Associate Professor Penelope Burns

Associate Professor
College of Health and Medicine

Penny Burns is a General Practitioner working in a hospital based general practice and in a GP respiratory clinic in Sydney. Her clinical title with ANU Medical School is with the Academic Unit of General Practice.

She has been working, researching, and teaching in the field of disasters now for over a decade. She is passionate about the need to integrate general practice in disaster management systems. Reflecting her interest, Penny has many roles related to disasters at local, state, national and international levels.

Penny has further research interests in human behaviour in road tunnel evacuations; management of animals in disasters; infection protection control in frontline healthcare workers; and a digital approach to prevention and treatment of PTSD prevention.

Research interests

Disaster health management

Role of General Practitioners in disasters

Health consequences of disasters

Management of animals in disasters

Human Factors in Road Tunnel Evacuations

Infection prevention and control in General Practice during pandemics


  • Veasey, L, Broom, A, Kenny, K et al. 2021, 'Entanglements of affect, space, and evidence in pandemic healthcare: An analysis of Australian healthcare workers’ experiences of COVID-19', Health & Place: An International Journal, vol. 72, no. 2021.
  • Sotomayor Castillo, C, Nahidi, S, Li, C et al. 2021, 'General practitioners’ knowledge, preparedness, and experiences of managing COVID-19 in Australia', Infection, Disease & Health, vol. 26, no. 3, pp. 166-172.
  • Burns, P, Watson, K & McCourt , E 2020, 'Injecting primary care into disaster health management', Australian Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 35, no. 4, pp. 15-16.
  • Burns, P & Manderson, K 2020, Building GP capacity in times of disaster, pp. online.
  • Burns, P, Douglas, K, Hu, W et al. 2020, 'General practitioners' in the field: A qualitative study of general practitioners' experiences in disaster healthcare', Australian Journal of General Practice, vol. 49, no. 3, pp. 132-139.
  • Cuthbertson, J, Stewart, C, Lyon, A et al. 2020, 'Health Impacts of Volcanic Activity in Oceania', Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, vol. 35, no. 5, pp. 574-578.
  • Burns, P, Douglas, K & Hu, W 2019, 'Primary care in disasters: opportunity to address a hidden burden of health care', Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 210, no. 7, pp. 297-299.
  • Burns, P & Delaney, P 2019, 'Emeritus Professor Beverley Raphael AM, MB?BS, MD, FRANZCP, FRCPsych, Hon MD, FASSA', The Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 210, no. 4, pp. 157-.
  • Burns, P, Sutton, B & Leggat, P 2017, 'Complex events', in Gerry FitzGerald, Mike Tarrant, Peter Aitken and Marie Fredriksen (ed.), Disaster Health Management: A Primer for Students and Practitioners, Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, United Kingdom, pp. 282-296pp.
  • Burns, P, Douglas, K, Raphael, B et al. 2017, 'When Disaster Strikes what is the Role of the Local
    Primary Healthcare Doctor?', Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, vol. 32, no. Supplement 1 , pp. 70-71.
  • Burns, P, Aitken, P & Raphael, B 2015, 'Where are general practitioners when disaster strikes?', Medical Journal of Australia, vol. 202, no. 7, pp. 356-358.
  • Taylor, M, Burns, P, Lynch, E et al. 2015, 'The preparedness and evacuation behaviour of pet owners in
    emergencies and natural disasters', Australian Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 30, no. 2.
  • Raphael, B & Burns, P 2014, 'Opinion: Children in disasters: the way forward', Australian Journal of Emergency Management, vol. Volume 29, , no. No. 1, January 2014, pp. 6-7.
  • Burns, P, Watson, K & McCourt , E 2011, 'Mental Health response for World Health Day: the Sydney experience', Australian Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 26, no. 4.