Sheila Wallace

Sheila Wallace

Dr Sheila Wallace was the Director of the Children's Centre, where she worked in cooperation with the Community Health Service, Neonatologists, an Orthopaedic Surgeon, and the Professor of Mental Handicap. She was on the Medical Advisory Committee of the British Epilepsy Association from 1974 – 1984, on the British Epilepsy Research Foundation Awards Committee from 1986, Treasurer of the BPNA from 1984 – 1986, she served on the Committee on the Safety of Medicines and the MRC's Committee on the Development of Vaccines and Immunisation procedures. From 1990, she was a board member of the International Child Neurology Association (ICNA), and from 1999–2001, the European Paediatric Neurology Association (EPNS); she sat on the Editorial boards of MacKeith Press and the European Journal of Paediatric Neurology. Among all this, she kept up a continual flow of academic work, most evident in her publications but including lecturing at home and abroad, particularly in places where the need was most prominent. She alone built Paediatric Neurology in South Wales with the same deep determination and carried its influence across Europe and the World.

Rowland Isaac, her husband, to whom she was loyally devoted, died in 1993. Her response led to a further increase in her work rate and travel. Even so, by 1996, she edited “Epilepsy in Children (Chapman & Hall)” a book that contains a great deal of her own work and reveals the distinguished authors who were pleased to contribute at her request.

When she learned of her mortal illness in the summer of 2002, she said, “I would rather spend such time as remains to me in my garden rather than in an ambulance going back and forth to the hospital for treatment”. She made a brave and proper decision for herself that was entirely consistent with her character. She had the habit of making bold and right decisions!

As a Research Associate and Honorary Lecturer at the Department of Child Life and Health in Edinburgh, she undertook essential work on the aetiology and outcome of febrile convulsions, leading to 15 publications by 1979. It was the start of her significant contribution to research into Epilepsy and teaching about it.

Her special interest in Seizure Disorders was only one aspect of her work. She covered Metabolic Disorders, Infectious and Vascular Disease, as well as Trauma and Neuromuscular Disorders. Anyone privileged to see the quality of that clinical work is amazed by the fine and comprehensive detail of her notes and observations. She gathered training posts and attracted appreciative doctors from many countries.

Her kindness, liveliness, impish sense of humour, brave and bold decision-making attitude, love and knowledge of flowers and world nature, teaching and Committee obligations made her recognized over more than 49 countries! That was the most satisfactory achievement of her life!

To celebrate Wallace’s lifetime achievements and to pass on the legacy of her work, ICNA has been hosting a Sheila Wallace Award to many speakers at its International Child Neurology Congresses (ICNCs) since 2006. At every ICNCs, ICNA honours the “Sheila Wallace Award” to a young Child Neurologist of 45 years of age from a resource-limited region in recognition of clinical and research contributions to Child Neurology.

Sheila Wallace Awardees (2006 - 2024)


Robert Sebunya

Child neurology practice in a low resource setting, focus on Epilepsy, lessons learnt
18th ICNC2024 Cape Town, South Africa


Edward Kija

The developmental and epileptic encephalopathies in low resource settings: Challenges in diagnosis and management
17th ICNC2022 Antalya, Turkey


Suvasini Sharma

Dietary therapies for epilepsy in low resource settings - challenges and successes
16th ICNC2020 Virtual Congress


Pauline Samia

Child Neurology in East Africa - Experience from the Coal Face
15th ICNC2020 Mumbai, India


Jitendra Sahu

Child Neurology in India - Challenges and Opportunities
14th ICNC2016 Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Sheffali Gulati

Establishing a program for neurodevelopmental disorders in resource constrained settings: Opportunities and challenges
13th ICNC2014 Iguazú, Brazil


Samson Gwer

Challenges and research priorities in the management of childhood acute coma in Sub-Saharan Africa
12th ICNC2012 Brisbane, Australia


Richard Idro

Cerebral malaria and neurodisability in African children: Outlook for prevention
11th ICNC2010 Cairo, Egypt


Dina El-Metwally

Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy. Still haunting.
10th ICNC2006 Montreal, Canada