Improving humanitarian assistance and disaster response

26 Sep 2018

Emily Ragus


Enoggera local, Emily Ragus has always held a strong passion for equitable health care. She is a critical care nurse who works as the Disaster Liaison Clinical Nurse Consultant for the Health Disaster Management Unit. 

Emily will travel to New York, Geneva, Sweden and Israel to investigate models for improved aeromedical retrieval standards in international disaster response.  

The Fellowship has been funded by Australia’s National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre established following the 2002 Bali bombings.  The NCCTRC is a key element of the Australian Government’s disaster and emergency medical response to incidents of national and international significance.

“On behalf of the NCCTRC I would like to congratulate Emily on being awarded the Fellowship. 

Aeromedical retrieval standards are an important area for international disaster response and as demonstrated following the 2002 Bali bombings, vital to saving lives,” said Professor Len Notaras AM, Executive Director NCCTRC. 

In 2016, Emily responded to a fatal bus crash in Vanuatu and retrieved two patients. She noticed different insurance companies were providing medical care, not in line with Australian health standards. 

Emily’s concern for these inconsistent standards of care motivated her to apply for a 2018 Fellowship. 

When Emily found out she had received a Fellowship, she felt pride, excitement about the journey ahead, as well as determination to do the best she can for her area of expertise. 

Emily hopes her Fellowship will develop her understanding of the aeromedical space and broaden her knowledge in humanitarian assistance and disaster response. 

“As part of my Fellowship, I will study a one-month intensive Diploma of International Humanitarian Assistance through Fordham University in New York,” said Ms Ragus.  

“During my Fellowship, I will learn from industry experts including human rights lawyers, and experts from International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations, and Médecins Sans Frontières. 

Emily will then travel to Sweden to observe how the Scandinavian and Swedish governments have collaborated to transform a commercial functioning jumbo jet into an intensive care facility. 

“A ground-breaking initiative such as this jet, which can be transformed within only six hours, has great potential for Australia because we are in such a geographically isolated position.” 

Emily’s journey will also include a visit to the United Nations in Geneva to learn about their standards for medical search and rescue teams, and learning from disaster management leaders in Israel. 

“Emily’s area of interest is important and her investigations and new learnings will be impactful on Australian approaches to disaster response,” said Adam Davey, CEO of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. 

“We look forward to seeing how Emily will bring back the knowledge she gains from world-experts and translates her new skills into something that benefits Queensland and Australia.”

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