Meet our Emerging Leaders
As a global health communicator, Benn Grover believes that everyone deserves the right to live a healthy life, and he tries to do his part to see that happen. Prior to his current work, Benn was the Director of Strategic Communications for the National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. While at the National Forum, he oversaw the development and launch of the Policy Depot, an innovative social network for individuals worldwide who are committed to non-communicable disease policy solutions. Benn also volunteered as the Chief Communications Officer for NCDFREE, a youth-led social movement that creates political and social action that addresses non-communicable diseases through local, inspiring narratives. Before these positions, Benn was the Managing Editor for ProCor, a leading global platform for heart health and prevention in low-resource settings. Benn also sat on the global steering committee for the Young Professionals Chronic Disease Network. He earned an MA in Health Communication from Emerson College and a BA in English from University of Massachusetts Boston.
Jill is an epidemiologist and exposure scientist who designs empirical studies to assess the role of environmental pollution in cardiovascular disease development. She studies exposure to environmental pollutants including air pollution from combustion of solid fuels and their impact on cardiovascular health in the context of urbanization and development. Jill has a joint Ph.D. in Population Health Sciences and Environment & Resources from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Masters in Population and International Health from Harvard University. She is excited to meet the new group of Emerging Leaders and look forward to working together to develop creative ideas and new strategies for cardiovascular disease prevention.
Juan Carlos uses his background in Psychology, Management of Human Resources, Biostatistics and Epidemiology in the Center of Excellence in Chronic Diseases CRONICAS to lead Cardiovascular Diseases Projects; especially, those related to prevention tools and intervention programs. In 2013, he successfully applied for a grant from NHLBI to study the functioning of CVD risk scores in Peruvians. In this study, it was concluded there was poor concordance between six known CVD risk scores, demonstrating the uncertainty of choosing any of them for public health and clinical interventions in Peruvian populations. Since these findings, we started to prepare new studies about recalibration of CDV scores and implementation of behavioral change programs supported by informatics technology and guided by trained health personnel. Currently, Juan Carlos is also lecturer of Biostatistics at UPCH. At present, his research activities are centralized at CRONICAS and the Peruvian Institute for Psychological and Psychosocial Research (PSYCOPERU).
Kirsten is a post-doctoral research fellow with the Chronic Diseases Initiative for Africa at the University of Cape town and the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Science at the University of Oxford. Kirsten completed her undergraduate medical training at the University of Cape Town and her PHD in epidemiology in the Cancer Epidemiology Unit at the University of Oxford. Her current research is focused on using mobile-phone based technology to improve the management and outcomes in people with chronic diseases in low resource settings.
Dan is currently the Principal Investigator of the Ellisras Longitudinal Study (ELS) which started in 1996 in the Ellisras rural areas of South Africa. The ELS enrolled 2200 children, in preschool and primary school, for long term follow-up through collection of biannual anthropometric measurements, lifestyle characteristics, education, physiological, psychological , and health parameters. Dan will continue to oversee the ELS as it further follows up with these participants to collect data on socioeconomic status, dietary intake, nutritional habits, mortality and morbidity, alcohol consumption, smoking habits, physical activity, psychological questionnaires and blood samples for lipids.
Renzo is an emerging young leader in global health research, advocacy and education. Aside from consultancies with WHO, EU, and IOM, his current work focuses on the nexus between climate, energy, and health. Renzo is a member of University of the Philippines Manila’s Universal Health Care Study Group, WHO steering committee on social determinants of health and transformative health workforce education, and The Lancet-University of Oslo Youth Commission on Global Governance for Health. He is a member of numerous national and international networks, including the International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) in which he served as Liaison Officer to the WHO, Regional Coordinator for the Asia-Pacific, and Founding Coordinator of the IFMSA Global Health Equity Initiative. Renzo has published widely on diverse subjects, ranging from climate change and universal health coverage to medical education and migrant health, and has given lectures and workshops in more than a dozen countries. An ardent advocate for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), he supports initiatives in tobacco control and health promotion. In 2014, his team from the University of the Philippines was selected as finalist in the Asia-Pacific leg of the Hult Prize in Shanghai for their social innovation idea for combatting NCDs in slum communities.
Sailesh is academically trained in medicine, public health and cardiovascular epidemiology. At PHFI, he is involved in chronic non-communicable disease (NCD) research, teaching and training. He leads various NCD research projects and also directs a course on NCD Prevention and Control for international public health scholars. He has been a recipient of the CIHR Canada HOPE Fellowship Award. Sailseh has been a temporary advisor/technical expert to the World Health Organization (WHO) on NCDs since 2011 and has authored many WHO technical briefs/papers. He has also served as a member of influential policy-making committees of the WHO and Government of India on NCD prevention and control.
Sandra currently works as a lecturer in the Department of Medicine, Faculty of Clinical Sciences in the University of Port Harcourt and is an honorary consultant cardiologist at the University of Port Harcourt teaching hospital. While she is actively involved in clinical medicine and undergraduate medical training, she plans to develop a career in clinical research. Her special interests include cardiovascular disease prevention with emphasis on total risk estimation and modification. She is passionate about learning and is looking forward to meeting all the emerging leaders and sharing knowledge while learning from their diverse experiences.