Confirmed Speakers 2019

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Michelle Bachelet

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria is a Chilean politician who served as President of Chile from 2006 to 2010 and again from 2014 to 2018, the first woman to occupy the position. After leaving the presidency in 2010 and while not immediately reelectable, she was appointed the first executive director of the newly created United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). In December 2013, Bachelet was reelected with over 62% of the vote, bettering the 54% she obtained in 2006. She was the first President of Chile to be reelected since 1932. In August 2018, the United Nations nominated her to become the next High Commissioner for Human Rights, replacing Zeid Raad Al Hussein.

Mark Britnell

Global Chairman and Senior Partner for Healthcare, Government, and Infrastructure, KPMG International

Dr. Mark Britnell joined KPMG as Global Chairman and Senior Partner for Health in 2009. Perviously he served as Chief Executive of University Hospitals Birmingham before going on to run the NHS region from Oxford to the Isle of Wight and joining the NHS Management Board as a Director-General at the Department of Health. He is a member of the Global Agenda Council on the Future of the Health Sector for the World Economic Forum and sits on the Advisory Board of the China Center for Health Development at Peking University. He is also author of the book In Search of the Perfect Health System, was recognised by Chinese Medical Doctors Association as best health book in China in 2017, and in the UK by the British Medical Association in 2016. Dr. Britnell is a board member of Prostate Cancer UK. He survived prostate cancer at the age of 42 and has donated all royalties from the sale of this book to Prostate Cancer UK. 

Margaret Chan, Former Director-General of the World Health Organization

Margaret Chan

Former Director-General of the World Health Organization, Hong Kong

Dr Margaret Chan was the Director-General of World Health Organisation (WHO) from 2007 to 2017. Dr Chan joined WHO as Director of the Department for Protection of the Human Environment in 2003. She was elected Director-General in 2006 and was appointed for a second five-year term in 2012.

Carissa F. Etienne - Photo Credit: PAHO/WHO

Carissa F. Etienne

Director, Pan American Health Organization

Dr. Carissa F. Etienne has served as Director of the Pan American Health Organization since 2013. She was previously Assistant Director-General for Health Systems and Services at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. During her tenures at WHO and PAHO, Dr. Etienne led the efforts to renew primary health care and to strengthen health systems based on primary health care, promoting integration and improved functioning of health systems. She has also spearheaded policy directions for reducing health inequalities and advancing health for all through universal coverage, people-centered care, the integration of health into broader public policies, and inclusive and participatory health leadership.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, Switzerland

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

WHO Director-General, Switzerland

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is an Ethiopian politician, academic, and public-health authority from Tigray who since 2017 has been Director-General of the World Health Organization. He served in the Government of Ethiopia as Minister of Health from 2005 to 2012 and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012 to 2016. Tedros joined the Ministry of Health in 1986, after graduating from the University of Asmara. An internationally recognized malaria researcher, as Minister of Health, Tedros received praise for a number of innovative and system-wide health reforms that substantially improved access to health services and key outcomes. Amongst them were hiring and training roughly 40,000 female health extension workers, cutting infant mortality from 123 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2006 to 88 in 2011, and increasing the hiring of health cadres including medical doctors and midwives. In July 2009, he was elected Board Chair of The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for a two-year term.

Denis Gilhooly

Chief Strategic Officer, Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health, United Kingdom

Denis Gilhooly has over three decades of experience working in the field of global health and information and communication technology for development (ICT4D). He is currently Chief Strategy Officer, Commonwealth Centre for Digital Health (CWCDH), Founder & CEO, Global Digital Health 2030 Innovation Task Force & Co-Chair, Global Digital Health Initiative 2030 – multi-sector and inter-disciplinary partnerships dedicated to data-driven innovation and investment for catalytic collaboration on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) 2030.

Global CEO and Director General of AMREF Health Africa Group

Githinji Gitahi

Global CEO and Director General of AMREF Health Africa Group

Dr Gitahi is the Group CEO/Director-General Amref Health Africa and also Co-Chair of the UHC2030 WHO and World Bank initiative for achievement of UHC by 2030. Until his appointment at Amref Health Africa, Dr Gitahi was the Vice President and Regional Director Smile Train, a Global cleft charity. As a medical doctor, he worked both in the public and private sector. He has extensive experience working in the private sector having worked in senior executive roles at GlaxoSmithKIine and Nation Media Group.

He is also member of the Private Sector Advisory Board of Africa CDC and of the World Health Organization’s Community Health Worker Hub. He is member of the Board of Directors of The Standard Group and holds board member positions across Amref Health Africa offices in Africa.

