WADEM Congress on Disaster and Emergency Medicine 7-10 May 2019 Brisbane, Australia

Keynote Speakers

Professor Michele Acuto

Global Urban Politics, Connected Cities Lab

Professor Michele Acuto is an expert on urban politics and international urban planning. He is also a non-resident Senior Fellow of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and a Senior Fellow of the Bosch Foundation Global Governance Futures Program.

Before joining the Faculty, Prof. Acuto was Director of the City Leadership Lab and Professor of Diplomacy and Urban Theory at University College London, having previously worked as Stephen Barter Fellow of the Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities at the University of Oxford. He also taught at the University of Canberra, University of Southern California, Australian National University and National University of Singapore.

Outside academia, Prof. Acuto worked for the Institute of European Affairs in Dublin, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL), the Kimberley Process for conflict diamonds, the European Commission's response to pandemic threats. He also has worked for several years on city leadership and city networks with, amongst others, Arup, World Health Organization, World Bank Group, the C40 Climate Leadership Group, and UN-Habitat.

Prof. Acuto is the author of several articles, publications and policy documents on urban governance, international politics and urban development challenges, and currently co-chairs the Nature Sustainability Expert Panel on science and the future of cities.


Gregory Ciottone, MD, FACEP

Harvard Medical School, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Team Rubicon Global

Dr. Ciottone has dedicated his career to the academic advancement of Disaster Medicine through a combination of fieldwork, research, and scholarly activity. He is the Director of the Division of Disaster Medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Founder and Director of the BIDMC Fellowship in Disaster Medicine. He is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an Instructor of Healthcare Policy and Management at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

He also serves as the Director for Medical Preparedness at the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, a joint program of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Dr. Ciottone has taught educational programs in Disaster Medicine in over 30 countries and has consulted domestically for the US State Department, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and the White House Medical Unit. Additionally, he recently became the Medical Director for Team Rubicon Global.

Dr. Ciottone has taken his field experience and incorporated it into his academic work, training more than 50 Disaster Medicine fellows to-date. He has also written over 100 scholarly works, including the first and second edition of the textbook Ciottone’s Disaster Medicine. His most recent publication, a New England Journal of Medicine article entitled "Toxidrome Recognition in Chemical Weapons Attacks", introduces a novel approach to the civilian response to chemical attacks.


Dr. Robert Glasser

Honourary Associate Professor, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific

Dr. Glasser was until recently the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Disaster Risk Reduction, Assistant Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). He was also a member of the Secretary General’s Senior Management Group and the Deputy Secretary General’s Climate Principals Group.

Before joining the United Nations, he was the Secretary General of CARE International, one of the world’s largest non-governmental humanitarian organisations. From 2003-2007, Dr. Glasser was the Chief Executive of CARE Australia. Prior to joining CARE, he was Assistant Director General at the Australian Government aid agency (AusAID) where his responsibilities at various times ranged from South East Asia programs, the Papua New Guinea bilateral programme to Corporate Policy and Infrastructure and Environment.

Dr. Glasser was previously a board member of the Global Call for Climate Action (GCCA), a global alliance of more than 450 national and international organisations focussing on climate change advocacy. Additionally, he was the Inaugural Board Chairman of the CHS International Alliance, a new organisation resulting from the merger of People in Aid and the Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP).

His other previous activities include Advisory Panel member of the Climate Vulnerability Monitor, member of the Principals Steering Group of the United Nations Transformative Agenda for Humanitarian Action, and member of the Project Steering Group for the World Economic Forum project on The Future Role of Civil Society.


Gill Hicks, AM, MBE, FRSA

M.A.D. Minds

In a time of rapid change, of growing fear and uncertainty of the world around us, we, more than ever, need to value the voices that bring reason through real and lived experience.

Gill Hicks is one of the most powerful and thought provoking advocates on the value of sustainable peace through individual responsibility. Her vital work, particularly in countering violent extremism, became her focus after she was left severely and permanently injured from the actions of a suicide bomber in the coordinated attack on London’s transport network in July 2005.

Prior to the bombings, Gill was a respected figure within the fields of Architecture and Design in London. From Publisher of Blueprint to Director of Dangerous Minds Design and then Head Curator at the Design Council, Gill was and has continued to be recognized and awarded for her many contributions to the arts, health care, and peacebuilding.

Combining her passion for design and her devotion to building peace, she formed M.A.D. Minds – a “think” and “do” agency specifically to find solutions to the challenges that face local, national, and international societies. A published author, musician, artist, and mother, Gill’s appreciation and gratitude for life is prevalent; she is certainly a living testament to what can be achieved through courage, belief, and absolute determination.


Mark Keim, MD, MBA

DisasterDoc International, Emory University - Rollins School of Public Health

Dr. Keim is the Chief Executive Officer for DisasterDoc International, specializing in consultation, education, and research related to public health emergencies. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at Emory University and faculty at Beth Israel Deaconess - Harvard Medical School, Disaster Medicine Fellowship.

He is residency-trained in emergency medicine, fellowship-trained in disaster medicine, and recently earned an MBA at Emory University, Goizueta School of Business in 2014.

Dr. Keim is retired from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), where he served as Associate Director for Science for the CDC Office for Environmental Health Emergencies. He twice received the US Secretary of Health “Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service” as CDC’s incident manager for both the anthrax letter emergency and Hurricane Katrina, as well as the CDC Special Service Award for leading the field response after the Indonesian tsunami. In 2015, he received the prestigious United Nations Sasakawa Certificate of Merit recognizing the global impact on disaster risk reduction.

He is the author of 56 journal publications and 23 book chapters. He has served as a peer review consultant for 21 scientific journals and on the editorial board of four scientific journals. His press interviews have appeared on CNN, PBS, USA Today, Chicago Tribune, LA Times, Washington Post, The Lancet, and Scientific American.


Joanne Liu, MDCM, FRCP

International President; Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) / Doctors Without Borders

Dr. Joanne Liu has served as International President of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) / Doctors Without Borders since 2013. The organization is a world-recognized authority on medical humanitarian crises. During the 2014 Ebola crisis, MSF was given a voice at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, bringing it to a new level of engagement with world leaders. In 2015, the destruction of MSF’s hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, launched the movement’s appeal to the UN Security Council, and its ongoing push for protection of medical missions.

Dr. Liu trained at McGill University School of Medicine in Montreal. She holds a Fellowship in Pediatric Emergency Medicine from New York University School of Medicine and an International Master’s in Health Leadership, also from McGill University.

Since she began MSF field work in 1996, Dr. Liu has undertaken over 20 missions, in Central Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Her operational contributions range from introducing comprehensive medical care for survivors of sexual violence, to developing a telemedicine platform connecting doctors in remote areas with medical specialists worldwide.

Dr. Liu continues to practice medicine, both in the field with MSF, as well as on hospital shifts in Montreal – reflecting her strong belief in MSF’s unique identity, that is both field-based, but at the same time uncompromising on quality-driven patient care. She believes in bringing this same focus to the general global health arena.


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  • Key Dates

  • Abstracts Open 7 July 2018
  • Abstracts Close 26 November 2018
  • Presenters Notified 20 December 2018
  • Early Registration Closes 8 February 2019
  • WADEM Congress 2019 7-10 May 2019