Healthy People on a Healthy Planet: Speaker Bios

Speaker Bios - Healthy People on a Healthy Planet

September 24 - Morning Panel

Emilia Aragon de Leon - Denmark

Emilia has worked at the WHO Regional Office for Europe in the Health and Sustainable Development programme since 2016. The programme’s mission is to support Member States in advancing leadership and strengthening governance for health and well-being in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In this role, Emilia has been working generating knowledge, communications and outreach material, as well as supporting Member States in their efforts of harmonizing policies and strategies to the 2030 Agenda. Prior to joining the WHO, Emilia worked in primary health care institutions and at a non-governmental organization in Central America in the provision of healthcare services to underserved populations and managing projects for community development. Emilia holds a medical degree and advanced studies of public health and healthcare management from Guatemala, as well as a Master of Science in International Health from the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Lorna Gold - Ireland

Dr Lorna Gold is a social scientist and climate activist living and working in Ireland. She lectures in the Department of Applied Social Studies in Maynooth University and also works as an independent consultant on climate justice. Prior to her current roles, she led Trócaire’s Policy, Research and Advocacy for almost two decades, until April 2020. She holds a PhD in Economic Geography from the University of Glasgow. She is vice-chair of the board of the Global Catholic Climate Movement and is a member of the recently established Vatican Commission on the post-COVID world. Her most recent book Climate Generation – Awakening to our Children’s Future tells her personal story of waking up to the ecological emergency as a mother, academic and activist.

Fran McConville - UK

Fran McConville qualified as a midwife and a nurse, has a BSc in Zoology and an MSc in Health Economics. After being a VSO midwife in Bangladesh in the mid-1980’s, Fran spent much of her career in sexual, reproductive, maternal and newborn health and gender in South East Asia, Africa and the Middle East, working with a range of NGO’s and UN agencies and as a Health Adviser to the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Fran is currently the Midwifery Adviser to the WHO, based in Geneva, providing technical and policy support to the 194 Member States. Fran has three grownup sons, all born at home with the compassionate expert care of highly educated and skilled midwives. She is passionate about the rights of women, newborns and their families to have access to quality midwifery care everywhere, the rights of midwives to high quality education, and ensuring that the care provided is based on evidence. Last, but not least, Fran believes that we must challenge medicalized assumptions in midwifery care and ensure that – as midwives – we must ask “different” questions.

Nick Watts - UK

Nick is the Executive Director of the Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change, an independent and multi-disciplinary research collaboration between academic centres around the world. The Countdown tracks and drives progress towards a world which is responding to climate change in a way that protects and promotes public health. Nick is also the Chair of NHS England’s Net Zero work, leading an Expert Panel and analytical team to determine how, and by when, the NHS can reach net zero. Dr Watts is a medical doctor, having worked in a number of settings in Western Australia, and has trained in population health (UWA) and public policy (University College London). He works to engage the health profession on the links between climate change and public health, having founded both the Global Climate and Health Alliance and the UK Health Alliance on Climate Change.

Dara McAnulty - Ireland

Dara McAnulty is an author and student. Dara’s love for nature, his activism and his honesty about autism, has earned him a huge social media following from across the world, and many accolades: in 2017 he was awarded BBC Springwatch “Unsprung Hero” Award and Birdwatch magazine “Local Hero”. In 2018, he was awarded “Animal Hero” of the year by The Daily Mirror and became ambassador for RSPCA and the iWill campaign; in 2019 he became a Young Ambassador for the Jane Goodall Institute and became the youngest ever recipient of the RSPB Medal for conservation.

Soorej Jose Puthoopparambil - Sweden

Soorej Jose Puthoopparambil is a senior lecturer and researcher at the Department of Women’s and Children’s Health at Uppsala University, Sweden. He is also Programme Coordinator for the master’s programme in Global Health at Uppsala University. In his current position, in addition to leading courses on migration & health and public health in humanitarian action, his research focuses on health in immigration detention centers, addressing challenges faced by health systems due to differences in values and norms among migrants and healthcare providers, and knowledge translation strategies in migrant health. He has worked at the WHO Regional office for Europe where he oversaw the research and evidence generation agenda of the Migration and Health Programme. During his tenure at WHO, he led the production of the first ever WHO report on refugee and migrant health. He has also worked with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in evaluating migrant health policies in the southern EU member states.

September 24 - Afternoon Panel

Ciaran Mooney - UK

Ciarán is a final-year medical student at Queen’s University Belfast where he leads the Student Outreach Branch of the Irish Global Health Network. He completed his Masters in Global Health at Maastricht University in the Netherlands, during which he spent time in Bangkok studying migrant health and the political economy of global health. Ciarán has clinical and academic interests in child health and social medicine. He previously worked as a research intern at the Institute of Global Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland, analysing paediatric surgical training programmes. Ciarán is a 2020/21 Healthcare Leadership Academy Scholar.

