Our People

Professor Claire Wakefield

Discipline of Paediatrics
(02) 9382 3113



Prof Claire Wakefield is a Professor in the Discipline of Paediatrics, School of Women’s & Children’s Health, UNSW Medicine and leads one of Australia’s largest psycho-oncology research groups - The Behavioural Sciences Unit, part of the Kids Cancer Centre at Sydney Children's Hospital. Prof Wakefield has published, or had accepted, more than 155 journal articles and is named as Chief Investigator on competitive research grants totalling more than $30M. Please see www.behaviouralsciencesunit.org. 

Prof Wakefield holds a Career Development Fellowship from the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) as well as a Diamond Jubilee International Visiting Fellowship at the University of Southampton, UK.

Prof Wakefield’s research interests surround improving mental health and quality of life in families affected by paediatric and adolescent cancer, using:

  • Cost-effective interventions
  • Novel technologies
  • Discovery research to identify at-risk and underserviced groups
  • Translational work to affect change in clinical practice

Twitter: @CEWakefield

Research Interests: Research interests include health psychology; the psychosocial issues faced by men and women with a strong family history of cancer; patient education; assisting patients to make difficult medical decisions such as decisions about genetic testing and deceased organ donation; and issues faced by children with medical illness. Currently focussing on paediatric oncology research, with projects ranging from newly diagnosed families, on treatment families, long term survivors and bereaved parents.

Broad Research Areas:
Cancer, Health Promotion

BPsych(Hons1), MPH, PhD

Specific Research Keywords:
Childhood Cancer, Psychosocial Issues, Adolescence, Breast Cancer, Colorectal cancer, Genetics, Mental Health, Psychology, Oncology, Paediatrics

  • Registered Psychologist 
  • PhD (Psychology) 
  • Master of Public Health  
  • B Psychology (Hons I)
  • University Medal for Psychology.
  • Australian Psychological Society Prize.
  • Higher Degree Research Excellence Award, Macquarie University.
  • Cancer Research Network Innovation Award, NSW.
  • Macquarie University Research award for Excellence in Research – Social Sciences, Business & Humanities.
  • NSW Young Tall Poppy Science Award.
  • Dean’s Rising Star award.
  • International Psycho-Oncology Society (IPOS) Hiroomi Kawano New Investigator Award.
  • Premier’s Award for Outstanding Cancer Research Fellow of the Year.
  • Excellence in Postgraduate Research Supervision Award.
  • Diamond Jubilee International Visiting Fellowship at the University of Southampton, UK.
Research activities: 

Society Memberships & Professional Activities:

  • Deputy Chair, International Psycho-Oncology Society Paediatric Oncology Special Interest Group.
  • Member, International Psycho-Oncology Society Research Committee.
  • Deputy Chair of the Psycho-Oncology Committee for the Australian & New Zealand Children's Haematology and Oncology Group (ANZCHOG)
  • Founding Chair, International Psycho-Oncology Society Early Career Professionals Committee.

Other memberships include Australian Psychological Society, Psychologists in Oncology Network, International Psycho-Oncology Society, Registered psychologist, AHPRA.

Field of Research (FOR) Tag: 
Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified
Cancer Therapy (excl. Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy)
Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Socio-economic Objective (SEO) tags: 
Child Health
Mental Health Services
Behaviour and Health
Teaching & Supervision
Supervision keywords: 
early intervention
family support programs
Media & Expertise
Areas of expertise: 

Psychosocial aspects of childhood cancer, including: Childhood cancer diagnosis, Parent coping/adjustment, Childhood cancer survivorship, e-mental health interventions to help survivors and their families, Parental bereavement and Psychosocial aspects of cancer genetics in children.