Image: Dr Peter Salama
The Board and staff of Burnet Institute are deeply saddened to hear of the sudden death of Australian medical epidemiologist, Dr Peter Salama.
Dr Salama was Executive Director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Division for Universal Health Coverage – Life Course, and previously the Executive Director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program from 2016 to 2019.
He was a tireless advocate for children, a committed humanitarian and a highly respected professional.
“Pete embodied everything that is best about WHO and the United Nations – professionalism, commitment and compassion,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “Our hearts are broken.”
Before joining WHO in July 2016, Dr Salama was UNICEF’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Prior to these recent assignments, he led UNICEF’s global response to Ebola, served as UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe (2009-2015), UNICEF’s Chief of Global Health and Principal Advisor on HIV/AIDS based at UNICEF headquarters in New York (2004-2009), and UNICEF’s Chief of Health and Nutrition in Afghanistan (2002-2004).
Prior to joining UNICEF in 2002, Dr Salama was visiting scientist at the International Emergency and Refugee Health Branch at the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and a visiting professor in nutrition at Tufts University.
He also worked with Doctors without Borders and Concern Worldwide in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
Dr Salama led research and published extensively on maternal and newborn child health, vaccine-preventable diseases, HIV, nutrition, war-related mortality and violence, refugee and emergency health, and programming in fragile states.
He completed his medical and public health degrees at Melbourne and Harvard Universities, where he was also a Fulbright and Harkness fellow in public policy.
We extend our most sincere condolences to his wife, his three children and all his friends and colleagues around the world. He will be sorely missed.