2019 Plenary speakers

2019 Plenary speakers

Thursday, October 17
Globalization, governance, and diplomacy for health

Sir George Alleyne
Director Emeritus, Pan American Health Organization

George A.O. Alleyne, Director Emeritus, was born in St. Philip, Barbados, in 1932. He obtained his bachelor of medicine and surgery degree from the University of London in 1957 and his M.D. from the same university in 1965. He began a career in academic medicine in 1962 at the University of the West Indies, and was appointed Professor of Medicine in 1972. Dr. Alleyne has served as a member of various bodies, including the Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee of the WHO Tropical Disease Research Program and the Institute of Medicine Committee on Scientific Investigation in Developing Countries. From 1970 to 1981, Dr. Alleyne served as a member and chair of the PAHO Advisory Committee on Medical Research. Dr. Alleyne joined the PAHO staff in 1981 as chief of Research Promotion and Coordination. In 1983 he became Director of Health Programs Development, and in 1990 he became Assistant Director of the Organization. In 1995 Dr. Alleyne began his first term as Director of PAHO. Equity and Pan Americanism are principles that resonate throughout Dr. Alleyne's work and writings, and guide the execution of the Organization's regional programming, reflecting persistent search to achieve the goal of Health for All. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II made him Knight Bachelor in 1990 for his services to medicine. In 2001 Sir George Alleyne was awarded the Order of the Caribbean Community, the highest honor that can be conferred on a Caribbean national. He ended his second four-year term as Director of PAHO in 2003.  Dr. Alleyne currently serves as director emeritus of PAHO.

Dr. Theresa Tam
Chief Public Health Officer of Canada

Dr. Theresa Tam was named Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer on June 26, 2017. She is a physician with expertise in immunization, infectious disease, emergency preparedness and global health security.

Dr. Tam obtained her medical degree from the University of Nottingham in the U.K. She completed her paediatric residency at the University of Alberta and her fellowship in paediatric infectious diseases at the University of British Columbia. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and has over 55 peer-reviewed journal publications in public health. She is also a graduate of the Canadian Field Epidemiology Program.

Dr. Tam has held several senior leadership positions at the Public Health Agency of Canada, including as the Deputy Chief Public Health Officer and the Assistant Deputy Minister for Infectious Disease Prevention and Control. During her 20 years in public health, she provided technical expertise and leadership on new initiatives to improve communicable disease surveillance, enhance immunization programs, strengthen health emergency management and laboratory biosafety and biosecurity. She has played a leadership role in Canada's response to public health emergencies including severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), pandemic influenza H1N1 and Ebola.

Dr. Tam has served as an international expert on a number of World Health Organization committees and has participated in multiple international missions related to SARS, pandemic influenza and polio eradication.

Jennifer Prah Ruger
Amartya Sen Professor University of Pennsylvania, Health Equity and Policy Lab (HEPL)

Jennifer Prah Ruger is the Amartya Sen Professor of Health Equity, Economics, and Policy in the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) and the former Associate Dean for Global Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Prah Ruger is the founder and director of the Health Equity and Policy Lab (HEPL) that conducts quantitative and qualitative research on the equity implications of health and social policies.

Dr. Prah Ruger is a leading scholar of global and domestic health policy and public health. She conducts theoretical and empirical studies of health equity to reduce global and national health inequities with a focus on the most impoverished populations worldwide, especially women and children.  Dr. Prah Ruger draws on her training in political economy, health policy, international relations, comparative social research and law to cross disciplines and reexamine the principles and values that underlie health policy and public health and apply these principles empirically.  She created the health capability paradigm, challenging existing approaches and illuminating optimal health policies and she has developed an empirical approach to evaluate public health programs and health policies as they measure up to that paradigm.  Dr. Prah Ruger’s scholarship has critically scrutinized the existing global health architecture in order to identify more effective global health policy responses linking public policy and law to global health theory at the global and national levels.  Dr. Prah Ruger studies critical health policy and public health problems such as the equity and efficiency of health system access, financing, resource allocation, policy reform and the social determinants of health.  Her scholarship includes areas such as global health justice; global health governance; health and social justice; and shared health governance. Her research is conducted internationally and nationally, including work in Ghana, India, Indonesia, Malawi, Malaysia, Morocco, South Korea, South Africa, the United States and Vietnam. 

