Cure Kids announces the appointment of Prof Sally Merry as the newest member of the Board


Cure Kids, the largest charitable funder of child health research in New Zealand, today announced the appointment of Emeritus Professor Sally Merry as the newest member of its Board.

Prof Sally Merry is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and researcher who held the Cure Kids Duke Family Chair in Child and Adolescent Mental Health at the University of Auckland until her retirement in 2021. As Chair, she led brilliant research focusing on understanding mental health conditions in children and young people.

Harnessing the accessibility of technology and the smartphone, Prof Merry and her team developed treatments and prevention strategies that are easy to access, home-based, and interactive. Now, young people and their parents can access award-winning online tools that teach strategies proven to build resilience, manage negative thoughts or feelings, and increase mental well-being.

Over more than 20 years, Prof Merry trained and mentored many researchers, including Assoc Prof Sarah Hetrick, Prof Terryann Clark, Assoc Prof Theresa Fleming, and Dr Karolina Stasiak. Since 2015, Prof Merry has also been an Advisor on Cure Kids’ Medical & Scientific Assessment Committee, which recommends funding for the research projects most likely to transform the health of children.

In her role as a member of Cure Kids Board, Prof Merry will continue to have a profound impact on child and adolescent mental health.

“As New Zealand’s largest funder of child health research, Cure Kids plays a vital role in addressing the big health issues affecting Kiwi children.  Prof Merry’s perspective on child and adolescent mental health will be invaluable in rounding out our governance capabilities to address this important aspect of child health,” says Franceska Banga, Cure Kids Chair.

Acknowledging there is a huge ongoing need for research in this area, Cure Kids CEO Frances Benge adds that she is delighted to welcome Prof Merry to the Cure Kids Board.

“Cure Kids recognises that mental health is a significant part of child health. Prof Merry’s knowledge and experience will play a crucial role in helping Cure Kids ensure our tamariki have the best chance of a healthy childhood, both physically and emotionally,” says Frances Benge, Cure Kids CEO.

Although retiring in 2021, Prof Merry remains committed to the health and well-being of future generations and is looking forward to continuing this work in her capacity as a member of the Board and the Assessment Committee.

“It’s wonderful to join Cure Kids Board and give back to an organisation that supported my work in child and adolescent mental health for many years. I look forward to working with the team to help them realise their vision of healthier children with brighter futures,” says Prof Merry.