One million dollars helps in matters of life and death

AMP Tomorrow Maker Sonia Allan tackles a health law challenge...

As an accomplished academic who has specialised in health law for nearly two decades, Sonia Allan deals with the biggest of issues: birth and death.

What amazed the senior lecturer in Law at Macquarie University was that, even in this information age and with significant public interest, there were few resources that helped Australians understand the ethical and legal issues surrounding assisted reproduction, surrogacy, cloning, human genome research and end-of-life care.

“Working in health law, I would have to go to multiple websites to gather information,” she said. “And for someone without the legal expertise, it is extremely difficult to access legal information on these very important topics.”

Sonia realised there was considerable confusion concerning the law and policy nationwide, given the variations in laws across the states and territories. Recognising the need, she applied for―and received―an AMP Tomorrow Fund grant to create a central source of medical legal information.

“My aim was to create a centralised site that would give the community, including health professionals and law students, front-page information on health law issues as well as links to government sites, legal cases and other websites that enable them to dig further.”

After more than 700 hours of research, editing and loading content, Sonia achieved her Tomorrow Fund goal and launched her Health Law Central website in May.

This online resource provides clear information to the community as well as a blog where Sonia comments on medico-legal issues we hear about on the news―such as high-profile surrogacy cases.

It’s already attracting positive feedback from legal students and practitioners. The next step is to promote the website further to the wider community.

“I knew if I received the funds I would be able to achieve what I set out to do. It took a lot of work but I managed to produce a resource that I think will help a lot of Australians.

“AMP’s Tomorrow Fund provided a wonderful opportunity. I would never have created this resource without it.”

Sonia was among 47 amazing Aussies doing great things who shared in $1 million in individual grants in 2014―the first year of the AMP Tomorrow Fund. Her fellow AMP Tomorrow Makers are also making their mark. For example, young ballerina Elise Jacques is pursuing her dream of dancing in Europe, technologist Will Tamblyn is busy promoting his 3D imaging invention and blind adventurer Nicholas Gleeson is preparing to trek the Simpson Desert in July.

This year, AMP’s Tomorrow Fund received more than 2,300 applications. Stay tuned—judging is now underway and the 2015 Tomorrow Makers will be announced on 19 November.

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