Distinguished Speakers Program: Advancing Global and National Health Security

20 July 2016


Click here for online registration.

Please note: Individual online registrations MUST be paid by Mastercard or VISA. To pay by cheque or arrange a group registration, please email for an invoice. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Advancing Global and National Health Security: Lessons from SARS and MERS to Ebola and Zika

Presented by Professor Lawrence Gostin, Linda and Timothy O'Neill Professor of Global Health Law, Georgetown University, Washington DC.

Over the past decade, the world has faced a series of global health crises involving contagious diseases with pandemic potential. From novel influenzas (H5N1 and H1N1), coronaviruses (SARS, and MERS) to the Ebola and Zika viruses, governments and international organisations have struggled to act quickly and decisively. The consequences loom large in both economic and human terms. Modelling by the Institute of Medicine suggests that the economic costs of a 21st-century pandemic could exceed USD$60 billion annually, placing pandemic disease in a category similar to war, terrorism and financial crises. Despite this, global investments in risk mitigation frameworks for pandemic disease remains inadequate and leaves countries exposed to significant disruption, financial harm, and avoidable mortality.

Professor Lawrence Gostin has served on two high-level commissions inquiring into the lessons learned from the 2015 West Africa Ebola epidemic: the Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework (National Academy of Sciences, supported by WHO, World Bank, Gates Foundation, and Rockefeller Foundation), and the Independent Panel on the Global Response to Ebola (Harvard University/London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine). In this seminar, Professor Gostin will reflect on lessons learned from these and other global commissions into the Ebola epidemic and global health risk framework, with short responses from three Australian experts in the field. In his keynote presentation, Professor Gostin will argue that the lessons from past epidemics point to three key drivers of change: national health systems, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UN System reform, and accelerated Research and Development. Each of these drivers of change requires system-wide accountability mechanisms to improve their performance and to reduce the human and economic cost of future epidemics.

About the speaker

Professor Lawrence Gostin is the Linda and Timothy O'Neill Professor of Global Health Law, Georgetown University, Washington DC, where he directs the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. Professor Gostin is also the Director of the World Health Organisation's Collaborating Centre on Public Health Law and Human Rights. Professor Gostin is a global health diplomat who has worked to advance health and human rights in many capacities in the international arena. These include membership of the WHO's Expert Advisory Panels on the International Health Regulations, on mental health, and on smallpox; the Independent Global Commission on the Ebola Epidemic, and the Global Fund/World Bank/WHO Equitable Access Initiative.

Professor Gostin is the author of many books and scholarly articles including Global Health Law (Harvard University Press, 2014); Public Health Law and Ethics: A Reader (University of California Press, 2nd ed., 2010); Public Health Law: Power, Duty, Restraint (University of California Press, 2nd ed. 2008); and Principles of Mental Health Law & Practice (Oxford University Press, 2010).

Professor Gostin is a long-time friend of Sydney Law School and the University of Sydney and on the nomination of the Dean of Law and the Dean of Medicine, was awarded a Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) by the University in 2012.


ChairDr Sascha Callaghan, University of Sydney

CPD Points: 1.5

Are you interested in studying health care law, public health law, or global health law? Sydney Law School offers a Master of Health Law and Graduate Diploma in Health Law which is open to both legally qualified candidates as well as those without a law degree. Click here for more information or contact the coordinator of the program, Professor Magnusson, at:

Time: Registration from 5.30pm. 6-7.30pm lecture, followed by cocktail reception

Location: New Law Building (F10), Eastern Avenue, University of Sydney

Cost: Full Fee $15; SLS Alumni $10; Student $10

Contact: Professional Learning & Community Engagement

Phone: 02 9351 0429

Email: 342234052005122600400d222b3209311c4b1d283e6c3531

More info: