The Centre for Global Public Health (CGPH)
Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, Community Health Sciences
R070 Med Rehab Bldg, 771 McDermot Ave. Winnipeg, MB R3E 0T6
Phone: 204-272-3123 Fax: 204-789-3718

Conference Speakers, Moderators and Panelists

Ashok Alexander, MBA is Founder-Director of the Antara Foundation, an Indian non-governmental organization that focuses on maternal and child health and nutrition. Alexander set up the Indian operations of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and was director of the Foundation’s Indian office from 2003 to 2012. He was instrumental in the success of the Foundation’s Avahan initiative, one of the world’s largest HIV/AIDS prevention programs and a model of scaling up health delivery. Alexander was previously a director at a global management consulting firm. His founding belief is that solutions to public health problems are well known, but the missing ingredient in public health delivery is scale. He was educated at Delhi’s St. Stephen’s College, the Delhi School of Economics and the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad. He serves on the board of the Public Health Foundation of India and was a Menschel Senior Leadership Fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health. 

Sani Aliyu MSc, MBBS heads the Nigeria HIV Control Programme as Director-General of the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (Nigeria). He received his MBBS Degree from Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria, Postgraduate Diploma in Internal Medicine from Imperial College London, and MSc in Clinical Microbiology with distinction from Queen Mary University of London. Aliyu is an associate lecturer at the University of Cambridge. A recipient of the Draper Company prize in Microbiology, he has 66 peer-reviewed papers and has co-authored four book chapters. He is a co-investigator on several multi-centre clinical trials, including a PrEP Demonstration Study in Nigeria. As the lead responsible for coordinating the world’s second-largest HIV response, Aliyu’s main priorities are to establish the true prevalence of HIV in Nigeria and improve the uptake of PMTCT services.

Zulfiqar Bhutta MBBS, PhD is the Inaugural Robert Harding Chair in Global Child Health at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Toronto; Co-Director of the SickKids Centre for Global Child Health; and Founding Director of the Centre of Excellence in Women and Child Health at Aga Khan University. He holds adjunct professorships at several leading universities, including the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Bhutta is Co-Chair of the Maternal and Child Health oversight committee of the World Health Organization (WHO) Eastern Mediterranean Region. He heads a large research team in Pakistan working on issues of maternal, newborn and child survival and nutrition. He is a board member of the International Centre for Diarrheal Diseases Research. As President-elect of the International Pediatric Association (IPA 2016-2019), he is a leading voice for health professionals supporting integrated maternal, newborn and child health globally.

James Blanchard MD, MPH, PhD is Director of the Centre for Global Public Health and Canada Research Chair in Epidemiology and Global Public Health at the University of Manitoba. He received an MD from the University of Manitoba and an MPH and PhD in Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University. His research focuses on how the characteristics of individuals, communities and large populations contribute to the local and global distribution of communicable and non-communicable diseases. He has also provided leadership on the design and implementation of large public health programs related to HIV/AIDS and maternal, neonatal and child health in India, other Asian countries and Africa. Blanchard is actively engaged with policy makers and public health leaders to translate scientific knowledge and approaches to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of public health programs, with an emphasis on improving the health of disadvantaged populations.

Ties Boerma MD, PhD is Professor and Canada Research Chair in Population and Global Health at the Centre for Global Public Health, Department of Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba. He is Director of the Countdown to 2030 for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health. Boerma has over 30 years of experience in global public health and research programs, including 10 years at national and districts levels in Africa. He has directed the World Health Organization's work on health information and evidence for 12 years and published extensively on AIDS, maternal and child health, health information systems and statistics. A national of the Netherlands, Boerma received his medical degree from the University of Groningen and a PhD in medical demography from the University of Amsterdam.

Marc Cohen, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Maryanne Crockett MD, MPH is Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health and Section Head of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, with cross-appointments in Medical Microbiology and Community Health Sciences, at the University of Manitoba. She is a research scientist in infectious diseases at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba. Crockett earned her MD at Queen’s University and her Master of Public Health (International Health) and Humanitarian Assistance Certificate at the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. Her research focus is on global maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH). Crockett is currently involved in several large MNCH projects in India and Kenya through the University of Manitoba Centre for Global Public Health. These projects use a Program Science framework to implement and evaluate evidence-based MNCH interventions throughout the continuum of care. Crockett’s research interests also include travel-related infections in children, immigrant health, malaria and co-infections.

Jo-Anne Dillon PhD is Distinguished Professor and Head, Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan and a Research Scientist at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization – International Vaccine Centre. Her research interests include the biology and molecular epidemiology of sexually transmissible diseases, in particular Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and the surveillance and molecular biology of antimicrobial resistance. Dillon has extensive academic and public sector administrative leadership experience, has led several national and international scientific organizations, and has consulted nationally and internationally in the area of STIs and public health. Dillon has authored numerous publications with a special focus on international trends in antimicrobial resistance, molecular typing of bacterial pathogens and the cell biology of Neisseria gonorrhoeae. She is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and the Royal Society of Canada.

Nafissatou Diop PhD is Senior Program Specialist for the Innovating for Maternal and Child Health in Africa Initiative (IMCHA) at the International Development Research Center (IDRC). She has over 30 years of international work experience with emphasis on strategic research and evaluation, sexual and reproductive health, maternal and child health, and immunization. Prior to joining IMCHA in 2017, Diop was Country Director of the Population Council’s Senegal office. Her career has included working at the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, the Center for Studies and Research on Population and Development of the Sahel Institute, and the Global Health Research Initiative at IDRC. Diop holds a graduate degree in computer science from France and a PhD in public health from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.

Patricia Garcia MD, MPH, PhD is a Professor at the School of Public Health at Cayetano Heredia University (UPCH) in Lima, Peru. She is the former Minister of Health of Peru, Dean of the School of Public Health at UPCH, and former Chief of the Peruvian National Institute of Health. Recognized as a leader in global health, Garcia has been a member of the PAHO Foundation Technical Advisory Group, board member of the Consortium of Universities in Global Health and President of the Latin American Association Against STDs. Garcia is affiliate Professor of the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington and of the School of Public Health at Tulane University. She is involved in research and training in global health, reproductive health, STI/HIV, HPV and medical informatics. She was recently appointed a member of the United States National Academy of Medicine – the first Peruvian professional to earn this distinction. 

Dr. Margo Greenwood is an Indigenous scholar of Cree ancestry with more than 20 years of experience in the field of early childhood education. She has worked as a front-line caregiver of early childhood services, designed early childhood curriculum, programs and evaluations, and taught early childhood education courses at both the college and university levels. While Greenwood’s focus has been on all children, she is recognized provincially, nationally and internationally for her dedication to Aboriginal children. She has served with over 20 national and provincial federations, committees and assemblies, and has undertaken work with UNICEF, the United Nations, and the Canadian Reference Group to the World Health Organization Commission on Health Determinants. In recognition of her work, Greenwood was the recipient of the Queen's Jubilee medal in 2002. Currently, she is a Professor in both the First Nations Studies and Education programs at the University of Northern British Columbia.

Assad Hafeez MBBS, M.Sc., PhD is Director-General of Health in the Federal Ministry of Health Services, Regulations and Coordination, Islamabad, Pakistan. He is Dean of the Health Services Academy of Pakistan and Dean of Medicine at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. Hafeez holds a Masters in Epidemiology from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and a PhD in Public Health from the University of Manchester. He has held a number of clinical, senior management and academic posts in national and international institutions. He sits on various international technical organizational boards and editorial boards of reputed journals, in addition to having had more than 80 publications in peer-reviewed journals. He has conducted seminal research in the fields of maternal, newborn and child health, health systems and evidence-based policy-making. Hafeez was elected Chair of the Executive Board of the World Health Organization in May 2017.

Prabhat Jha OC, MD, DPhil is an Endowed Professor of Global Health and Epidemiology at the University of Toronto and Canada Research Chair at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. He is the founding Director of the Centre for Global Health Research at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. Jha is a lead investigator of the Million Death Study in India, which quantifies the causes of premature mortality in over 2 million homes. His publications on tobacco control enabled a global treaty, now signed by more than 180 countries. He founded the Statistical Alliance for Vital Events, which focuses on measurement of premature mortality worldwide. Previously, Jha served in senior roles at the World Health Organization and the World Bank. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2012. Jha holds an MD from the University of Manitoba and a D.Phil. from Oxford University, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar.

Dr. Melanie Katsivo is Western University’s International Research Officer and an Adjunct Research Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the School of Medicine & Dentistry. Katsivo worked in the Research Department of Western University for seven years, where she was the university’s International Liaison Officer. She was significantly involved with the establishment and maintenance of many of the university’s international partnerships. In 2011, Katsivo joined the Research Office of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, where in addition to Canadian strategic team initiatives, she fostered international and global health research and capacity building engagements – examples of which are Western’s Global Minds and Global Health Equity Inter-Disciplinary Initiatives. In this role, she directed the restructuring of the School’s global health program and its integration into the undergraduate medical curriculum. Her current role as International Research Officer includes development of strategy for Western’s international research engagement.

Charles Larson MD, CM completed his medical degree and specializations in Pediatrics and Preventive Medicine and Public Health at McGill University. In 1987 he joined the McGill-Ethiopia Strengthening Community Health Project, which he directed from 1989 to 1992. Returning to Canada, he directed the McGill Global Health Office. In 2002 he moved to Bangladesh, where he directed the Health Systems and Infectious Diseases Division at the International Centre for Diarrheal Diseases Research. In 2008 he joined the Department of Pediatrics at the University of British Columbia as Professor and Director of the UBC-BC Children's Hospital Centre for International Child Health. In 2015 he assumed his current position as National Coordinator of the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research. In addition, as senior advisor to the McGill Global Health Programs, he oversees global health curriculum development in the School of Population and Global Health. 

Kelley Lee MPA, MA, DPhil is Canada Research Chair in Global Health Governance and Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences at Simon Fraser University. She was previously Professor of Global Health Policy at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She is a Fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health and Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Her research focuses on globalization’s impacts on public health, and the need for collective action to address them. Lee led efforts to secure public access to internal tobacco industry documents, and chaired the WHO Expert Group on Globalization, Trade and Health. Her research has been supported by NIH, CIHR, Wellcome Trust, Nuffield Trust, Rockefeller Foundation, European Research Council, UK Department for International Development, Cancer Research UK and WHO. She has published 14 books, including Researching Corporations and Global Health Governance (2016) and Oxford Handbook of Global Health Politics (2018).

Hon. Keith Martin MD, PC is a physician who, since 2012, has served as the founding Executive Director of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health in Washington, D.C. The Consortium is a rapidly growing organization of over 130 academic institutions from around the world. It harnesses the capabilities of these institutions across research, education, advocacy and service. From 1993 to 2011, Martin served as a Canadian Member of Parliament representing a riding on Vancouver Island. His main areas of focus are in global health, foreign policy, security, international development, conservation and the environment. As a parliamentarian, he created CanadaAid.ca, an online platform to facilitate partnerships between universities, governments, multilateral institutions, NGOs and the private sector. He has been on numerous diplomatic missions to areas in crisis, including Sudan, Zimbabwe, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, Colombia and the Middle East.

Tanjina Mirza MBBS, MMedSc, PhD is the Chief Programs Officer of Plan International Canada. She leads the International Program Department of 150 international development professionals who design, implement and provide technical support in improving program quality and effectiveness around the world. Mirza is a medical doctor who started her career as a physician in a UNHCR refugee camp. She then earned a Masters of Medical Science in Community Health and a PhD in Demography. During her 25 years in the international development sector, Mirza has worked for research institutes, NGOs, and as consultant for WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA in various countries of Asia and in Australia. She has taught at many universities and has traveled to over 40 countries in Asia, Africa, Central and South America in various capacities. International development is not just a job for her; it is her passion and commitment.

