Professor Nicola Spurrier is a dual-qualified medical specialist with nearly three decades of experience in SA Health, including 10 years in the Department of Health and Wellbeing. She has been serving as South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer since August 2019.

The Chief Public Health Officer, Nicola Spurrier, has been instrumental in the state’s effective COVID-19 response. Throughout COVID-19’s huge challenges, she has acted professionally, tactically, and compassionately.

Here is everything you need to know about the 2021 South Australian of the Year nominee.

An Alumna of the University of Adelaide

The Australian paediatrician graduated with an MBBS degree from the University of Adelaide in 1990. In 1997, she received a Graduate Diploma degree in Epidemiology from the University of Newcastle. Two years later, she completed a PhD from Adelaide University, with a thesis titled “Parental management of children’s asthma: the role of psychosocial factors.”

Honoured with a Public Service Medal in 2021

Spurrier worked at Adelaide’s Women’s and Children’s Hospital from 1993 to 1999 before moving on to Flinders University as a lecturer in paediatrics and child health and consultant paediatrician at Flinders Medical Centre. The university promoted her to Associate Professor in 2011 and Professor in April 2020.

With nearly three decades of experience within SA Health, Spurrier specialises in the development and implementation of policies and initiatives in the areas of child health, obesity prevention, and Aboriginal health.

Spurrier was appointed as South Australia’s Chief Public Health Officer in August 2019. She was active in the state’s response to bushfires four months later. She has been leading South Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic since 2020, holding daily news briefings with Premier Steven Marshall in which she has been described as “calm, honest and direct”

Spurrier was one of four nominees for 2021 South Australian of the Year. In the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours, she was awarded a Public Service Medal for her outstanding contribution to community health in South Australia.

Mother of Three Children

The SA’s Chief Public Health Officer is a caring mother of three children. She shares two sons and a daughter with her husband, David Spurrier.

Spurrier and her husband, who is a physiotherapist, have already completed 30 years of marriage together. Her husband is also a co-director of Mitcham Rehab & Marion Sports Physio. He graduated with a degree in Master of Physiotherapy in Sports and Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy from the University of South Australia.

Comes from a family of Doctors

Spurrier comes from a family of doctors. Her father, Dr Evan Ross Smith, was an infectious disease physician, and he taught medical students. Likewise, her mother, Dr Lesley Smith, is a pathologist.

Spurrier’s sister, Professor Justine Smith, is a Consultant Ophthalmologist at SALHN-Flinders Medical Centre and executive Vice-President of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology. Justine is married to Dr Binoy Appukuttan, who also works at Flinders University, as a researcher and lecturer in Molecular Medical Science.


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