Judy Khanyola - Kenya

Judy Khanyola is a community health nurse/ midwife and a recognised nursing leader in Africa. She has over 25 years of experience in clinical nursing and education programs. She has led HIV programs and provided technical support to NGOs and the public sector. She has worked with partners and the Ministries of Health in multiple countries across East, West and Southern Africa. Judy is currently the Africa Representative for Nursing Now, the global campaign to raise the status and profile of nurses and midwives worldwide. She is also the ICAP Regional Nursing Advisor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. In 2019, she was a recipient of the ANAC Global HIV Award.

Clare Gilbert - UK

Clare Gilbert, an ophthalmologist, is Professor of International Eye Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Since 1990 she has undertaken research into blinding eye diseases in low- and middle-income countries, with a focus on eye diseases of children. Her research includes epidemiology, health systems research and intervention science. She teaches on the Masters in Public Health for Eye Care and other courses, has led multiple national and regional workshops on public eye health and retinopathy of prematurity, and is a technical advisor to several organizations, including for a large scale program of work in India. She has published over 350 peer reviewed papers, and has several awards for her work on blindness prevention.

Vanessa Nakate - Uganda

Vanessa Nakate is a climate activist from Uganda. She was the First Fridays For Future climate activist in Uganda and founder of the Rise up Climate Movement in order to amplify the voices of activists from Africa. Her work includes raising awareness to the danger of climate change, the causes and the impacts. She spear led the campaign, Save Congo rainforest which is facing massive deforestation. She is working on a project that involves installation of solar and institutional stoves in schools.

Renzo Guinto - Philippines

Renzo Guinto, MD DrPH is Chief Planetary Doctor of PH Lab – a “glo-cal think-and-do tank” for advancing the health of both people and the planet. An Obama Foundation Asia-Pacific Leader and Aspen Institute New Voices Fellow, Renzo received his Doctor of Public Health degree from Harvard University; for his doctoral dissertation, he investigated the concept of “climate-smart” health systems in coastal municipalities in the Philippines. Currently he is member of the Editorial Advisory Board of The Lancet Planetary Health; adviser to the Forum on Climate Change and Health of the World Innovation Summit for Health in Qatar; and Next Generation One Health Adviser of the Lancet One Health Commission hosted by the University of Oslo.

September 24 - Evening Panel

Danielle Agnello - Denmark

Danielle is a consultant for WHO and an Executive Director for Global Health Mentorships. She has an MSc in Global Health and a BS in Microbiology. She has been working for 3+ years at the World Health Organization. Currently, Danielle works on various projects with the WHO Regional Office for Europe and WHO Headquarters. She also spends her time leading a team of motivated volunteers at a global online NGO, Global Health Mentorships (GHMe).

Chris Jenkins - Ireland

Chris Jenkins is a researcher at the Centre for Public Health at Queen’s University Belfast. His research focuses on health systems strengthening in lower- and middle-income countries, and he is currently working on access to breast cancer services in Vietnam, diabetes management in refugee and displaced populations, and supporting the needs of informal caregivers in both Vietnam and Uganda. Chris is also a co-founder, past-Chair and current Trustee of Share Uganda. Share Uganda is a community-based health organisation based in Kyotera, Uganda. The organisation focuses on access to primary health care services, malaria prevention, and supporting and empowering Ugandan medical professionals.

Shakira Choonara - South Africa

Dr Shakira Choonara is an independent public health practitioner, 2017 Woman of the Year in Health, SA and Destiny Magazines Most Powerful Woman under 40. Her most notable and influential role to date is to be appointed to the inaugural African Union Youth Advisory Council. Dr Choonara has spearheaded a range of health projects across the African continent and is currently working on an impressive list of projects linked to the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization, international and regional non-governmental organisations.

Kim Van Daalen - UK

Kim has a BSc in Biomedical Sciences combined with an additional interdisciplinary BSc honors program from the University of Utrecht. She did part of a MSc in Cancer, Stem Cells & Developmental Biology in the Clevers Lab combined with an interdisciplinary MSc honors program focused at social innovation/entrepreneurship  at the University of Utrecht. After this, she completed a MPhil in Public Health at the University of Cambridge. Currently, she is conducting a PhD in Global Public Health as a Gates Cambridge Scholar focusing on the metal pollution and risk for cardiovascular disease. During her studies, she has always dedicated her time to work for non-profit organizations. This included the IFMSA as an executive at local and national level in both the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, and at an international level as part of the European Regional Team responsible for Public Health. She has also been part of the UAEM, UNFCCC YOUNGO and (co)-founded initiatives such as the People’s Climate March 2017 in Amsterdam and Healthy Planet Cambridge. Next to her PhD she is currently a consultant at the Lancet Countdown and a research associate at Women in Global Health.

