Media Releases

New Board Director at National Asthma Council Australia

11 Dec 2023

The National Asthma Council Australia (NAC) has today announced the appointment of a new Director to its board, Professor Sheryl van Nunen, OAM FRSN.

Professor van Nunen is a clinician and medical educator and her current research interests include new treatments for, and causes of, hay fever and anaphylaxis.

Professor van Nunen is a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians and Clinical Professor at both the Faculty of Medicine and Health, University of Sydney, and the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences, Macquarie University. Her many credentials include her role as consultant physician in allergic diseases at Northern Beaches Hospital, Visiting Medical Officer at Northern Beaches and North Shore Private Hospitals, as well as Senior Advisor, Allergy and Clinical Immunology Center at Vinmec International Hospital in Vietnam. She has over 200 publications to her credit.

Announcing the change, National Asthma Council Australia Chair Dr Joanna Wriedt said that Professor van Nunen will assist and facilitate the NAC to promote best-practice care to people living with asthma and allergies and their families.

“Professor van Nunen has been an outstanding media spokesperson for asthma and allergy for the NAC and has served on special sub-committees within the organisation for over a decade.

“The Board is delighted that Professor van Nunen is the new Director appointed by the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA), a member body of the National Asthma Council Australia.

“We would also like to take this opportunity to thank Associate Professor Sara Barnes, who served as the Board Director on behalf of ASCIA for five years,” she said.

Professor van Nunen said it was an honour to become part of the National Asthma Council Australia board.

“It is a great privilege to be representing ASCIA (Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy) on the Board of the National Asthma Council Australia.

“The NAC has been informing, educating and improving the lives of those living with asthma for 35 years in 2024 and I look forward to working with my board colleagues and management to support that,” she said.

In her first role as NAC Director, Professor van Nunen is taking the opportunity to remind all health professionals about the possible risks for people with asthma and allergies of Christmas tree syndrome at this time of year.

“Pollen and mould in real Christmas trees can cause ‘Christmas tree syndrome’, which can trigger asthma and hay fever symptoms and causes wheezing, sneezing, disrupted sleep, and possible severe asthma attacks.

“Artificial trees can be a safe alternative but if used year after year they accumulate dust or mould, which may be invisible to the naked eye,” she said.

Professor van Nunen says those with allergies and/or asthma can still have a Christmas tree if they wipe artificial trees clean of dust and mould with a damp cloth or take a hose to the real version.

“The NAC is encouraging all health professionals to advise their patients with asthma and allergies to download the Christmas Tree Syndrome Fact Sheet and be able to enjoy the festive season,” she said.

For further information or an interview with a National Asthma Council Australia spokesperson, please contact:

Donna Le Page, Le Page PR
: 0429 825 703  

The National Asthma Council Australia is a collaboration of four member bodies:

  • Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy
  • Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association
  • Pharmaceutical Society of Australia
  • Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

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