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Susan Wakil Scholarships and Professor of Healthy Ageing announced

31 March 2017
Spotlighting an inspired gift that keeps on giving

Sydney Nursing School this week awarded ten new Susan Wakil Scholarships and named a new Professor of Healthy Ageing at its awards and prizes celebration evening.

The awarding of the new Susan Wakil Scholarships to high-performing students will aid their tuition and accommodation costs throughout their studies in Sydney.

The awards and prizes celebration on Thursday evening also saw Professor Yun-Hee Jeon named as the inaugural Susan and Isaac Wakil Professor of Healthy Ageing at Sydney Nursing School.

Only through new and continual research and education, we will be able to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from diseases
Mackenzie O'Toole, Susan Wakil Scholarship recipient
Mackenzie O'Toole

Susan Wakil Scholarship winner, Mackenzie O'Toole has wanted to be a nurse all her life 

Photo credit:  Bronwyn Bruce

Susan Wakil Scholarships

Eighteen-year old Mackenzie O’Toole, who has moved to Sydney from the NSW regional town of Stanhope, won a Susan Wakil Scholarship to help her with accommodation and cost-of-living expenses while she studies for a Bachelor of Nursing (Advanced Studies) degree.

Mackenzie has wanted to be a nurse all her life and said she was inspired by the nursing care she received when she contracted meningitis at just three months of age, an event that left her with hearing loss in one ear.

“My passion for helping others in the way they helped me grew from that point,” said Mackenzie, who in 2015 received a Cochlear BAHA system “that allowed me to hear fully for the first time in 17 years.

“Through this experience, I have realised that only through new and continual research and education, we will be able to improve the quality of life for patients suffering from diseases.”

In May 2015, the Susan & Isaac Wakil Foundation donated an unprecedented $10.85 million to Sydney Nursing School, making it the largest ever donation to a nursing school in Australia.

This generous action enabled the establishment of a fund to perpetually award up to 12 annual nursing scholarships to assist deserving students with study, tuition and accommodation costs.

Mackenzie said she was honoured to receive a Susan Wakil Scholarship, “which means I can afford to study in Sydney at the most prestigious nursing school in Australia.”

Asked what drew her to Sydney Nursing School, she said: “The focus of new and updated learning and research offered at the University of Sydney is the main reason I wanted to study there.

“It will help fuel my insatiable need to learn, to help others and grow as a human being, while being in a supportive environment to develop my knowledge and skills as a nurse.”

Susan and Isaac Wakil Professor of Healthy Ageing

The purpose of the Susan and Isaac Wakil Professor of Healthy Ageing is to foster greater collaboration between researchers, clinicians, educators, and policy makers to recognise and harness the capabilities and wisdom of older people.

Professor Jeon said the idea of healthy ageing is to “understand older people’s desire to remain independent and make meaningful contributions to the community at whatever level of capacity they may have.

“For those who provide care and support, it’s about helping older people achieve what matters to them, whether it be through treating health issues, assisting them with social connections, fostering emotional and psychological resilience, or improving physical strengths.”

The idea of healthy ageing is to understand older people’s desire to remain independent and make meaningful contributions to the community at whatever level of capacity they may have.
Dr Yun-Hee, Susan and Isaac Wakil Professor of Healthy Ageing

Dean of Sydney Nursing School, Professor Donna Waters said, “Yun-Hee Jeon is the perfect candidate to be named the Susan and Isaac Wakil Professor of Healthy Ageing because she not only understands Susan and Isaac’s vision, but she is also a highly experienced, internationally recognised researcher in chronic disease and ageing.”

In April 2016, the Susan and Isaac Wakil Foundation donated a further $35 million to the University of Sydney to assist construction of the main building within the University of Sydney's proposed Health Precinct.

The Susan Wakil Health Building will co-locate the faculties of Nursing and Midwifery and Health Sciences, with components of Medicine, Pharmacy and Dentistry. It will provide state of the art clinical simulation programs and a multi-service clinic, as well as flexible infrastructure that supports team-based research programs.  

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