Department of Health

Dr Brett Sutton appointed Victoria's Chief Health Officer

21/03/19
Published by Department of Health & Human Services

Highly respected clinician Dr Brett Sutton has been appointed Victoria's Chief Health Officer.

Dr Sutton's appointment was announced today by the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Kym Peake.

"This role requires a combination of extensive clinical and public health knowledge and the ability to influence and inform a very broad range of stakeholders, including policymakers, clinicians and the community," Ms Peake said.

"Dr Sutton has clearly demonstrated that he meets all these requirements. Having acted in the role for some time, Dr Sutton has led a significant number of communicable disease outbreaks, including recent cases of measles and influenza. He's also acted as the department's spokesperson for a wide range of issues including heat health impacts and thunderstorm asthma."

Dr Sutton has extensive experience and clinical expertise in public health and communicable diseases, gained through emergency medicine and field-based international work, including in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Kenya and Timor-Leste.

He represents Victoria on a number of key national bodies including the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee. He is also Chief Human Biosecurity Officer for Victoria.

The CHO has unique statutory functions under health, food and emergency-related legislation and is responsible for developing and implementing strategies to promote and protect public health.

Dr Sutton said it was a privilege to be tasked with the responsibility of protecting the health of all Victorians.

"There are a number of challenges facing us which will require ongoing attention," Dr Sutton said.

"The rate of sexually transmitted infections will need continued effort and focus with a state-wide strategic review of reproductive and sexual health services underway.

"Antimicrobial resistance is also an ongoing challenge. For instance, Candida auris was seen for the first time in Victoria in 2018.

"Fortunately, we have an excellent system of combining epidemiological and genomic data allowing us to rapidly identify and respond to local transmission events.

"There are also broader challenges related to climate change.

"We've seen fires threatening our water catchments and air quality, blue-green algae in waterways across the state, anthrax outbreaks following a prolonged dry period and heatwaves into autumn," Dr Sutton said.

Reviewed 21 March 2019

Health.vic

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Bram Alexander Department of Health Media Unit

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