Jayasree Iyer

Executive Director, Access to Medicine Foundation, The Netherlands

As Executive Director, Dr. Jayasree K. Iyer leads the strategic direction and stakeholder engagement of the Access to Medicine Foundation. She directs the research programs for the Antimicrobial Resistance Benchmark, the Access to Medicine Index, the Access to Vaccines Index, and specific studies into priority health topics. Jayasree often speaks publicly on access-to-medicine matters on platforms hosted by international, governmental and non-governmental organizations, including the UN and WHO. In this capacity, she also engages with key pharmaceutical industry investors to support their engagement activities with pharma companies. She has written many technical and research reports, book chapters and reviews, along with strategy papers for medicines for developing countries and solutions for neglected tropical diseases. Before joining the Foundation, Jayasree managed a portfolio of more than 25 public private partnerships between the Dutch government and the pharmaceutical industry, totalling a research budget of €150 million. These partnerships addressed cancer, immunology and neglected diseases. She has worked for various non-government organisations, academic institutions and was part of the founding team of a diagnostic service company in the US.

Stefan Kaufmann

Director, Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Germany

After holding several positions including Staff Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Immunobiology in Freiburg and Chair of the Department of Immunology at the University of Ulm, he became the Founding Director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin. The Microbiology and Immunology expert is a member of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) and the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.

Ilona Kickbusch, Director Global Health Centre, Graduate institute of International and Development Studies

Ilona Kickbusch

Director Global Health Centre, Graduate institute of International and Development Studies, Switzerland

Ilona Kickbusch is the Director of the Global Health Program at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. She is a leading contributor to academic and political debates on governance for health at the national and the global level. She conducts global health diplomacy seminars in many countries and regions. She advises the WHO at global and regional level. In Switzerland she serves on the executive board of the Careum Foundation and as an advisor for Health 2020. She works with organizations, government agencies and the private sector on policies and strategies to promote health at the national, European and international level. She has published widely and is a member of a number of advisory boards in both the academic and the health policy arena.

Bronwyn King

CEO, Tobacco Free Portfolios

Dr. Bronwyn King is a specialist radiation oncologist and founder and CEO of Tobacco Free Portfolios. She is also a Tobacco Control Ambassador for Cancer Council Australia and Diplomat of the Global Charter for World Federation of Public Health Federations. Dr. King has delivered two TEDx talks in the past year, calling for change in the global finance sector. A former elite swimmer, she was previously Team Doctor for the Australian Swimming Team.

Heyo Kroemer

Chairman of the Managing Board, University Medical Center Göttingen

Prof. Heyo Kroemer has been selected as the next CEO of Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin, a position he will assume in September, 2019. He is currently Chairman of the Managing Board of the Göttingen University Medical Center and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen. Prof. Kroemer’s medical background is in pharmacology, with a research focus on drug metabolism and transport. 

David Loew

Executive Vice President, Sanofi Pasteur

Prior to joining Sanofi Pastuer in 2013, David Loew started his career in the United States at Coopers & Lybrand and Hewlett Packard in 1990, before joining Roche in 1992. Over the next 21 years, he held a variety of positions with Roche including Global Oncology Head, General Manager Switzerland, Global Chief Marketing Officer & Head of Global Product Strategy, Region Head Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa for the Pharma Division of Roche. A Swiss national, Loew has a degree in Finance and Marketing and an MBA from the University of St. Gallen.

Gerd Müller, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany

Gerd Müller

Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany

Prior to his current post, Gerd Müller held positions as Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Food, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection and Deputy Head of the Office for Foreign Relations of the Hanns Seidel Foundation. He holds a master's degree in business education.

Sania Nishtar

Co-chair, WHO High-Level Independent Commission on Non-communicable diseases, Pakistan

Dr. Sania Nishtar is an internationally acclaimed Pakistani physician and public health expert. She currently co-chairs WHO’s High-Level Commission on Non-communicable diseases along with the presidents of Uruguay, Finland and Sri-Lanka. She also co-chairs the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Healthcare and the U.S National Academy of Sciences Global Study on the Quality of Healthcare in low and middle-income countries. In addition, she also chairs the United Nations International Institute for Global Health’s Advisory Committee.

Director Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

John Nkengasong

Director Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. John Nkengasong is Director of the African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Until recently he was the Associate Director for Laboratory Science and Chief of the International Laboratory Branch at the Division of HIV & TB, Center for Global Health, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta. In addition, Dr. Nkengasong co-chairs the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief’s (PEPFAR) Laboratory Technical Working Group and serves as the founding chair of Board of Directors for the African Society for Laboratory Medicine.

