Professor Caroline Homer AO delivering the IWD 2018 keynote address
Burnet has warmly welcomed the appointment of Professor Caroline Homer AO to the Institute.
A trailblazer in maternal health for more than two decades – as a researcher, a midwife, a clinician and educator - Professor Homer brings a wealth of knowledge, insights, and understanding about the key issues and challenges in achieving better maternal and child health in Australia and internationally.
Professor Homer will join Associate Professor Freya Fowkes and Dr Elissa Kennedy as Co-Program Directors of Maternal and Child Health, one of five thematic programs spanning the Institute’s research and public health activities. She will also join the Institute’s Executive Committee.
Burnet Institute Director and CEO, Professor Brendan Crabb AC said the Institute was delighted Professor Homer had joined the team and predicted she would make an outstanding contribution to its work across many fields, especially in maternal and child health.
“Professor Homer comes to Burnet with an incredible record that includes almost 200 publications in peer-reviewed journals and an extensive history of grant success from the Australian Research Council (ARC), Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), AusAID/DFAT and the Wellcome Trust (UK),” Professor Crabb said.
“She has also led large international development projects and has considerable experience working in Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
“Professor Homer will take a leading role in developing our strategy for our future involvement in Papua New Guinea, and the next exciting phase of our flagship Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies program.”
Professor Homer said she had been looking forward to starting at Burnet since announcing her move from University Technology Sydney (UTS) earlier this year.
“I am thrilled to be at Burnet because there is a unique combination of people and skills here in a range of disciplines and topic areas, bringing together the applied bench sciences, new technologies, epidemiology, health systems strengthening and reform and policy,” Professor Homer explained.
“I am especially interested in how we translate all the evidence we have into practice especially to improve outcomes for mothers and babies in low-to-middle income countries.
“We know so much from research about what will or should make a difference. What we don’t know is how to get it into practice, how to navigate the complexity of health and social systems, and how to build the workforce to support quality maternal and newborn care.
“These are the areas I am most interested in and look forward to working with people at Burnet and many partners in different settings.”
Amongst many other roles, Professor Homer is the Assistant Secretary General (Midwifery) for the Global Network of WHO Collaborating Centres for Nursing and Midwifery, and the President of the Australian College of Midwives.
Earlier this year, Professor Homer delivered the keynote address at Burnet’s International Women’s Day event, titled Leave No Woman Behind: Investing in Maternal Health.
When asked if she had one wish for women on International Women’s Day, she said it would be that every woman could have a trained midwife with her when she gave birth.
“A midwife who has a couple of life-saving drugs, a phone to ring for help and a vehicle or motorbike to transfer to a higher level facility if complications arise – this could save hundreds of thousands of lives of women and babies,” she said.
Before joining Burnet, Professor Homer was with University Technology Sydney (UTS) as Distinguished Professor of Midwifery, the Director of Midwifery Studies, and the Director of the Centre for Midwifery, Child and Family Health.