Sharmistha Mishra MD, PhD is an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine and Institute of Medical Sciences at the University of Toronto. She is an infectious disease physician and mathematical modeller, and holds a position as a scientist at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael’s Hospital. Mishra completed medical school and residency training in internal medicine and infectious diseases at the University of Toronto. She went on to obtain her Masters of Science in epidemiology, as well as a Doctor of Philosophy in mathematical modelling at Imperial College London. She was involved in the 2014-2015 Ebola response in Sierra Leone as a consultant with the World Health Organization. Mishra’s research interests include mathematical modelling of infectious disease transmission dynamics with a focus on HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, simulation science for clinical and public health decision-making, as well as systems and data-science.

Shawna O’Hearn is Director of Global Health at Dalhousie University and Co-Chair of the Canadian Society for International Health. She is an occupational therapist with additional graduate training in International Development and Corporate Social Responsibility. Over the last decade, she has provided leadership to the expansion of global health at Dalhousie University to integrate social accountability, diversity and inclusion, service learning and Indigenous Health into curriculum, research, and faculty development for local and international programs across the health faculties. O’Hearn has held leadership positions in government, university and non-government organizations in Canada and abroad. She has worked and lived in the West Indies, India, West and East Africa, as well as Nunavut. Her research focuses include maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH), gender equity, social accountability, community engagement and diversity, with an emphasis on qualitative research methodologies.

Rosanna Peeling PhD is Professor and Chair of Diagnostics Research at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Director of the International Diagnostic Centre (IDC). She is also Professor of Medical Microbiology/Infectious Diseases at the University of Manitoba. Trained as a medical microbiologist, she was previously Research Coordinator and Head of Diagnostics Research at the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme on Research and Training in Tropical Diseases in Geneva and Co-director of the Canadian National Laboratory for Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Her work focuses on facilitating test development and evaluation to inform policy. Peeling has served on many World Health Organization guideline working groups and expert advisory committees. She was the first woman to be awarded the George MacDonald Medal for outstanding contribution to tropical medicine by the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

David Peters MD, MPH, DrPH is Professor and Chair of the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is an expert in health systems who has worked as a researcher, policy advisor, educator, manager and clinician in dozens of low- and middle-income countries. Peters pioneered Sector Wide Approaches in health, a strategy now commonly used by countries to define and implement national strategies and the allocation of foreign aid. In India, he led a research program that became the basis for the Rural Health Mission. In Afghanistan, he created the first nationally implemented Balanced Scorecard to assess and manage health services, and conducted research that led to the end of user fees in primary care facilities. Peters, who worked with the Liberian government during the Ebola epidemic, has served as an advisor to the World Health Organization and many other organizations.

Dr. Paul Sandstrom, Public Health Agency of Canada

Helen Scott PhD has been Executive Director of the Canadian Partnership for Women and Children’s Health (CanWaCH) since the organization was created in 2010. Under her leadership, CanWaCH has catalyzed Canadian collaboration among more than 100 members working to improve women and children’s health in 1,000 communities worldwide. CanWaCH has established a metrics portal to track the impact of maternal, newborn and child health programs globally. Previously, Scott managed and collaborated on a variety of health policy and health-care delivery systems projects, including: World Health Organization projects on childhood injury prevention; the Canadian national program for food fortification with folic acid; Ontario’s universal influenza immunization initiative; and Ontario’s early obstetrics discharge program. Scott holds a doctorate in epidemiology with a focus on maternal and child health. She holds an assistant professor appointment in the Epidemiology Department, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.

