Associate Professor Penelope Burns

College of Health & Medicine

Areas of expertise

  • Primary Health Care 111717

Research interests

Disaster management

Role of primary care in disasters

Health consequences of disasters

Management of animals in disasters

Human Factors in Road Tunnel Evacuations

Infection control and primary care in pandemics




Dr Penelope Burns is a General Practitioner with a range of experience in both national and international General Practice and primary care settings.

Dr Burns currently works in General Practice at the Northern Beaches Hospital Medical Centre where she is involved in clinical care; in The Dee Why Respiratory Clinic where she is involved with management of respiratory conditions and COVID-19 surveillance; and in numerous activities related to disaster and pandemic management.

Dr Burns has a number of interests, most notably in the role of GPs in disasters and pandemics. She is undertaking a PhD on the Capacities and Contributions of General Practitioners in Disaster Systems at the Australian National University.

Dr Burns’ current appointments include:

  • World Association for Disaster & Emergency Medicine (WADEM)Foundation Co-chair Primary Care Special Interest Group
  • WADEM member, and previous Chair, Oceania Chapter
  • instructor Major Incident Medical Management Support (MIMMS) for Medical Command
  • Instructor EMERGO Train System of disaster exercises
  • Scientific Advisory Group National Centre for Immunisation Research & Surveillance (NCIRS)
  • National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Panel
  • National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce Primary & Chronic Care Panel
  • National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Paediatric & Adolescent Care Panel
  • Sydney North Health Network member Climate Change Strategy committee
  • Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI) COVID-19 Working Group

Current RACGP roles include:

  • Australian Government National Immunisation Committee
  • Expert Reference Group for the Australian Partnership (for) Preparedness Research on InfectiouS (disease) Emergencies (APPRISE)
  • RACGP COVID Working Group member
  • RACGP Mental Health Expert Working Group member
  • Chair of the NSW & ACT RACGP GP Disaster Management Committee
  • NSW & ACT RACGP Disaster Response Representative
  • GP Disaster Advisory Committee Southern NSW member
  • Deputy Chair of the RACGP Disaster Management Special Interest Group
  • RACGP Expert Committee Practice Management and Technology
  • RACGP Business Sustainability Working Group
  • NSW&ACT RACGP Faculty Board – North Sydney and Beaches representative
  • Australasian College for Emergency Medicine Disaster Subcommittee
  • NSW Rural Doctors Network Natural Disaster and Emergency Response Stakeholder Group
  • Consultation Reference Group for a Phoenix Australia initiative, the Digital Training Platform in Disaster Mental Health
  • Black Dog Institute (BDI) Bush Fire Support Service Advisory Committee

Researcher's projects

In progress:

PhD: The Capacity and Contributions of General Practioners in Disaster Systems


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Updated:  27 September 2021 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers