The Department of Health has appointed infectious disease expert Professor Frank Bowden as the VACRC’s executive officer.

Professor Bowden is taking over from Joe Buffone, who has led the response centre since it began operations on 27 July.

Professor Frank Bowden

Professor Bowden brings a wealth of medical and infectious disease expertise which will inform the recovery and prevention strategies of the response centre, the VACRC said in a statement.

Professor Bowden is also a board member of the One Disease Foundation, which is an organisation that provides education on scabies and Crusted Scabies to health services in remote indigenous communities and urban settings.

His previous roles include chief medical administrator of ACT Health, director medical services at Calvary Public Hospital and Foundation Professor of Medicine at Australian National University Medical School

In his new role, Professor Bowden will be responsible for leading the response centre through its next phase of operations, which is prioritised on recovery, returning residents to their homes, overseeing existing outbreaks and preventing further outbreaks.

He has been working closely with Mr Buffone, and has been an integral part of the response centre for several weeks, the VACRC said.

Mr Buffone, who was deployed to Victoria to establish a targeted emergency response, will return to his permanent role as assistant secretary of the Crisis and Security Management Branch at the Department of Home Affairs.

His finishes up at the response centre on 30 September.

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