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Emerging Leaders 2017

Driving action to improve access to essential medicines, particularly in low- and middle-income countries

Christelle Crickmore M.Sc Nutrition

I am your typical extrovert – excited by public speaking, engaging with the media, network-ing and building relationships with like-minded people and organisations to meet shared goals. I am inspired to utilise the science and art of communication and public relations to influence people’s lives for the better.

I completed a M.Sc in Nutrition in 2005 and my experience in the corporate world and more recently as Nutrition Science Manager at the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, confirmed the importance of researchers and experts to get their messages across to the public. This realisation also led me to complete a B.Soc.Sc. Honours in Culture, Communication and Media Studies in 2013 and a Public Relations short course in 2017.  I currently hold the position of Executive Secretary at the African Heart Network.  When I’m not at my desk or networking, you can find me in the ocean wherever the surf is good or walking my too-spoilt dogs.

João Pedro Ferreira MD, PhD

I did my medical studies at the University of Porto, Portugal and my specialization in Internal Medicine at Centro Hospitalar do Porto, where I also followed patients in the Heart Failure clinics. During my PhD I studied the safety and possible efficacy of “high-dose spironolac-tone in acute heart failure”. After finishing my PhD I moved to Nancy where I currently work as Hospital and University Assistant. Most of my time is dedicated to research (medical writ-ing, statistical analysis, patient enrolment and follow-up in several trials and cohort studies, and performance of complementary exams such as echocardiography and thorax echogra-phy). Currently I am also focused on “fibrotic” mechanisms within the aims of the FIBROTARGETS ( and HOMAGE ( projects. I also have a particular interest in health-care system organization, geographical asymmetries, and treatment supply and adherence at a global scale.

Asim Katbeh MD

I am a cardiologist from Damascus, the capital of Syria. I obtained my medical degree in Damascus university and finished my cardiology fellowship at Al Bassel Heart Institute of Damascus. After my working as a physician in Echocardiography unit for one year, I have moved to complete my specialty in cardiovascular imaging department at San Carlos Clinic Hospital of Madrid, Spain. I have been the chair of Syrian young cardiovascular association and the director of Syrian heart society for the past three years. I am the current representative of my country in young community of European society of cardiology (Cardiologists of Tomorrow). My research interests include echocardiography, valvular heart disease and also fields such as ischaemic heart disease, invasive and non-invasive coronary imaging. I think the Emerging Leaders Programme is a great opportunity for us to build new strategies to enhance the integration between science, culture, society and environment. My priority is to take my responsibility in Damascus heart centres to override the obstacles and difficulties where military conflicts face the preventive medicine progress. My goal is to find low cost solutions for common valvular heart interventions in the community and increase involvement of all society classes in all aspects of cardiovascular disease management.

Ahmadou Jingi MD, DES

I am Ahmadou Musa Jingi, a Cameroonian, married, and father of three. I received my medical training at the Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University of Yaounde 1. I obtained my MD diploma (General Medi-cine) in 2007, and my Specialist Diploma (DES Internal Medicine) in October 2016. I am a member of the research group: Clinical Research, Education, Networking, and Consultancy (CRENC). I am also a member of the first batch of the African Diabetes Academy (D2A). I have special interest in the fight against Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). I am mainly interested in Hypertension, Diabetes, Heart failure, Pulmonary Hypertension, and Echocardiography. As a GP, I worked as the Chief Medical Officer at the Centre for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Tuberculosis in the west region (Where I noticed it was a dragnet for patients with heart disease). I also served as the West Region Focal Point for the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission of HIV and Reproductive Health. I used this opportunity to create awareness of CVD in primary care Physicians. I also initiated field studies on sources, availability, and affordability of essential medicines. I participated in two national surveys on diabetes and hypertension. I have published over 30 articles in peer review journals. As an Emerging Leader, I am just starting. The sky is my limit.

Alberto Morales Salinas MD, MPH, FACC

20 years’ experience in all levels of the cardiovascular prevention. Best Young Researcher of Cuban Medicine 2005. Coordinator of International Consensus about mild hypertension.

Karla Santo MD

Karla is a cardiologist from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She graduated in medicine in 2008 at the University of the State of Rio de Janeiro. She completed her medical training in internal medicine in 2011, her cardiology training in 2013, both in Brazil; and she is currently a fellow of the Brazilian Society of Cardiology. After completing her medical training, her strong desire to continuously develop herself and improve her research skills has led her to pursue a PhD degree in Australia. Karla is currently on the last year of her PhD candidature with the Cardiovascular Division at The George Institute for Global Health and the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney, funded by an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship and an Australian Postgraduate Award.

