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Professor Karen Canfell

Chair, Cancer Screening and Immunisation Committee, Cancer Council Australia

Professor Karen  Canfell

Karen Canfell is inaugural Director of the Daffodil Centre, a flagship centre of the University of Sydney and a joint venture with Cancer Council NSW, Australia. She is also Professor & NHMRC Leadership Fellow, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney.  Her research involves evaluation and translation of new strategies for cancer control and she has led multiple impact and economic evaluations for government agencies in Australia and internationally.  For example, her work underpins the transformation of the National Cervical Screening Program in Australia which in 2017 moved to HPV DNA testing to replace Pap smears.  In collaboration with the VCS Foundation, she initiated Compass, Australia’s largest clinical trial (76,000 women), and the first trial internationally to assess cervical screening in an HPV-vaccinated population.  Compass is directly supporting the implementation of new cervical screening program, acting as a sentinel experience for safety monitoring and evaluation.

Professor Canfell is active in global health and leads key aspects of the WHO impact and investment case for cervical cancer elimination.  Her team’s work is cited in the WHO strategic plan for elimination and findings from key publications were presented at the Executive Board (EB) of the WHO with the EB's subsequent support of the resolution for elimination.  In the period 2020-21, her team has supported WHO in development of detailed clinical management guidelines for cervical screening in low-income countries.  In 2020 she initiated, and co-leads with Dr. Freddie Bray from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the COVID-19 and Cancer Global Modelling Consortium (CCGMC) with key partners IARC, the International Cancer Screening Network, the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer and the coordinating centre Cancer Council NSW.  The CCGMC brings together the global modelling community to support decision-making across cancer control both during and after the crisis.

Professor Canfell is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (AAHMS), 2020 recipient of the NHMRC Elizabeth Blackburn Investigator Grant Award (Leadership in Health Services Research), and the 2021 recipient of Cancer Australia’s Jeanne Ferris Award for her contributions to gynaecological cancer research.

For an interview with Professor Canfell, please contact Cancer Council Australia's Media Team on (02) 8256 4109 (the media hotline is available inside and outside of business hours). You can also email the media team on [email protected].