The National COVID-19 Health and Research Advisory Committee was established in April 2020 to provide advice on Australia’s health response to the COVID-19 pandemic to the Commonwealth Chief Medical Officer.
NHMRC is providing secretariat and project support for the Committee. The Committee is not established under the NHMRC Act and does not advise the NHMRC CEO.
Members of the Committee have been selected to provide a range of expertise and perspectives, and include:
- respected community leaders and parliamentarians
- clinicians and researchers from a variety of disciplines (infectious disease, public health, emergency response, hospital care, primary care, social science and bioethics), and
- persons able to represent the voices of older people, people with disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, younger people and people with mental health concerns.
The membership includes representation from all states and territories and from rural and remote Australia.
Terms of Reference
The National COVID-19 Health and Research Advisory Committee will report to Australia’s Chief Medical Officer and inform the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).
- will provide rapid and evidence-based advice (or expert advice in the absence of evidence) on Australia’s health response to the COVID-19 pandemic with the aim of preventing new cases, optimising the treatment of current cases, and assisting in optimising overall health system readiness to deal with the pandemic as it progresses
- members will have the capacity to provide rapid advice to the Committee on key issues (one-page briefs)
- will have the capacity to recommend seeking rapid advice from members of the Australian health and medical research sector
- will be able to provide feedback on what measures appear to be working and what measures are not, in different parts of the country
- may need to recommend to the CMO to quickly bring together experts to respond to requests for advice on public health risks and health management issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic
- will be available, in consultation with the CMO, to provide environmental scanning and advice on key issues as they arise, including the effectiveness of public health measures overseas, availability of ventilators and ICU beds, appropriateness of delivery and use of PPE, monitoring the effectiveness of the roll out of Telehealth item numbers, progress on rapid testing and vaccines, post-viral issues, and monitoring of key outcomes.
Committee member appointments are time-limited and will be for 6-12 months or until the response to the pandemic has reached a point of contain and control, and advice is no longer required by the CMO.
For further information on the work of this Committee, email email@example.com. Please note: Members are unable to respond to individual enquiries.
Professor Michael Kidd AM is the Principal Medical Advisor and Deputy Chief Medical Officer with the Australian Government Department of Health, and Professor of Primary Care Reform at The Australian National University in Canberra. He has over 30 years’ experience working as a general practitioner in urban and rural locations across Australia. He is a past president of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners and a past member of the Council of the National Health and Medical Research Council. He has research expertise in primary care policy, digital health, chronic disease management, communicable diseases, preventive care, mental health, medical education, and safety and quality in primary care.
From 2017 to 2020, he was Director of the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre on Family Medicine and Primary Care, and Professor and Chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of Toronto in Canada, providing strategic leadership to the world’s largest academic department of general practice and family medicine. He has worked for many years as a consultant with the WHO and other global health organizations, is a past president of the World Organization of Family Doctors, and prior to his work at the University of Toronto, was Executive Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Flinders University.
Professor Sharon Lewin AO is the inaugural director of the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, a joint venture between the University of Melbourne and Royal Melbourne Hospital. She is a consultant infectious diseases physician at the Alfred Hospital and Royal Melbourne Hospital, Melbourne, an NHMRC Practitioner Fellow and member of the NHMRC Council (2015-2021) and Chair of the NHMRC Health Translation Advisory Committee (2015-2021).
As an infectious diseases physician and basic scientist, her laboratory focuses on basic, translational and clinical research aimed at finding a cure for HIV and understanding the interaction between HIV and hepatitis B virus. She is the Chief Investigator of a NHMRC Centre of Research Excellence, The Australian Partnership for Preparedness Research on Infectious Diseases Emergencies (APPRISE) that brings together Australia’s leading experts in clinical, laboratory and public health research to address the key components required for a rapid and effective emergency response to infectious diseases.
Dr Katie Allen MP was a Paediatrician and Medical Researcher at the Royal Children’s Hospital, Melbourne until 2019. She was the Director of the Centre for Food & Allergy Research, Director of the Population Health Research Theme at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and a Professor at the University of Melbourne and Manchester. She was chief investigator on a number of NHMRC-funded cohort studies which sought to answer parts of the jigsaw with regards to population health and evolution of the new allergy epidemic and has published more than 350 peer-reviewed publications. She was an NHMRC Practitioner Fellow and an inaugural Fellow of the Australia Academy of Health and Medical Science in 2015.
