An autism researcher and a passionate advocate for palliative care from The University of Western Australia have been announced as finalists in the West Australia 2023 Australian of the Year Awards.
Professor Andrew Whitehouse and Professor Samar Aoun are among 16 finalists in four categories – WA’s Local Hero, WA Young Australian, WA Senior Australian and WA Australian of the Year.
Professor Whitehouse, the Angela Wright Bennett Professor of Autism Research at the Telethon Kids Institute and Professor of Autism Research at UWA, led the development of the first Australian guideline for the diagnosis of autism and, more recently, the first Australian guideline for supporting children with autism.
These landmark guidelines have created major policy reforms and higher standards of clinical support for the approximately two per cent of the Australian population who have an autism diagnosis.
Professor Whitehouse also led an international research program that has transformed thinking around how and when autism supports can be delivered.
Image: Professor Andrew Whitehouse and Professor Samar Aoun.
Professor Samar Aoun, the Perron Institute Research Chair in Palliative Care at UWA, is a passionate and highly respected advocate for a public health approach to palliative care and grief support.
Professor Aoun’s key focus is promoting a person-centred approach to end-of-life care, empowering the community to work with health service providers to ensure quality care is accessible throughout the end-of-life journey.
In her research, Professor Aoun gives particular attention to improving the end-of-life journey for under-served groups such as people with motor neurone disease and dementia, terminally ill people who live alone and family carers.
Her recent work has strengthened the global Compassionate Communities movement that mobilises and equips people to better support those facing death and bereavement.
Both Professor Whitehouse and Professor Aoun were nominated in the category of WA Australian of the Year.
The four category winners from WA will be announced at a ceremony on Monday, 14 November. They will then join the other State and Territory recipients as finalists for the national awards announcement in January 2023.
For more information on the Australian of the Year Awards visit www.australianoftheyear.org.au.
Cecile O’Connor (UWA Media & PR Advisor) 6488 6876