Fiona Stanley AC

Founding Director and Patron

FAA, FASSA, MSc, MD, FFPHM, FAFPHM, FRACP, FRANZCOG, Hon DSc, Hon DUniv, Hon MD, Hon FRACGP, Hon FRCPCH, Hon MD

E contact@telethonkids.org.au

T 08 9489 7777

Professor Fiona Stanley AC

Named Australian of the Year in 2003, Professor Fiona Stanley is a vocal advocate for the needs of children and their families.

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 opened in 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 has served on the Prime Minister's Science, Engineering and Innovation Council, 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; and Chair of the newly-formed Alcohol Advertising Review Board.

Scientific Awards and Honorary Doctorates
  • WHO Fellowship: Teaching Seminar on Cardiovascular Epidemiology, France (1973)
  • WHO Fellowship: Teaching Seminar on Biostatistics & Epidemiology in Cancer Research at IARC, Lyon, France (1974)
  • NH&MRC Fellowship in Clinical Science (to pursue Post Graduate studies in UK and USA) (1975)
  • Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Physicians (1994) (Hon)
  • Fellow-addendum of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (FRANZCOG) (1995).  In 1998 the Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists amalgamated with the Royal New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists to form the FRANZCOG.
  • Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia (FASSA) (1996)
  • Honorary Doctor of Science (Hon DSc), Murdoch University (1998)
  • Honorary Doctor of the University (Hon DUniv), Queensland University of Technology (2001)
  • Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science (FAA) (2002)
  • Honorary Fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (Hon FRACGP) (2004)
  • Honorary Doctor of Medicine (Hon MD), University of Sydney (2005)
  • Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (UK) (Hon FRCPCH) (2006)
  • Honorary Doctor (Hon MD), University of Melbourne (2008)
  • Honorary Bragg Member, Royal Institution of Australia (2009)
  • Honorary Doctor of Science (Hon DSc), Edith Cowan University (2010)
Areas of expertise and research interests

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:

  • gathering and analysis of population data for epidemiological and public health research
  • causes and prevention of birth defects and major neurological disorders, particularly the cerebral palsies
  • patterns of maternal and child health in Aboriginal and Caucasian populations
  • various ways of determining the developmental origins of health and disease
  • collaborations to link research
  • policy and practice and
  • strategies to enhance health and wellbeing in populations.

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."

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.

School project information

We gets lots of requests from school students for information about Professor Fiona Stanley AC. We have put together this page of information that should help most students. If you have any further enquiries or requests for information, please contact us.

 

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.

Additional information:

Australian of the Year 2003 Media Release [PDF]

Internal Medicine Journal Article on Fiona Stanley 2003 [PDF]

Interview Transcripts:
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

Interview of Fiona Stanley by George Negus, 2003 ABC

Talk by Fiona Stanley on Aboriginal health, 2008 ABC

Interview of Fiona Stanley by Andren Denton, Enough Rope, 2003 ABC

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