Grammar Women Hear from Medical Experts

On Wednesday night, more than 150 Girls Grammar students, staff and alumnae gathered as Dr Lavinia Codd (1986) and Dr Emily Granger (1991) shared their diverse career experiences with a captivated audience.

The event, hosted by Acting Principal, Mrs Anna Owen, and President of the Old Girls Association, Mrs Julie Caton (Cleghorn, 1981), was delivered in partnership with Queensland Brain Institute (QBI) at The University of Queensland. Guests toured QBI’s innovative research laboratories, before a panel session where eminent speakers shared insights into careers in medicine and medical research.

Dr Granger, a Cardiothoracic and Heart/Lung Transplant Surgeon at St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney, spoke about finding her niche after having the courage to pursue an adventure that led down unexpected paths.

‘My husband and I planned to work in a city after I graduated from university, but ended up in Mt Isa (North West Queensland). While it wasn’t where I had planned to be, it provided me the chance to undertake surgical procedures I would not have had the chance to do in a city, and allowed me to then enter a surgical rotation only a few years later, in Perth.’

Having been involved in a world-first successful ‘DCD’ heart transplant, she spoke about her experiences of leadership and balancing her professional and personal areas of interest. Dr Granger, a former Head Girl, credits her time at the School as providing her the confidence that she could succeed at any career path she chose. She is a strong advocate for organ donation, and giving her patients a ‘second chance’ at life.

Dr Codd, Advancement and Scientific Project Manager at QBI, spoke about her personal story of perseverance and triumph after suffering a stroke at age 31. Dr Codd’s journey into medical science was her second career, having worked initially as a Chartered Accountant both in Australia and overseas. Dr Codd shared how her return to study shortly after her stroke provided a catalyst for cognitive recovery. She said one of the most important lessons she learned at the time was that despite being impacted by an unexpected, temporarily debilitating condition, she still had great control over her recovery, and that her recovery was her own.

‘I had to recover for myself, not for anyone else. While I was supported by an exceptional medical team, and my family and friends, had to recover, and I had to do it for me.’

Her experiences inspired her to work toward improving the chances of recovery for the almost 50 000 Australians who suffer a stroke each year. Dr Codd’s research aims to translate laboratory findings into new behavioural and pharmacological approaches to restore cognitive functions in human stroke survivors, and she currently leads QBI’s stroke research fundraising initiative.

Audience members also heard the guest speakers’ perspectives on current and emerging trends in medical science, including the potential impacts of bioengineering in surgery and the role of clinicians in an increasingly technology-driven field.

With a breadth of medical and scientific expertise among Grammar Women, the event was a rewarding experience for past students and current students alike.

Thank you to everyone who attended the event.

President of the Old Girls Association, Mrs Julie Caton (Cleghorn, 1981); Director of Queensland Brain Institute, Professor Pankaj Sah; Guest Speaker, Dr Emily Granger (1991); Guest Speaker, Dr Lavinia Codd (1986); Acting Principal, Mrs Anna Owen

Students Eve Zelich, Wijdan Rahim and Ashley Zhang