Retirement of Chief Medical Officer

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Australia will have a new Chief Medical Officer (CMO) in October after it was announced Professor Chris Baggoley will retire.

Professor Baggoley, who ends his tenure today (15 July 2016), has made a significant contribution to Australia’s preparedness to respond to health threats – most recently the Zika virus.

Announcing Professor Baggoley’s departure, Department of Health Secretary Martin Bowles said Professor Baggoley had been an influential figure in dealing with a number of challenges since he took up the CMO role in 2011.

“In particular, he has been outstanding in progressing the nation’s response to antimicrobial resistance, vaccine preventable disease, the risk of new communicable diseases, and improved screening and early diagnosis of non-communicable diseases such as cancer.

“In addition to leading Australia’s response to the outbreak of Ebola in West Africa, which was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) in August 2014, Professor Baggoley made a significant contribution to the international response as a member of the WHO International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on Ebola which provided advice throughout 2014-15 to the WHO Director General.

“Over the past three years of ongoing international concern with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS) Professor Baggoley has not only supervised Australia’s  monitoring of MERS but has also led the international effort to minimise the threat from this disease as chair of the WHO International Health Regulations Emergency Committee on MERS from 2013 to the present,” Mr Bowles said.

Professor Baggoley will be replaced by Austin Health CEO Professor Brendan Murphy.

“Professor Murphy is an experienced clinician but also highly experienced in stakeholder management, strategic direction-setting and policy advice.

“He has been the Chief Executive Officer of Austin Health in Victoria since 2005. He is also a Director of the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health, the Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute and the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre and Independent Chair of Health Services Innovation Tasmania.

“Professor Murphy is also a former deputy Chair of Health Workforce Australia and a former President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of Nephrology,” Mr Bowles said.

Professor Murphy will take up the new role in October. In the meantime, newly appointed Deputy CMO Dr Tony Hobbs will act in the position.

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