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The winner of this award category was selected by the Premier of NSW.

2020 Finalists

Amani Haydar

Amani Haydar headshot

Amani is an artist, lawyer and writer. She lost her mum, Salwa Haydar, to domestic violence in March 2015. Amani’s father was convicted of murder in 2017.

Since the loss of her mother and her father's conviction, Amani has used her legal and creative skills to address violence against women. Amani was a finalist in the 2018 Archibald Prize for her self-portrait titled Insert Headline Here, which tells the story of three generations of women in her family.

In 2019 she received the Law Society of NSW Just Art Artists’ Choice Award and produced three exhibitions. Amani’s latest exhibition highlights the number of women who lost their lives to violence in 2019.

Amani believes lived experience is an important catalyst for change. She runs talks and workshops, drawing on personal experience depicted in her artworks to engage audiences and discuss the impact of violence on women’s lives.

Amani serves as an executive board member at Bankstown Women’s Health Centre on a volunteer basis. She advocates for legal reform on a variety of issues from homicide sentencing procedures, to paid parental leave for pregnant women affected by violence.

Professor Clara Chow

Clara Chow headshot

Professor of Medicine and cardiologist at Westmead Hospital, Clara Chow is a pioneer in clinical practice and research. Clara is passionate about preventing poor outcomes from cardiovascular disease.

In 2015, she led the development of a new model of care in Australia that enables rapid cardiologist-led review of patients suspected to have cardiac disease. The model has been shown to reduce unnecessary hospital admission.

Over the last 5 years, as Academic Director of the Westmead Applied Research Centre, Clara has attracted over $130 million in research funding.

In 2016, she won the Google Impact Challenge award, which supports innovative ideas with potential for global impact, to develop a text-message based education and support program for patients with coronary heart disease.

In 2019 she was awarded a further $1m to develop a customised digital program to continue her research in reducing the risk of heart disease – the biggest cause of death globally.

Clara is the first female president to be elected to the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand.

Professor Maria Kavallaris (Winner)

Maria Kavallaris headshot

Maria is an exceptional researcher, whose own journey with cancer aged 21, led her to dedicate her career to developing treatments for aggressive childhood cancers.

As Founding Director of the Australian Centre for NanoMedicine at UNSW, as well as Head of the Tumour Biology and Targeting Program at Children's Cancer Institute, Maria has made key advances in our understanding and treatment of neuroblastoma; the most common cancer in babies and the third-most common cancer in children.

Her studies have not only identified how some tumours can grow and spread, she has also applied this knowledge to develop effective, less toxic cancer therapies using nanotechnology. Maria’s leadership in cancer nanomedicine has led to clinical and industry collaborations to translate her discoveries into practice.

Maria’s work has been recognised by many national and international awards, including the highly prestigious 2019 Lemberg Medal from the Australian Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

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Last updated: 26 Mar 2020