Felicia Knaul
Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences at the Miller School of Medicine
Director, Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas

An international health economist and expert in Latin American health systems and social sectors, Felicia Knaul, Ph.D., is a professor in the University of Miami’s Department of Public Health Sciences at the Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine and director of the Institute for Advanced Study of the Americas. She is also a full member of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and holds several secondary appointments. Knaul most recently served as director of the Harvard Global Equity Initiative (HGEI) and associate professor at Harvard Medical School. 

Knaul has created and designed several research and advocacy networks.  From 2014-2017 she served as Chair of the Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Relief, lead authoring its October 2017 final report “Alleviating the access abyss in palliative care and pain relief – an imperative of universal health coverage.”  She has also published several papers on Mexico and health reform in The Lancet and was a member the Commission Report on Women and Health and leading co-author of its final report. As Director of HGEI, she founded and directed the Global Task Force on Expanded Access to Cancer Care and Control, serving as lead author and co-editor of the task force’s publication Closing the Cancer Divide: An Equity Imperative (Harvard University Press/ Harvard Global Equity Initiative, 2012), and was a member of the Global Task Force on Radiotherapy for Cancer Control (GTFRCC), taking a leadership role in the global reports that were produced. Knaul has produced over 190 academic and policy publications.

She has held senior government posts in Mexico and Colombia and worked for bilateral and multilateral agencies including the World Health Organization, the World Bank, and UNICEF. She maintains a research base in Mexico anchored at the Mexican Health Foundation. In 2017, Dr. Knaul was inducted into the National Academy of Medicine of Mexico and awarded Level III of the Mexican National System of Researchers.

Friday, October 18
Peace, conflict and governance

Dr. Ferozuddin Feroz
Minister of Public Health of Afghanistan

In 2002, Dr. Feroz joined the Afghan Ministry of Public Health as the Deputy Minister, Policy and Planning. He was instrumental in laying sound foundations for Afghanistan’s current health system. He led, for example, the development of the first mission statement of the Ministry and of the National Interim Health Strategy 2002-2004. And additionally, strongly supported the development of two key initiatives, the Basic Package of Health Services and the Essential Package of Hospital Services. The two interventions that have particularly contributed to the improvement of the coverage of health services throughout the country and have guided health workers in their efforts to reduce morbidity and mortality rates.

During the same period Dr Feroz added to his specialist degree in general surgery by obtaining a Diploma and an MSc in Public Health Management from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London University and a MBA from the International Institute of Health Management Research, Jaipur, India. Dr. Feroz has published about health management and policy in books and in peer reviewed articles in international journals.

In early February 2015 His Excellency Dr. Feroz was nominated as the Minister of Public Health by the leadership of the National Unity Government. He received the highest number of votes of confidence of all ministers from the Afghan Parliament.

On taking up his position as Minister, Dr Feroz set some priorities and initiated a number of reforms and other changes.  He is also providing the necessary leadership towards ensuring the Ministry becomes a well functioning state institution with good governance. This is with the aim of achieving sustainable, quality results that help improve the health of the people of Afghanistan.

Dr. Hossam Elsharkawa
Vice-President, Canadian Red Cross

Dr. Elsharkawi is a senior expert with the World Health Organization (WHO, Geneva) leading the development of the Red Book: a Global guidance document for the principled deployment and coordination of medical emergency teams/field hospitals into situations of armed conflict and complex emergencies.

He is on loan for one year as Vice President for International Operations at Canadian Red Cross based in Ottawa, Canada. He oversees the Red Cross global emergency response to disasters and conflict, as well as recovery and longer-term development. He has led numerous operations in this capacity. For over 30 years, Dr. Elsharkawi has been involved in the humanitarian emergencies field with a focus on preparedness, response and health in emergencies. His extensive experience includes assignments to more than thirty countries with a wide spectrum of disaster complexities and war.  

Hossam has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Alberta, a Certificate in Health Management from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, and a PhD in Health Management from City University in London, England. In addition, he is an adjunct Professor/lecturer at the Universities of British Columbia, Faculty of Medicine, and McMaster Health Sciences, and McGill Health Leadership Masters program. He teaches disaster response and healthcare in complex humanitarian crises as well management  of chaos.  

