San doctor named NSW Woman of the Year

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Sydney Adventist Hospital surgeon Catherine Birman (right) with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

Sydney Adventist Hospital surgeon Catherine Birman has been awarded 2017 Woman of the Year by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.

The announcement was made during a presentation to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8.

Associate Professor Birman is one of the most experienced cochlear implant surgeons in the world. She has performed more than 1000 cochlear implant procedures, including more than 200 at the San.

“ Being able to restore hearing is a miracle” she said.

“It’s particularly satisfying when you are able to see the elderly reconnect . . . and children able to hear and learn.

“Hearing enables people to be the people they really are.”

Dr Birman commenced her career as a surgeon in 1996 when there were only two other female ear, nose and throat specialists in NSW and less than 5 per cent of surgeons were female. She has operated on babies as young as 3 months to senior citizens up to 90.

She is much loved professionally and personally at the San and is revered for her great work, her pioneering efforts and her vision.

“I’m incredibly surprised, honoured and delighted,” she said on receiving her award.

“It’s inspiring to be surrounded by so many who have given so much to the community. My fellow nominees are wonderful people and the work they do is breathtaking. I’m proud this award reflects on the importance of restoring hearing to change people’s lives.”

San cardiothoracic surgeon Emily Granger was a finalist in the awards. She is one of Australia’s pioneering cardiothoracic and heart lung transplant surgeons. In 2014 Dr Granger played a major role in the world’s first successful “donated after death” heart transplant, giving greater hope to heart patients around the world. The team has since performed eight such groundbreaking procedures and all recipients are now living with their “new” hearts.

San cardiothoracic surgeon Dr Emily Granger.

Now in their sixth year, the NSW Women of the Year Awards recognise and celebrate the outstanding contribution made by women across NSW to industry, community and society.