Dr Ian Norton, founder and Managing Director of Respond Global, is a specialist emergency physician and an expert in coordinating emergency health responses to disease outbreaks and disasters. He holds post-graduate qualifications in Surgery, International Health and Tropical Medicine.
Ian was head of the WHO’s Emergency Medical Team (EMT) Initiative in Geneva from 2014-20. During this time, he led responses to Ebola, Diphtheria and Measles outbreaks as well as to earthquakes, cyclones, and war zones. Ian was awarded the WHO Director General’s Staff Excellence Medal for his efforts in coordinating 130 health response teams to the Nepalese earthquake in 2015.
Ian is the lead author of the current WHO Global Classification and Standards that governs how international medical teams deploy and respond to disasters.
Previous to the WHO, Ian led the creation of disaster response teams in Australia and became the Director of Disaster Preparedness and Response at the National Critical Care & Trauma Response Centre (NCCTRC) in Darwin.
During that time Ian established the Australian Medical Assistance Teams (AUSMAT) framework and designed the field hospitals that are today used for international disaster and infectious disease responses. He led the AUSMAT responses to the Pakistan floods, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines and other outbreak and cyclone responses in the Pacific.
Ian established Respond Global as a social enterprise in early 2020 with the aim of empowering others to be able to plan, prepare and respond to health emergencies in their own countries.
Scott is the Chief Commercial Officer and Director of Disaster Management & Environmental Services for Respond Global, and whilst having worked in many of Australia’s largest and most complex corporations and government organisations, Scott also has an extensive 18-year operational background within the fire services of both Victoria and Queensland.
Scott is a Lieutenant within Queensland Fire & Emergency Services (QFES) and he brings a mix of commercial, business risk and operational emergency management experience to our clients’ important initiatives.
Scott has led complex businesses within the management consulting, technology and business process outsourcing sectors, creating innovative “as a service” frameworks designed to drive business transformation and achieve more effective and cost-efficient outcomes for customers.
With an Emergency Management focus, Scott has been involved in many of Australia’s largest wildfire incidents, run large scale incident management functions, as well as structural fires, search and rescue incidents.
Abigail began her career in disaster management as a Paramedic in Yulara and Alice Springs. She has worked across the Northern Territory, including remote areas of the McArthur River district and supported the response to both Bali bombings and the East Timor crisis.
She worked for the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre as Operations Manager for over a decade, and then for six years as the Director of Disaster Preparedness and Response.
She has been instrumental in building Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT) Field Hospital, and recruitment and training program, of 750 members Australia wide. Abigail has developed and delivered Remote Area COVID-19 response training across the NT and SA to 200 health workers, and HEOC training to both international and national participants.
Abigail is an AUSMAT Mission Team Lead and led the inception and operation of the International Howard Springs Quarantine Facility at the beginning of the pandemic with repatriations from Wuhan, China and the Diamond Princess 2020.
In 2020 – 2021 Abigail led the AUSMAT team to establish and operationalise the Howard Springs Centre for National Resilience – the National Quarantine facility, which supported during six months the reception of 34 Australian Government repatriation flights safely quarantining 6000 passengers, including the clinical management of over 150 covid cases without any transmission into the community.
Following the finish of AUSMAT’s Howard Springs Quarantine facility, she joined Covid Quarantine Victoria (CQV) as an Executive Director, responsible for 12 large quarantine facilities and approximately a 3000-person workforce to ensure safe operational delivery during Victoria’s peak quarantine period. The role included supporting strengthening infection prevention control systems, quality improvement of operations, the development of a Rapid Response Team for staff infection and supporting the quarantine and cultural safety of 1000 Afghan evacuees. During this period Abigail also provided important operational learnings and advice to the Victorian Government developing the Mickleham Quarantine facility.
Abigail has deployed as an AUSMAT Mission Team Lead to the Victorian Aged Care response (2020), MV Artania cruise ship quarantine, Western Australia (2020), Samoa measles outbreak (2019) and Cyclone Winston, Fiji (2016).
She led AUSMAT forward assessment teams for the Bangladesh Diphtheria outbreak (2017) and the Sulawesi earthquake (2018). She also deployed as an AUSMAT operational lead in response to the Pakistan floods (2010), Typhoon Haiyan, Philippines (2013), and has coordinated multiple AUSMAT responses from Darwin, including the 2019 Australian bushfires in New South Wales and Victoria.
Abigail was seconded to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Emergency Medical Team (EMT) Secretariat in 2018 to manage the global E.M.T mentorship and classification program and has mentored several global teams to verification.
Rebecca is the Director of Health Services for Respond Global. She has led medical staffing across all Respond Global projects to date, including two Papua New Guinea deployments and our Queensland Department of Health vaccination program to COVID-vaccinate over 750,000 Queenslanders.
Prior to joining Respond Global, Rebecca was Operations Lead for the Victorian Aged Care Response Centre during the 2020 COVID Aged Care Crisis. She also held the position of Executive Director of Clinical Services, Nursing and Midwifery at Northeast Health Wangaratta, Victoria.
Rebecca has strong experience as a clinical team leader for the Australian Medical Assistance Team (AUSMAT). She has deployed locally and internationally to numerous sudden-onset disasters and disease outbreaks. These have included responses to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines (2013), Cyclone Pam in Vanuatu (2018) and the Samoan measles outbreak (2019).
Rebecca was also actively involved in the Royal Darwin Hospital response to the 2002 and 2005 Bali Bombings as well as the Ashmore Reef SIEV 36 incident in 2009.
Rebecca has wide experience in delivering disaster preparedness education locally and internationally, having facilitated disaster preparedness and trauma education in South East Asia and the Pacific region.
