Dr Sian Hughes

Dr Sian Hughes is setting a path for the future.

Honour Roll

Dr Sian Hughes and her family spent Boxing Day 2005 contemplating the fateful day 12 months before, which changed their lives. Sian, 47, and her family were holidaying in the village of Unawatuna, Sri Lanka, when the tsunami that devastated much of Asia hit. Sian, a paediatrician, immediately began collecting tourists' medical kits and treating the injured, working non-stop for more than three days organising evacuations and treating the injured.

Since then, her work for Sri Lanka has continued as a member of the Australia Sri Lanka Medical Aid Team. "Although it was a horrendous experience, on another level it… has made us much more aware of people in third world countries," she said. Sian returned to Sri Lanka in July 2005 to conduct clinics and distribute aid, and is planning another visit in June 2006 to disperse medical and school supplies.

Her long-term plan is to establish a program to send young Australians to Sri Lanka to work in orphanages or teach English to inspire the next generation to continue to support people in developing nations. Inspired by what she describes as Australians' sense of social equity, Sian moved from the UK in 1988.

She has been working at Eastern Health Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service for the past eight years. Her area of expertise is community child health and she works with children who have behavioural problems such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, autism and Asperger's Syndrome. For 13 years she has travelled to a private practice at Coolaroo, where all of her patients are bulk billed.

Sian, who says she is inspired by her husband Tony Heselev, says she hopes to instil in her children Sam, Rosie and Matilda the joy of helping others. "It is rewarding to really get involved in caring for other people," she said.