Canadian Red Cross Secretary General appointed Special Envoy on Avian and Human Influenza

    OTTAWA, May 15 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadian Red Cross is pleased to announce
the appointment of its Secretary General, Dr. Pierre Duplessis, as Special
Envoy on Avian and Human Influenza for the International Federation of Red
Cross and Red Crescent Societies (International Federation) for a two-year
posting in Geneva, Switzerland.
    "On behalf of volunteers, members and staff, we offer our congratulations
and sincere appreciation to Dr. Duplessis for nearly 10 years of dedicated
service, leadership and commitment," said Canadian Red Cross President, Jane
McGowan. "We are pleased that his expertise and knowledge of public health
will be now be shared by National Societies around the world on such an
important and timely issue."
    The H5N1 form of avian influenza has the potential to develop into an
even more dangerous or human strain and result in large global outbreaks. The
position of Special Envoy for Avian and Human Influenza was established in May
2006 in order to sustain global attention and cooperation in the prevention,
preparation and mitigation against the risk of a human avian influenza
pandemic. Dr. Duplessis assumed the role part time in 2006 but now will
spearhead this critical work on a fulltime basis.
    The International Federation is co-ordinating its actions with the
International Committee of the Red Cross, the World Health Organisation, and
the United Nations to ensure a complementary approach. Red Cross and Red
Crescent Societies also have a major role in preparedness and response against
avian flu around the world
    "I am honoured to serve in this role, which reflects the commitment and
importance of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in responding to this
potential disaster, says Dr. Pierre Duplessis. "A crucial part of the
International Federation's response will be to provide special training for at
least 50,000 volunteers and staff to respond to the specific nature of this
crisis. Relief stocks will be pre-positioned to deal with new outbreaks."
    Pierre Duplessis completed a Doctorate degree in medicine (Université de
Montréal), a Master's degree in Public Health with a major in Health
Administration (Harvard University), and a Specialty degree in Community
Medicine (Université Laval). He began his career as a general practitioner,
practiced public health for fifteen years, and held various administrative
positions in the health care sector from District Public Health Officer,
Director of Professional Services (often known as VP Medical Affairs) in a
major teaching pediatric hospital, Senior Medical Advisor to the Deputy
Minister of Health, Deputy Secretary General of the Quebec College of
Physicians, to Senior Medical Advisor to the Ministry of Health in Quebec.

    The Canadian Red Cross is a member of the International Red Cross and Red
Crescent Movement, which includes the International Federation of Red Cross
and Red Crescent Societies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and
185 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Our mission is to improve
the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity in Canada
and around the world.

For further information:

For further information: Canadian Red Cross Media Line, (613) 740-1994,; High resolution photos are available

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