Kerryn Phelps

Kerryn Phelps
Kerryn Phelps
Born 14 December 1957
Sydney, Australia
Education University of Sydney
Years active 1992-
Known for Former president of Australian Medical Association
Relatives Jackie Stricker (spouse)
Jaime Fronzek (daughter))
Carl Fronzek (son)
Profession Medical practitioner, academic
Specialism Public Health
Health Education

Kerryn Lyndel Phelps AM (born 14 December 1957, Sydney, Australia) is an Australian medical practitioner and public commentator. She is current President of the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association and Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Medicine, School of Public Health at the University of Sydney.[1] Professor Phelps was the first woman and first LGBT person to be elected president of the Federal Australian Medical Association (AMA). In 2003 she was awarded the Centenary Medal for services to Health and Medicine.[2]


Professional life

In 1992, Phelps was a regular on the popular sex education program Sex on the Nine Network.

In 1999 Phelps was elected president of the New South Wales Branch of the Australian Medical Association (AMA). The following year she was elected Federal President of the AMA, where she served the maximum term of three years. Some of her more significant successes involved working with Australian State and Federal Governments on resolving an emerging medical indemnity crisis. The unresolved medical insurance issue threatened obstetrics and neurosurgery in particular, and was exacerbated by escalating medical malpractice claims.

She was also instrumental in establishing an advisory committee on Indigenous health, and promoting debate on the importance of the public health system in response to the bioterrorism threat.

Phelps' major areas of interest included integrative medicine, public health, and human rights issues. As AMA President, she convened an expert advisory committee and pioneered the AMA's first position statement on complementary medicine. She also raised awareness of issues such as Aboriginal health problems, the medical workforce shortage and environmental health.

Her time as AMA president was marked by a very public clash with the then federal Minister for Health Dr Michael Wooldridge.[3] He publicly claimed that she had no specialist medical qualifications [4] The minister later issued a public apology.

In 2008 Phelps was awarded the "Bent Spoon" by the Australian Skeptics Association, an award "presented to the perpetrator of the most preposterous piece of paranormal or pseudoscientific piffle", for "selling quackery and woowoo".[5]

Today, Phelps is a medical practitioner and founder of uclinic and Cooper Street Clinic in Sydney. She is a regular speaker to health professionals and the general public on health and well-being, as well as leadership and strategy for professional organisations. She is currently the health writer for the Australian Women's Weekly and writes political commentary for Medical Observer Magazine. She is a regular commentator on general practice, public health, medical politics and human rights issues. She is also the narrator of Last Chance Surgery, a television program on Australia's Channel 7 network.

In 2009 she was elected President of the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association.

Personal life

Phelps' has a younger brother, Australian TV actor Peter Phelps. She is in a long-term relationship with Jackie Stricker, a former primary school teacher. Phelps and Stricker married in a religious ceremony in New York on 4 January 1998, however, Australian law does not recognise same-sex marriage.[6] From her first marriage she has a daughter, Jaime and a son, Carl.[7]

In 2009, Phelps was named one of the 25 most influential lesbians in Australia by readers of the website[8]


Phelps was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001 for service to Australian society and medicine.[9] On 13 June 2011, she was named a Member of the Order of Australia for service to medicine, particularly through leadership roles with the Australian Medical Association, to education and community health, and as a general practitioner.[10]


  1. ^ "Adjunct Professor Kerryn Phelps". Retrieved 2008-02-07 
  2. ^ Kerryn Phelps Curriculum Vitae
  3. ^ "transcript of ABC news". Australian Broadcasting Commission. 2001. Retrieved 2 July 2001. 
  4. ^ "transript of ABC radio". Australian Broadcasting Commission. 2001" accessdate = Thursday 24 May 2001. 
  5. ^ "The Bent Spoon Award". 
  6. ^ "NZ TV Doc Weds". 1998-02-23. Retrieved 2008-02-07 
  7. ^ Mitchell, Susan (2003). Kerryn & Jackie: The Shared Life of Kerryn Phelps and Jackie Stricker. St. Leonards, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1741141389 
  8. ^ "Samsame 25". Samesame. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  9. ^ "Kerryn Phelps". Australian Honours Database. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  10. ^ "Kerryn Phelps AM". Australian Honours Database. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 

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