Event Details

AFPHM National Training Days Series Session #3

01 Dec 2020 at 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM
Online (AEDT)

Session 3 – Public Health Emergencies

The final workshop in the series is on decision making under the pressure of COVID-19 and the public health impacts of poor air quality from bushfire smoke.



Dr Ian Norton

Ian is founder and Managing Director of Respond Global, providing organisations with strategic and practical operational support on how to be COVID-Safe. He led the medical response to the crew quarantine aboard the Ruby Princess and the aged care crisis in Victoria on behalf of the Australian Government.

He is a specialist emergency physician and an expert in coordinating emergency health responses to disease outbreaks and disasters. He holds postgraduate qualifications in Surgery, International Health and Tropical Medicine.

From 2014 to 2020, Ian was head of the WHO’s Emergency Medical Team (EMT) Initiative in Geneva and led responses to Ebola, diphtheria and measles outbreaks as well as earthquakes, cyclones and war zones. Ian is the lead author of the current WHO Global Classification and Standards for medical teams deploying to disasters.

Ian has also led the creation of disaster response teams in Australia. He established the Australian Medical Assistance Teams (AUSMAT) framework and designed field hospitals for international disaster and infectious disease responses.

Dr Vanessa Johnston

Vanessa is Deputy Chief Health Officer in the Public Health Protection and Regulation Division of ACT Health and Associate Professor at the ANU Medical School.

She holds a leadership role in supporting the ACT Chief Health Officer in the carriage of statutory responsibilities and development of policy, programs and legislative frameworks to improve population health, both in the ACT and nationally. She is the current ACT jurisdictional executive group member on the Communicable Diseases Network Australia. During 2020, Vanessa worked as part of the health emergency response to the Black Summer bushfires and to COVID-19.

Her presentation will focus on the health impacts of bushfire smoke and the public health response to prolonged smoke events. It will also explore the role of public health practitioners in building long-term resilience to bushfires and smoke events, generating evidence and awareness of the causes and effects of air pollution, as well as advocating for action on climate change — the key driver of air pollution in Australia and globally.

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