Listen and learn

Glenys Abrahams owes her life to the power of education and philanthropy. The musician-turned-special-education-teacher is a breast cancer survivor and says she is alive today because of the incredible research into the disease in recent years.

Glenys Abrahams (Bachelor of Music ’81) devotes much of her time to giving back to education and is a long-term supporter of UQ’s research into areas of audiology and speech language pathology.

Now, after 34 years working with deaf and hearing-impaired students, she has started a project to detect hearing loss in some of East Africa’s poorest school children.

Abrahams completed a four-week project at The School of St Jude in Tanzania in February this year, where she worked to identify hearing loss in students as part of wider medical checks.

“The School of St Jude and its dedicated medical volunteers work hard to provide a yearly medical-check program for students,” she said.

“However, until recently, the school didn’t have the resources to provide hearing tests, like most Australian students receive."

“I approached the school about developing a program, which I have now done in consultation with specialists from organisations such as leading paediatric hearing technology provider Hear and Say, the University of Pretoria and UQ.”

The project involved the use of newly developed software by hearScreen, which allows practitioners to collect and immediately analyse results in the field using smartphone technology.

Abrahams said people often forget how many different fields come together to fight disease.

“It is not just doctors and scientists who we have to thank for our breakthroughs, but physicists and mathematicians who create the machines that detect and diagnose cancer.

“This is why education is so important to me and why I support education at The School of St Jude and UQ.”

Abrahams said she had met many wonderful people during her time working at UQ.

“I developed friendships with many people, across many different faculties, and a lot of the friends I made then I still have today.”

To learn more about The School of St Jude, visit

A student at The School of St Jude. Image: The School of St Jude

Giving back

In addition to her financial contributions to UQ, Glenys Abrahams is committed to giving back with her skills, time and expertise.

Abrahams is pursuing opportunities to assist on research projects involving music, audiology or speech impairment.

Glenys Abrahams (centre) with colleagues at UQ.

Glenys Abrahams (centre) with colleagues at UQ.

“While money is a vital part of supporting charities and areas of research, there are so many other ways you can help,” she said.

“After the wonderful experience of working with children at The School of St Jude, I am keen to continue to support disadvantaged students in other countries where paediatric hearing technology is not available.”

To learn more about how you can give to UQ, visit