Professor Mary-Louise McLaws is Deputy President of the Academic Board and Professor of Epidemiology of Healthcare Associated Infection and Infectious Diseases Control at UNSW Australia and Leader for Water-Health with the UNSW Global Water Institute. Her clinical epidemiology research is focused in patient safety improvement programs.
In Australia, she has been advisory epidemiologist to the several Clinical Excellence Commission patient safety projects including the first state hand hygiene Clean Care Saves Live program, aseptic insertion program to reduce CLABSI in intensive care units and early detection and treatment of sepsis in emergency departments called Sepsis Kills. The Sepsis Kills program was awarded the Global Sepsis Alliance in the Government Category and in 2017 Medical Journal of Australia/MDA Best Research prize. Previously she performed first Australian prevalence survey healthcare associated infections in the mid-1980s and developed first standardised surveillance system for healthcare associated infections on behalf of the state Ministry of Health. The Chief Medical Officer appointed Mary-Louise to review the Australian Infection Prevention Guidelines for Healthcare Workers in preparation for Pandemic Influenza.
Internationally, she is a member of the World Health Organization (WHO) Technical Steering Committee for the Infection Prevention and Control Global Unit and previously a core member of the WHO First Global Patient Safety Challenge: Clean Care is Safer Care project. She has held the position of WHO Advisor to China and Malaysia during the development of their national patient safety surveillance systems. Post SARS she collaborated with the Health Bureau to review the response to the outbreak in Beijing. As supervisor her capacity building and research projects in patient safety include antibiotic prescribing practices and use in Cambodia, infection control in Turkey, haemodialysis in Vietnam, the viability of the My Five Moments for Hand Hygiene in crowded healthcare settings in Vietnam, a national needlestick injury study in Taiwan, and water related health in Vanuatu and Mali.