Kerryn Phelps

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Kerryn Phelps
Born (1957-12-14) 14 December 1957 (age 56)
Sydney, Australia
Education University of Sydney
Years active 1992-present
Known for Former president of Australian Medical Association
Relatives Jackie Stricker-Phelps (spouse)
Jaime Fronzek & Gabrielle Stricker-Phelps (daughters)
Carl Fronzek (son)
Peter Phelps (brother)
Medical career
Profession Medical practitioner, academic
Specialism Public Health
Health Education

Kerryn Lyndel Phelps AM (born 14 December 1957) is an Australian medical practitioner and public commentator. Professor Phelps was the first woman and first LGBT person to be elected president of the Federal Australian Medical Association (AMA).[citation needed] In 2003 she was awarded the Centenary Medal for services to Health and Medicine.[1] In 2011 she was made a member of the Order Of Australia for her service to medicine, particularly through leadership roles with the AMA, education and community health, and as a General Practitioner.[2] She is a pioneer in the field of Health Communication and Integrative Medicine in Australia.

Professional life[edit]

Professor Phelps graduated from University of Sydney in 1981 and completed postgraduate training at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, and at the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. She started working in health communications in the mainstream media in 1985, bringing messages about healthy lifestyle to the attention of the general public. Her television credits include EveryBody, Good Morning Australia, The Today Show, a documentary on The Kokoda Campaign, and Last Chance Surgery. She has been the subject of stories on 60 Minutes, Australian Story and This Is Your Life. Prof Phelps has presented a variety of health and fitness programs on radio, and has been a regular newspaper and magazine columnist. 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] At the time, Phelps strongly contended that General Practice is a medical specialty. The minister later issued a public apology.

In 2009-2012 she was President of the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association.

Today, Phelps is founder and principle clinician at 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 has been the health writer for the Australian Women's Weekly since 1991, writes political commentary for Medical Observer Magazine, and is a regular columnist for The Australian newspaper. She is a regular commentator on General Practice, public health, medical politics and human rights issues.

She is the co-author of a textbook 'General Practice: An Integrative Approach' published in 2010. Her latest book ‘Ultimate Wellness: The 3 Step Plan' has been published by Pan Macmillan in 2013.

Personal life[edit]

Phelps' has a younger brother, Australian TV actor Peter Phelps. She is in a long-term relationship with Jackie Stricker-Phelps, a former primary school teacher. Phelps and Stricker-Phelps were united in a religious ceremony in New York on 4 January 1998.[5] They returned to New York City in 2011 for a legal marriage. However, Australian law does not recognise same-sex marriage.[6] From her first marriage she has a daughter, Jaime Fronzek and a son, Carl Fronzek.[7] The couple have a younger daughter, Gabrielle Stricker-Phelps.

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 an Member of the Order of Australia for service to medicine, particularly through leadership roles with the Australian Medical Association in education and community health, and as a General Practitioner.[2]

Kerryn and Jackie have been announced as ambassadors for Bernardos Australia's Mother Of The Year Award 2013.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Kerryn Phelps Curriculum Vitae
  2. ^ a b "Kerryn Phelps AM". Australian Honours Database. Retrieved 13 June 2011. 
  3. ^ "transcript of ABC news". Australian Broadcasting Commission. 2001. Retrieved 2 July 2001. 
  4. ^ "transcript of ABC radio". Australian Broadcasting Commission. 2001" accessdate = Thursday 24 May 2001. 
  5. ^ Queer city: gay and lesbian politics in Sydney (Pluto Press, 2001), p. 127.
  6. ^ "NZ TV Doc Weds". 23 February 1998. Retrieved 7 February 2008. 
  7. ^ Mitchell, Susan (2003). Kerryn & Jackie: The Shared Life of Kerryn Phelps and Jackie Stricker. St. Leonards, N.S.W.: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 1-74114-138-9. 
  8. ^ "Samsame 25". Samesame. Retrieved 31 March 2011. 
  9. ^ "Kerryn Phelps". Australian Honours Database. Retrieved 13 June 2011.