New Victorian Chief Health Officer appointed

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 8th March 2012

Dr Rosemary Lester has been appointed Victoria’s new Chief Health Officer. She will also play the key role of food safety pronouncements and enforcement actions in the State of Victoria.

Dr Lester, formerly the Deputy Chief Health Officer, has worked in the area of public health in Victoria for the past 23 years since joining the Victorian Health Department in 1989.

Commenting on her appointment Dr Lester said, “The Chief Health Officer must balance the need of providing as much information as possible to the community in relation to significant health issues without becoming unnecessarily alarmist”.

Dr Lester is a highly respected public health practitioner with a special interest in immunisation and communicable disease control. She was highly commended for her handling of the swine flu epidemic in 2009 which affected thousands of Victorians and has served on many State and National Committees.

When there was criticism by the Herald Sun newspaper in January 2012 of the Health Department’s lack of disclosure of food safety offenders, Dr Lester responded to the criticisms by indicating that education of the offender was a more satisfactory solution and that salmonella outbreaks were quite common rather than out of the ordinary.

Dr Lester is a medical graduate of the University of Melbourne (1980), and was the Medical Officer of Health for the City of Melbourne from 1986 to 1989.

She completed a Master of Public Health from Monash University in 1992 and obtained a Master of Science (Epidemiology) degree in 1993 from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Dr Lester was also made a Fellow of the Australasian Faculty of Public Health Medicine in 1994.