29 October 2001

The University of Queensland has attracted one of the world’s leading public health figures to assume leadership of its newest school - the School of Population Health within the Faculty of Health Sciences.

Dr Alan Lopez, an Australian epidemiologist currently heading the World Health Organisation’s Global Burden of Disease Project, will take over as Head of School in 2002. He will also take up the appointment of Professor of Medical Statistics.

Joining Dr Lopez in the leadership team is Dr Andrew Wilson, formerly New South Wales’ Chief Health Officer, who commenced this month as Deputy Head and also Professor of Public Health.

Executive Dean of UQ’s Faculty of Health Sciences Professor Peter Brooks said the two appointments were a major coup for the University, and augured well for the future of one of its most promising and important Schools.

“Although just 12 months old, the School of Population Health already represents a significant foundation upon which to build a leading national and international profile,” Professor Brooks said.

“The research and education being carried out within this School addresses many of the pressing public health issues of our time. From tropical health and nutrition through to community and indigenous health, its charter grows bigger by the day.

“That Dr Lopez and Dr Wilson have elected to join this School is tangible recognition of its importance and profile. I am confident that their combined expertise will translate into great success for Population Health and the university, the results of which directly spin off into the health of the wider community.”

Dr Lopez, who has made great contributions to the measuring worldwide of deaths resulting from tobacco, said he looked to positioning the school as a leading international centre for research and training in population health.

Dr Wilson, who coordinated counter-disaster planning for 1997’s Sydney water contamination scare and for the 2000 Olympics, said he was attracted to UQ’s School of Population Health by its diversity and potential.

“It is one of the largest and most diverse groups of academics in population health sciences in Australia, some with international reputations in their fields. These are exciting but challenging times in public health, and I look forward to exploring new possibilities and opportunities for the School.”

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