Ian Norton – Founder & Managing Director of Respond Global
Dr Ian Norton is a Specialist Emergency Physician with post-graduate qualifications in Surgery, International Health and Tropical Medicine. Ian headed the World Health Organization’s Emergency Medical Team (EMT) Initiative program in HQ Geneva from 2014 until January 2020.
Ian Norton’s work with the WHO assisted organizations and member states to build capacity and strengthen health systems by coordinating the deployment of quality-assured medical teams in emergencies and outbreaks in over 130 countries across the globe. Ian is the lead author of the current WHO Global Classification and Standards for EMT deployments to disasters.
With WHO Ian deployed for over 5 months to West Africa as part of the Ebola outbreak response in 2014/15 and led the coordination of 58 EMTs in three countries. He also led the coordination of 132 EMTs in Nepal during the earthquakes of April and May 2015.
In 2016 he established the EMT trauma pathway as part of the Mosul response in Northern Iraq. He helped manage the Diphtheria outbreak affecting the Rohingya refugee population in Bangladesh in late 2018, and the scale-up of clinical care in recent Ebola outbreaks in DRC and Measles in Samoa.
Previous to the WHO, Ian Norton 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), located in Darwin.
Ian was instrumental in creating the Australian Government’s disaster response cache and the training of 700 volunteers who now make up the Australian Government Emergency Medical Team (AusMAT). Ian led AusMAT on several international deployments, including the Pakistan floods, Solomon Island dengue support and Typhoon Haiyan, Philippines in Tacloban. He also led the mass casualty burns response to a refugee boat explosion off Ashmore Reef in 2009.
During this period, Ian conducted training in disaster and outbreak management in over 60 countries across Africa, Europe, Middle-East, North America, South-east Asia, South America and the Pacific Island Countries and territories.
Ian began his career in medicine working in Ireland and Australia, and after specializing in emergency medicine chose to work in Darwin, Northern Territory, in order to concentrate on care of the aboriginal population in remote Northern Australia and particularly to improve their access to trauma and emergency responses. He worked in the national trauma Centre based in Darwin, on outreach programmes to remote indigenous/aboriginal communities, and led a remote area trauma education programme as well as working in the helicopter and aircraft retrieval services.
Ian has been awarded medals and distinctions in clinical research on trauma care, junior doctor teaching and the use of anti-emetics in paediatric patients (with particular application to aboriginal children) and humanitarian medical care. He was the recipient of the Australian Humanitarian Medal for his leadership of AusMAT to the Pakistan floods.
Ian Norton was also awarded the prestigious World Association for Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WADEM) Frederick “Skip” Burkle Award for Global Leadership in Emergency Public Health. Ian was recognized for his role in the development of the WHO’s Emergency Medical Team initiative.