LinkedIn profile https://www.linkedin.com/in/elsharkawi/ 

Munza Dureid
Youth advocate, Centre Social D’aide Aux Immigrants

Muzna Dureid is a Syrian refugee who arrived in Montreal in November 2016. Dureid has experience supporting protection programs through her work with the White Helmets (winner of the alternative Nobel prize for peace in 2016) and Folkekirkens Nødhjælp -DCA, including mines risk education and Sexual and Gender-based Violence (SGBV). She is the founder and coordinator of the Women Refugees, not Captives campaign, which aims to end forced child marriage in Syrian refugee camps. She's a co-founder and board member of Syrian women's political movement, the first to engage Syrian women on politics and peace talks. Dureid is also the founder of Indigenous – Refugees movement, which includes that development of a safe-space for women and a series of workshops for youth that aim to build stronger bongs in Canada by learning about truth and reconciliation. She is a member of Network for refugee voices and the advisory committee for the 'Local Engagement Refugee Research Network (LEARN)' project, operating in Lebanon, Turkey, Tanzania, and Kenya. The LEARN project focuses on the role of civil society in promoting protection and solutions for refugees and the implementation of the Global Compact for Refugees. Dureid is a laureate of the Sister to Sister mentorship program offered by the Nobel Women’s Initiative. She is also part of the Women Deliver Young Leaders group of 2018- 2019 in Canada. She has received the 2019 Canadian Excellence in Global Women and Children’s Health Award for the young category and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers Annual Award for outstanding advocacy of the human rights of refugees.

Saturday, October 19
Inter-sectoral action for governance and policies

Dr. Courtney Howard
Emergency Physician, Yellowknife

Dr Courtney Howard is an Emergency Physician in Yellowknife, in Canada’s subarctic. She was the first author on the 2017 and 2018 Lancet Countdownon Health and Climate Change Briefing for Canadian Policymakers as well as being the 2018 International Policy Director for the Lancet Countdown.In the pursuit of improved planetary health Dr Howard has done research on the health and environmental impacts of menstrual cups, as well as into the respiratory and wellness impacts of Yellowknife’s severe 2014 wildfire season. As board President of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE) she has been involved in work on active transport, plant-rich diets, integrating health impact assessments into environmental assessments, carbon pricing, coal phase-out, and the health impacts of fracking. She sits on the board of the Canadian Medical Association,  represents CAPE on the board of the Global Climate and Health Alliance, is on the steering committee of the Planetary Health Alliance, and represented the voice of health at the Canada/UK “Powering Past Coal” announcement at COP23. She has two young daughters and loves to dance.

Dr. Ingrid Waldron
Dalhousie University

Dr. Ingrid Waldron, PhD. is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health at Dalhousie University, the Co-Lead of the Health of People of African Descent Research Cluster at the Healthy Populations Institute at Dalhousie University, and the Director of the Environmental Noxiousness, Racial Inequities & Community Health Project (The ENRICH Project). The ENRICH Project is investigating the social, political, and health effects of environmental racism in Mi’kmaq and African Nova Scotian communities.

Ingrid’s scholarship is examining and addressing the relationship between histories of colonization in Indigenous, Black, and immigrant communities, structural inequalities, and health and well-being in these communities.


Dominique Souris
Youth Climate Lab

A tireless climate activist and youth advocate, Dominique is a recent graduate of the Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA) whose research and work is driven by her passion for innovative climate action.

As Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Youth Climate Lab, Dominique works with a global team of youth and partners to design, pilot and scale initiatives that engage youth in developing new approaches to climate policy and entrepreneurship. While a student at BSIA as well as in her role as a Graduate Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), Dominique's research explored innovation in global climate finance governance as well as innovative financial mechanisms for refugee responsibility sharing.

Dominique is also a World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Shaper and a Board Member for the Foundation for Environmental Stewardship. She also sits on the Leadership Council for the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN)-Canada. This year, Dominique was named among the Top 25 under 25 Environmentalists in Canada and Top 100 Visionary Leaders as well as received the Young Alumni Award by the University of Waterloo, Canada.

Dominique is an avid traveller, having visited and worked in more than 36 countries.