For nearly four decades, Sue’s work has been with herbal medicine. She trained as a herbalist with the UK’s National Institute of Medical Herbalists before returning home to Melbourne in the early 1980s.
She practiced in the first integrative medicine clinic in Melbourne and helped establish Melbourne’s longstanding herbal support group (and the Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia’s (NHAA) first chapter) VicHerbs. She has served on the executive of the NHAA, was inaugural chair of their Board Member Advisory Committee and is currently a member of their Environmental Committee. She taught herbal medicine at the Southern School of Natural Therapies before being appointed foundation lecturer in herbal medicine at Southern Cross University in 1995 when it established the first state-funded university course in naturopathy in Australia. She lectures and publishes regularly both nationally and internationally, and her PhD was an account of the contemporary challenges facing Western Herbal Medicine in Australia.
She has been honoured by her profession with a number of awards, including Herbalist of the Year (NHAA 2009) for leadership in academia, education and mentoring; the inaugural Vis Mediatrix Naturae award (Australian Naturopathic Summit, 2016) presented to ‘an elder of the profession who exemplifies the art and spirit of the healing power of nature in their work, life and community service’ and Life Membership of the NHAA (2017) for ‘insightful stewardship across many sectors of the herbal medicine profession’.
Her role on the Board of the Jacka Foundation complements her current range of activities which includes research and (online)( teaching with the University of Tasmania; consulting – mostly to institutions which offer natural medicine education, and developing her skills in herbal medicine-making for the benefit of the next generation.