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WCPH Plenary speakers

Walter Ricciardi

Co-chair of the 16th World Congress on Public Health

Walter Ricciardi is Professor of Hygiene and Public Health at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Rome, Italy, and Past-President of the European Public Health Association (EUPHA). He manages undergraduate and postgraduate teaching activities including a Master of Science programme and International Courses in Epidemiology. Since 2013 he serves as Member of the EU Expert Panel on Effective Ways of Investing in Health. From 2011 to 2014 he was Member of National Board of Medical Examiners of the United States of America. In 2015, he was appointed Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Health Policy, Governance and Leadership at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart. He is Editor of several leading journals: the European Journal of Public Health, the Oxford Handbook of Public Health Practice and Founding Editor of the Italian Journal of Public Health and of Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Public Health.


Carlo Signorelli

Co-chair of the 16th World Congress on Public Health

Carlo Signorelli is Professor of hygiene and public health at the Universities of Parma and Vita-Salute San Raffaele, Milan, Italy, where he is also Director of the Post-Graduate School in Hygiene and Preventive Medicine. He first qualified in medicine and surgery in 1986, before undertaking degrees in law and political sciences. He went on to a post-graduate specialization in hygiene and preventive medicine. Across his academic career, he has also taken a MSc in epidemiology and a PhD from the LSHTM, United Kingdom. He is the immediate Past-President of Italia Society of Public Health (SItI). He is Treasurer of EUPHA and a member of the Executive Board of ASPHER. His current research work is mainly in the field of public health, epidemiology, environmental health, health organisation and vaccination policies. He has been a member of the Hygiene Council since 2006 and a member of the International Forum on Home Hygiene since 2009. He was also a consultant to the Italian Senate and member of the Italian National Commission for Vaccination.


Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

Director-General of the World Health Organization

Opening ceremony by video

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was elected as WHO Director-General for a five-year term by WHO Member States in May 2017. Dr Tedros served as Ethiopia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2012–2016. In this role he led efforts to negotiate the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, in which 193 countries committed to the financing necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Dr Tedros served as Ethiopia’s Minister of Health from 2005–2012, where he led a comprehensive reform of the country’s health system. Under his leadership Ethiopia invested in critical health infrastructure, expanded its health workforce, and developed innovative health financing mechanisms. Born in the city of Asmara, Eritrea, Dr Tedros holds a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Community Health from the University of Nottingham and a Master of Science (MSc) in Immunology of Infectious Diseases from the University of London.


Natasha Azzopardi Muscat

MD, MSc (Public Health ), MSc (Health Services Management), PhD, FFPH, DLSHTM 

Dr Natasha Azzopardi Muscat is the Director for Country Health Policies and Systems at the WHO Regional Office for the European Region and immediate Past President of the European Public Health Association (EUPHA). She is a medical doctor and specialised in public health medicine. She holds a PhD in health policy. She previously occupied various senior positions at the Ministry of Health in Malta, including that of Chief Medical Officer. She is a founding member and former President of the Malta Association of Public Health Medicine. She is also a Resident Academic at the University of Malta where her main area of research has been European Union health policy with a particular interest in small state health systems. 


Stefan Buttigieg



Bettina Borisch 

Executive Director, WFPHA 


Sara Cerdas

Member European Parliament (Soc.Dem.), Portugal

Sara Cerdas is a Portuguese medical doctor and since July of 2019 a Member of European Parliament. She is member of the Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety and of the Committee on Transport and Tourism in the European Parliament.

Sara Cerdas is the co-chair of the Health Working Group, which brings to discussion European health issues with the different stakeholders and experts.

She holds a master's degree in Medicine from the University of Lisbon, a postgraduate degree in traveler's medicine from Universidade Nova de Lisboa, a master's degree in Public Health from the Umeå University and is a doctoral student in Public Health Sciences at the University of Stockholm.

Having worked for more than 8 years in global health, during her career and her medical residency in Public Health, she worked in public health institutions at the local and national level in Portugal. She has worked with in the Public Health Emergency Centre of the Portuguese Directorate-General of Health, having had an active participation in tackling regional and national outbreaks.

Sara Cerdas has held representative positions in the health field, such as a representative of the Public Health Residents in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley Region, in the International Federation of Medical Students 'Associations and at the Portuguese Medical Students' Association.