Her research interests are prevention of cardiovascular disease. Her drive and passion to impact lives has led to her interest in how technology can be used to improve cardiovascular health, especially the use of mobile technologies for behavioural change and improvement in medica-tion adherence. Her experience in mHealth research includes being part of the team that conducted a successful randomised clinical trial that investigated the use of lifestyle-focused text-messages on risk factor modification in patients with coronary heart disease, published in JAMA. The 2016-2017 Emerging Leaders Program’s focus on access to essential medicine relates directly to her PhD research focus, which is improving medication adherence using mobile devices. Currently, Karla is working on another randomised controlled trial investigating the effectiveness of smartphone apps in improving adherence. She has pioneered a systematic stepwise process to identify high-quality medication adherence apps available in the online stores, being able to identify two high-quality apps to be studied in this trial. The innovative concept of this project has recently been recognised by the National Heart Foundation of Australia through a competitive research grant scheme.

Neusa Jessen MD

My name is Neusa Jessen and I was born in Mozambique. I finished medical school in 2005 and I was sent to work as a general clinician and the clinical director of the only hospital of a district in the north of Mozambique, where I worked for 2 years. There, I had the opportunity to work with an NGO to provide continuous education to health professionals and to launch HIV treatment in the district, and there started my interest in public health. After that, I did my specialization in cardiology, half in Brazil and half in Mozambique, and finished in 2015. Throughout my career at the Central Hospital of Maputo, as a resident and as a cardiologist, I collaborated in a variety of studies in the cardiology research center of my institution.
In 2015, I decided to start a PhD in Public Health, and was accepted at the Public Health Institute of the University of Porto, in Portugal. I am enrolled as a part-time student to be able to continue working as a cardiologist in my country, where I also intend to do my research project.

Rajmohan Panda MD, MPH

Dr. Rajmohan Panda (Raj) is a Senior Public Health Specialist and Additional Professor at the Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI). He is a preventive medicine specialist with further training in global health leadership at Emory University in the USA. Dr Panda is adept in leading operational research projects in India and had considerable experience in the application of mixed methodology, epidemiological study designs in various projects in health systems strengthening in India. He has led many projects in tobacco control including a health system intervention project by BMGF on Strengthening of Tobacco control. A significant part of the research work has been in producing evidence for low-cost models for primary prevention of CVD and other diseases through integrating tobacco cessation in health systems. Examples of effectiveness of this work is evident from the scaling up of tobacco cessation programs across the country from pilots, establishing a research and practice platform for tobacco cessation in the country, costing for essential health packages in different states in India and collaborating with national technical agencies for developing guidelines for strategic purchasing for the country. Recent work through a PFIZER Independent grants for learning and change (IGLC) as well as through a grant funded by MRC UK  will help test innovative ideas for prevention of cardiovascular risk factors (including tobacco cessation interventions) using low-cost mobile technology. The larger vision of research grants is to establish the evidence for an innovative low-cost model for tobacco cessation across primary care and NCD clinics in India and finally across South Asia. All projects are embedded within government programs and produce evidence through “realistic evaluation” with cost effective data for suitable scale up.  Dr Panda has a certificate in Global Tobacco Control Leadership Program from the Institute for Global Tobacco Control, JHSPH, 2013 and a fellowship from the Public Health Leadership and Implementation Academy (PH-LEADER) for NCDs at Emory University, Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta in 2014.

Abhishek Sharma MPH

Abhishek Sharma is a pharmacist and researcher with over five years of experience in global health focusing in evaluating healthcare and pharmaceutical systems to improve medicine access and utilization policies. Currently, Mr. Sharma works as an Associate Health Economist at Precision Heath Economics (Boston | Vancouver) where he conducts research regarding clinical and economic outcomes of novel/candidate and approved therapeutics. As an Adjunct Researcher at Boston University’s Center for Global Health and Development, Mr. Sharma’s research focus on global access to insulin and other medicines for non-communicable diseases, role of the private sector in provision of equitable access to medicines and vaccines, medicine price evaluations, and the impact of trade policies on population health.

