Prof Susan Sawyer

Working with complex young people in a complex system is not easy but it makes the rewards of individual change and system reform feel sweet.

Honour Roll

Professor Sawyer is the inaugural Chair of Adolescent Health in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Melbourne. A paediatrician by training, she is the Director of the Centre for Adolescent Health, Australia's leading academic centre of excellence in adolescent health which is based at the Royal Children's Hospital and the Murdoch Children's Research Institute.

Early in her career, Susan recognised that adolescents with chronic physical illnesses had multiple needs beyond their physical care. This led to her growing interest in adolescent health and medicine, a field that she has since helped develop in Victoria, nationally and internationally.

Susan was instrumental in establishing the Royal Australasian College of Physician's Committee on adolescent health, holding the position of inaugural Chair from 2002-2008. The Committee put in place a framework for national training in adolescent and young adult medicine for physicians. As a past President of the International Chapter of the (US) Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine, she was awarded its International Chapter Award in 2008 and an honorary fellowship of that society in 2009. She is Vice-President of the International Association for Adolescent Health, and an advisory member of the World Health Organisation's Technical Steering Committee on Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, which engages with multiple UN agencies around adolescent health and medicine.

With over 250 academic publications and reports, Susan's research interests have focussed on developing more appropriate health services for adolescents and young adults, including those with chronic physical conditions, anorexia nervosa and cancer. By supporting the development of "adolescent friendly" models of healthcare delivery in primary care and at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, she has immeasurably contributed to the wellbeing of adolescents and their families. Heavily investing in teaching and training, her efforts have also helped to ensure that future generations of health professionals have the skills and competencies to work well with young people.