Professor Susan Sawyer AM MBBS MD FRACP FSAHM

Professor Susan Sawyer AM MBBS MD FRACP FSAHM holds the Geoff and Helen Handbury Chair of Adolescent Health at The University of Melbourne, and is director of the Centre for Adolescent Health at the Royal Children’s Hospital, a World Health Organization collaborating centre for adolescent health. An alumna of JCH, Susan was Senior Student in 1981 and has been a member of the JCH council since 2001.

After attending a progressive primary school and a country high school, Susan studied medicine at The University of Melbourne (1980-85) and subsequently trained in paediatrics at the Royal Children’s Hospital. Initially specialising in Respiratory Paediatrics, her interest in adolescent health emerged out of experiences caring for complex adolescents with cystic fibrosis. After postdoctoral training at Harvard School of Public Health and Children’s Hospital Boston, she returned to Melbourne in 1995 to take up an academic appointment at The University of Melbourne, where for some time she juggled clinical appointments in both the Department of Respiratory Medicine and the newly established Centre for Adolescent Health, before ending up focussing on adolescent health.  

Among various roles, Susan chairs the Victorian Government’s Advisory Committee on Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer, co-chairs the International Pediatric Association’s Specialist Advisory Group on Adolescents, is the inaugural co-chair of the Australian Network of WHO Collaborating Centres and was president of the International Association for Adolescent Health (2017-2021). Having trained and mentored many health professionals across the world, she is passionate about teaching adolescent health. She leads a postgraduate program on adolescent health and wellbeing at The University of Melbourne and hosts a Massive Open Online Course on Global Adolescent Health.