Recently he served as a Commission on The Lancet Youth Commission on Essential Medicines Policies that aimed to provide evidence-based policy recommendations for improving medicines access and to raise the awareness regarding Essential Medicines Policies. Prior to that, he has worked as a research consultant for national and international development agencies like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Public Health Foundation of India, Nepal Development Society, and Health Action International. He has authored over 20 scholarly articles in international peer-reviewed journals such as Health Policy & Planning, BMJ Global Health, BMJ Open, The Lancet, Nature, Economic & Political Weekly, and Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy & Practice. He serves as a peer reviewer for several leading journals including Vaccine, BMJ Open, BMJ Global Health, and BMC Public Health and as an Associate Editor of Journal of Pharmacy Practice and Community Medicine.

Abhishek received Master of Public Health with concentration in Global Health from the Boston University School of Public Health (United States) and a Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from Manipal University (India)

Salim Virani MD, PhD

Salim S. Virani, MD, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Cardiovascular Research Section at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He is a Cardiologist with specialized training in Lipids. His research portfolio aims to understand several domains in the delivery of high quality cardiovascular care (especially risk factor control) including effectiveness, equity, safety, and efficiency. Via funded research grants from the American Diabetes Association and American Heart Association, his team is evaluating whether a strategy of primary care delivery for chronic diseases by advanced practice providers (nurse practitioners and physician assistants) is comparable to that delivered by physicians. His team is also evaluating how best to leverage technology to deliver high-quality care. In this regard, his team is evaluating whether a culturally sensitive text-message based intervention delivered on mobile phones can improve health literacy and medication adherence in patients with cardiovascular disease in Pakistan. His team is also involved in a project in Tajikistan which aims to improve hypertension care delivery in the remote Gorno Badakshan district. He is involved in research and clinical capacity building with institutions in East Africa, South East Asia and Central Asia. He has authored or co-authored >200 peer-reviewed publications with several in high-impact journals such as Circulation, European Heart Journal, JAMA Internal Medicine, JAMA Cardiology, and Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

He has been a recipient of the Scott Grundy Award for Excellence in Lipids Metabolism Research from the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Jeremiah Stamler Distinguished Young Investigator Research Award. Dr. Virani serves on the AHA’s Statistics Committee, the AHA’s Prevention Science Committee, and as the Chair for the Research and Publications Committee of the American College of Cardiology’s (ACC) PINNACLE Registry. He also serves as the Associate Editor for Innovations for and the Editorial Lead for the prevention related content for the ACC’s educational website.

Shiva Raj Mishra MPH

Shiva Raj Mishra, is a cardiovascular epidemiologist, trained in Australia and Nepal. He is a recipient of prestigious Australia Award Scholarship from 2015-2016.

Shiva has interests in global Non-communicable diseases and medicine policies research in low-income setting with emphasis on cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. He also wrote prolifically on the disaster response and recovery on the aftermath of Nepal earthquakes contributing to several publications. He is the founding Chief Editor of The Health Prospect and Assoc. Editor of BMC Public Health. Also, he served as a commissioner at The Lancet Youth Commission on Essential Medicine Policies from 2015-2016, and freelance writer for The Lancet, The Lancet Diabetes Endocrinology and WHO Bulletin contributing to several news features from 2015-16.

In Nepal, he is affiliated with Nepal Development Society, a community-NGO as a founding member and research advisor since 2014.

Tangeni Auala MBChB, FCP

I am a specialist physician planning to subspecialise in adult cardiology. Currently I work in the Adult Clinical and Interventional Cardiology and Rheumatic Heart Disease Departments of Cardiac Unit at the Windhoek Central Hospital Complex in the capital city of Namibia. My interests include clinical and interventional cardiovascular medicine, preventative medicine, health promotion and research. I am really excited to be a part of the 2017 WHFEL Program and look forward to learning from and collaborating with other likeminded individuals in our goal to reduce premature mortality from cardiovascular disease globally by 25% by 2025  .

Xiaodong Guan PhD

Guan Xiaodong, PhD, is an assistant professor in School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Peking University and his main research field is equitable access to medicine and rational use. Mr. Guan took up studies on medicine policy in 2005, obtained his Doctor of Science Degree in Pharmacy Administration from Peking University in 2011, and has been a teacher there since then as an assistant professor and a researcher in International Research Center for Medicinal Administration(IRCMA), Peking University, and also is the secretary-general of Medicinal Policy Council of China Pharmaceutical Innovation and Research Development Association, member of Drug Administration History Council of China Society for Drug Regulation, member of Evidence-based Medicine Branch of China International Exchange and Promotive Association for Medical and Health Care. He took on a project of Natural Science Foundation of China and other projects from National Health and Family Planning Commission and National Development and Reform Commission, etc. Those projects provide policy recommendations on public hospital reform, essential medicine policy, medicine bidding and purchasing, pharmaceuticals pricing and reimbursement and etc.

