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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 Distinguished Research Professor 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.

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".