Professor Colette McKay has been elected as Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS).

An internationally recognised and distinguished auditory science researcher, Professor Mckay leads translational hearing research at the Bionics Institute.

Professor McKay has been lauded for her research into improving speech understanding in cochlear implant users.

More recently, she has led research into a new hearing test for babies called EarGenie™, which uses a brain imaging method to see how a baby’s brain responds to sounds.

Exceptional contribution to health and medical science

AAHMS Fellows are elected by their peers for their outstanding achievements and exceptional contributions to health and medical science in Australia. Drawn from universities, medical research institutes, health services, industry, charities and the public service, AAHMS now has 425 Fellows.

Professor McKay said: “I am honoured indeed to be elected to such a prestigious academy, and it is a great satisfaction for me to be able to succeed in improving the lives of people with hearing impairment, even in the smallest way.”

The Academy welcomed 19 women and 10 men to its Fellowship on the evening of 26 October 2021, recognising the brightest minds in health and medical sciences across a range of fields, including research, industry and more.

Academy President Professor Ingrid Scheffer said she was delighted to see the largest ever number of women elected at 66 per cent.

“Academy Fellows are elected by their peers for their outstanding and ongoing contributions to health and medical sciences,” Professor Scheffer said.

“The Academy is committed to supporting gender equity and championing diversity. It’s wonderful to see so many outstanding individuals join us as new Fellows.

“The pandemic has demonstrated the critical role that our expertise in health and medical sciences has played. I look forward to seeing how our new Fellows contribute to the Academy’s goal of addressing the most pressing health challenges facing society.”

Outstanding leadership

Bionics Institute CEO Robert Klupacs said he was delighted to see Professor McKay recognised for her outstanding leadership in the field of auditory research.

“Professor McKay was an integral part of the team that developed the cochlear implant with Professor Graeme Clark, which has given hearing to more than 600,000 people around the world.

“She continues to ensure optimum hearing for people with cochlear implants to this day while also developing a revolutionary new hearing test for babies.

“I speak on behalf of all the researchers she has mentored and worked with over her career to say a hearty congratulations to Colette on this well-deserved recognition,” he concluded.