Dr. Virginia MURRAY


Professor Virginia S.G. MURRAY is M.B.B.S.  London (1975), F.F.O.M  (U.K.) 1994, F.R.C.Path. (UK 1999), F.R.C.P. (London 2000), F.F.P.H. (2003), A.F.R. C.E.M. (2005).

She is Honorary Professor, University College London (2013 onwards), Visiting Professor in Health Protection, MRC-PHE Centre for Environment and Health, Imperial College and King’s College, London (2004 onwards), and has been Visiting Professor to the Universita del Piemonte Orientale (UPO), Italy (2014) Visiting Professor, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium (2014)

Present Appointment: Public Health Consultant in Global Disaster Risk Reduction, Public Health England April 2014 onwards

As Vice-Chair of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction Science and Technical Advisory Groupsince September 2013 I have taken on a lead role in the Major Group in Science and Technology. In particular my tasks are to support UNISDR at the STAG meetings, attend the Regional Platforms as requested and promote the use of science in the post-2015 discussions – such as building a series of case studies to show that science can inform policy and practice.

As a result of both these I have attended the UNISDR Regional Platforms Africa Regional Platform in Nigeria May 2014, UNISDR Regional Platform for the Americas, Guayaquil, Ecuador, May 2014, Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR), Bangkok, Thailand June 2014, Understanding Risk Forum, World Bank and UCL, London June 2014, UNISDR Regional Platform for the Arab League, Sharm-el-Sheik, Egypt September 2014 and UNISDR Regional Platform for the Europe, Madrid, Spain October 2014 and the 3rd World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (WCDRR), Sendai, Japan March 2015. Other UN meetings attended recently include First and Second Preparatory Committee meetings for the Third UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction, Geneva, Switzerland July and November 2014, WHO conference on Health and Climate, Geneva, Switzerland, August 2014, UNISDR HFA2 Advisory Group meeting face to face, Geneva, Switzerland October 2014 and WMO/WHO - The Gender Dimension of Weather and Climate Services Conference, Geneva, Switzerland, November 2014

As part of this I work with colleagues in STAG and around the world to implement the UN Landmark Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. Of note is:

Para 25  (g)  Enhance the scientific and technical work on disaster risk reduction and its mobilization through the coordination of existing networks and scientific research institutions at all levels and all regions with the support of the UNISDR Scientific and Technical Advisory Group in order to strengthen the evidence-base in support of the implementation of this framework; promote scientific research of disaster risk patterns, causes and effects; disseminate risk information with the best use of geospatial information technology; provide guidance on methodologies and standards for risk assessments, disaster risk modelling and the use of data; identify research and technology gaps and set recommendations for research priority areas in disaster risk reduction; promote and support the availability and application of science and technology to decision-making; contribute to the update of the 2009 UNISDR Terminology on Disaster Risk Reduction; use post-disaster reviews as opportunities to enhance learning and public policy; and disseminate studies; 

Previously Head of Extreme Events and Health Protection, Health Protection Agency Public Health England

The Extreme Events and Health Protection (EEHP) provided a focal point local, national and international environmental health protection work for response to extreme events. The key lead area for this section is extreme events. For this purpose an extreme event can be defined as any natural hazard including flooding, drought, cold, earthquakes and volcanic ash with the potential to cause adverse impacts on human health including aspects of climate change

Previously Head of Centre for Radiation, Chemicals and Environmental Hazards, London, Health Protection Agency 2003-2010

I provided with my team –response to acute and chronic chemical incidents, supported by research to build the evidence base and providing training

