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HomeNewsChampion of children retires after almost 40 years

Champion of children retires after almost 40 years

It was by chance in 1975 that Michael Zilibowitz stepped off a cruise ship where he was a young doctor on board to check out “this strange land Australia.”

And it became the Northern Beaches fortune as the doctor went on to eventually spend the next 38 years as a paediatrician, helping hundreds of families and their children.

As he sets to retire in May, Michael reflected on his career which began in 1972 in the United Kingdom, but brought him to the shores of Australia, where he has worked tirelessly in championing the needs of children, supporting families and the community on the wellbeing and nurturing needs of children.

I feel really privileged to have been invited into the homes of families and children who have shared with me their fears, secrets and hopes.
Dr Michael Zilibowitz

“For me, to help them and guide them and find a way forward and a path to a healthier better life – that’s rewarding.”

Specialising in behavioural and developmental paediatric health issues, Michael has seen an increase of children and families seeking help over the decades as more present with mental health, behavioural and neurological conditions.

He has been described by his colleagues as instrumental in the early endorsement and pioneering of the First 1000 days and now First 2000 days, where the relationship and wellbeing of a child from conception to five years old is crucial for their wellbeing later in life.

NSLHD Child, Youth and Family Director, Dr Elisabeth Murphy said: “Michael started at the time when there weren’t many issues about behavioural and development cases of children. It just wasn’t the level it is now.

“He has been a valuable pathfinder in this area of expertise.”

Michael, 72, is looking forward to travelling Arnhem Land and “not chasing the clock”.

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