Associate Professor Susan Sayers has been working to improve children’s health for over 40 years. A paediatrician specialising in neonatology, Susan was the only paediatrician at the Royal Darwin Hospital (RDH) when cyclone Tracy hit the city in 1974. In challenging conditions, she supervised the care of the seriously injured children and the evacuation of newborn babies. Susan has a long-held passion for improving Indigenous health, in particular, child health.
In 1987, just short of Menzies' third birthday, Susan had the foresight to establish an Aboriginal Birth Cohort consisting of 686 babies born at RDH. This prospective longitudinal study is now recognised as the oldest and largest cohort study of Indigenous people in the world.
Susan has been instrumental in the recruitment and successful follow-up of this cohort at 11 and 18 yrs in over 40 communities across the Top End. Her ongoing leadership has ensured high levels of community engagement and remarkable follow-up rates, all on an honorary basis.
Susan has developed a wide network of collaborations nationally and internationally and her expertise is highly sought after for advisory groups and conference presentations.