Emily Atkins PhD

Emily is a postdoctoral research fellow with the Cardiovascular Division at The George Institute for Global Health. She completed her undergraduate (BHlthSc, 1st class Hons) and postgraduate studies (PhD) at the University of Western Australia. Emily’s PhD studies used linked administrative hospital morbidity, deaths, and pharmacy data to investigate the cost-effectiveness of cardiovascular medicines for secondary prevention of atherothrombotic disease. Her current work is focused on the use of combination pills, their impact on cardiovascular risk-factor control, and their use in high- and low-resource settings.

Sarah Kraus MBChB, DCH, FCP

I completed my undergraduate medical training at the University of Cape Town, graduating in 2005. I returned to Cape Town to do specialist training in Internal Medicine at Groote Schuur Hospital, graduating as a Fellow of the College of Physicians of South Africa in 2013.  In 2014, I was awarded the Helen and Morris Mauerberger Scholarship to do my PhD at the University of Cape, and plan to complete my dissertation this year.

My clinical and research interests are focused on the clinical diagnosis and management of cardiomyopathy, myocarditis and heart failure in the African setting, cardiogenetics with particular focus on the genetic cardiomyopathies, and cardiovascular magnetic imaging in cardiomyopathy and myocarditis.  The main focus of my PhD has been the development and implementation of the African Cardiomyopathy and Myocarditis Research Program (IMHOTEP) under the supervision of Professors Bongani Mayosi and Ntobeko Ntusi.

I have worked in the Specialist Cardiomyopathy Clinic at Groote Schuur Hospital since February 2014, and am currently undergoing training in Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CMR) interpretation under the supervision of Professor Ntobeko Ntusi at Groote Schuur Hospital and am part of the CMR research team at the Cape Universities Body Imaging Centre (CUBIC).

I am affiliated with the Molecular Genetic Laboratory at the Hatter Institute, University of Cape Town, where I work with Professor Bongani Mayosi, Professor Karen Sliwa and Dr. Gasnat Shaboodien in the field of cardiogenetics research.  My primary role is in clinical genetics and phenotyping – establishing proband diagnoses, extension of family pedigrees and conducting clinical screening in families affected by genetic forms of cardiomyopathy.

Although, I would like to tailor my clinical work to focus on the diagnosis and management of cardiomyopathies, advanced heart failure therapies and cardiac transplantation, I have continued to work in Internal Medicine and currently have a Sessional Senior Lecturer position in the Department of Medicine at Groote Schuur Hospital. I am passionate about bedside clinical teaching and remain involved in undergraduate and postgraduate training in Internal Medicine at the University of Cape Town.

Jennifer Jones PhD

Jennifer is a physiotherapist by training with a strong interest in preventive cardiology. Led the physical activity component of the EUROACTION trial – a multicentre cluster RCT demonstration programme of a multidisciplinary preventive cardiology programme implemented in general hospitals and general practice across eight European countries. Led the creation of the National Institute for Preventive Cardiology in Ireland.

Current role: 1. Development and delivery of a wide portfolio of education and training opportunities in the area of cardiovascular health and disease prevention. 2. Development of innovative models of preventive care and service delivery. 3. Patient case load in the area of physical activity and exercise in the prevention and management of CVD. 4. Current research cost benefit analyses of integrated versus specialist rehabilitation service delivery models.

Jose Maria Ferrer MD

Jose Maria (“Jojo”) E. Ferrer, MD is a Science and Medicine Advisor for the American Heart Association (AHA)’s International division and Emergency Cardiovascular Care (ECC) program. He helps develop and review CPR, ECC, and First Aid Guidelines, scientific statements, educational materials and implementation programs, including the Basic Life Support; Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support; Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support for Experienced Providers; Pediatric Emergency Assessment, Recognition, and Stabilization; and Pediatric Advanced Life Support courses. He is the staff lead for Saving Children’s Lives, AHA’s program addressing under-5 mortality in resource-limited settings around the world. The program is currently implemented in Botswana, Tanzania and India. He is also the AHA staff lead for the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation, the global coalition of national resuscitation councils which continually evaluates resuscitation science and first aid research to publish treatment recommendations for adoption around the world. Since joining the AHA, he has served in a variety of roles, including staff scientist for Go Red for Women and managing editor for Science News and Cardiovascular Daily, AHA’s electronic news platforms for its professional members.

