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Dr Karla (Berres Karlene) Fenton OAM

Tasmanian Honour Roll of Women logo
Karla Fenton

Awarded for service to science or medicine

6 February 1926 - New Norfolk, Tasmania

Entered on roll: 2017

“…enabled patients to access services”

Dr Karla Fenton was born in New Norfolk and completed 61 years in medical practice before retiring in June 2016.

Dr Fenton joined the Tasmanian Psychiatric Service in 1969 and worked in adult psychiatry, the Combined Children’s Centre, Youth Counselling and was Superintendent of the Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centres at the John Edis, Royal Hobart and Royal Derwent Hospitals. She also worked at Clare House in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, was Acting Regional Psychiatrist on the North West Coast and was a Forensic Examiner for the Sexual Assault Medical Services.

A concern for the effects of drugs and alcohol on young people and veterans saw Dr Fenton instigate and coordinate the Maturity and Youth (M-Y) program for drug affected families in the 1990s. Whilst in private practice, her patients were bulk billed, which enabled many who might have otherwise found it unaffordable, access her medical services.

She is an Official Fellow at the University of Tasmania’s Jane Franklin Hall, and provides a scholarship in perpetuity for a college resident to study abroad on the understanding they return to Jane Franklin College the following year.

Dr Fenton also provides an Education Fund for the Alzheimers, Dementia and Related Disorders Society (ADARDS) Nursing Home. A foundation was set up in 1996 in perpetuity to supply money for a staff member to obtain further education in their discipline.

Dr Fenton received the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2005 for service to medicine as a practitioner, educator and counsellor in the areas of drug and alcohol abuse, sexual trauma and mental health.

The Anzac of the Year Award 2005 (Tasmania) and the Senior Australian of the Year (Tasmania) in 2004 were awarded to Dr Fenton and she continues as a Patron of Soroptimists International Hobart and a Convenor for Assisted Dying Group.

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