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Professor Fiona Stanley AC FAA FASSA is the Founding Director and Patron of the Telethon Kids Institute (formerly Telethon Institute for Child Health Research), Distinguished Research Professor at the University of Western Australia and Vice-Chancellor’s Fellow at the University of Melbourne where she was Director of the 2013 Festival of Ideas.
Trained in maternal and child health, epidemiology and public health, Professor Stanley has spent her career researching the causes of major childhood illnesses such as birth defects. Her research includes the gathering and analysis of population data for epidemiological and public health research; the 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. She pioneered the development, linkage and analysis of population level data and record linkage in Western Australia as a research and evaluation capacity.
Her major contribution has been to establish the Telethon Kids Institute, a unique multidisciplinary independent research institute focussing on the causes and prevention of major problems affecting children and youth and to establish the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth. She has over 300 publications, books and book chapters. 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.