Professor Carol Bower is Senior Principal Research Fellow, Telethon Kids Institute, Perth WA, Professor, Centre for Child Health Research, The University of Western Australia and Medical Specialist and Head, WA Register of Developmental Anomalies
Carol is highly regarded nationally and internationally for her leadership in birth defects research, providing population-based evidence for prevention, diagnosis, management and development of policy and practice. She has academic qualifications in medicine, epidemiology and public health and is a passionate advocate for the primary prevention of birth defects, for monitoring and evaluation of preventive, screening and treatment interventions and for the involvement of consumers and community in research.
In 1980, Carol established and has, since then, maintained the internationally recognised Western Australian Register of Developmental Anomalies. She has also contributed to the establishment, maintenance and expansion of internationally unique, linked databases of maternal and child health, intellectual disability and autism. Her research has a strong focus on investigating causes and effects of birth defects, on translating research findings into public health policy and practice and on evaluating the effectiveness of that translation. Leading examples are her research and advocacy on the prevention of neural tube defects such as spina bifida (promoting folic acid supplement use and mandatory fortification of flour with folic acid) and research on prevention, diagnosis and management of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. She has served in an executive capacity for six years for the International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects Surveillance and Research, the peak international body for birth defects research. Carol was awarded the International Flour Fortification Initiative Leadership Award in 2007 for her work on folate and neural tube defects and Life Membership of the Australasian Epidemiological Association, in recognition of her significant contribution to epidemiology. She has a strong commitment to consumer and community engagement in research and its translation. Consumer reference groups guide her research and she mentors and supports students and staff in inclusion of consumers in research projects. In 2006, Carol received a Health Consumers’ Council (WA) Inc. Certificate for Excellent Services to Consumers and, in 2012, the Program Grant on which she was a Chief Investigator was awarded a Consumer and Community participation Award in recognition of good practice initiatives.