Sandro trained and worked as a medical doctor at The Alfred Hospital in Australia. While practising as a doctor he completed a Master in Public Health including fieldwork to prevent diabetes through Buddhist Wats in Cambodia.
In 2010, he relocated to Denmark where he completed a PhD with the University of Copenhagen, focusing on noncommunicable diseases. His doctoral research was based in Mongolia, working with the Ministry of Health. He designed, led and reported a national epidemiological survey, sampling more than 3500 households.
Sandro held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at Harvard Medical School from 2013 to 2015, and was assistant professor and course director in global health at the Copenhagen School of Global Health, in Denmark. He established and led the PLOS blog Global Health, and served on the founding Advisory Board of the EAT Foundation: the global, multistakeholder platform for food, health and environmental sustainability.
To date, he has authored over 23 scientific publications and more than 110 articles.
In his pro bono work, Dr Demaio co-founded NCDFREE, a global social movement against noncommunicable diseases using social media, short film and leadership events – crowdfunded, it reached more than 2.5 million people in its first 18 months. Then, in 2015, he founded festival21, assembling and leading a team of knowledge leaders in staging a massive and unprecedented, free celebration of community, food, culture and future in his hometown Melbourne.
In November 2015, Sandro joined the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development at the World Health Organization’s global headquarters, as Medical Officer for noncommunicable conditions and nutrition.
From 2017, Dr Demaio is also co-host of the ABC television show Ask the Doctor – an innovative and exploratory factual medical series broadcasting weekly across Australia.
Since September 2019, Sandro is the CEO of VicHealth.