Pioneering clinician recognised for improving outcomes in unborn babies

Professor Elizabeth Elliottt AM FAHMS has been awarded the prestigious AMA Excellence in Healthcare Award 2018 for her pioneering role in research, clinical care, and advocacy for Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

Presented by Australian Medical Association (AMA) President, Dr Michael Gannon, at the AMA National Conference in Canberra today, the award recognises individuals who have made a significant contribution to improving health or health care in Australia.

For more than 20 years, Professor Elliott, who is a Consultant Paediatrician at Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network and Director of the Australian Paediatric Surveillance Unit, has passionately advocated for raising awareness of FASD and has played an instrumental role in making FASD a major strategic focus for Commonwealth and State Health Departments.

FASD is a condition caused by prenatal alcohol exposure and is the leading cause of prenatal brain injury, birth defects and developmental and learning disability worldwide.

The consequences for children born from alcohol-exposed pregnancies are lifelong and until recently, there have been limited resources available.  

Through her work though, Professor Elliott has addressed aspects of health policy, health care delivery, education, and health awareness and has had a leading role in developing the Australian Guide to the Diagnosis of FASD and online training modules, new clinical services, a national FASD website and a national FASD register.

She was also the lead clinician in the Lililwan study on FASD prevalence, has published extensively on FASD and contributed to the WHO, NHMRC and RACP alcohol guidelines.

As the Chair of the Australian Government’s National FASD Technical Network, Co-Chair of the NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence in FASD and Head of the NSW FASD Assessment service, Professor Elliott has made a profound difference to Australia’s health system and has helped to change the health outcomes for many children and families living with, and affected by, FASD.

Congratulations Professor Elliott on this outstanding achievement.