She was a founding member of the Australian Developmental Origins of Health and Disease Society of Australia and New Zealand and sat on the Clinical and Scientific Affairs Committee of the World Allergy Organisation and three committees of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology of which she was also a Fellow. She sat on expert committees with the WHO for Infant Feeding Guidelines and US National Academy of Sciences for Global Food Allergy Guidelines.
She was elected Member for the Federal seat of Higgins in May 2019.
Professor Fran Baum AO is the Matthew Flinders Distinguished Professor of Public Health and Foundation Director of the Southgate Institute for Health, Society and Equity at Flinders University. She is one of Australia's leading researchers on the social and economic determinants of health and holds grants from NHMRC and the Australia Research Council.
Professor Baum is a current member of the NHMRC Health Translation Advisory Committee and from 2009-2014 held a prestigious Australia Research Council Federation Fellowship. She is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and of the Australian Health Promotion Association. She is a past National President and Life Member of the Public Health Association of Australia, as well as being a member and past Chair of the Global Steering Council of the People’s Health Movement. She also served as a Commissioner on the WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health from 2005-08.
Professor Alex Brown is the Program Leader, Aboriginal Research at the South Australian Health and Medical Research Institute. He is an Aboriginal doctor and researcher with extensive skills in Indigenous health research in rural and remote communities. Professor Brown established an extensive and unique research program focused on chronic disease in vulnerable communities, with a particular focus on outlining and overcoming health disparities. He leads projects encompassing epidemiology, psychosocial determinants of chronic disease, mixed methods health services research in Aboriginal primary care and hospital settings, and randomised controlled trials of pharmacological and non-pharmacological chronic disease interventions.
Professor Jonathan Carapetis AM is Director of the Telethon Kids Institute, President of Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes, Professor at the University of Western Australia and consultant paediatrician at Perth Children’s Hospital.
A paediatrician and infectious diseases specialist, Professor Carapetis’ research interests include Rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, other group A streptococcal diseases, vaccine-preventable disease, Indigenous child health, child development and education, youth health and education and skin sores and scabies.
Previous positions include terms as Theme Director at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne and Director of the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin.
Professor Brendan Crabb AC is the Director and CEO of Burnet Institute, a research organisation focused on the health of especially vulnerable populations. He is also Chair of the Pacific Friends of Global Health and President of the Victorian Chapter of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes; VicAAMRI, having formerly served as the President of AAMRI
Professor Crabb is a molecular biologist with a particular interest in infectious diseases and health issues of the developing world more generally. His research is on the development of a malaria vaccine and the identification of new treatments for this disease.
He serves on the NHMRC Council and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and of the Australian Society for Microbiology. He also serves on the International Advisory Boards of the Sanger Institute (UK) and on the WHO Malaria Vaccine Advisory Committee in Geneva.
Professor Bart Currie is Professor in Medicine at the Northern Territory Medical Program, Flinders and Charles Darwin Universities. He also leads the Tropical and Emerging Infectious Diseases team within the Global and Tropical Health Division of the Menzies School of Health Research and is Director of HOT NORTH, the NHMRC-funded Tropical Disease Research Regional Collaboration Initiative. He was previously Director of Infectious Diseases at Royal Darwin Hospital and Director of Rheumatic Heart Disease Australia and is a member of the Technical Reference Group for the Australian Government’s Regional Health Security Initiative. His passion is in coordinating links between clinicians, public health colleagues and other service providers, laboratory scientists and community.
Professor Angus Dawson is Professor of Bioethics and Director of Sydney Health Ethics (formerly, the Centre for Values, Ethics and Law in Medicine) at the University of Sydney. His main research interests are in public health ethics, research ethics and the relationship between empirical evidence and moral arguments.
A member of the NHMRC Australian Health Ethics Committee, Professor Dawson was joint founder and is joint Editor-in-Chief of the journal Public Health Ethics. He has been involved in ethics and policy work for the WHO, the UK Department of Health, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Médecins Sans Frontières, Gavi Vaccine Alliance and the Australian Federal Department of Health.
Professor Sandra Eades is the Dean of Medicine at Curtin University and former Associate Dean (Indigenous) at the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences. She is a Noongar woman from Mount Barker, Western Australia, and is Australia's first Aboriginal medical doctor to be awarded a Doctorate of Philosophy (2003).
Her research career has focussed on Indigenous health including child and adolescent health, CVD and diabetes, dementia and mental health within primary care and community settings. Over the past 20 years, Professor Eades has made substantial contributions to the area of Aboriginal health and has provided leadership at a national level in Aboriginal research. Professor Eades is Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, Chair of the NHMRC Principal Committee Indigenous Caucus and a Member of the NHMRC Council.
