Paediatrics is the branch of medicine that deals with the development, health and medical care of infants, children, and adolescents. It differs from adult medicine in many aspects due to the obvious body size differences. The smaller body of an infant or neonate is substantially different physiologically from that of an adult. Congenital defects, genetic variance, and developmental issues are of greater concern to paediatricians than they often are to adult physicians. The study of Paediatrics involves not only practical medicine, but also support for children and families.
Paediatrics in the MD program
The Year 4 Paediatrics rotation is of 9 weeks duration as part of the MD course in the School of Medicine at Western Sydney University. Clinical teaching is conducted at Campbelltown, Blacktown and Mt Druitt Hospitals. Studies progress from pre-natal problems to chronic diseases and disabilities of adolescent years, learning the common problems of children in Western Sydney, as well as an introduction to the scourges that claim some 10 million children throughout the rest of the world every year.
Teaching is under the direction of Professor John Whitehall and involves University staff and other staff employed by Sydney Area Health Services, as well as other agencies that provide services for children.
Engaging the Community
The Paediatric Team has a strong commitment to Community. Medical students undergoing their paediatric rotation are required to spend time at a Community Disability School. Community Partners benefit by students attending to provide hands-on assistance with and for children with various disabilities. The students themselves gain better clinical knowledge and understanding having daily contact with children and also gain an understanding of the impact of disabilities on the whole family. On completion of their rotation, students are required to submit a case study for assessment.
In November 2010 the Western Sydney University Department of Paediatrics was recognised for its collaborative educational relationship with William Rose School, Seven Hills by NSW Department of Education, in winning the Western Sydney Region Excellence in Education Award in the category of Excellence in School Achievement SSP (Teaching and Learning Community Partnerships).
Professor John Whitehall
Foundation Chair & Professor of Paediatrics & Child Health
John Whitehall graduated from Sydney University in 1966 and after residency in Sydney Hospital worked in a refugee aid programme in Vietnam, a remote mission hospital in South Africa, and the university hospital in what was then Rhodesia. He went on to pursue formal paediatric training in England and then Australia, becoming a Member and then Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians.
He worked as Consultant Paediatrician in the west of Sydney for 15 years, during which he was involved with aid organisations in Guam (for refugees from Vietnam), East Timor, Lebanon and Mexico.
From 1991 to 1993 he undertook further training in neonatology at the Royal Hospital for Women and Sydney Children's Hospital and was appointed Staff Specialist in the neonatal intensive care unit at Nepean Hospital where he developed a particular interest in foetal medicine and echocardiography.
In 1995 he was appointed Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Townsville which serves North Queensland and, over the years, he held various associated position such as Chairman of Northern Region Women's and Children's Committee which oversaw the development of services and the maintenance of standards throughout the region. He held this position until taking up his current position at the University.
In 1997 he was appointed Associate Professor in the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine at James Cook University, Townsville, where he developed and presented courses in Tropical Paediatrics, a feature of which was to become an annual block of study at first in Sri Lanka and then Papua New Guinea.
In 2000 he was a founding member of the committee that developed the curriculum for the School of Medicine at James Cook University, with special responsibility for the 'domain' of Ethics and Personal Development, and for the 'streams' of genetics, and biology. After the commencement of the School he maintained teaching responsibilities in Human Genetics, as well as neonatology.
In 2005, he was involved in an aid programme in Sri Lanka after the Asian tsunami and then returned as visiting Professor to the Medical College of Tamil Eelam where he designed and presented a three month block of paediatric study and research for local practitioners.
In 2009 he joined Western Sydney University as Foundation Chair of Paediatrics and Child Health. He maintains a special interest in international health but has published on a range of subjects from neonatology to public health. His extra-curricular interests include social and political theory in which he earned a BA from Murdoch University
John was a finalist for Senior Australian of the Year in 2006 for his humanitarian work with victims of the Asian tsunami. He is assistant author of the book War and Medicine, a collection of short stories of the experiences of medical practitioners in North-East Sri Lanka.
Associate Professor Matt Edwards
Associate Professor - Paediatrics and Child Health
Matt attended schools in Cobbitty and Camden in western Sydney, and graduated in medicine from the University of New South Wales in 1976. He trained in paediatrics at Prince of Wales Children's Hospital, Sydney 1977-82 and was a paediatrician in Camden and Campbelltown 1982-1987.
