Dr Tilman Ruff AM

Dr Tilman Ruff AM is a public health and infectious diseases physician. He has been Co-President of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) since 2012 and is the co-founder and founding international and Australian Chair of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). In 2017, ICAN was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for drawing attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of use of nuclear weapons and its efforts to achieve a treaty-based prohibition of such weapons.

Dr Ruff is an associate professor in the University of Melbourne’s Nossal Institute for Global Health, which he helped establish. He was the first civil society representative on Australian nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty delegations, civil society advisor to the International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament, and a delegate to the landmark Conferences on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Norway, Mexico and Austria (2013-4).

In 2017, he led the IPPNW delegation in New York throughout the UN General Assembly negotiation and adoption of the historic Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. In support of the treaty, he helped build a continuing collaboration between IPPNW and the largest international health federations – the World Medical Association, the World Federation of Public Health Associations and the International Council of Nurses.

Dr Ruff has clinical interests in immunisation and travel medicine, with more than 20 years’ experience as Australian Red Cross international medical advisor. He was first to document links between outbreaks of ciguatera fish poisoning and nuclear testing in the Pacific.

The inaugural head of travel medicine at Fairfield Hospital and then Royal Melbourne Hospital, Dr Ruff worked on hepatitis B control and maternal and child health in

Indonesia and Pacific island countries with Burnet Institute, UNICEF and WHO. He spent five years as regional medical director for an international vaccine manufacturer, and is a foundation member of the WHO Western Pacific Region Hepatitis B Immunisation Expert Resource Panel, currently serving his third term there.

Dr Ruff was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in 2012 “for service to the promotion of peace as an advocate for the abolition of nuclear weapons, and to public health through the promotion of immunisation programs in the South-East Asia – Pacific region.”

Read more: A Nobel cause