Dr Peta-Anne Zimmerman, senior lecturer for Griffith’s School of Nursing and Midwifery and consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO) is joining forces with experts from across Australia in a collaboration project that puts advancing infection control in the spotlight.  

Peta-Anne has recently assisted the World Health Organization in the fight against COVID-19, having spent time in the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific, based in the Philippines. Her role in WHO’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network is as a senior trainer for the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network. Peta-Anne assists on guiding the infection prevention and control response for the entire western Pacific region, which encompasses more than 30 member states including China, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand to   the Pacific Island countries and territories. 

Peta-Anne’s other major project – the Collaborative for the Advancement of Infection Prevention and Control, or CAIPC – combines her knowledge as a Griffith University Expert and WHO contractor with infection prevention and control experts and researchers from around Australia.  

Through CAIPC, Peta-Anne is working in partnership with her colleagues from James Cook University and the University of the Sunshine Coast to provide leadership and strategic direction to drive infection prevention and control education, practice, research, and consultancy in low- and middle-income settings. Her goal as a co-director and co-founder of the group is to promote collaboration, cooperation and capacity building to health professionals within and outside of traditional infection prevention and control settings.  

“CAIPC is working on several projects and literature reviews designed to bridge the divide between organisations that work in and around infection prevention and control,” says Peta-Anne. 

“Traditionally, infection prevention and control measures happen within healthcare facilities, and public health functions exist outside of those facilities; CAIPC recognises that those two settings have multiple overlaps. 

“Our current research looks at how we bridge that gap, encourage partnerships, and enter into collaborative projects with not just hospital and public health programs, but also community groups.” 

As Peta-Anne explains, the collaboration project is a unique one, for several important reasons.  

“Firstly, we’re different because we have a whole of program approach, designed to conduct comprehensive infection prevention and control evaluations via thorough consultation,” she says.  

“Secondly, we recognise that the wider healthcare workforce has a role to play in infection prevention and control – this does not and should not exist in a vacuum. 

“And finally, our collaboration involves early and mid-career researchers who offer their unique perspective as academics with clinical experience. This adds a whole new dimension to our projects.” 

As the more senior researcher on the collaboration, Peta-Anne brings a wealth of experience to CAIPC. She is an internationally respected clinician, educator and researcher in infection prevention and control, and her experience includes consultancy work with the World Health Organization (WHO), AusAID, DFAT, the Asian Development Bank, the Secretariat of the Pacific Communities, The Albion Centre and as a member of the WHO response teams for SARS, avian influenza, and now COVID-19. 

Her expertise has led her to work extensively in China, South East Asia and the South Pacific, directly on outbreak preparedness and response, and the development of comprehensive infection prevention and control programs and integration of public health and acute care response in infectious disease emergencies in low- and middle-income country settings. 

In 2020, which has been recognised as the WHO Year of the Nurse and the Midwife, Peta-Anne brings her knowledge from these experiences to her Griffith University roles of Doctoral Supervisor, Masters Supervisor, and Program Advisor for not just Infection Prevention and Control, but also Critical Care Nursing and Advanced Nursing Practice.  

If you would like to start or further a career in nursing, join Griffith University for the Bachelor of Nursing or our wide range of post-graduate study options, such as the Master of Infection Prevention and Control and the Graduate Certificate of Acute Care Nursing 

The Australian College of Nurses is currently administering Australian Government funded scholarships to support postgraduate study for nurses and midwives. This is a wonderful opportunity to complete study at a reduced rate. Griffith offers a range of postgraduate study in nursing, from Master programs in infection prevention and control and advanced nursing practice, to Graduate Certificates in paediatric nursing, emergency nursing, and more. Find out more about the scholarships via the Australian College of Nurses.