Callum Thirkell is an epidemiologist who has been at ESR since October 2020. He works part-time, primarily on Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) surveillance.
Callum earned his BCom and BSci at the Victoria University, MPH at James Cook University and MAE/FETP at the Australian National University.
Callum came back to his home in New Zealand after completing the Australia Field Epidemiology Training program (FETP) and working in Canberra for the three years prior, mostly in state level public health.
STI surveillance involves collecting, collating, analysing, and publishing data which is routinely collected. The research team uses a few different methods of collecting data including laboratory data, surveys from clinicians and direct from sexual health clinics. Callum is relatively new to working in sexual health and never realised infectious syphilis would be so interesting, prevalent, and also devastating. It provides plenty of incentive to for him to do this work.
Prior to being an epidemiologist, Callum spent his career being an Intensive Care Paramedic and then lecturing undergraduate paramedic students. He then decided to do the field epi training program in Australia which was a great experience. He is really enjoying the change from the very pointy end of clinical care to the total opposite— working in public health.
Callum spends the other half of his working time helping build field epidemiology training programs with Field Epidemiology in Action,(external link) working primarily with colleagues in Australia and Papua New Guinea.