Huntington’s NSW ACT invited Associate Professor Liz McCusker to be a special guest speaker at our 2020 Annual General Meeting. In acknowledgement of her retirement after so many years of service to the Huntington’s community we asked Josh Szeps to conduct the interview.
Prof McCusker undertook neurology training in the USA and worked with Prof Ira Shoulson who was to become a major world leader in HD.
After returning to Australia in the late 1980s, she continued her work at the HD clinic at Lidcombe Hospital. Back then no treatment existed for this fatal genetic condition that affects people’s movement, thinking, personality and mood. Longer term medical care was also non-existent or erratic and patients and their families were often left to their own devices. Prof McCusker recognised that more could be done and alongside many other pioneers, fought to help these struggling families.
In 1995 Prof McCusker moved to Westmead Hospital where she became the Director of the HD service. This included a multidisciplinary team to meet the complex needs of HD families and community outreach services. This clinic went on to become one of the five largest HD clinics in the world.
In 2008 Prof McCusker took on a research role and continued to work tirelessly on international and local drug trials, and observational studies.
In 2020 Prof McCusker retired from Westmead Hospital after more than 40 years of service to the Huntington’s community as a clinical and research leader.