Matt was a fellow in clinical genetics and dysmorphology under Dr John M Graham Jr at Dartmouth Medical Center, New Hampshire in 1988 and at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles 1989-90, and obtained a diploma in medical genetics, American Board of Medical Genetics and Fellow in clinical genetics, Canadian College of Medical Geneticists.
He served as staff specialist in clinical genetics, Hunter Genetics, Newcastle NSW 1991-2008, Director of Hunter Genetics 2000-2008, Conjoint Associate Professor, University of Newcastle 2000-2008. He has also served on committees of the Human Genetics Society of Australasia, Australasian Association of Clinical Geneticists, and Royal Australasian College of Physicians Specialist Advisory Committee in clinical genetics.
He worked as a locum general paediatrician in regional and remote centres in Australia, and as consultant clinical geneticist, Sydney IVF, Lingard Hospital, Newcastle 2008-2010.
Matt joined the Department of Paediatrics at Western Sydney University School of Medicine in October 2010, with a clinical academic appointment in clinical genetics at Campbelltown Hospital. Prior to this he taught in the undergraduate medical and postgraduate genetic counselling courses at the University of Newcastle.
Matt's research interests and publications include: "Clinical and genetic delineation of syndromes", especially those associated with inherited intellectual disability, and "Identification of factors that influence severity of disease, including chronic suppurative lung disease and bronchiectasis in children of western Sydney and North West Queensland".
Associate Professor Andrew McDonald
Associate Professor - Paediatrics and Child Health
Dr Andrew McDonald joined the Department of Paediatrics at Western Sydney University School of Medicine in 2015 as Associate Professor in Paediatrics. He is also a conjoint Associate Professor at UNSW and remains a fellow of the RACP, as well being a fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics and child health (UK).
He graduated from Sydney University 1978 and then trained as a paediatrician in Sydney at Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children, and in England at Gloucester.
In 1990, he commenced as a paediatric staff specialist at Campbelltown hospital. Since 1995 he has been visiting Tharawal Aboriginal medical service. He was an examiner for the RACP from 1995 until 2007 and served on the national examining panel. He was a prominent member of a group of doctors who spoke out in defence of the staff of Campbelltown Hospital during the inquiries into patient care at that hospital.
He was elected as a Labor state MP for Macquarie Fields in 2007, and then again in 2011. From 2008 to 2011, he was Parliamentary Secretary for Health. From 2011 to 2014, he was shadow Health Minister. As a state MP, he was prominent in promoting increased immunisation rates, plain packaging for tobacco. He spoke in defence of the public health system in face of creeping privatization of public health care and inequitable life expectancy and distribution of health resources.
Dr Stephen Teo
Senior Lecturer - Paediatrics and Child Health
Dr Stephen Teo joined UWS in September 2012. He is currently a staff specialist in Paediatrics, Blacktown and Mt Druitt Hospitals. He undertook his initial paediatric training at Sydney Children's Hospital, Randwick and then completed his general paediatric training in London, where he also did research primarily in paediatric tuberculosis at the Barts and London School of Medicine and Dentistry. He took a locum consultant position in general paediatrics at the Royal London Hospital before spending two years in rural general paediatrics in Goulburn.
A selection of his most recent published papers include:
Teo SS, Soma M, Awad J, Rossi M. A case report of epiglottitis. J Paediatr Child Health. 2017 Feb;53(2):202-203. doi: 10.1111/jpc.13419
Teo S, Stanford J, Rao A, Babl FE. Paediatric acute care: Highlights from the PAC-APLS conference, Sydney, 2015. Emerg Med Australas. 2016 Dec;28(6):746-748. doi: 10.1111/1742-6723.12616. Epub 2016 Jun 22.
Teo SS, Tay EL, Douglas P, Krause VL, Graham SM. The epidemiology of tuberculosis in children in Australia, 2003 - 2012. Med J Aust 2015 2015 Dec 14;203(11):440.
Margaret's responsibilities include the provision of high level administrative support to Professor John Whitehall, Foundation Chair of Paediatrics and Child Health, as well as administrative support to other Paediatric and conjoint staff. Margaret joined the department in 2014 and brings with her extensive experience and knowledge gained from working in various roles within the School of Medicine.