Burnet welcomes Professors Susan Sawyer and George Patton as Honorary Research Fellows

Professor Patton and Professor Sawyer Photo: University of Melbourne

Collaboration in the field of global adolescent health is set to be enhanced by the appointment of Professors Susan Sawyer and George Patton as Burnet Institute Honorary Research Fellows.

Professor Sawyer is the chair of adolescent health at the University of Melbourne and the director of the Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Adolescent Health, and Professor Patton is an epidemiologist and a National Health and Medical Research Council Senior Principal Research Fellow.

Professor Patton said he is pleased to be involved with Burnet because of its track record of in-country work.

“The Institute occupies an important place between research and implementation. It has great research programs but also many who have been deeply engaged in implementation in-country, across the region and beyond,” he said.

The Co-Head of Burnet’s Global Adolescent Health Working Group, Associate Professor Peter Azzopardi, said the appointments are a natural extension of productive and longstanding collaborations.

“We’re really unique in Melbourne in that we have a large global health presence, including through work led by Burnet Institute and Melbourne Children’s Global Health. These honorary appointments formalise and acknowledge the great collaboration that takes place between these organisations,” he said.

Professor Patton said he hopes his appointment will “help to build further connections between these groups”.

Professor Sawyer said the new arrangement will benefit the adolescent health field on a global level.

“There are few international centres of excellence with critical mass across the breadth of domains that underpin adolescent health” Professor Sawyer said.

“The opportunity to combine some of these groups through deeper collaborations is not just an opportunity for us in Melbourne, but a really important opportunity for the field of global adolescent health.”

Previous collaborations with Burnet involving the pair include the 2016 Lancet Commission on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing.

Professor Sawyer said she is looking forward to continuing work that builds new training and support networks for students, clinicians, researchers and public health professionals entering the field alongside Professor Patton and Burnet’s Associate Professor Azzopardi, Dr Nick Scott and Professor David Wilson.

“As president of the International Association for Adolescent Health, I’ve been pleased to develop a Young Professionals Network to help nurture people with interest in adolescent health,” she said.

“It’s free to anyone anywhere through IAAH.org, and I can imagine it may be of interest to a number of people in-country that Burnet staff work with.

“Another free program is our massive open online course on Global Adolescent Health. We run this eight-week online course three times a year.

“The feedback is very positive and we are looking forward to updating it as part of the new Centre for Research Excellence on Driving Global Investment in Adolescent Health.”

Associate Professor Azzopardi said the appointment of two leaders in the field will strengthen Burnet’s work across the Asia-Pacific region.

“Both George and Susan have really helped pave the path for global adolescent health. Their leadership has helped to define the field and potential impacts of greater investment in adolescent health,” he said.

“Through this appointment, I’m keen to strengthen Burnet’s work across the region and globally.”

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