MSF Scientific Days – Asia 2020: Speakers

Photo: Garvit Nangia/MSF

Aditi Sonrexa

Aditi Sonexa is a communications and media expert with 10 years of experience working with leading media houses and International NGOs. She has been working with Doctors Without Borders since 2017 as a Media Manager. She has been focusing on media strategy and media advocacy in key thematic areas like sexual and gender based violence, drug-resistant tuberculosis. She aims to create innovative communication resources to champion important public health issues in the world.

Before that she was a Media Manager with Save The Children and a News Producer with NDTV. She has a Masters degree in Journalism and Marketing.

Dr Aula Abbara

Dr Aula Abbara, MBBS DTMH MD(Res) is a consultant in Infectious Diseases/ General Internal Medicine at Imperial College NHS Healthcare Trust, London and an Honorary Clinical Lecture at Imperial College. She has volunteered in different humanitarian and refugee settings including Greece, Sierra Leone, Turkey and Jordan, undertaking direct clinical work, teaching healthcare workers and building capacity. 

Since 2012, she has volunteered predominantly with Syrian non-governmental organisations. Her research interests include attacks on healthcare, antimicrobial resistance in conflict, refugee healthcare workers and, more broadly relating to global and humanitarian health. She co-chairs the Syria Public Health Network, is the research lead for the Syrian American Medical Society and is part of SyRG-LSHTM (Syrian Research Group at LSHTM.)

Crystal van Leeuwen

Crystal van Leeuwen is a Registered Nurse (York University, Canada) and holds a master’s degree in Public Health (LSHTM, UK). Since 2012, she has worked in various field based positions with MSF focusing on acute emergencies and conflict in Nigeria, DRC, Sierra Leone, Northeast Syria, South Sudan, Yemen and Bangladesh. In early 2019, Crystal began her work at the MSF headquarters as a Medical Emergency Manager with OCA Emergency Desk and is currently managing MSFs medical activities in Northeast Syria and Sudan.

Dr Farhat Mantoo

Farhat Mantoo joined Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in 2003 and has worked in national and international field operations and various headquarters. During these last 16 years she has worked in Asia, Europe and Africa with MSF and other organisations in various roles. She has a specialisation in communication, medical anthropology and human resources apart from being trained in humanitarian assistance linked to international humanitarian affairs. 

She served for three years (2015-18) as part of International HR Director Team who oversaw the people strategic direction of MSF. Currently, she is the General Director of MSF India.

Dr Fouad M Fouad

Associate Professor at the American University of Beirut and co-chair of the Syria Public Health Network​

Giulietta Luul Balestra

Giulietta Luul Balestra is an anthropologist and a health promoter. With MSF since 2010, she has worked in emergency and regular projects in Pakistan, India, South Sudan, Cameroun, Papua New Guinea, Afghanistan and Yemen. Her research has been used to adapt and improve TB and end of life care models in different contexts. Between missions, she collaborates with various third sector and institutional actors to promote communities’ health and participation and to make health and social policies and services more responsive to the needs of migrants, refugees and other marginalized groups in Italy.

Dr Himanshu Mohan Kumar

Dr Himanshu M, a physician and global health professional by training, is currently the Deputy Medical Coordinator of MSF OCA India mission. Dr Himanshu has a medical career spanning 10 years including experience of academia, epidemiology, operational and clinical research. Lately, he has been involved in designing and evaluating health programs that include communitization of health care and person-centered care. Woman and child health, sexual and gender based violence, epidemiology, quantitative research methods, bio-medical statistics are other topical areas of interest.

Dr Kiran Jobanputra

Kiran Jobanputra is a medical doctor specialising in Family Medicine and Public Health. He has worked as a field doctor and medical coordinator for MSF since 2007, with a focus on HIV and chronic disease. He is currently Head of the Manson Unit in MSF UK and Deputy Medical Director of MSF Operational Centre Amsterdam.