Prior to entering Parliament in 2016, Dr Michael Freelander MP was a paediatrician for nearly 40 years working in general paediatric practice and as Head of Paediatrics at Campbelltown Hospital from 1986 to 2013. He also lectured medicine at Western Sydney University supporting the next generation of doctors.
Dr Freelander has increasingly seen his patients and their families face issues of access; access to healthcare, access to work, access to housing and access to education. It is these issues that drove Dr Freelander to run for the Federal seat of Macarthur.
Professor Michael Good AO heads the Laboratory of Vaccines for the Developing World, Institute for Glycomics at Griffith University. He is a past Chair of the NHMRC Council, a past Director of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research and a former President of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes.
Professor Good’s interests are in the field of immunity and immunopathogenesis to malaria and group A streptococcus/ rheumatic fever, with particular relevance to the development of vaccines. Professor Good was elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 2010 and of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in 2015.
Ms Georgie Harman is the CEO of Beyond Blue. She has significant experience in policy development, research translation, service delivery and change management across the community, public and private sectors.
Ms Harman has led significant growth in Beyond Blue’s service innovation, particularly in new suicide prevention models and digital supports. Previously she helped establish and was Deputy CEO of the National Mental Health Commission; served as a senior executive at the Commonwealth Department of Health where she had national responsibility for mental health, suicide prevention, substance misuse, cancer and chronic diseases policy and programs; led national organ and tissue donation reforms and worked in the HIV/AIDS sector.
Ms Samantha Jenkinson has been Executive Director of the People with Disabilities Western Australia since 2014. She has worked with organisations such as the Australian Federation of Disabilities Organisations where she was involved with the development of direct payments as a funding option for people with disabilities in Victoria.
She has also worked with Women with Disabilities in Victoria and Disability Services Commission in Western Australia. Over this time she has worked and advocated in the areas of employment, housing and support, service co-ordination, individualised funding and person centred planning.
She is past chair of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations, and past chair of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Disability in Western Australia. In 2012 she received the Minister’s Award for Excellence in Disability Reform in recognition of her long-standing commitment to disability reform.
Professor Anne Kelso AO is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NHMRC.
Following her PhD at the University of Melbourne, Professor Kelso undertook research in immunology at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research, the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research. From 2000 until 2006, she was also Director/CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for Vaccine Technology. She then returned to Melbourne as Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza from 2007 until she took up her role with NHMRC in April 2015.
Professor Kelso is a member of several Government and international committees, including the Australian Medical Research Advisory Board (advising the Minister for Health on the strategy and priorities for the Medical Research Future Fund), the Board of the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases and the Board of Trustees of the International Human Frontier Science Program Organisation.
Dr Kamalini Lokuge OAM HOSM leads the Humanitarian Health Research Initiative at the Research School of Population Health at the Australian National University. She has worked as a doctor and a medical epidemiologist for international health organisations including Médecins Sans Frontières, the WHO, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Dr Lokuge has provided medical care and epidemiological services over the past 2 decades in a range of humanitarian emergencies, including Ebola, avian influenza and Lassa outbreaks, and in settings including Afghanistan, Darfur, Uganda, Nigeria, Myanmar, South Sudan, Zambia, Congo Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Guinea, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. Dr Lokuge and her team conduct operational research in partnership with communities and service providers that informs effective health service delivery and outbreak control in real time.
Professor Raina MacIntyre (MBBS Hons 1, FRACP, FAFPHM, M App Epid, PhD) is a NHMRC Principal Research Fellow and Professor of Global Biosecurity at the Kirby Institute, UNSW. Her research program includes epidemiology, epidemic tracking, vaccinology, bioterrorism prevention, emerging infectious diseases, mathematical modelling, public health and clinical trials in infectious diseases. A focus of this research is the transmission dynamics and prevention of infectious diseases, particularly respiratory pathogens such as influenza, measles, MERS CoV and vaccine-preventable infections. She also works on prevention of bioterrorism and analysis of security sensitive pathogens such as Ebola. She has led the largest body of research internationally on face masks and respirators in health care workers. Her research is underpinned by her clinical training, vaccine program experience and extensive field outbreak investigation experience. She led a NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in immunisation for high-risk populations. She currently leads a NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence in Epidemic Response and is head of UNSW-VIRL, a vaccine research centre focused on adult and high-risk group vaccination.