Caroline Costongs

Director EuroHealthNet 

Caroline Costongs is Director of EuroHealthNet, a European Partnership for improving health, equity and wellbeing, based in Brussels. Caroline has an MSc in Public Health from the University of Maastricht (The Netherlands) and her main work focuses on policy, advocacy, research and capacity building in the field of health inequalities, health promotion across the life course, sustainable development and “Health in all Policies”. She is a member of the International Conference Council for the European Public Health Conference. Caroline has also worked at the Netherlands Olympic Committee and Sports Confederation (NOC*NSF) on physical activity promotion for young people.  Before that, she was active at the Health Institute of the Liverpool John Moores University where she did research on healthy public policies in cities and at the National Capacity Building Institute (INICE) of the Honduras Ministry of Education.


Kasia Czabanowska

Past-President ASPHER 

Katarzyna Czabanowska is Past-President of the Association of the Schools of Public Health in European Region (ASPHER) and associate professor at the International Health Department, Maastricht University, the Netherlands. She directs the Governance and Leadership in European Public Health programme. Her research focus is on public health workforce development and professionalization, public health leadership, women leadership in health care and competence-based education in public health. She holds honorary positions at Jagiellonian University Medical College, Krakow, Poland, the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom and the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, Indiana, United States. In 2015 she won the Polish Person 2015 in the Netherlands Award in the category Science and Technique.


Desmond D'Sa

South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA), South Africa 

Desmond D’Sa is an environmental and human rights activist in Durban, South Africa. For over 25 years he has been a watchdog snapping at the heels of errant companies, particularly major oil refineries, who have polluted their way through decades of industrial expansion in south Durban. As the coordinator for SDCEA- South Durban Community Environmental Alliance he addresses issues concerned with human rights and environmental injustices. His work extends far beyond pollution and harmful toxins contributing to the ill health of communities. Desmond also sits on a number of activist boards and church organizations. He is also a member of the CBCO- Community Building Credible Organizations. His compassion and energy in uniting and galvanizing people in marginalized communities to stand up for their rights led to him receiving the Diakonia Human Rights Award in 2013,the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize Award in 2014 and an honorary doctorate from the Durban University of Technology, Health Sciences Department in 2015.


Summer May Finlay

Campaigner of the rights of indigenous people, Australia 


Walter Flores 

Human rights advocate, Guatemala

Walter Flores is a social scientist and human rights advocate with over twenty-five years of professional experience. He holds a PhD and a Masters of Community Health from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom. Dr. Flores’ professional work has been carried-out in more than thirty countries from Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe. His areas of expertise are health systems and policy, right to health and indigenous populations, democratic governance, social accountability, legal empowerment and community participation. Currently, Dr. Flores is the executive director of the Center for the Study of Equity and Governance in Health Systems; a Guatemalan civil society organization specialized in applied research, capacity building and advocacy around issues affecting indigenous and other marginalized populations.


Sandro Galea

Dean Robert A. Knox School of Public Health, Boston University, Boston, United States 

Sandro Galea, a physician, epidemiologist, and author, is dean and Robert A. Knox Professor at Boston University School of Public Health. He previously held academic and leadership positions at Columbia University, the University of Michigan, and the New York Academy of Medicine. He has published extensively in the peer-reviewed literature, and is a regular contributor to a range of public media, about the social causes of health, mental health, and the consequences of trauma. He has been listed as one of the most widely cited scholars in the social sciences. He is chair of the board of the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health and past president of the Society for Epidemiologic Research and of the Interdisciplinary Association for Population Health Science. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine. Sandro Galea has received several lifetime achievement awards. He holds a medical degree from the University of Toronto, graduate degrees from Harvard University and Columbia University, and an honorary doctorate from the University of Glasgow.


Sir Andy Haines

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, United Kingdom

Andy Haines was Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine from 2001 until October 2010. He was a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for the 2nd and 3rd assessment exercises and was review editor for the health chapter in the 5th assessment. He chaired the Scientific Advisory Panel for the 2013 WHO World Health Report, the Rockefeller /Lancet Commission on Planetary Health (2014-15) and the European Academies Science Advisory Council working group on climate change and health (2018-19).

He currently co-chairs the Inter Academy Partnership (140 science academies worldwide) working group on climate change and health. He has published many papers on topics such as the effects of environmental change on health and the health co-benefits of low carbon policies. His current research focuses on climate change mitigation, sustainable healthy food systems and complex urban systems for sustainability.


