Role: Program Officer
Host Organisation: National Department of Health, PNG
Period: Feb 2018 – July 2018
Laura is an epidemiologist currently based in Darwin. She is passionate about communicable disease prevention and control and health emergency preparedness and response. Laura was part of the first intake of Health Security Corps, deployed to Port Moresby where she worked with the National Department of Health on PNG’s Field Epidemiology Training Program. During her time as a volunteer, PNG experienced public health emergencies following a major earthquake and a polio outbreak. For Laura, these events underscored the importance of the Field Epidemiology Training. The program is the only epidemiology training program in the country and crucial to building local capacity, expertise and leadership in epidemiology. The program combines classroom learning and practical experience. As part of her work Laura delivered coursework material, mentored fellows and assisted with program coordination, in partnership with other program stakeholders including Hunter New England Public Health Unit in Australia, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization. Through her work at the National Department of Health, Laura also had the opportunity to form strong friendships with Papua New Guinean colleagues and to learn about PNG’s incredibly diverse peoples, cultures and languages.