Karen Simmer AO (1973)

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Karen Simmer was awarded Officer of the Order of Australia in 2015 for distinguished service to medicine in the field of paediatrics, particularly neonatal and perinatal nutrition and to medical education as an academic, researcher and clinician, and to the community.

Karen studied at Sydney, London and Harvard Universities and is a leader in her field. She 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 (human milk bank) which is viewed around the world as the 'best practice' human milk bank.

Asked why she does this work Karen says: “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.”

She sees her greatest achievements as: “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 our region of the world where we collaborate to improve clinical outcomes of vulnerable very young patients.”

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