Dr Eamonn Faller - Ireland

Dr. Faller is currently working as a specialist registrar in infectious diseases in Cork University Hospital. He graduated from medicine in Trinity College Dublin in 2012, completed a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene in Liverpool in 2016 and currently enrolled in an MSc in health economics, policy and management in London School of Economics. He then worked with Médecins Sans Frontières in 2017 in Nyanza province, Kenya on a HIV focused project and participated in MSF response to election-related violence during his mission. He is also the first author on the case series describing the first community acquisition of COVID-19 in the Republic of Ireland. He has also previously published articles around other health advocacy issues including HIV and the National Children’s Hospital.

September 25 - Morning Panel

Anthony Costello - UK

Professor Anthony Costello is a British paediatrician and Director of the Institute for Global Health, University College London. From 2015 to 2018 he was director of maternal, child and adolescent health at the World Health Organisation in Geneva. He has expertise in maternal and child health epidemiology and programmes in developing countries. He has contributed to papers on paediatrics, maternal health, health economics, health systems, child development, nutrition and infectious disease. He is a Board member on The Lancet International Advisory Board and at the Global Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. Professor Costello has been critical of the UK Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and is one the founding members of the Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Independent SAGE).

David Weakliam - Ireland

Dr David Weakliam is Global Health Programme Director in the Irish Health Service Executive (HSE). He is a Specialist in Public Health Medicine and has worked in global health for more than thirty years, including twelve years in Nepal, Liberia, Sudan, DRC and Ghana. From 2003 to 2007 he was Health Advisor with Irish Aid. Since 2010 he has been leading the HSE Global Health Programme. David manages a collaboration programme between the HSE and Irish Aid and provides technical support in a number of policy areas. He manages bilateral programmes between the Irish health service and Ministries of Health in Mozambique, Ethiopia, Sudan and Zambia. David represents Ireland in the ESTHER Alliance for Global Health Partnerships. He is Adjunct Professor in global health at University College Dublin.

Joe Gallagher - Ireland

Joe Gallagher is a GP in The Palms GP Surgery in Gorey, Co Wexford and the clinic is involved in a partnership with St Johns Hospital in Malawi focusing on non-communicable diseases.  During the pandemic the partnership has pivoted to COVID-19 with unexpected results! Joe is also the Cardiovascular Lead with the Irish College of General Practitioners and a clinical associate professor in the School of Medicine in University College Dublin.

Charlotte McArdle - Ireland

Professor McArdle started nurse training in 1988 at Beaumont Hospital, Dublin. In 1998, Charlotte moved to the Royal Group of Hospitals to take up a Ward Sister post where she achieved the Nursing Times/Foundation of Nursing Studies Leadership Award in1999. She also completed an MSc in Nursing at Queen’s University Belfast in 1999. At the end of 1999, Charlotte moved into Senior Management at the Royal Group of Hospitals and remained in senior management posts until 2004, where she was appointed Deputy Director of Nursing at the Royal Group of Hospitals. In 2007, Charlotte was appointed Director of Primary Care, Older People and Executive Director of Nursing in South Eastern Trust, and in April 2013, Charlotte took up post as Chief Nursing Officer with the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety. Charlotte has a strong commitment to person centred practice and evidencing improved outcomes for patients and clients, particularly regarding safety, quality and experience.

Tim Lang - UK

Tim Lang has been Professor of Food Policy at City University London’s Centre for Food Policy since 2002. He founded the Centre in 1994. After a PhD in social psychology at Leeds University, he became a hill farmer in Lancashire which shifted his attention to food policy, where it has been ever since. Professor Lang has engaged in academic and public research and debate about the direction of the topic, locally and globally. His abiding interest is how policy addresses the mixed challenge of being food for the environment, health, social justice, and citizens. 

Professor Lang has been a consultant to the World Health Organisation and the United Nations, as well as a special advisor to four UK House of Commons Select Committees. He was also Commissioner on the UK Government’s Sustainable Development Commission (2006-11), reviewing progress on food sustainability.  He has been Vice-President of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health since 1999 and is currently special advisor to the Food Research Collaboration on Food and Brexit.

