Paediatrics & Youth Health

Professor Kate Steinbeck (2010 - present)

Professor Kate Steinbeck was appointed the inaugural Medical Foundation Chair in Adolescent Medicine at the University of Sydney in March 2010. A PhD graduate from the Department of Endocrinology at the University of Sydney, Professor Steinbeck is an endocrinologist and adolescent medicine physician. She is a Clinical Academic in the Discipline of Paediatrics and Child Health at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (CHW), and an Honorary VMO in Endocrinology at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

As Medical Foundation Chair, Professor Steinbeck leads the Academic Department of Adolescent Medicine at CHW with its broad based program designed to inform clinical practice in adolescent medicine. Health trajectories are established during adolescence, yet the medical needs of adolescents are often poorly understood. Adolescents are losing the health gains seen in younger children – a situation which requires urgent action. Adolescence is a challenging specialty area in medicine as it does not fit neatly into paediatrics and child health, or into adult medicine. Professor Steinbeck and her research team are working towards expanding the research evidence base in adolescent medicine, particularly in chronic illness.

Professor Steinbeck’s current major study is the Adolescent Rural Cohort Study of Hormones, Health, Education, Environment, and Relationships (ARCHER). As Chief Investigator, Professor Steinbeck leads this longitudinal study in rural NSW, to show how changes in puberty hormones affect and interact with physical and mental health. A study of this intensity has never been done before. Professor Steinbeck’s other research involvements include, novel studies on the transition from paediatric to adult care and the management of chronic illness during adolescence, and defining optimal methodologies in adolescent research (including the use of social media to improve engagement and retention in research). Professor Steinbeck actively advocates for young people by engaging within the wider community through presentations to teacher groups, non-government organisations, and other professional bodies.

Professor Steinbeck has authored numerous original research articles. She is co-editor of “A Clinical Handbook in Adolescent Medicine,” a valuable resource providing health professionals working with adolescents and young adults with practical, clinically relevant, and youth specific information.

Professor Steinbeck also regularly contributes to ABC radio on Drive with Richard Glover on adolescent health.

The Medical Foundation Chair of Adolescent Medicine

On Thursday 11 March 2010, in the presence of Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Governor of New South Wales and the Hon. Carmel Tebbutt MP, Deputy Premier and Minister for Health, Professor Kate Steinbeck was celebrated as the new Medical Foundation Chair of Adolescent Medicine at the Children's Hospital at Westmead.

Launch of the Medical Foundation Chair of Adolescent Medicine

From left; Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, NSW Governor and Chancellor, the University of Sydney; The Hon. Carmel Tebutt MP, Deputy Premier and Minister for Health; Professor Kate Steinbeck, Medical Foundation Chair of Adolescent Medicine; Clinical Professor David Bennett, Head of the NSW Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health; Mr Richard Caldwell, Co-Chair of the Healthy Futures for Young People Appeal Advisory Committee.

Why was a Chair of Adolescent Medicine needed?

Incredibly, over 75% of deaths among Australian adolescents are from preventable causes. Each year 400 young people commit suicide, while other lives are claimed by drug use and risk-taking behaviour. An obesity epidemic is currently affecting 25% of young people, a figure rising every year. Meanwhile, 20% of adolescents are battling a chronic illness.

While exciting advances are being made by our staff in the Department of Adolescent Medicine at the Children's Hospital at Westmead, there is a need for a concerted effort to address the problems faced by our young people.

Some of the challenges facing the new Chair include:

Public Symposium & Launch of The Healthy Futures for Young People Appeal

On 27 September 2007, Sydney Medical School Foundation launched the Healthy Futures for Young People Appeal.

The appeal's aim was to raise the $4.5m needed to to support the establishment of a Chair of Adolescent Medicine at the Children's Hospital at Westmead and the University of Sydney. The chair would integrate the various strands of research and teaching and promote youth health issues, while giving doctors treating young people the education and support they require to help bridge the 'generation gap'.

Click one of the speakers below to view footage from the public symposium and launch of the Healthy Futures for Young People Appeal.


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