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The world’s disaster and emergency medicine experts to meet in Brisbane

Brisbane has been selected to host the 21st World Congress on Disaster and Emergency Medicine (WCDEM) in 2019.
In the past decade, 40% of the world’s disasters occurred in the Asia Oceania Region. Australia itself experiences a range of natural disasters including, floods, bushfires and severe storms and cyclones.


All this and more will be on the agenda when more than 700 of the world’s foremost experts in disaster and emergency medicine meet at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre for a four day Congress in May 2019, focussing their energies on the scientific, educational and clinical aspects of emergency care.

This is only the second time this event has been held in Australia and organisers expect the Congress to create great interest among those involved in the sector in the Asia Pacific and other countries including delegates from the USA, UK, Europe, Africa and South America.

The biennial meeting took place in Cape Town in April this year and will move to Toronto in 2017 before coming to Brisbane in 2019. While in Brisbane, organisers will encourage international delegates and their partners to extend their stay and visit other parts of Queensland. Australia and Queensland in particular are recognised as leaders in the disaster and emergency medicine space, developing sophisticated disaster preparedness and response systems as well as complex emergency healthcare systems.

Congress Co-Chair Professor Gerry FitzGerald, Director, Centre for Emergency and Disaster Management, School of Public Health Queensland University of Technology, said the successful bid was an opportunity to showcase Queensland’s experience in disaster management and to learn more from international experiences as to how we can better protect the health and wellbeing of Australians from natural disasters.

Brisbane’s key convention partners, led by the team at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre (BCEC), joined with the Oceania Chapter of World Association for Disaster & Emergency Medicine chaired by Professor Peter Aitken and Congress Co-Chair, Professor Gerry FitzGerald in bidding for the Congress which will highlight Brisbane’s state of the art emergency training activities and Queensland’s expertise in retrieval services and research facilities. Professor FitzGerald said the organising committee will comprise leading thinkers in disaster medicine from across the Oceania region.

In what was a unanimous vote for Brisbane as the host city, the international Board of the World Association for Disaster & Emergency Medicine commended the team on ‘a compelling presentation’ which included significant financial support and a ‘well thought out proposal’ in terms of program outline and a strong local sector.

Brisbane won against strong competition from Istanbul. BCEC General Manager, Bob O’Keeffe said the successful win further strengthens Brisbane’s appeal as an international meetings destination for the research and allied health sectors.

“This Congress has particular relevance to Brisbane and Queensland and the benefits in showcasing Brisbane’s strengths in this space, as well as the knowledge sharing and encouraging international collaboration, are immeasurable.” It was also further affirmation of Brisbane and the Centre’s reputation for hosting world class business events, he said.

Brisbane’s bid to host the WCDEM is supported by the Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland as part of its commitment to grow overnight visitor expenditure and showcase Brisbane as a leading business, study and leisure destination.

Brisbane Marketing’s General Manager, Conventions and Business Events, Rob Nelson said Brisbane’s easy accessibility, superior facilities and team approach helped draw the Congress to the city.

“The bid received strong local industry support in terms of developing a program outline as part of a real team effort in putting Brisbane forward as the best destination to host the Congress,” he said.

“Brisbane Convention Bureau collaborated with the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Tourism and Events Queensland and stakeholders right across the city to ensure there was a holistic Team Brisbane approach to attracting the Congress to Brisbane,” Mr Nelson said.

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