesses and/or medical conditions.
In 2001, Professor Bailey was appointed inaugural Chair of Educational Research. He played an integral part in the direction and development of CHERI. Professor Bailey retired from CHERI in 2003, and Professor Max Coltheart, (DSc FASSA FAA FBA), was appointed in October, 2004, as Academic Director, CHERI, and was invited to take up the Chair.