Karlee Silver DPhil is VP Programs for Grand Challenges Canada, a non-profit supported by the Government of Canada and other partners that funds innovators in low- and middle-income countries. Silver sets strategy for development and humanitarian innovation initiatives and enables her team to source, support and transition to scale promising innovations for social impact in low- and middle-income countries. She is the Senior Advisor for the Every Woman Every Child Innovation Marketplace; represents Grand Challenges Canada in the International Development Innovation Alliance and the Grand Challenge network; and advises global initiatives on issues of development innovation, global mental health, and women’s and children’s health. Silver received her doctorate in medicine from the University of Oxford, where she attended as a Rhodes Scholar. She conducted postdoctoral research in malaria at the University of Toronto. 

Stuart Taylor is CEO of iDE Canada, a non-profit that works with businesses and entrepreneurs to create income and livelihood opportunities for people in poor, rural communities. Obtaining a degree in Epidemiology from the University of Ottawa, Taylor joined the Canadian Foodgrains Bank as a program analyst, focusing on the nutritional impact of food aid and how to improve food security. While living and working in Zambia, he discovered iDE, its business-oriented approach and focus on people as potential creators of value, rather than objects of charity. Taylor joined iDE in 2006 and has progressed through a variety of roles, including Executive Director of the Canadian operations, Director of iDE’s measurement and evaluation team, and initial leader for the Global Initiatives team, focusing on expanding iDE’s Agriculture, WASH, and Access to Finance work across the globe. He returned to the leadership of iDE Canada in 2016.

Tanya Trevors has a Master’s Degree in Nutrition from McGill University. She started her career in international health working for a small IDRC-funded project in Malawi. Over the past 15 years, she has managed global health projects and evaluations and served in senior technical advisory positions for the Canadian Government, USAID, UNICEF and international NGOs. She has been posted to Guyana, Malawi and Tanzania, and has significant experience in Ethiopia. In her current role as Senior Health Analyst with Global Affairs Canada (GAC), Trevors provides guidance to program staff and senior management on the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of GAC’s $3.5 billion MNCH and $650 million SRHR commitments. She is also responsible for managing GAC’s support for the Canadian Partnership for Women’s and Children’s Health.

César Victora MD, PhD is a Brazilian epidemiologist and specialist in child health and nutrition. His research has driven global policies on breastfeeding and early nutrition. He is Professor Emeritus at the Federal University of Pelotas (Brazil) and holds honorary appointments at the Universities of Harvard, Oxford, Johns Hopkins and at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Victora led one of the longest-running birth cohort studies in the world, the 1982 Pelotas Birth Cohort. His studies helped to establish the influence of the first 1,000 days (from conception to age two) on lifelong health outcomes. One of Victora’s greatest contributions to public health was the first study showing the importance of exclusive breastfeeding for preventing infant mortality. He leads the International Center for Equity in Health and is Co-chair of the Equity Technical Working Group for the Countdown to 2030 for Women's, Children's and Adolescents’ Health.

Rhoda Wanyenze MBChB, MPH, PhD is Associate Professor of Public Health and Dean of the School of Public Health, Makerere University School of Public Health (MakSPH). Wanyenze has vast experience in infectious disease research, capacity building and program management, especially in the areas of HIV and TB. She has conducted several studies in maternal and child health. Prior to joining MakSPH, Wanyenze was Program Manager for the Makerere University Joint AIDS Program. Her work has been funded by the NIH, CDC and Global Fund, among others, and she has over 100 peer‐reviewed publications in public health. She has developed and sustained a number of national and international research and service collaborations. Wanyenze is very active in public health policy leadership in Uganda, has served on various technical committees of the MoH and other agencies, and on boards of a number of organizations.

David Wilson PhD is the World Bank’s Program Director, founding Global Lead for Decision and Delivery Science and overall leader for UHC Systems Strengthening, which brings together all World Bank Global Solutions areas. Before joining the Bank, Wilson worked as an academic, development practitioner and global health advisor in Zimbabwe for 20 years. He has published over 100 scientific papers and delivered over 1,000 scientific addresses. He has worked in approximately 60 countries on all continents, including 28 countries in Africa and many fragile and conflict situations in Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and the Pacific.