An Austin Health nurse receives her COVID-19 vaccinationAn Austin Health nurse receives her COVID-19 vaccinationAn Austin Health nurse receives her COVID-19 vaccination

Clinics & services


North Eastern Public Health Unit

We manage and respond to public health issues in Melbourne’s north east to keep the community safe and informed.

About us

North Eastern Public Health Unit (NEPHU) logo

The North Eastern Public Health Unit (NEPHU) is one of nine public health units across metropolitan and regional Victoria, established in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. NEPHU is funded by the Victorian Government and works closely with the Victorian Department of Health to deliver services for Melbourne’s north eastern region.

NEPHU is led by Austin Health in collaboration with Eastern Health and Northern Health. With teams based at each of our partner health services, we use our local knowledge and understanding of our communities and suburbs to address our current primary objective – STOP COVID. FAST.

When there is a case of COVID-19 in our community, we respond quickly to identify, manage and support contacts and cases.

At present, our entire focus is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the future, NEPHU will move into broader public health functions, providing a collaborative approach across health and community partners to protect the health of the community; prevent or minimise disease, illness and injury; and promote health and wellbeing at the community level.

Our work

Located at the Austin Hospital in Heidelberg with teams based at the Northern Hospital and Box Hill Hospital, we use our local knowledge and understanding of our communities and suburbs to address our current primary objective – STOP COVID. FAST. To achieve this objective, we provide:

  • contract tracing for COVID-19 cases in the region we serve
  • support, care and information for community members with COVID-19 and primary close contacts
  • direct advice to help people understand how to prevent the spread of COVID-19
  • support and tools to help schools, aged care and other sensitive settings identify and manage COVID outbreaks.

With the current high number of cases in the region we serve, our focus is on the highest risk settings and responding to these. During this phase, we will have much less interaction with cases in low-risk settings or where we know that the household is already in quarantine.

What areas of Melbourne do we serve?

NEPHU serves the northern and north eastern metropolitan region of Melbourne, which includes parts of the inner northern and eastern suburbs, and extends north to include Epping, Craigieburn and Whittlesea and north-east through the outer eastern suburbs to the Yarra Ranges.

We serve a population of around 1.6 million people, across 8 local government areas and 118 postcodes. We are proud to be part of one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse regions in Australia.

The following map provides an overview of the community that NEPHU serves.

Map of north eastern Melbourne highlighting the NEPHU catchment area
NEPHU catchment area

Our people

The NEPHU team is made up of public health doctors, infectious diseases doctors, infection prevention nurses, epidemiologists, public health officers, contact tracers, administration officers and communication and engagement advisors. Each team member is integral to the overall work of NEPHU.

Senior leadership team

Professor Paul Johnson - Director

Paul is an infectious diseases physician and the Director of the North Eastern Public Health Unit. He trained at the Austin Hospital Clinical School and Fairfield Infectious Diseases Hospital before moving to the Department of Microbiology at the Royal Children's Hospital where he obtained a PhD in Microbiology and undertook post-doctoral work in Epidemiology. In addition to his work at NEPHU, Professor Johnson continues his clinical role at Austin Health and is conjointly Director, World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Mycobacterium ulcerans.

Jo Kenny - Operations Director 

Jo holds a Master of Physiotherapy, Musculoskeletal from the University of Melbourne. After working as  physiotherapist at a number of health services, including interstate, overseas and at Austin Health, Jo moved into project and operations management. Jo has supported the Chief Operating Officer as Operations Manager for Austin Health and was Operations Lead COVID-19 Response at the Austin, before joining NEPHU in January 2021.

Dr Annaliese Van Diemen - Public Health Physician

Annaliese is a specialist in communicable diseases. She graduated with a Bachelor of Medical Science, a Bachelor of Medicine and a Bachelor of Surgery from Monash University, going on to earn a Diploma of Child Health Pediatrics at the University of Sydney and then a Master of Public Health – Medicine, Emergency Management and Disaster Preparedness at James Cook University. She has previously held a number of roles at the Department of Health, including Deputy Chief Health Officer, before joining NEPHU in May 2021.

Contact us

For urgent medical assistance

Please call 000 if you require urgent medical assistance, particularly if you have or might have COVID-19 and your condition has got worse. Do not delay.

For other enquiries

Non-urgent or general enquiries

If you have a non-urgent or general enquiry about COVID-19, vaccination or current restrictions, please see the extensive information provided by the Victorian Department of Health's Coronavirus (COVID-19) Victoria website.

If you have been contacted by NEPHU

If you have been contacted by NEPHU and wish to clarify information you have received, you can visit pages within this site to see if the answer is there.

Given the very high volume of enquiries during the ongoing COVID outbreak, we advise that you review our Frequently Asked Questions and if you cannot find the information you need, then get in touch via the contact form below.

Providing your details and as much information as possible helps us to get your query to the right person as quickly as possible so we can get back to you promptly. 

NEPHU contact form

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