Named Australian of the Year in 2003, Professor Fiona Stanley is
a vocal advocate for the needs of children and their
Professor Stanley was the founding Director of the Telethon Kids Institute, established in Perth in 1990. When she retired from the position in December 2011, the Institute had grown to more than 500 staff and students and forged an international reputation for its translational research in a range of areas.
On her retirement, Professor Stanley graciously accepted an invitation from the Board to take on the position of Patron, where she continues to advocate for the Institute, research and families.
Professor Stanley remains a Chief Investigator on a number of research grants at the Telethon Kids Institute and is a valued mentor to many. She also continues her strong association with the University of Western Australia as a Vice Chancellor's Distinguished Professorial Fellow in the School of Paediatrics and Child Health.
Named in her honour, the new Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth is due to open at the end of 2014. The Fiona Stanley Hospital will be one of the best in Australia - a leader in clinical care, research and education, supported by an innovative design that uses the latest scientific, technological and medical developments.
Born in Sydney in 1946, she moved to Perth with her family in 1956. She studied medicine at the University of Western Australia and practised in hospitals for two years before going to the United Kingdom and USA for further training in epidemiology (the science of describing and explaining the occurrence of disease in populations), biostatistics and public health.
In 2004, Professor Stanley was honoured as a "National Living Treasure" by the National Trust. She is the UNICEF Australia Ambassador for Early Childhood Development.
Professor Stanley has more than 300 published papers in scientific journals and is a member of the Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council. She has served on the Federal Government's Social Inclusion Board and the WA State Government's Indigenous Implementation Board. She has given many presentations, both nationally and internationally, on the socio-economic determinants of child health.
Professor Stanley remains committed to a number of important roles, including: Distinguished Research Professor at the School of Paediatrics and Child Health, UWA; Vice Chancellor's Fellow, University of Melbourne; member of the ABC Board; and Chair of the newly-formed Alcohol Advertising Review Board.
Professor Fiona Stanley is trained in maternal and child health epidemiology and public health and has spent her career researching the causes of major childhood illnesses such as birth defects.
Her research includes:
Fiona is currently CIA on NHMRC Program Grant "Early developmental pathways linking health, disability, education, welfare and justice", ARC Linkage Grant "Pathways, policies and prevention: Better outcomes for Western Australian Children" and NHMRC Centre of Research excellence grant "From marginalised to empowered: transformative methods for aboriginal health and wellbeing."
Her major contribution has been to establish the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, a unique multidisciplinary independent research institute focussing on the causes and prevention of major problems affecting children and youth.
She has over 300 publications, books and book chapters and sits on the Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council and has served on major international, national and local committees.
For her research on behalf of Australia's children and Aboriginal social justice, she was named Australian of the Year in 2003 and in 2006 she was made a UNICEF Australia Ambassador for Early Childhood Development.
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Fiona Stanley is a child health researcher and advocate for improving the health and wellbeing of children and families. Named Australian of the Year in 2003, Professor Stanley is the Founding Director of the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth.
At the end of 2011, after more than 20 years in the job, Professor Fiona Stanley retired from the Director role at the Telethon Kids Institute. Professor Stanley will remain an important member of staff at the Institute and will continue as Chief Investigator on a number of research grants and projects that have funding until the end of 2014.
While she trained and worked as a medical doctor, her move into
research was prompted by a desire to prevent -- rather than simply
treat -- many of the recurring conditions that she saw in children,
particularly from disadvantaged environments.
Her research career has involved establishing a number of comprehensive data bases that track maternal, child and youth health and wellbeing. This has enabled her and her Institute colleagues to look at the causes and prevention of birth defects and major neurological and developmental disorders such as the cerebral palsies and neural tube defects - research that resulted in a world-first campaign to encourage women to take the vitamin folate prior to pregnancy.
With a commitment to improving health as a means to improving social justice, her team has been unpacking many of the social and economic influences that impact so strongly on child health and development. Professor Stanley is passionate about improving the life chances of Aboriginal people and stands strongly for reconciliation.
She has published over 200 scientific papers, four books, more than 30 book chapters and 42 major reports on these topics. She serves on the Prime Ministers Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, the Australian Statistical Advisory Council, the Federal Government's Social Inclusion Board and is UNICEF Australia's Ambassador for Early Child Development.
The external websites listed below have interviews with Professor Fiona Stanley which may be useful for your project:
Interview of Fiona Stanley by Dr Norman Swan, 2000 Australian Academy of Science, Interviews with Scientist series