Manar Marzouk

Manar Marzouk is a global health researcher with a focus on health policy and health systems in refugee and conflict settings. She is currently working with the COVID-19 International Modelling Consortium (CoMo) at the University of Oxford on modelling the impact of COVID-19 mitigation measures in different regions in Syria. She is also involved in several projects on health systems and policy analysis in different countries in the MENA region, including UNESCWA – The National Agenda for the Future of Syria (NAFS Programme), Lebanon Support – The Right to Health in Lebanon and Jordan, and UNICEF/Valid International – CMAM Evaluation in Sudan.
She has previously worked on cancer care management for Syrian refugees in Jordan (WHO-EMRO, 2016), and minorities’ experiences in accessing mental health services (Health Experience Research Group, University of Oxford, 2017), and has over seven years’ field experience in the humanitarian sector in Syria and the UK (Valid International, 2018-20; Asylum Welcome, 2016-2018; UNICEF, 2014-2015; UNHCR, 2013-2014). She holds an MSc in International Health and Tropical Medicine from the University of Oxford, and a bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy from the University of Damascus.

Meggy Verputten

Meggy Verputten is a medical and humanitarian with extended MSF experience in both field and HQ, emergency and longer term MSF Public Health Strategic Programming and Implementation. She is a specialist in Sexual Violence and Intimate Partner Violence and part of WHO expert group Child Sexual Abuse. 

Meggy is dedicated, passionate and optimistic to put in place a dedicated survivor centered approach, emphasizing the role and capacity of MSF local recruited staff, creating access to care for survivors of Sexual Violence and Intimate Partner Violence, to enable survivors to receive the support they need to heal and recover.

Dr Mirwais Khan

Dr Mirwais Khan is a graduate (MBBS) from Khyber Medical College, Pakistan with postgraduate studies in Public Health and Clinical Research from School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield, UK. He had previously worked with the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the Polio Eradication Initiative.

In his current capacity as Head of Health Care in Danger (HCiD) initiative of the ICRC in Pakistan, he have had the opportunity to coordinate complex research projects exploring the dynamics of violence against health care and to design, implement and assess evidence based interventions for protection of health care.

Dr Mohammad Mainul Islam

Dr Mohammad Mainul Islam is Professor & Chairman of the Department of Population Sciences of the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He received his PhD in Demography in 2009 from the Institute of Population Research at Peking University, China, specializing in Population Health. Dr Islam completed a Global Health Research Capacity Strengthening Program (GHR-CAPS) Postdoctoral Fellowship at McGill University, Canada, between 2013 and 2014. He was awarded the First Prize of Academic Excellence Award 2018 of Peking University, China. He has contributed to over 40 peer-reviewed publications, including publications of research findings as first author in The Lancet, Lancet Global Health, Journal of Global Health, PloS ONE, BMC Women’s Health and others.

Mohit Nair

Mohit Nair currently works as a Social Research Scientist with the King County Department of Public Health in Seattle, WA. Previously, he worked with the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) Vienna Evaluation Unit and with MSF Operational Centre Barcelona in India. 

He has conducted research studies on diverse topics ranging from drivers of antibiotic resistance in West Bengal and perceptions of palliative care in Bihar. He holds a Master of Public Health from the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health and a Bachelor of Science from Cornell University.

Dr Monique Kamat

Dr Monique is a medical doctor and public health and policy expert who has successfully matched her professional and personal goals in her career. Life offered her the chance to use her skills to bring access to health care for the vulnerable population. She has expand the horizon of opportunities to defenseless people through volunteering several years with Médecins Sans Frontières. She works in the capacity of Leadership for Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation in preventive cancer care and other life enhancing programs in live hood, education sectors of development.

