In January 2023, the WH&Y team was deeply saddened to learn of the death of WH&Y Chief Investigator Professor Fiona Brooks, who passed away in Sydney after a short illness. Fiona was one of the key contributors to the WH&Y Policy & Practice stream, alongside Professors Kate Steinbeck and Lena Sanci. The Policy & Practice stream is charged with investigating existing health policies and their impact on teenagers, as well as the barriers that currently prevent us from providing better, more responsive and more welcoming healthcare for our young people.
For many years, Fiona was a productive part of the research and teaching community at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS). She commenced in the Faculty of Health in a part-time capacity before becoming the Associate Dean (Research) and then the Acting Dean. In December 2018, she moved into the Chancellery as the Assistant Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research (Development), and Strategic Initiative Coordinator for New Ways of Working. She was also the academic lead for Athena SWAN, the accreditation scheme run by the international Scientific Women's Academic Network in relation to gender equality in higher education and research institutions.
Last year, Fiona left UTS to take up the significant role of Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Health and Environmental Sciences at the Auckland University of Technology.
Fiona leaves behind her an important legacy of research at WH&Y, including an investigation of the link between teacher-connectedness and adolescent wellbeing, and recent studies into adolescent pregnancy in sub-Saharan Africa. She also made a significant contribution to the WHO project, Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC), the EU-funded Teacher Connectedness Project, and wide-ranging research in Australia into the determinants of self-harm, cyberbullying and online safety and physical safety.
As a friend and colleague, Fiona will be sadly missed.