Sonia Hancock thanked for pivotal role at Mater Research


It is with mixed emotions that Mater Research says goodbye to Sonia Hancock, one of our strongest and most loyal supporters.

We thank Sonia for her unwavering commitment to driving change in the research realm, now that the time has come to ‘hand on the batton’ as the Category F member on the Mater Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC).

Her departure comes following a 26-year affiliation with Mater, where she played an instrumental role in driving progress in ethical research and governance. She will be missed.

Ms Hancock says she has enjoyed her part in shaping and guiding how research is conducted across the Mater Group.

“There are ever-increasing requirements to uphold the values of the responsible code of conduct of health and medical research, which is wonderful,” Ms Hancock said.

“With increasing spotlight on research, particularly around research integrity, compliance requirements are shifting.

“With the very definition of research – to create new knowledge – the processes that support it can’t remain what they were, they have to evolve too.”

While she is saying goodbye to Mater – for now – she says her time here, both in health and research, set her up for success.

Ms Hancock started her healthcare career at Mater in 1998 as an oncology nurse in the then-ward 10B at South Brisbane.

“I think I was in the ward for a year and a half before I moved across the hallway to the day oncology unit,” Ms Hancock said.

“I remember being immersed and immediately loving the atmosphere – the patients became your family.”

A brief stint with the Apheresis and Transplant team saw Sonia exposed to Mater’s research arm, and her snap up an opportunity to use her clinical skills at Mater Research.

“I quickly fell in love with the whole research ecosystem,” Ms Hancock said.

“I joined Mater Research as a study coordinator, where my role was to access patients’ bloods and biological materials across Mater’s services, and also recruit mothers to donate their placentas after they gave birth, which was just an amazing experience.”

From there, Ms Hancock accepted every opportunity that came her way, eventually taking on the HREC Coordinator role in 2001, which she held for two years.

She says it’s one message she’d like to impart on others – don’t shy away from opportunity.

“Don’t be afraid to take the plunge,” she said.

“What may seem quite foreign to start with may just be the next step in your career and lead you to a new world of opportunities.”

In terms of what she’ll miss most about Mater? It’s the feeling of family.

“It’s like a family away from family; when you’re in and amongst it, everyone has each other’s back,” Ms Hancock said.

Mater wishes Ms Hancock all the very best and wish her every success in her new role as Chairperson of the Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service HREC.

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