A physiotherapist who began life in Crookwell has been awarded the Dr Lena Elizabeth McEwan and Dame Joyce Daws Churchill Fellowship.
Stephanie Wicks works for the NSW Paediatric Severe Burn Injury Service at The Children’s Hospital, Westmead. She is the second daughter of Ken and Maria Wicks of Crookwell, and a former student of St Mary’s School, Crookwell and Marian College, Goulburn.
The award presentation on March 10 was made by the Governor of NSW, His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d), at Parliament House, Sydney.
Ms Wicks plans to use the scholarship to investigate the strategies that international burns units use to provide the best therapy for regional patients. She will visit a range of specialist burns units in the US including Galveston, Texas, Sacramento and Boston, between July and September.
She will also be visiting a rehabilitation unit in Toulon, France and hopes to present a paper at the European Burns Association ASM in Barcelona, Spain.
Many of Ms Wicks’ patients at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead come from rural and remote areas and travel considerable distances for specialised treatment.
This adds significant emotional and financial burden to the already traumatised patient and their family.
Recovery from a burn can be a lengthy process and Ms Wicks wants to find ways to improve the scar management regime and make the process easier for families going through an extremely difficult period.
Her aim is to work with rural therapists to improve the patient journey while ensuring access to quality care locally.
“Being a Churchill Fellow is an extraordinary opportunity to challenge myself and to make changes that assist my patients return to their lives with hope and potential for the future,” Ms Wicks said.
“I cannot think of another group that brings such a diverse group of passionate people together and I am immensely proud to be considered amongst them.”