Michelle Gayer

Michelle Gayer

Director Emergency Health, IRC


Michelle Gayer is a medical doctor with education in public health, economics, and management.

Her career over the last almost 20 years, starting in Australia then working with MSF (Doctors Without Borders) and WHO (World Health Organization), at country and global levels, evolving from technical to managerial & policy roles, has been devoted to ensuring evidence-based health interventions and services for vulnerable populations in emergency settings, especially conflict and disasters.

With MSF she had numerous roles in conflict-affected countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including as Country Director. Her several roles at WHO between 2003-2016 included Coordinator of WHO’s Disease Control in Emergencies Program, Global Director of Emergencies where she was responsible for WHO’s worldwide humanitarian emergency program of work, and finally as Director of WHO’s Emergency Reform, where she was responsible for managing the design of WHO’s new Health Emergencies Programme. Michelle joined the International Rescue Committee in June 2016 to lead its work in health, WASH and nutrition in emergencies.

She has published numerous international technical guidelines on infectious disease control in emergencies, built capacity of government and international health agencies, and provided direct field assistance for public health risk assessment, disease surveillance, outbreak preparedness and response and health strategic planning.

Elrha is a registered charity in England and Wales (1177110).

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