Richard Horton

Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet

Richard Horton is Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet.  He qualified in physiology and medicine with honours from the University of Birmingham in 1986. He joined The Lancet in 1990, moving to New York as North American Editor in 1993. In 2016, he chaired the Expert Group for the High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth, convened by Presidents Hollande of France and Zuma of South Africa. In 2011, he was elected a Foreign Associate of the US Institute of Medicine and, in 2015, he received the Friendship Award from the Government of China. In 2019 he was awarded the WHO Director-General’s Health Leaders Award for outstanding leadership in global health and the Roux Prize in recognition of innovation in the application of global health evidence.  He works to develop the idea of planetary health – the health of human civilizations and the ecosystems on which they depend.


Bronwyn King

Founder, CEO and Director of Tobacco Free Portfolios

Bronwyn King began her medical career working as a doctor on the lung cancer ward at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne, Australia. While doing her best to treat her patients (many of whom had started smoking in childhood) Dr King observed first-hand the truly devastating impact of tobacco. She was unaware that at the very same time she was investing in Big Tobacco via her compulsory pension fund. Tobacco Free Portfolios was set up in response to that uncomfortable discovery. Since then, Dr King has assembled an accomplished team that has been instrumental in advancing the switch to tobacco-free finance across the globe. Her 2017 TEDxSydney talk on tobacco-free finance has been viewed more than three million times.

A former elite swimmer who represented Australia, Dr King is also an Australia Day Ambassador. Dr King has received numerous awards in recognition of her unique contribution to local and global health, including being appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to community health.


Stephen K. Klasko

President & CEO Thomas Jefferson University, USA


Rüdiger Krech

Director Department of Health Promotion at the World Health Organization

He oversees WHO’s work on tobacco, health promotion, the harmful use of alcohol, physical activity, the work on healthy cities, schools and workplaces as well as health literacy, community engagement, and health in the policies. From 2012 to 2019, he was the director for Universal Health Coverage and Health Systems at the World Health Organization. From 2009 to 2012, Dr Krech was the Director of the Department of Ethics, Equity, Trade and Human Rights at the World Health Organization which also covered WHO’s work on Social Determinants of Health and Health in All Policies. Before joining WHO, he was in charge of the German International Cooperation’s (GiZ) work on social protection from 2003 to 2009, both in its Headquarters in Eschborn near Frankfurt, and in India. He has also held various management positions at the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe in Copenhagen in the fields of health systems, health policies, health promotion and ageing between 1992 and 2003.

Dr Krech has studied educational sciences, medicine and public health, and holds a Master’s and a Doctoral degree in public health.


Maurício Lima Barreto 

Professor Federal University of Bahia, Brazil


Laura Magaña

President and Chief Executive Officer ASPPH

Laura Magaña joined the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) as President and CEO in August 2017. Under her leadership, ASPPH has continued to advance its mission to strengthen the capacity of members by advancing leadership, excellence, and collaboration for academic public health. During her tenure, ASPPH has significantly grown its global engagement, established an academy for teaching excellence, launched the academic public health leadership institute and enhanced the voice of academic public health through advocacy efforts.

Prior to joining ASPPH, Laura Magaña dedicated more than 35 years to successfully leading the transformation and advancements of public and private universities in Mexico; educational organizations in the USA; United Nations programmes; and NGOs in Central America and Europe. She was most recently the dean of the School of Public Health in Mexico at the National Institute of Public Health (INSP). Her diverse portfolio features academic publications, educational technological developments many of which relate to learning environments, the use of technology in education, and public health education. She has also been a faculty member and lecturer in diverse universities around the world.


Patricio V. Marquez

Senior Consultant Covid-19 Global Emergency Program, The World Bank

Patricio Marquez worked for more than 30 years with The World Bank Group (WBG). He retired in August 2019 as a Lead Public Health Specialist Health, Nutrition and Population Global Practice.  He served in more than 80 countries across the globe, and was engaged in the preparation and management of a portfolio of projects and initiatives of over US$5 billion.  More recently, in March 2020, he returned to the WBG as a Senior Consultant to support the preparation and startup implementation of the US$6 billion WBG Covid-19 Global Emergency Response Program (the largest and fastest crisis response program developed by the WBG in its history), that is now funding the containment and mitigation of the coronavirus in more than 100 countries.

Also, in February 2020 he was appointed as Senior Associate, International Health Department, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland; and serves since September 2019, as member of the External Advisory Board of the University of Washington Global Mental Health Program. 

