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EXCLUSIVE: Medical backlash against Miranda Kerr as Royal Hospital for Women ambassador.

Miranda Kerr’s cherubic face and lithe body are currently fluttering on dozens of giant expensive banners for a kilometre down either side of Sydney’s iconic William Street. That would be completely unremarkable, except that the campaign to which the supermodel has lent her name, face and body isn’t for lingerie, swimwear, watches, teacups, shampoo or perfume. It isn’t even for her organic skincare brand.

It’s for a hospital.

Royal Hospital for Women banners stretch up Sydney's William St. Image: Mamamia.

The Royal Hospital For Women specialises in the care of women during pregnancy and birth, and late last year Miranda Kerr was named the ambassador of the Royal Hospital For Women Foundation, a not-for-profit that aims to raise funds to help the hospital provide specialist care to women and newborns.

Mamamia has learned exclusively that several doctors and health workers associated with the Royal as well as former patients and other medical professionals have written to the RHW's board to complain about the association. In addition, some donors to the foundation have reportedly withdrawn their financial support after the appointment of Kerr was announced several months ago.

The basis for their complaints: that Miranda Kerr has no association with the hospital, has never given birth or been treated there, lives in LA and is a well known advocate for non-science-based alternative health practices.  She has even claimed in interviews that epidurals make babies look "drugged".

And most worryingly, she endorsed a book by a well-known anti-vaxxer.

The wider medical community has also questioned the board's appointment of Kerr.

"She supports a whole of pseudo-scientific concepts and she's the face of a foundation raising money for an academic, prestigious, orthodox medical hospital,"  Professor John Dwyer, president of the organisation Friends of Science in Medicine told Mamamia this week.

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Professor Dwyer added he was surprised that someone who publicly peddles "scientifically naive" opinions is appropriate for such a role.

"It makes one wonder about the choice," he said.

From the hospital's website

Kerr has always been outspoken about her preference for all things "natural" - including child birth. Following the birth of her son, Flynn, the 33-year-old told Harpers Bazaar that she formed her natural-is-best opinion after watching birthing videos of babies delivered via epidural in which she claimed they looked "a little bit drugged up".

"I was like ‘Well, I don’t want that.’ I wanted to give him the best possible start in life I could," she said about her decision to have no drugs when she gave birth to Flynn in America.

There is no scientific basis for the false claim that epidurals affect babies during childbirth.

But last year, she took what critics called a more "dangerous" step by endorsing a holistic children's health book that featured content warning parents about the alleged dangers of vaccinating children.

READ: Miranda Kerr is trying to sell you a very dangerous message.

In Well Adjusted Babies, author and influential chiropractor Dr Jennifer Barham-Floreani claims to advocate a "pro-choice" stance on the issue, but the book is heavy on anti-vaccination content, including an account of how the author treated her son's whooping cough with homeopathic remedies.

The book also implies a link between SIDS and vaccinations, as well as autism and vaccinations, and suggests that immunisation will eventually be considered unsafe in the same way that cigarettes and asbestos are today.

While Kerr has stayed mum on the issue ever since the resulting furore, her mother Therese Kerr has been hugely outspoken on social media and routinely shares articles about the perceived dangers of the whooping cough vaccine via her Facebook page.

Earlier this year, Therese Kerr, who describes herself as a “Visionary, Public Speaker, Author and advocate for holistic family health” shared information on her Facebook page suggesting the Zika virus was caused by vaccinations.

With this in mind, Catherine Hughes, the co-founder of Immunisation Foundation of Australia and the Light for Riley campaign, is baffled by Kerr's appointment as the RHWF ambassador.

Hughes lost her little boy, Riley, to whooping cough last year at just 32 days old, and she's been a vocal pro-vaccination advocate ever since.

"I can't understand why an evidence-based hospital would want to select someone from a family who frequently discourage evidence-based health practices like vaccination," she told Mamamia.

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"Many of the doctors and nurses in that hospital would have witnessed children battling for their lives against horrific vaccine-preventable diseases like our son Riley did, and I think having Kerr as an ambassador is doing a huge disservice to these health-care workers and children."

Mamamia understands several doctors working at the hospital share these concerns and have written to the foundation, seeking Kerr be removed as an ambassador.

The foundation's latest advertising push is doing little to appease the critics. According to current rates, the banners such as those currently being used by the RHWF are hired to a non-profit organisation at a discounted rate of $65 per banner per week by City of Sydney council. And that doesn't include additional charges, such as those associated with delivery and installation.

It unclear for how long the campaign will run, but there are approximately 61 banners peppered along that single stretch of road between College Street and Darlinghurst Road.

Mamamia has contacted the Royal Hospital for Women Foundation numerous times over several days requesting a response to questions regarding Miranda Kerr and the complaints it has reportedly received, but they have not provided a response.

The questions we posed to them include the following:

  1. Why was Miranda Kerr chosen as the hospital's ambassador?
  2. What is her connection to the hospital, given she wasn't born there nor did she give birth to her own child there?
  3. Were there no other Australian women who are connected to the hospital who were suitable?
  4. Is Kerr being paid for the role?
  5. Has the foundation received complaints from hospital staff, the medical community or the public regarding her appointment?
  6. Is the foundation concerned about Kerr's outspoken support of alternative health practices vs science-based medicine?

We hope to receive some answers soon.

If you work at the royal hospital for women and would like to contact us, please email [email protected]

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