Dr Naser Mhawesh

A medical doctor from Aleppo University, Syria, Dr Naser completed his specialty in general surgery in 2012 and has recently completed his MPH coursework. At the beginning of 2013, Dr Naser worked in surgical hospitals across the Syrian-Turkish borders, after which he joined ACU/ EWARN (Early Warning Alert and Response Network) as a surveillance officer mainly for Acute Flaccid Paralysis in 2015. During that time, he was the team lead for the associated surveillance activities that detected the vaccine-derived poliovirus outbreak in 2017 and developed enhancement measures related to AFP surveillance in crisis context, thereby ensure meeting of the global standards. Additionally, he has established the acute respiratory illness surveillance for EWARN which was later utilized for COVID-19 surveillance.

Neha Verma

Neha Verma is an engineer & serial entrepreneur with expertise in technology for global health. She is the co-founder and CEO of Intelehealth, a technology non-profit that delivers health services where there are no doctors through telemedicine. Her expertise is improving the way Primary Health Care is delivered through developments in the field of Informatics, Telemedicine & Telehealth and Data Analytics. 

She is a Rainer Arnhold Fellow (Mulago Foundation) and an Abell Fellow. Neha is a contributor for Women@Forbes where she writes about women in technology and entrepreneurship.

Nell Gray

Nell Gray is a medical anthropologist who has worked with MSF since 2006. She has worked in a range of contexts, including Central African Republic, South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, Haiti and India on issues including Ebola, sexual violence, HIV/TB and access to health care. She holds an MA in medical anthropology from SOAS and currently works as anthropology advisor based in the Manson Unit at MSF UK.

Dr Pooja Tripathi

(MD, MPH, MSc)

Dr Pooja Tripathi is a Medical Doctor and has a Masters’s in Public Health. In the past decade, she has worked in an array of thematic areas: Maternal and Child Health, TB/DR-TB, Sexual & Reproductive Health, HIV/AIDS, Sexual and Gender-based Violence, Routine Immunization, Gender-responsive Budgeting, and Gender and Disaster Risk Management. Discovering her niche at the crossroads of Gender and Public Health, she has completed her Masters at The London School of Economics & Political Science, focusing on Gender. Furthermore, she has collaborated for the CEDAW Shadow Report for England while working for a coalition of NGOs in London. She has been part of several projects with the International Labour Organization to strengthen the world of work response to HIV/AIDS and TB/DR-TB and publish an ILO Manual for Peer Educators on these two still highly stigmatized diseases in South Asia. 

With GHHM, she promotes online student engagement and maximizes their learning experience by developing and implementing online learning content and improving the program’s overall delivery for the South Asian cohorts.

Preeti Gurung

Preeti Gurung is a public health post graduate with graduation in nursing, has closely worked with community health workers in the field of malaria and under-five ARI and diarrheal diseases for two years in Chhattisgarh, and has co-authored a published research article on malaria. In early 2018, she joined MSF Project of HIV/TB/HCV in Manipur, India, as an Epidemiology Activity Manager. She has been involved in supporting operational research and monitoring activities in the project. More recently, she has also become data focal point for other MSF OCA projects in India. She looks forward to more engagements in these endeavors.

Dr Rabeya Khatoon

Dr Rabeya Khatoon is a Medical Doctor with specialization in Paediatrics.

She studied in Russia and obtained her Medical degree from Moscow in 1982, completed specialization and PhD in Paediatrics from Moscow in 1989. She has Joined Dhaka Shishu Hospital, the tertiary level paediatric hospital in Dhaka as Registrar in Paediatric Cardiology unit. In 1997, she switched to Public Health joining a National NGO-Bangladesh Population Health Consortium (BPHC),

Dr Khatoon has worked with organizations like ICDDR,B, USAID, UNFPA. She joined World Health Organization in 2002 as National Professional Officer, where she supported GOB in implementation of Integrated Management of Childhood illnesses (IMCI) till end of 2005. Dr Khatoon joined MSF in December 2007 as International staff –Consultant-Paediatrician and worked till 2008. Again joined WHO as National Professional Officer in 2009 and retired from the organization in 2017.

