Karena Conroy: Raising much needed funds for Save the Children

Meet Karena Conroy, Head of Commissioned Research at The George Institute for Global Health

How long have you been working at The George Institute?

I started in my role early May, 2016.

You recently participated in a fundraising activity for Save the Children Australia. Can you tell us more about that, and what your motivation was for it?

I wanted to raise money for a charity that was making a positive difference to vulnerable and disadvantaged children and families and was aware of the great work Save the Children were doing both in Australia and internationally, to improve the lives of not only children (which of course is their focus) but also for the communities they live in. My goal is to raise at least $3,000 which will provide much needed resources to Save the Children to assist them with their tireless efforts to protect children from harm and help them to access quality education and health services. This is something I am passionate about and wanted to contribute to in some way. You can find out more (and donate if you wish) by visiting the following weblinks:



As part of this fundraising effort I also cut 30cm off my hair and donated it to the Australia Alopecia Areata Foundation who assist in providing wigs for children.

What attracted you to working at The George Institute?

This particular role attracted me first of all as it was a new role that offered a great opportunity for me to utilise some of the skills I have gained over the years in a new and exciting way. The fact that TGI works to improve the health and wellbeing of disadvantaged populations also appealed to me as it is something I am passionate about.

What is your role and how will this help the mission of The George Institute?

I am responsible for working up the Commissioned Research program under the Health Services Research Centre. This involves developing a systematic approach to commissioned research across the organisation, streamlining processes, developing resources, and supporting researchers to bid for and undertake contracted work. One of the key aims is to attract funds that enable increased capacity to produce high-impact research. This position is currently half funded by Sydney Local Health District which means that half of my time will be spent on progressing the research priorities of the District, including those of mutual interest with TGI. The aim is to facilitate the translation of effective research into practice and policy.

What is your professional background?

I have been a health researcher for over 16 years. Prior to joining TGI, I was the principal researcher for the NSW Intensive Care Coordination & Monitoring Unit (a state wide service of NSW Health) for a period spanning 12 years and completed a PhD in conjunction with my employment on a priority topic (Thesis title: ‘Process-of-care in the ICU: A multi-method exploration of an electronic checklist to support medical morning rounds’). I have been an Honorary Associate at the Faculty of Health, UTS for over 9 years.

Why do you enjoy working at The George Institute?

I’m enjoying working together with people who are passionate about improving the health of a diverse range of populations. I’m also enjoying working in a supportive, encouraging and respectful environment – it is motivating and makes coming to work pleasurable.

My biggest achievement in life so far…

Being awarded with my PhD.