Two of our leaders named in AFR's '100 Women of Influence'

Associate Professor Tracey O’Brien, Director of the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick and Professor Julie Leask, Professional Fellow with the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), have been included as finalists in the Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence 2019, nominated in the Innovation category and Global category respectively for their important contribution to improving the lives of sick children and contributions to global research.

Each year, the Australian Financial Review’s prestigious 100 Women of Influence Awards recognise the most influential, inspirational and visionary women.

"I am honoured and humbled to be among such an accomplished alumni of influential women, all of whom are driving positive change across Australia,” A/Prof O’Brien said. "I look forward to sharing knowledge and learning from influences across all sectors.”

Tracey has been working in paediatric oncology for more than 20 years, caring for children and families affected by cancer while driving life-changing cancer research and training our medical professionals of the future.

A key force behind the globally recognised Zero Childhood Cancer precision medicine program, Tracey is committed to working with colleagues to ultimately find a cure for all children with cancer.

“Research underpins everything I do in treating children with cancer. My job is to push the envelope, always aiming to deliver tomorrow’s care today and never accepting anything less than excellence. It is what I would want for my children and it’s what every child with cancer deserves,” said A/Prof O’Brien.

“I am more excited about future possibilities than ever before. Breakthroughs in genomics and better understanding of how cancers grow, targeted drugs that reduce side-effects and even living drugs that harness the power of the body’s own immune system to fight cancer are all having a great impact, improving the lives of children with cancer.”

Professor Julie Leask has played a pivotal role in research into the social and behavioural aspects of vaccinations. Beginning her career in nursing, Julie moved into a research role and has since been recognised for many prestigious achievements in research, including leading her team to win the video category at the Art in Science Competition (2018), a Public Health Impact Award (2015) and a Sax Institute Research Action Award (2015).

A member of the Australian Regional Immunisation Alliance (ARIA), Julie also holds formal roles with the World Health Organisation and WHO/Europe. She is also a founding member of the Vaccination Acceptance Research Network, aiming to strengthen the evidence base for increasing the acceptance of vaccines.

In her roles at The University of Sydney and NCIRS, Prof. Leask has worked closely with the Sydney Children’s Hospital Network on a variety of projects and has been influential in helping to reduce vaccine-preventable diseases in children.

Professor Chris Cowell, Acting Chief Executive of the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network congratulated A/Prof O’Brien and Prof Leask on their achievements.

“We feel privileged to have such inspirational and passionate staff members caring for the children of NSW and beyond. Tracey and Julie are such incredible assets to the families they help every day and to the medical community both nationally and internationally. Congratulations, Tracey and Julie.”

See the full list of this year’s Australian Financial Review’s 100 Women of Influence.