Champion of children's health honoured
Professor Fiona Stanley, AC FAA, distinguished champion of children’s health and medical research, received the honorary degree of Doctor of Medicine (honoris causa) from the University of Sydney at a ceremony in the University’s Great Hall, on Friday 15 April.
A leader in the field of perinatal epidemiology, Professor Stanley is recognised for her use of science in the service of humanity and is one of the most honoured of living Australians for her work.
In 1996 she was elected a fellow of the academy of Social Sciences in Australia and appointed a Companion in the General Division of the Order of Australia, Australia’s highest civil honour. In 2003 Professor Stanley was Australian of the Year, and in 2004 she was voted an Australian National Living Treasure by the National Trust.
Professor Stanley led the development of perinatal epidemiology in Australia from the late 1970’s and from 1990, as founding director of the Telethon Institute for Child health Research and Professor in the School of Paediatrics and Child Health at the University of Western Australia, she has continued this work.
She and her research team at the Telethon Institute have made major contributions to the understanding of the causes and prevention of birth defects and major neurological disorders of childhood, particularly the cerebral palsies, the causes and lifelong consequences of low birth weight, and the patterns of maternal and child health in Australia. The Institute is also recognised for its mentoring of Aboriginal researchers, and currently has over 20 Aboriginal researchers.
Through her membership of the Prime Minister’s Science, Engineering and Innovation Council Professor Stanley has now established and leads the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth – a national collaboration of researchers, policy makers and practitioners intent on building a better future for Australia’s children and young people.
Following the award, Professor Bruce Armstrong, Head of the School of Public Health, introduced Professor Stanley to those gathered at the Medical Foundation where Fiona gave a lecture entitled, "Record linkage of population data for public health - advantages and disadvantages". Professor Stanley then led a seminar on the theme of ‘A Healthy Start to Life’, chaired by Professor David Burke, Dean of Research and Development.
- Professor Louise Baur: Chair, CHS Research Program "A Healthy Start to Life", Consultant Paediatrician & Specialist in Clinical Nutrition, Children's Hospital Westmead and Professor, Paediatrics and Child Health and Co-Director, Centre for Overweight and Obesity (COO), Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney.
- Professor John Christodoulou: Director, Western Sydney Genetics Program, Children's Hospital Westmead & Professor, Paediatrics and Child Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Sydney.
- Professor Sandra Eades: Senior Research Fellow in Aboriginal Health, Institute for Health Research, Sydney and Conjoint Professor, Faculty of Public Health, Newcastle University.
- Professor Gwynnwth Llewellyn: Sesquicentenary Foundation Chair for Occupation & Leisure Sciences and Acting Dean, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney.
Concluding comments were offered by Professor Don Nutbeam, Pro Vice-Chancellor, College of Health Sciences, University of Sydney.