Contribution to paediatrics recognised in Australia Day Honours

Two of the Network’s long-serving paediatric specialists, along with a Network board member, have been recognised for their service to improving the lives of children and their families in the 2023 Australia Day Honours.

Professor Edwin Kirk, who is a genetic pathologist at the Sydney’s Children Hospital, Randwick received a Member of the Order of Australia for his significant service to genetic pathology, clinical genetics and medical research.

Since starting at the hospital in 1999, Prof Kirk has helped hundreds of patients and their families affected by genetic conditions, by analysing and reporting critical genetic tests.

He is also a respected researcher, studying the cause of congenital heart diseases and severe childhood-onset epilepsy. He is one of the co-leads and public faces of the $20 million Mackenzie’s Mission: a research study providing reproductive genetic carrier screening for up to 10,000 couples across Australia. This provides parents with information about the likelihood of their child having a severe genetic condition.

Professor Katharine Steinbeck, who is an endocrinologist and adolescent medicine physician at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, received a Member of the Order of Australia for her significant service to adolescent medicine.

As a senior consultant in the hospital’s Department of Adolescent Medicine, Prof Steinbeck has specialised in managing adolescents with disorders of puberty, chronic conditions, including diabetes and obesity, and long-term endocrine effects in childhood cancer survivors.

She is also a researcher, focused on the effects of puberty hormones on adolescent well-being, mood and behaviour, access to healthcare for adolescents, complications and management of young adult obesity, and the long-term endocrine effects of childhood cancer therapy. As the inaugural Chair in Adolescent Medicine at the University of Sydney, she is Australia’s first-ever university chair in adolescent medicine, and works tirelessly to address adolescent health problems, particularly the burden of chronic illness.

Network board member Jane Freudenstein has also been awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for her significant service to adolescent health.

After a career in advertising, marketing strategy and management, Jane undertook directorships for several not-for-profit organisations, including the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network board, which she joined in 2019.

Prior to this, Jane was a long-standing director of the Sydney Children’s Hospital Foundation Board (2012 to 2016 and 2017 to 2018) and has also been an ambassador and committee member of the Sydney Children’s Hospitals Gold Dinner since 2016.

Jane is currently Co-Chair of The Australian Ballet Foundation Board, and has previously held directorships on the boards of the Sydney Children’s Choir and Gondwana Voices, and the Sydney Dance Company.

Congratulations to Edwin, Kate and Jane on this fantastic and well-deserved recognition.