Meet Professor Paul Kelly



TYPE Profiles

ACT Health

Deputy Director General of Population Health, and Chief Health Officer

Please describe your role: My role encompasses health improvement, disease prevention, health promotion and health measurement – basically whatever is on my desk at the time.

The most challenging part is … dealing with a broad range of stakeholders from ministers and ministerial staff to the lay public media, medical and scientific people experts and the bureaucracy. I have to balance what needs to be done with what’s right and what will make a difference.

I’m interested in the work of the Prevention Centre because … I see the world in systems and I find it very stimulating to be involved in a whole range of discussions amongst like-minded people. I have particularly appreciated the work of the Centre in relation to simulation modelling, which has led to PhD student Louise Freebairn’s work on the issue of gestational diabetes.

At work I am always learning … something new every day about a topic I’ve never heard of. I have to apply frameworks I have in my head based on my experience and professional training as a public health physician and communicate these to a minister or the public.

Before my current position, my most memorable role was … running a 200-bed hospital in Malawi, Central Africa, in the 1990s and doing often complex clinical interventions as well as trying to move the hospital to a more primary health and population health focus.

Most people don’t know that … I am a keen Scottish country dancer. I have danced in multiple countries around the world and really enjoy it. Yes, I do have a kilt – it’s made of the family tartan (Ancient Airlie).

My favourite holiday is … something that includes dancing, particularly if it involves good company, good food and good wine in an exotic location.