From little things big things grow
Abbotsleigh Old Girl from the class of 1973, Dr Karen Simmer, was made Officer of the Order of Australia in June 2015 for distinguished service to medicine in the field of paediatrics, particularly neonatal and perinatal nutrition, to medical education as an academic, researcher and clinician, and to the community. Karen, who studied in Sydney, London and Harvard Universities, is Professor of Newborn Medicine at the University of Western Australia and the Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Units at King Edward Memorial Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital for Children in Perth. She is also Director of the Perron Rotary Express Milk Bank, which was established in 2006 and is viewed around the world as the 'best practice' human milk bank.
In an interview, Karen said: "My Abbotsleigh education inspired me to believe that anything was possible if you put your mind to it and never raised any doubt that women could achieve the same as men. I also appreciated that I have inherent attributes, an excellent education and endless opportunity and therefore felt a responsibility to give back to the community. I am privileged to work with young children and their families. My work is challenging but I enjoy every moment of it."
Asked about her greatest achievements, she replied: "My children, of whom I am immensely proud. My clinical and academic team. We deliver high-quality care while continuing to advance neonatal intensive care through translational research. Our international reputation, especially in our region of the world, where we collaborate to improve clinical outcomes of vulnerable, very young patients."