Associate Professor Catherine Birman, who gives the gift of sound, receives highest honour in NSW Women of the Year Awards

Associate Professor Catherine Birman.
Associate Professor Catherine Birman.

World renowned cochlear implant surgeon Catherine Birman has received the top honour in the NSW Women of the Year awards.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Minister for Women Tanya Davies presented the awards at a reception held at the International Convention Centre.

Three Sutherland Shire residents, Madeline Tynan, Jennifer Sammut and Paige Burton, were among the finalists in five categories, but the winners came from other areas.

Associate Professor Birman was awarded the 2017 Premier’s Woman of the Year Award.

Dr Birman is one of the most experienced cochlear implant surgeons in the world, and has given the gift of sound to more than 1000 NSW residents.

The commendation said Dr Birman was the third female ear, nose and throat surgeon to qualify in NSW, and her career and charitable works had made her a trailblazer and inspiring role model.

​A pioneer in the field of cochlear implants for children with complex medical conditions, Dr Birman practices at the Children's Hospital at Westmead, Royal Prince Alfred, Hornsby Ku-ring-gai, Macquarie University and the Sydney Adventist Hospitals.

In addition, she is the medical director of the SCIC Cochlear Implant Program, a charity providing all aspects of care for patients requiring cochlear implants and implantable hearing devices.

Dr Birman is also clinical associate professor with the University of Sydney, and conjoint professor with Macquarie University.

Other winners were:

  • Community Hero Award – Debbie Higgison.
  • Harvey Norman Young Woman of the Year Award – Dr Nicole Seebacher.
  • REX Airlines Regional Woman of the Year Award – Julia Harpham.
  • Business Woman of the Year Award – Gina Field.
  • Aboriginal Woman of the Year Award – Kristal Kinsela.