Prof Michael Baker

Epidemiologist, University of Otago

How Aotearoa New Zealand is beating Covid-19 and key lessons for the future

This presentation covers key aspects of the Aotearoa New Zealand response to the Covid-19 pandemic, including: the choice of an elimination strategy, the impact of that choice, the role of science communication, sustaining our current response, and medium to long-term recovery scenarios.  It discusses important implications and conclusions from our Covid-19 response, including the need for: (1) Improving evidence-informed decision-making; (2) Adapting responses to future threats; (3)  Building  effective public health infrastructure; (4) Supporting effective global health institutions; and (5) Seizing public health opportunities provided by the Covid-19 reset. Michael also reflects on the shared experience of living through a very intense period in NZ history.


Understanding the science behind Aotearoa New Zealand’s COVID-19 response

Webber training session sponsored by Schulke
This presentation covers key science concepts behind Aotearoa New Zealand’s successful Covid-19 response, including: (1) Sizing-up pandemics; (2) Choosing a response strategy; (3) Measuring the impact of the strategy; (4) Immunising against Covid-19; (5) Combating misinformation; (6) Planning for future pandemic scenarios; and (7) Applying lessons to improve public health.

Michael Baker is a public health physician and Professor in the Department of Public Health at the University of Otago, Wellington, where he has worked full-time since 2003.

He has a wide range of public health research interests, with a focus on infectious diseases, environmental health, and improving housing conditions.
His work during 2020-21 has been dominated by assisting with the Covid-19 pandemic response. Michael is a member of the Ministry of Health’s Covid-19 Technical Advisory Group and has been the leading architect and advocate for the Covid-19 elimination strategy.
His work on public health, and the Covid-19 response in particular, was recognised by a number of awards including: the Critic and Conscience of Society Award (from Universities New Zealand), being made a Member of the NZ Order of Merit (MNZM), his selection as the 2020 Wellingtonian of the Year, and the Prime Minister’s Science Communication Prize in 2021.


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