Selected recent peer review publications

Aitsi-Selmi A, Murray V. The Sendai framework: disaster risk reduction through a health lens. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2015;93:362
Murray V, Aitsi-Selmi A, Blanchard K. The Role of Public Health within the United Nations Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. Int J of Disaster Risk Science 2015;6:28-37
Kennedy ITR, Petley DN, Williams R, Murray V. A Systematic Review of the Health Impacts of Mass Earth Movements (Landslides). PLOS Currents Disasters. 2015 Apr 30 . Edition 1. doi: 10.1371/currents.dis.1d49e84c8bbe678b0e70cf7fc35d0b77
Elliot AJ, Bone A, Morbeya R, Hughes H, Harcourt S, Smith S, Loveridge P, Green HK, Pebody R, Andrews N, Murray V, Catchpole M, Bickler G, McCloskey B, Smith G. Using real-time syndromic surveillance to assess the health impact of the 2013 heatwave in England Environmental Research. 2014 Nov (136):31–36DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2014.08.031
C.Stanke, M. KKerac, Ch. Prudhomme, J. Medlock and V. Murray Health Effects of Drought: a Systematic Review of the Evidence PLoS Currents Disasters 2013
Elliot A J, Hughes H E , Hughes T C , Locker T E , Brown R, Sarran C, Clewlow Y, Murray V, Bone A , Catchpole M , McCloskey B , Smith G E - The impact of thunderstorm-related asthma on emergency department attendances across London during July 2013 Emerg Med J doi:10.1136/emermed-2013-203122
Brown L and Murray V Examining the relationship between infectious diseases and flooding in Europe A systematic literature review and summary of possible public health interventions Disaster Health 1:2, 1–11; April/May/June 2013; © 2013 Landes Bioscience
Dabera G, Murray V, Carmichael, C. - Cold Weather threats to health: how does Europe prepare? Public Health 127 (2013) 952-954
Goldman A, Eggen B, Golding B, Murray V. The health impacts of windstorms: a systematic literature review. Review Paper. Public Health (2013) 1e26;
Klinger C, Landeg O, Murray V. Power Outages, Extreme Events and Health: a Systematic Review of the Literature from 2011-2012. PLOS Currents Disasters. 2014 Jan 2. Edition 1. doi: 10.1371/currents.dis.04eb1dc5e73dd1377e05a10e9edde673.
Ochi S, Hodgson S, Landeg O, Mayner L, Murray V. Disaster-Driven Evacuation and Medication Loss: a Systematic Literature Review. PLOS Currents Disasters. 2014 Jul 18. Edition 1
Fowler T, Southgate RJ, Waite T, Harrell R, Kovats S, Bone A, Doyle Y, Murray V, Excess Winter Deaths in Europe: A multi-country descriptive analysis. European Journal of Public Health Advance Access published June 11, 2014. 1-6
Milojevic, A., Kovats, S., Leonardi, G., Murray, V., Nye, M. and Wilkinson, P. (2014), Population displacement after the 2007 floods in Kingston upon Hull, England. Journal of Flood Risk Management. doi: 10.1111/jfr3.12111
Ghosh A, Carmichael C, Elliot AJ, Green HK, Murray V, Petrokofsky C. The Cold Weather Plan evaluation: an example of pragmatic evidence-based policy making? Public Health. 128 (2014) 619-627
Mohan R, Walton HA, Thomson D, Webster H, Wilkinson P, Grundy C, Murray V, Leonardi G. The Buncefield Oil Depot Fire of 2005: Potential Air-Pollution Health Impacts Under Alternative Meteorological Scenarios. PLoS Currents Disasters. February 2012.
Soomaroo L and Murray V. Disasters at Mass Gatherings: Lessons from History. PLoS Currents Disasters. 2012
Smethurst H.E., Witham C., Robins A.G., Murray V.S.G. An exceptional case of long range odorant transport J. Wind Eng. Ind. Aerodyn. 103 (2012) 60–72
Gupta S, Carmichael C, Simpson C, Clarke MJ, Allen C, Gao Y, Chan EYY, Murray V. Electric fans for reducing adverse health impacts in heatwaves. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD009888. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD009888.pub2
Lock S, Rubin GJ, Murray V, Rogers MB, Amlôt R, Williams R. Secondary stressors and extreme events and disasters: a systematic review of primary research from 2010-2011. PLOS Currents Disasters. 2012 Oct 29 [last modified: 2012 Oct 29].
Stanke C, Murray V, Amlôt R, Nurse J, Williams R. The effects of flooding on mental health: Outcomes and recommendations from a review of the literature. PLoS Currents Disasters, 2012
Finlay SE, Moffat A, Gazzard R, Baker D, Murray V. Health Impacts of Wildfires. PLoS Currents Disasters. 2012 Nov 2 [last modified: 2012 Nov 2]. Edition 1. doi: 10.1371/4f959951cce2c.
Dabrera G, Murray V, Emberlin J, Ayres JG, Collier C, Clewlow Y, Sachon P. Thunderstorm asthma: an overview of the evidence base and implications for public health advice. Q J Med doi:10.1093/qjmed/hcs234 QJM Advance Access.
Soomaroo L, Murray V. Weather and Environmental Hazards at Mass Gatherings. PLoS Currents Disasters. 2012 Jul 31 [last modified: 2012 Jul 31] doi: 10.1371/4fca9ee30afc4
Bayntun C, Rockenschaub G, Murray V. Developing a health system approach to disaster management: A qualitative analysis of the core literature to complement the WHO Toolkit for assessing health-system capacity for crisis management. PLOS Currents Disasters. 22 Aug 2012.
Clarke SFJ , Stephens C, Farhan M , Ward P , Keshishian C , Murray V , Zenner D. Multiple patients with carbon monoxide toxicity from water-pipe smoking. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012; 27(6):1-3.
Finlay SE, Earby M, Baker DJ, Murray VSG. Explosions and human health: the long term effects of blast injury. Prehosp Disaster Med. 2012;27(4):1-7.
Murray V, Ebi KL. IPCC Special Report on Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) (Editorial) J Epidemiol Community Health (2012). doi:10.1136/jech-2012-201045
Elliot AJ, Singh N, Loveridge P, Harcourt S, Smith S, Pnaiser R, Kavanagh K, Robertson C, Ramsay CN, McMenamin J, Kibble A, Murray V, Ibbotson S, Catchpole M, McCloskey B, Smith GE. Syndromic surveillance to assess the potential public health impact of the Icelandic volcanic ash plume across the United Kingdom, April 2010. Euro Surveill. 2010;15(23):pii=19583.
Taye A, Haile Mariam D, Murray V. Interim report: Review of evidence of the health impact of famine in Ethiopia. September 2010. Perspectives in Public 2010 130;5:222-226
Galea A, Brooke N, Dobney A, Baker D, Mobbs S, Murray V. Development of a UK Recovery Handbook for Chemical Incidents. J Environmental Health Research:10; 1 73-75. 2010.
Kulling, P Birnbaum M, Murray V Rockenschaub G. Guidelines for Reports on Health Crises and Critical Health Events Prehosp Disaster Med. 2010 July-August; 25(4):377-383
Milojevic A, Armstrong B, Kovats S, Butler B, Hayes E, Leonardi G, Murray V, Wilkinson P Long-term effects of flooding on mortality in England and Wales, 1994-2005: controlled interrupted time-series analysis Environmental Health 2011, 10:11
Castleden Matthew, McKee Martin, Murray Virginia, Leonardi Giovanni, Resilience thinking in health protection. Journal of Public Health | pp. 1–9 | doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdr027
Dar OA, Khan MS, Murray V: Conducting rapid health needs assessments in the Cluster era: Experiences from the Pakistan floods. Prehosp Disaster Med 2011;26(3):1–5.
Kar-Purkayastha I; Clarke M; Murray V . Dealing with disaster databases – what can we learn from health and systematic reviews? PLoS Currents Disasters 07 October 2011.
Grynszpan D, Murray V, Llossa S (2011). The value of case studies in disaster assessment. Prehospital and disaster medicine DOI: 0.1017/S1049023X11006406

