A moment with Professor Leonie Callaway

Rebecca Krispin Uncategorised

Professor Leonie Callaway is an obstetric and general physician with a long list of professional and academic achievements to her name. She has forged her own remarkable path, and was the first person in her family to complete a university degree. 

CRE HiPP sat down with Professor Callaway to find out what drives and inspires her.

Q: What keeps you motivated in your research career? 

A: In my research, which is related to my clinical practice, I work with an amazing team of people who are super curious. Over the years, I have had the absolute privilege of supervising some of the most amazing PhD scholars. Doing research that is values-driven nourishes me.

Q: What are you currently reading/watching/listening to?

A: Once I finish work, I try to spend my time with my family, cooking, gardening and cleaning. Most of my reading is about philosophy and religion, so at present, I am reading and contemplating Lao Tzu’s Tao Te Ching and Franz Kafka’s Aphorisms. Most of my movie watching is on planes. I don’t watch or listen to any TV, netflix or podcasts. In general, I prefer silence, although I do enjoy listening to and playing classical piano.

Q: Why did you choose to specialise in general and obstetric medicine?

A: After a year of working in a rural hospital (Mt Morgan), I decided to start training in obstetrics and gynaecology. I quickly discovered that I was more interested in medicine than in surgery. And so I decided to become a general and obstetric physician. I love obstetric medicine, as it is so fabulously complex and such an evidence free zone.

Q: What talent/skill or interest do you have that’s completely different to your research passion and what do you love most about it?

A: People probably don’t know that I enjoy designing, pattern making and dressmaking. With three children, I have not had time to design and sew for many years. I designed and made my own wedding dress, graduation dress and a few other people’s formal dresses. As my children have almost grown up, I have an urge to get back to artistic, creative activities. 

Q: What has been your career highlight to date?

A: Hard to say. Each stage has had its own highlights and struggles. Perhaps the highlight was being the first person in my family to complete a university degree. I still vividly remember how excited I was on the day I graduated from Medicine. Recently, I was thrilled to be awarded the 2022 Women’s Healthcare Australasia Medal of Distinction.

Q: Who/what inspires you?

A: My source of inspiration is out of the absolute – through silence and stillness. I am very grateful for family, friends, colleagues, teachers and mentors who have walked with me along the way. The most important events of my life have been the most challenging ones. Great suffering, heartache, loss, grief and disappointment paradoxically finds inner strength, wisdom and compassion.  

Q: What is your top tip for students considering a career in research?

A: Choose supervisors who are truly good human beings. They will help you with your research, and then they will become lifelong friends, colleagues and mentors. What is research, if not the wonderful relationships we create with likeminded people along the way?

Professor Callaway is Chair of the CRE HiPP Advisory Board and an internationally recognised expert and researcher in the areas of diabetes, hypertension and metabolism before, during and after pregnancy.

In addition to her clinical work she holds a number of important roles, including Executive Director of Metro North Hospital and Health Service District, Director of Research at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, Co-Chair of the Queensland Maternal and Perinatal Quality Council (QMPQC), and Professor, Faculty of Medicine at The University of Queensland. 

She also has a passion for reducing weight stigma in maternity care, and is a member of the Executive Team in one of CRE HiPP’s newly formed research networks, the Body Positive Birth Alliance.

Professor Leonie Callaway
Professor Leonie Callaway