She holds a Masters in Nursing Science, a Post Graduate Certificate in Critical Care Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Basil is a general surgeon with an interest in paediatric surgery and spent 15 years serving in Vanuatu’s tertiary referral hospital system. In 2019 he was awarded the Vanuatu Presidential Medal for Meritorious Service.
Basil has led and continues to support national Emergency Medical Team development in Vanuatu. He coordinated and deployed national and international EMTs in response to Tropical Cyclone Pam (2015), Ambae volcano disaster (2017,2018), Tropical Cyclone Harold (2020) and COVID-19 Repatriation, Quarantine and Community Transmission (2020, 2022).
Basil is an instructor on the EMST, CCrISP and MIMMS international courses run in the Pacific. He is a member of the Vanuatu Nursing Council and sits on the board of the Vanuatu Emergency Services Association. Basil is the national lead for MV HELPR-1 and he is based in Vanuatu as our Director of HELPR-1 Operations.
Chris commenced her professional life in the United States Coast Guard, specialising in areas of operations; highlights included managing a west coast emergency operations centre, duty as commanding officer of a patrol boat and service as a member of President Bush Snr’s waterborne security detail.
During her time at the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), Chris held a number of roles, including being the operations lead of the Australian Joint Rescue Coordination Centre, and working closely with Australia’s regional neighbours including Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Maldives and the Pacific Community, to improve search and rescue capabilities, coordination and emergency response protocols on a national and regional level.
Chris spent a year as Station Leader of Australia’s largest Antarctic Research Station, Casey, before joining Respond Global as Director of Operations from 2020-2021. Chris recently returned from 3 months as Voyage Leader for the Australian Antarctic Division, in which she was responsible for the operational delivery of resupply services to Australian Antarctic stations.
Chris Maher is Respond Global’s Senior Specialist Advisor – Health Emergencies, and he has worked in the public health sector for more than three decades.
With a highly distinguished career on the frontline of polio eradication and immunisation programme management, Mr Maher was appointed Chief Scientist and Senior Advisor to the global programme in 2012.
He has been involved in polio eradication at every level and he has been directly involved in immunization and eradication programmes in countries all over the world. His programmes spanned 100 countries over 25 years.
In January 2018 he was awarded the title of Officer of the Order of Australia by the Government of Australia, in recognition of his work in this area. More recently Mr Maher was Senior Adviser to the Director-General of the WHO in Geneva.
Since his retirement in late 2020 and subsequent return to his home country, Mr Maher remains active in the international public health and emergency response fields. He is a Current Senior Adviser to UNICEF Australia on Vaccines and Immunisation.
Barbara is our Technical Health Advisor, and was previously Health Emergency Coordinator for the WHO based in the Solomon Islands.
Barbara specialises in working with governments to coordinate health emergency operations during crises and design and implement strategies for the establishment of Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs). She is a WHO regional office and international health ministry relationship expert.
Her work has also involved managing the WHO Health Emergency Program, coordinating efforts with the Solomon Islands’ government, donor partners, NGOs and other stakeholders to implement relevant health emergency activities.
More recently she worked with the Solomon Islands’ Ministry of Health to set up systems and procedures in preparation for a COVID-19 outbreak with focus on repatriations, quarantine and Infection Prevention and Control.
Barbara holds a Bachelor in Occupational Therapy and has held lecturing and tutoring positions at Solomon Islands National University in their Community Based Rehabilitation Diploma program. She is currently completing her Master of Infectious Diseases.
Yolanda has over 15 years of experience in emergency and disaster preparedness and response. She was most recently Chief of Section for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) in their regional office for Southern and Eastern Africa (Nairobi and Johannesburg).
She created, piloted and facilitated national and regional workshops on emergency preparedness and response and National and Health Emergency Operation Centres (N-EOCs and H-EOCs) and wrote a field manual on community approaches to early warning for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) practitioners.
Prior to UN-OCHA she worked in Liberia for UNICEF (2011-2012) as an emergency field coordinator for the response to the Ivory Coast post-electoral violence refugee crisis, coordinating a multi-sectoral response across WASH, Education, Health and Child Protection. She also deployed to Haiti in January 2010 with the UN to coordinate its response to the earthquake, including support to Emergency Medical Teams.
In Australia, she worked for the Chief Health Officer in the Emergency Management Unit of Queensland Health, considerably building the systems of the State Health Emergency Coordination Centre (SHECC), including the implementation of a virtual platform and helping build the capacity of the district Health Emergency Operation Centres.
While in this role, Yolanda deployed to Christchurch as a member of the AUSMAT team for the 2011 earthquake response and was awarded a Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal (HOSM) for guiding the set-up of the Canterbury Health Districts Health Emergency Operations Centre (H-EOC).
In her role at Respond Global, Yolanda leads the delivery of the Australian Government Department of Health’s Rapid Antigen Testing Program. This program has provided Rapid Antigen Testing training and support to 1,200 Residential Aged Care Facilities across Australia, facilitating the prevention of countless outbreaks. This program has now extended to support Disability Care and Services Organisations, GP Respiratory Clinics and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.
Yolanda has also worked closely with the Commonwealth Bank to facilitate their Rapid Antigen Testing rollout, as well as the WHO EMRO and SEARO to provide support to Health Ministries in Timor-Leste, Bhutan and Maldives.
Our core team are supported by an international group of multi-lingual emergency response practitioners who provide solutions that are a direct result of their field-based experiences, adapted to the specific context of a country, industry, or organisation.
Our clinical and logistics personnel have worked with over 60 countries and regional bodies, as well as the WHO and UN in improving international response mechanisms.
With connections to health leadership and operational response teams in Australia, New Zealand, South-West Pacific, Asia, and the WHO, we are in the unique position of being able to provide a meaningful localised translation of global, national and state health policies into practical and implementable responses.