Selected Reports

Murray, V., G. McBean, M. Bhatt, S. Borsch, T.S. Cheong, W.F. Erian, S. Llosa, F. Nadim, M. Nunez, R. Oyun, and A.G. Suarez, 2012: Case studies. In: Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation [Field, C.B., V. Barros, T.F. Stocker, D. Qin, D.J. Dokken, K.L. Ebi, M.D. Mastrandrea, K.J. Mach, G.-K. Plattner, S.K. Allen, M. Tignor, and P.M. Midgley (eds.)]. A Special Report of Working Groups I and II of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, and New York, NY, USA, pp. 487-542.
Aitsi-Selmi A, Blanchard K, Al-Khudhairy D, Ammann W, Basabe P, Johnston D, Ogallo L, Onishi T, Renn O, Revi A, Roth C, Peijun S, Schneider J, Wenger D, Murray V. UNISDR STAG 2015 Report: Science is used for disaster risk reduction. 2015. http://preventionweb.net/go/42848

Selected prizes

  • WADEM Award for Global Leadership in Emergency Public Health 2015 -http://www.wadem.org/ph_award.html
  • 2009 BMA Medical Book Competition Awards first prize public health for Baker D, Fielder R, Karalliedde L, Murray VSG, Parkinson N. (Eds.) Essentials of Toxicology for Health Protection - a handbook for field professionals. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2008.
  • British Computer Society Award. September 1994 (Poisonous Plants in Great Britain and Ireland).

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