Lesogo Tlhwale - South Africa

Lesego Tlhwale is a South African human rights activist who works with the Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT), a leading non-profit organization in Cape Town. Lesego participated in the leadership tract at the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders and in 2018 was named as a Mail & Guardian 200 Young South Africans. Lesego has extensive experience advocating for the human rights of LGBTQ and sex workers in South Africa, contributing heavily to the national conversation on the call for the Decriminalisation of Sex Work. Her aspiration is using communication and storytelling as tools to achieving social change in a world that is marred by hyper-masculinities and a heteronormative society. Lesego also sits as a member of the Hate Crime Working Group, and served as a steering committee member in 2015.

September 25 - Afternoon Panel

Robert Mash - South Africa

Professor Robert Mash is Head of the Department of Family and Emergency Medicine in Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Professor Mash is the editor-in-chief of the African Journal of Primary Health Care and Family Medicine and co-ordinator of the sub-Saharan Primary Care and Family Medicine network. He is also a researcher within the Global Alliance for Chronic Diseases and a founder of the Chronic Disease Initiative for Africa. He chairs the steering committee for the global Primary Health Care Research Consortium.

Karl Blanchet - Switzerland

Professor Karl Blanchet is the co-Director of the Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre. Karl has a background in public health and extensive experience in conflicts (Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, Somaliland, Lebanon) and health system strengthening in Asia (Cambodia, Bangladesh, Nepal) and Africa (Niger, Rwanda,

Ghana, Togo, Mali, Somaliland).Karl has specific interests in studying resilience issues in global health and more specifically in post-conflict and conflict-affected countries. Karl has developed innovative research approaches based on complexity science, system thinking and social network analysis. He also applied innovation theories to understand the routinisation process of health interventions. Karl is a member of the technical working group on Research on Global Health Emergencies at the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. Karl is also a core member of the UHC2030 Technical Working Group on support to countries with fragile or challenging operating environments, and a member of the WHO technical working group on Health Systems Assessment and the WHO technical working group on SRH in emergencies. Karl also gave an LSHTM TED Talkx on health systems and complexities.

Khuat Thi Hai Oanh - Vietnam

Khuat Thi Hai Oanh is a medical doctor graduated from Hanoi Medical University, with a Master Degree in Sexual and Reproductive Health Research from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. She co-founded the Institute for Social Development Studies (ISDS) in 2002, and the Center for Support Community Development Initiatives (SCDI) in 2010 – both are Vietnamese non-governmental organizations. Oanh is currently the Executive Director of SCDI. Aiming at contributing to community empowerment and creating enabling environments for the most marginalized and vulnerable populations, such as sex workers, drug users, people living with HIV, their spouses and children, poor migrants, ethnic minorities as well as LGBTIQA people. In her other capacities, Oanh is the Chair of Vulnerable Community Support Platform of Vietnam (VCSPA), as well as Chair of Council of Representatives of APCASO – an Asia Pacific network of civil society organisations working on health and human rights. She is a member of the Strategic and Technical Advisory Committee on HIV and Viral Hepatitis for the WHO.

Mohammad Haqmal - Afghanistan

Mohammad is a Senior International Public Health Expert and Chevening Scholar. He has 16 years experience in public health projects in Central Asia, particularly in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He is a lecture at the University of City London in the UK, and has led multi-millions dollar projects in primary healthcare. This included maternal and child health at regional and national level. He has set up the district health system in Afghanistan in 2008-2012. In 2019 he was awarded the Public Health Hero award for the design and implementation of various community based healthcare innovations. This included projects such as Afghanistan Healthy Village Initiative (AHVI) and Afghanistan $1 Project, to reduce maternal and child mortality with local contextual solutions and full community engagement.

Miriam Orcutt - UK

Dr Miriam Orcutt (MBBS, MSc) is a Senior Research Fellow in Global Public Health and Forced Migration at the Institute for Global Health, University College London, and Executive Director of Lancet Migration: global collaboration to advance migration health. Her main areas of academic and policy interest are: global health policy and governance, health system and medical-humanitarian resilience and response, forced migration and health, structural and political determinants of health for migrants. She worked as a Migration Health Specialist for Médecins sans Frontières for a year between 2018 and 2019, and as a Public Health and Migration Consultant at the World Health Organisation (WHO EURO, WHO EMRO, WHO Headquarters, Geneva).

Miriam previously worked as a medical doctor in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS), on the Academic Clinical Foundation Programme in Epidemiology and Global Public Health, in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. She holds an MSc in Medical Anthropology with Distinction from Durham University and is a doctoral candidate on health system response in Lebanon to the mental health and wellbeing of forcibly displaced populations. Miriam has over five years of humanitarian consultancy and project management experience, including with The Lancet, the World Health Organisation and the World Bank, and is skilled in leading research projects and policy work. In 2018 she was named a Canadian Woman Leader in Global Health, on the inaugural list by The Lancet.

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