Our medical experts

The Australian Government has put together a team of widely respected clinicians, led by the Chief Medical Officer, to assist with the COVID-19 response. With a huge breadth of experience, these experts will help us manage as effectively as we can the unprecedented health challenges we are facing.

Professor Brendan Murphy

Chief Medical Officer

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Professor Brendan Murphy is the Chief Medical Officer for the Australian Government and is the principal medical adviser to the Minister for Health and the Department of Health.

He also holds direct responsibility for Health’s Office of Health Protection and the Health Workforce Division.

In addition to the many committees he chairs, co-chairs and participates in, he is the Australian Member on the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Governing Committee and represents Australia at the World Health Assembly.

Dr Nick Coatsworth

Deputy Chief Medical Officer

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Dr Nick Coatsworth brings together two of the most important factors in the fight against coronavirus — he is a respiratory specialist and infectious diseases specialist.

He has extensive experience in health emergencies and epidemics around the word, including leading Australian Medical Assistance Teams and working in Congo, Chad and Sudan with Médecins Sans Frontières.

Nick’s contribution to our response to coronavirus will provide frontline experience and a voice for clinicians at the highest level. This will help ensure the measures we are taking to protect the Australian community focus on people’s individual needs. 

Dr Jenny Firman

Deputy Chief Medical Officer

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Before her appointment as one of the new Deputy Chief Medical Officers, Jenny was the Principal Medical Adviser in the Office of Health Protection in the Department of Health. In this position, Jenny was responsible for providing medical and scientific advice on communicable disease control and health emergencies.

Jenny has worked on various national and international medical responses, including the:

  • national response to the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic
  • 2014 Ebola outbreak
  • 2015 Zika virus outbreak
  • global problem of antimicrobial resistance

Her extensive experience in government responses to national and international health emergencies positions Jenny as a lead authority in the way forward for the Australian Government on the coronavirus pandemic.

Professor Paul Kelly

Deputy Chief Medical Officer

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Professor Paul Kelly is a public health physician and epidemiologist with more than 30 years’ research experience. He has worked around the world in health system development and infectious disease epidemiology.

Paul was one of the leads in developing the FluCAN project — a national influenza surveillance system used by hospitals to track patients who are hospitalised with influenza. This work helps to determine the effectiveness of the yearly influenza vaccine.

Paul has vast experience in infectious disease epidemiology, in particular influenza, pneumonia and tuberculosis. This will help us understand how coronavirus spreads through the community and what we can do to slow the spread.

Professor Michael Kidd AM

Deputy Chief Medical Officer

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Professor Michael Kidd AM has been a general practitioner for 35 years, working in urban and rural areas across Australia, and is a past president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

He is a world-leading authority on primary health care, having worked in senior leadership positions in Australia and around the world, including the World Health Organization and the World Organization of Family Doctors. He has vast experience of national and global health systems.

Michael is helping change the way we deliver quality health care to every Australian. His contribution to the coronavirus response is focused on how the health system can evolve to meet the current needs of the Australian community — bringing health care into our homes.

Alison McMillan

Chief Nurse and Midwifery Officer

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Alison has been a nurse for more than 35 years, specialising in intensive care. She has held senior positions in safety and quality, nursing and midwifery policy and health emergencies, including as an AUSMAT team leader.

As a member of the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee her role in the coronavirus response is to advise the Australian Government on nursing and midwifery through stakeholder engagement to ensure nurses and midwives can continue to contribute to the community’s needs.

Dr Ruth Vine

Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Mental Health

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Dr Ruth Vine is Australia’s first Deputy Chief Medical Officer for Mental Health. Ruth has worked as a consultant psychiatrist in clinical and government roles since 1991. She has been Victoria’s Chief Psychiatrist and Director of Mental Health.

Ruth will provide her expertise to the mental health response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She will work with states and territories to make sure Australia’s mental health system meets patient needs. This means people suffering mental ill health can get the help when and where they need it.

Ruth will work with states and territories on the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Pandemic Response Plan.

Last updated: 
23 May 2020

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