Department announces new CMO

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Department of Health Secretary Martin Bowles PSM has paid tribute to retiring Chief Medical Office Professor Chris Baggoley and confirmed the appointment of Professor Brendan Murphy as his successor.

Professor Baggoley officially retired on Friday. Professor Murphy, who has most recently served as CEO of Austin Health in Victoria, will take up the position on 4 October.

“Since Professor Baggoley was appointed by the Department to this key role in April 2011 he has been an influential figure in the nation’s response to numerous challenges and threats to our health,” said Mr Bowles.

“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.

“Most recently, he has supervised Australia’s response to, and preparedness for, Zika virus.”

Mr Bowles described Professor Murphy as 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 also announced the appointment of Dr Tony Hobbs to the new role of Deputy CMO. Dr Hobbs, currently Department of Health Principal Medical Adviser, is also chair of the stakeholder Reference Group for the $20 million Biosimilar Awareness Initiative.