Miriam Orcutt

Coordinater, UCL-Lancet Commission for Migration and Health

Dr. Miriam Orcutt (MBBS, MSc) is a Migration Health ESRC Fellow at the Institute for Global Health, University College London, a medical doctor, and humanitarian consultant. She is currently working as Coordinator of the UCL-Lancet Commission on Migration and Health and has recently worked for Médecins sans Frontières as a Migration Health Specialist and the World Health Organisation as a Public Health and Migration Consultant. She is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Conflict and Health Research Group, King’s College London, and a Steering Committee Member of the Syria Public Health Network. Previously she worked as a medical doctor in the NHS. In 2018 she was named a Canadian Woman Leader in Global Health, on the inaugural list by The Lancet.

Vikram Patel

Pershing Square Professor of Global Health, Harvard Medical School

Vikram Patel is a professor of global health and social medicine and psychiatrist whose work over the past two decades has focused on reducing the treatment gap for mental disorders in low resource countries. He is Pershing Professor of Global Health and Social Medicine at the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine of Harvard Medical School in Boston and was awarded a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellowship in 2015. He is the Co-Founder and former Director of the Centre for Global Mental Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), Co-Director of the Centre for Control of Chronic Conditions at the Public Health Foundation of India, and the Co-Founder of Sangath, an Indian NGO dedicated to research in the areas of child development, adolescent health, and mental health. In April 2015, he was listed as one of the world's 100 most influential people by TIME magazine.

Peter Sands, Executive Director, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Switzerland

Peter Sands

Executive Director, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Switzerland

A former Chief Executive Officer of Standard Chartered PLC, Sands has been a research fellow at Harvard University since 2015, working on a range of research projects in financial markets and regulation, fintech, and global health. His engagement with global health issues includes chairing the US National Academy of Medicine's Commission on a Global Health Risk Framework for the Future, chairing the World Bank's International Working Group on financing preparedness, authoring several papers on infectious disease crises, providing policy direction to the UK's National Health Service, and being an active member on both the US National Academy of Science's Committee on Ensuring Access to Affordable Drugs and the Forum on Microbial Threats. Sands has served on various boards and commissions, including as Lead Non-Executive Director of the Department of Health in the United Kingdom, and as a Director of the World Economic Forum.

Jens Spahn, Minister of Health, Germany (© Bundesministerium für Gesundheit)

Jens Spahn

Minister of Health, Federal Republic of Germany

Jens Spahn is a German politician currently serving as Federal Minister of Health in the fourth Merkel cabinet. He is a member of the lower house of the federal parliament, the Bundestag (German: Mitglied des Deutschen Bundestages, MdB) for Steinfurt I – Borken I and is a member of the centre-right Christian Democratic Union of Germany (CDU), which governs in partnership with the centre-left Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). Spahn was the youngest member of the German parliament, having been elected in 2002 at age 22. He has since then served in the 15th, 16th and 17th Bundestags and is one of the main sponsors of pension reform in Germany. He is a member of the Committee of Health of the 17th Bundestag and chair of the working group on health and health policy as well as the spokesman of the CDU/CSU health parliamentary group

Pavan Sukhdev

President, WWF International Board

Pavan Sukhdev is President of the WWF International Board and CEO of GIST Advisory. He is a scientist by education, an international banker by training, and an environmental economist by passion. His interest and many years of work in sustainability and the invisible economics of nature led to his appointment to head the United Nations’ Green Economy Initiative and to lead the G8+5 study TEEB. In his book Corporation 2020, Pavan envisions tomorrow’s corporation as a producer of not just profits for shareholders, but value for all stakeholders. He has served on the boards of Conservation International (CI), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC) and on the TEEB Advisory Board. 

Andrea Wulf

Author and Historian

Andrea Wulf is a full-time writer and the author of six books, most recently The Adventures of Alexander von Humboldt and The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humbold's New World, which has achieved widespread acclaim and is a New York Times bestseller. She has also written for many newspapers including the New York Times, the Guardian, Financial Times, The Atlantic, and Wall Street Journal. She lectures widely around the world. 

Naoko Yamamoto, Assistant Director-General for Universal Health Coverage and Health Systems Cluster, WHO

Naoko Yamamoto

Assistant Director-General for Healthier Populations, WHO

Dr. Naoko Yamamoto was perviously the WHO Assistant Director-General for Universal Health Coverage and Health Systems. She has nearly 30 years of experience working on health in Japan and served as Senior Assistant Minister for Global Heath in Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour, and Welfare. In this capacity, she was heavily involved in Japan’s global health leadership highlighting the importance of promoting universal health coverage. Prior to this role, she served in numerous health-related positions within the government of Japan, including as Director General of the Hokkaido Regional Bureau of Health and Welfare, Director of the Health and Medical Division at the Ministry of Defense, and Counsellor to the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations. She holds a medical degree, a PhD in epidemiology and a Masters in Public Health.