Women of the West Award 2011

The winners of the UWS Women of the West Award and the Young Women of the West Award for 2011 were announced by Vice-Chancellor Professor Janice Reid AM at the University’s International Women’s Day celebrations on Friday March 11, 2011.


Winner of the 2011 Women of the West Award

Dr Helen Sommerville  - Paediatric Doctor

Helen is a doctor with the Western Local Health Network and Allowah Children’s Hospital. Helen  was nominated by Dr Elizabeth McCusker (recipient of UWS Women of the West Award in 2007).

Since 1985, Helen has worked in the Western Sydney area and has advocated tirelessly for improved access to health care services for people with disabilities.

Helen is acknowledged as being one of the first doctors to recognise the importance of developing a comprehensive transition care program, when the care of children is transferred to adult health services.  Helen was instrumental in establishing a multidisciplinary clinic both at the Children’s Hospital Westmead and Westmead Hospital, for severely physically and intellectually disabled children and adults.

Helen has persuaded and inspired specialist doctors and allied health professionals to work primarily in the multidisciplinary clinics and lobbied for clinical nurse consultant positions.  Helen’s dedicated service to intellectually disabled people is a leading model of care in this challenging and generally neglected field.

 Vice-Chancellor Professor Janice Reid AM and Dr Helen Sommerville

(Vice-Chancellor Professor Janice Reid AM and Dr Helen Sommerville)


Highly Commended

Hanan Dover – Founder Mission of Hope and PsychCentral

Hanan Dover, a resident of Bankstown was nominated by Betsy Marks, Principal Executive Officer at UWS.  Hanan was nominated for exemplary community service, and her commitment to improving Muslim communities in Greater Western Sydney.

Hanan Dover and Professor Janice Reid AM
(Hanan Dover and Vice-Chancellor Professor Janice Reid AM)

A graduate of UWS, Hanan holds a Bachelor of Social Science (Psychology) and Postgraduate degrees in Psychology.

Hanan founded the not for profit community organisation - Mission of Hope, with a focus on health and community development, and bringing together Muslim and non-Muslim communities.  As well, Hanan pioneered and manages PsychCentral, a psychological and counselling service at seven locations across Greater Western Sydney.



Debbie Roberts – Chief Executive Officer, Youth Solutions

Debbie is the CEO of the youth drug and alcohol prevention charity Youth Solutions.  A resident of Harrington Park, Debbie was nominated by Jan Nicoll, Winner of the UWS Women of the West Award in 2009.

Debbie has been an active member of the Macarthur community for many years.  She has been involved in a number of charity works and community programs.

Also a president of the Rotary Club of Narellan, Debbie has been a member of the club for more than five years.  Through her work as a Rotarian, she has volunteered in the Rotary Village Aide Program in the Philippines.

Debbie Roberts

(Debbie Roberts)


Winner of the UWS Young Women of the West Award for 2011

Najeeba Wazefadost – Afghan Youth Support Officer

A resident of Granville, Najeeba was nominated by a friend and colleague Ahmad Jafari.  Najeeba is recognised for her work in not-for-profit organisations including the Bamiyan Association and Amnesty International, raising awareness of the plight of refugees and providing tutoring and support for Afghani people in Greater Western Sydney.

Arriving in Australia as a refugee from Afghanisation at the age of  12,  Najeeba was determined to gain an education.  She completed a Bachelor of Medical Science at the University of Western Sydney and graduated in 2010.

Najeeba is recognised for courage in repeatedly sharing her experiences in Afghanistan, and promoting the rights of asylum seekers and refugees in Australia.

Najeeba Wazefadost
(Najeeba Wazefadost)


Nominees for UWS Women of the West 2011

Congratulations to everyone from across Greater Western Sydney nominated for the 2011 UWS Women of the West Award and UWS Young Women of the West Award.

  • Lee Hughes, Events and Promotions Coordinator, St Vincent de Paul
  • Norma Shelley OAM, D.L.o, J.P, Elder in local Aboriginal Community
  • Randa Kattan, Executive Director, Arab Council of Australia
  • Sharyl  Scott, Principal Bringelly Public School and Secretary of the Zonta Club of Macarthur
  • Shirley Smith, Manager Food Services, Hawkesbury/Colo Meals on Wheels
  • Tanyia Harris, Volunteer and Macarthur Rotary Club Member
  • Veronica Necyporuk, Principal East Hills Girls Technology High School
  • Councillor Wendy Waller, Mayor Liverpool City Council and Manager South West Child and Family Services
  • Dani Samuels, World Championship Athlete

For further information on the UWS Women of the West Award please contact the Office of Public Affairs on 9678 7512.