March 2017 Hornsby Advocate and Hills News
Associate Professor Catherine Birman has won the 2017 New South Wales Premier’s Award for Woman of the Year. Ms Birman is the medical director of the SCIC Cochlear Implant Program at Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children (RIDBC). The award recognises Ms Birman’s work in the field of cochlear implants for children with complex medical conditions. She is regarded as one of the most experienced cochlear implant surgeons in the world, helping more than 1000 people.
"I am honoured to win the NSW Premier's Award for Woman of the Year. This award provides a great opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of treating hearing loss," Ms Birman said.
"My hope is that all people with hearing loss seek help and that those people who would benefit from a cochlear implant take up this life changing technology.”
Dr Birman began her career in 1996 as a surgeon when there were only two other female ear nose and throat specialists in NSW and less than five per cent of surgeons then were female. She has operated on babies as young as three months to senior citizens up to 94 years old. “Being able to restore hearing is a miracle,” she said. “It’s particularly satisfying when you are able to see the elderly reconnect and children able to hear and learn.“Hearing enables people to be the people they really are.”
San Hospital ear, nose and throat surgeon Associate Professor Catherine Birman being awarded 2017 Woman of the Year by NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.
Catherine Birman with Cochlear implant patient Elijah Porter and mother, Ali
with David Birwistle and Mariana Birwistle.
Ms Birman was presented the award on March 8 to coincide with International Women’s Day. NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was in awe of Birman’s work. “The Women of the Year Awards recognise the many inspirational women leading the way in their fields across NSW and the calibre of the finalists was very high,” Ms Berejiklian said. “As one of the most experienced cochlear implant surgeons in the world, Associate Professor Catherine Birman has helped almost 1000 NSW residents through life-changing procedures.”