Currently Dr Khatoon is working with MSF-India (since 2017) and MSF-Bangladesh (since October 2020) as consultant.

Rakesh Singh

Rakesh Singh is a public health professional with a substantial work experience in academia. His professional career spans seven years of work as a faculty at health sciences universities in Nepal. He excels in health researches with a special interest in mental health research. He has published more than 20 research papers in national and international peer reviewed indexed journals. He has been currently involved as a collaborator in COSMOS research project generating outcomes in trials of interventions targeting multi-morbidity in low and middle income countries.

Dr Renzo Guinto

Dr Renzo Guinto, MD DrPH is the Chief Planetary Doctor of PH Lab – a “glo-cal think-and-do tank” for advancing the health of both people and the planet. He is also Associate Professor of the Practice of Global Public Health and Inaugural Director of the Global Health Program of the St. Luke’s Medical Center College of Medicine in the Philippines.

Dr Guintio is Commissioner of the Lancet–Chatham House Commission on Improving Population Health post COVID-19 based at the University of Cambridge; 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 Adviser of the Lancet One Health Commission hosted by the University of Oslo. He has served as consultant for various organizations including: World Health Organization; World Bank; USAID; International Organization for Migration; Philippine Department of Health; Chilean Ministry of Health; and Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp, Belgium. Dr Guinto obtained his Doctor of Public Health from Harvard University and Doctor of Medicine from the University of the Philippines Manila.

Dr Senjuti Saha

Dr Senjuti Saha is a microbiologist working at the intersection of Clinical Microbiology and Global Health as a Scientist at the Child Health Research Foundation in Bangladesh. After completing her Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics in Canada, Dr Saha moved back to Bangladesh to pursue a career that brings together basic science and public health. She has also recently been appointed as a board member of Polio Transition Independent Monitoring Board (TIMB) by World Health Organization (WHO).

Dr Soumyadipta Acharya

Dr Acharya is the Graduate Program Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Bioengineering Innovation and Design (CBID) and an Assistant Research Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the chief architect of a new graduate program in bioengineering innovation and design and also runs a program in global medical technology innovation, which focuses on developing appropriate healthcare technologies for public health interventions worldwide. He has been involved in the invention and early stage development of several diagnostic and therapeutic technologies. Several of these innovations have received funding from USAID and other agencies and are in preliminary field studies in South Asia and East Africa. In recognition of his contributions to medical technology innovation, entrepreneurship and education Dr. Acharya received the Olympus Emerging Educational Leader Award (2011), from the National Collegiate Inventors and Innovators Alliance (NCIIA), USA.

Dr Stobdan Kalon

Stobdan Kalon is a medical doctor with over 20 years of experience and working with Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and humanitiarian field for over 16 years. After completing his MBBS from GMC Jammu, he did his Masters in Public Health from the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium in 2003 and currently working on his PhD from Monash University, Australia.
His experience spans from managing infectious diseases, interventions in drug resistant-tuberculosis (DR-TB), hepatitis and HIV, MCH, primary health care and emergency interventions – both in the field and from HQ for operations in countries like Uzbekistan, Armenia, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Laos, China, Mongolia, PNG, Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh, and India.

Dr Todd Pollack

Dr Pollack is an Assistant Professor of Medicine (part-time) at Harvard Medical School, an infectious diseases specialist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and the Country Director of the Partnership for Health Advancement in Vietnam (HAIVN), a Harvard University Global Program with a mission to improve healthcare in Vietnam. He received his MD from Temple University School of Medicine and completed a residency and chief residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For more than ten years, Dr Pollack has worked to strengthen the capacity of the public health system in Vietnam. He serves as technical advisor to the Vietnam Ministry of Health in the areas of HIV, infectious diseases, and medical education. His work is supported by grants from the US CDC and USAID and he was recently awarded a grant to prepare health workers and hospitals in Vietnam for the COVID-19 pandemic.

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