Christine Morgan is the CEO of the National Mental Health Commission and the National Suicide Prevention Adviser to the Prime Minister. She is a passionate leader in mental health care reform, committed to listening and responding to the voice and needs of those with lived experience. Prior to joining the Commission, she was CEO of the Butterfly Foundation and Director of the National Eating Disorders Collaboration. In her role at the Butterfly Foundation, Ms Morgan led a collaborative advocacy strategy that included amplification of eating disorders as a serious mental and physical health issue and ultimately led to dedicated MBS item numbers for eating disorders to support Australians in need. This is now being replicated internationally.
Ms Morgan brings connection and passion to mental health reform, built on her extensive experience in executive roles, networks established in the corporate sector, broad legal expertise, widespread not-for-profit experience and her strong ability to demonstrate to people how their contribution can make a real difference.
2020 Australian of the Year, Dr James Muecke AM, is an Adelaide-based eye surgeon and blindness prevention pioneer. In 2008 he co-founded Sight For All, a social impact organisation dedicated to fighting blindness in the Aboriginal and mainstream communities of Australia and some of the poorest countries of Asia and Africa.
His commitment to social impact and humanitarian endeavours has earnt him a number of awards including an Order of Australia in 2012, the Australian Medical Association’s President’s Leadership Award in 2013, Ernst & Young’s Social Entrepreneur for Australia in 2015 and The University of Adelaide’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2019.
Professor David Paterson is Director at The University of Queensland Centre for Clinical Research. He is also a consultant infectious diseases physician at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital. His research focuses on the molecular and clinical epidemiology of infections with antibiotic resistant organisms, with the intent of translation of knowledge into optimal prevention and treatment of these infections. He recently conducted the world's largest clinical trial on antibiotics for extended-spectrum beta-lactamase producing bacterial infections.
Professor Paterson has received research funding from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NHMRC and the Medical Research Future Fund. A 2008 Frank Fenner Award for Advanced Research in Infectious Diseases by the Australasian Society for Infectious Diseases quickly followed and in 2009 he was awarded a Queensland Health Senior Clinical Research Fellowship and subsequently two NHMRC Practitioner Fellowships.
Professor Bruce Robinson is an endocrinologist. He was appointed as Chair of the NHMRC Council in 2015 and is also Chair of the Australian Government’s Taskforce of expert clinicians charged with reviewing the Medicare Benefits Schedule.
Professor Robinson’s research has focused on identifying genetic changes which either predispose or directly cause endocrine tumours. Other career highlights include the formation of an international consortium of families from around the world to study medullary thyroid carcinoma and phaeochromocytoma.
He is Co-Head of the Cancer Genetics Unit at the Kolling Institute of Medical Research, Royal North Shore Hospital, since 1989, where he continues to practice. Professor Robinson was the Dean of Sydney Medical School from 2007 until 2016. Since 2001, he has Chaired Hoc Mai, the Australia Vietnam Medical Foundation, a major program in medical and health education and exchange with Vietnam.
Laureate Professor Ingrid Scheffer AO is a paediatric neurologist and professor at the University of Melbourne, Austin Health and The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne. Professor Scheffer is helping to transform the diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy, a brain disorder characterised by seizures and other symptoms that can be extremely disruptive to the lives of the 50 million people affected by it. Professor Scheffer is a founding fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences and now it’s President, a member of the NHMRC Council and in 2018, she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of London.
Associate Professor Ruth Stewart holds the position of Associate Professor, Rural Medicine within the College of Medicine & Dentistry at James Cook University. She brings 29 years of work as a Rural Generalist doctor, with the advanced skills of a GP obstetrician.
Associate Professor Stewart lives and works on Thursday Island in the Torres Strait. She is the immediate past President of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine and is on the College’s board. She is also on the board of the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service, and of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia and has a number of representative and medical political roles.
Professor Alison Venn is the Director of the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania, and a Professor of Epidemiology. She has a diverse background including immunology and epidemiology. Professor Venn's main research interests are in the causes, prevention and management of chronic disease. Her breadth of experience from lab to policy has seen her take on a number of leadership roles, identifying multidisciplinary approaches to solving complex problems. She is Director of the Tasmanian Data Linkage Unit and the Tasmanian Cancer Registry, both based at the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, a member of NHMRC Council and a board member of the Association of Australian Medical Research Institutes.
Mr Daniel Zou is a third year medical student at the University of Melbourne and President of the Australian Medical Students' Association.