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Chief health officers are in the spotlight like never before. Here's what goes on behind the scenes

By Patrick Harris, Senior Research Fellow, Deputy Director, CHETRE, UNSW
Aryati Yashadhana, Research Fellow, UNSW
Evelyne de Leeuw, Professor, UNSW
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Until COVID-19, few people knew anything about Australia’s chief medical officer or the state and territories’ chief health officers. Now they are front and centre of the news cycle.

But media coverage misses the nuances of the role. We see people with particular skills and personalities. Yet, each of the offices and officers is embedded in a particular institutional and historical context, which drives their role.

We are involved in an international study to look at their…

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