He has published extensively on various global public health topics, and received the 2000 WBG President Award for Excellence for work in Mexico. Patricio Marquez is originally from Cuenca, Ecuador. 


Diogo Martins

Policy & Advocacy Lead at the Wellcome Trust, United Kingdom


Martin McKee

Co-Chair of the International Congress Committee of the 16th World Congress on Public Health, United Kingdom

Martin McKee is Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and was the founding director of the European Centre on Health of Societies in Transition (ECOHOST). He is also research director of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies. He has published over 740 academic papers and 42 books and his contributions to European health policy have been recognised by, among others, election to the UK Academy of Medical Sciences, the Romanian Academy of Medical Sciences, and the US Institute of Medicine, by the award of honorary doctorates from Hungary, The Netherlands, and Sweden and visiting professorships at universities in Europe and Asia. In 2005 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).


John Middleton

President Association of  Schools  of  Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER)

John Middeleton is the current President of the Association of  Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER). He is Honorary Professor of Public Heath at Wolverhampton University and  Visiting Professor of  Public Health at Chester  University, United Kingdom. He was President of the United Kingdom Faculty of Public Health, the standard setting body for public health professionals in the United Kingdom until June 2019.

He was Director of Public Health for Sandwell in the West Midlands of England for 27 years; until he retired in 2014, he was the longest serving DPH in England. He was awarded Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians (London) in September 2015. He lives in Coventry in the West Midlands. He has interests in environmental health, sustainable development and violence prevention.  In another life he is a blues harmonica player with albums on spotify and apple music.



Michael Moore

Past chair of the 15th World Congress on Public Health, Melbourne, Australia 

Michael Moore is the past chair of the 15th World Congress on Public Health held in Melbourne in 2017 and past president of World Federation of Public Health Associations (WFPHA). Michael is a former Minister of Health and Community Care and was an Independent member of the Australian Capital Territory Legislative Assembly for four terms from 1989 to 2001.Michael is a former teacher, small business owner and consultant and holds a post-graduate diploma in education, a master’s degree in population health from the ANU. He was adjunct professor with the University of Canberra. He has widely published. He is also a political and social columnist who has served on a range of academic and community boards.


Christopher Murray

University of Washington, USA


Anna Odone


Laetitia Rispel

Professor of Public Health, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa 

Laetitia Rispel is Professor of Public Health at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She holds a South African Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation Research Chair. For five years she served as the Head (Dean) of the Wits School of Public Health. Currently, she is President of the World Federation of Public Health Associations. Laetitia Rispel has extensive experience in research, teaching, and health leadership in different settings, and has published extensively on different aspects of health policy and health systems. She has won several national and international awards, including the South African Medical Association Award in the allied category (2013); University vice-chancellor’s academic citizenship award (2014); Academy of Science of South Africa membership award (2015). In May 2017, she was appointed as one of commissioners of the South African Lancet Commission, established as part of the Lancet Global Health Commission on High-Quality Health Systems in the Sustainable Development Goals era.


Gita Sen

Ramalingaswami Centre, Public Health Foundation, India, India

Gita Sen is Director of the Ramalingaswami Centre on Equity and Social Determinants of Health at the Public Health Foundation of India, and Adjunct Professor of Global Health and Population at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. She has a PhD in Economics from Stanford University.

She is a founder and currently General Co-coordinator of the Southern NGO network, DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era).

Her work has helped to advance gender equality and women’s health through a variety of positions: co-coordinator of the Knowledge Network on Women and Gender Equity for the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health; member of the recent Lancet Commission on Women and Health, and of WHO’s Advisory Committee on Health Research. She was a member of the UN Millennium Project’s Taskforce on Gender Equality, and the first Chairperson of the World Bank’s External Gender Consultative Group. She has served on the Governing Boards of the UN Research Institute on Social Development, and of the UN University.

She received the Volvo Environment Prize for her work on women, population and development, and Honorary Doctorates from the Karolinska Institute (Sweden), the University of East Anglia, the Open University (UK), the University of Sussex, and the University of Edinburgh (UK).


Sarah Wollaston

Medical Doctor, United Kingdom

Dr Sarah Wollaston was until December 2019 the Member of Parliament for Totnes, United Kingdom, and elected chair of two Parliamentary Select Committees, covering Health and Social Care and also the committee holding the Prime Minister to account. Prior to entering Parliament she was an NHS doctor working in primary care and teaching junior doctors and medical students. She is a keen tandem rider.