Dr. Ferrer is a certified family physician. He received his Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) degree from the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital. He practiced family and community medicine in the Philippines and in Trinidad and Tobago, where he was a medical officer under the United Nations Development Program and the Ministry of Health. He is also a health informaticist and has been involved in numerous healthcare IT projects in both countries.

Lilian Mbau MBChB, MPH, MBA

Dr. Lilian Mbau is a medical doctor and a public health practitioner working with Amref Health Africa in Kenya. She currently leads the Non-communicable Disease (NCD) programming within the organization. She received a Global Executive Master of Business Administration in Health from United States International University and is completing her Master of Public Health degree from Moi University. She is currently researching on effective models to sustainably deliver non-communicable disease interventions in low resource settings with a focus on integration. Dr. Mbau has also recently completed a Global Health Leadership Fellowship program with the Afya Bora Consortium and is also an awardee for a Cancer Advocacy grant from the American Cancer Society. She has also received training on Global Issues on NCDs at the London School of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Roopa Shivashankar MD, MSc

Dr. Roopa Shivashankar is a physician-scientist with an MD in Community Medicine from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi (India), MSc in Epidemiology from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), London and post-doctoral training in cardiovascular health research from Centre for Chronic Disease Control (CCDC) and Emory University, Atlanta, US.  She is currently a research scientist at 4Cs (Centre for Control of Chronic Conditions consortium of four institutes for control chronic conditions) at Public Health Foundation of India and heads the division of epidemiology at Centre for Chronic Disease Control.  Her role is project director for Centre for Cardiometabolic Risk Reduction in South Asia (CARRS) cohort study.  She oversees conceptualization, execution, data management and analysis for one of largest cohort for cardio metabolic diseases of ≈ 30000 adults in South Asia. Her research interest includes epidemiology and improving quality of care of chronic diseases.

Augustine Odili MBBS, FMCP

Augustine Odili is an associate professor and consultant cardiologist in the department of Internal Medicine, University of Abuja and University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja.  He is formerly the Deputy Dean, Faculty of Clinical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Abuja. Dr. Odili graduated from the prestigious University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus with a distinction in Medical Physiology. He had his postgraduate training at the Jos University Teaching Hospital under the National Postgraduate Medical College of Nigeria from where he graduated in 2006 with two awards viz the Best Part II and the Best Overall Candidate in Internal Medicine. He won various other scholarships through which he acquired further training in Internal Medicine, Clinical Cardiology and Cardiovascular Epidemiology. These include the Royal College of Physicians visiting Fellowship to St. Thomas Hospital, London, the Coimbra Group Scholarship for Young African Scholars to University of Leuven, Belgium; International Fellowship on Cardiovascular Epidemiology and Prevention at Hydrabad India.
Augustine’s research interest is in cardiovascular epidemiology with special focus on Masked Hypertension and effect of salt on blood pressure. He initiated and has been the principal investigator of three research projects viz: REMAH (REmoving the MAsk on Hypertension), NIPREGH (Nigerian Population Research on Environment Gene and Health) and Nigerian Salt Survey. He is a member of a number of international research consortia including the International Database on HOme Blood Pressure in relation to Cardiovascular Outcome (IDHOCO), International Database on Ambulatory Blood Pressure in relation to Cardiovascular Outcome (IDACO) and European Project of Gene in Hypertension (EPOGH). He was part of the team that conducted the first multinational clinical antihypertensive drug trial in sub-Saharan Africa; the Newer vs Older Antihypertensive Agents in African Hypertensive Patients (NOAAH).
He is a member of the editorial board of many local and international journals including the European Medical Journal (EMJ) and Nigerian Journal of Cardiology (NJC). He is a reviewer for Hypertension, Blood Pressure Monitoring, Blood Pressure, Journal of Hypertension and BMC Cardiovascular Disorders. He is currently the National Vice President, Nigerian Hypertension Society and the Assistant Secretary General of Nigerian Cardiac Society and was formerly a member of the Media group of the New Investigators Network of International Society of Hypertension. He sits in the board of the Anglican Hospital ltd Kubwa, Abuja.

Sainimere Boladuadua MBChB, PGD O&G, MPH

Sainimere has a background in Obstetrics and Gynaecology plus Public Health Medicine both in Fiji and New Zealand. She undertook specialty training in Public Health Medicine in New Zealand which involved work roles at the local provincial, regional and national levels. She has worked as a Senior Advisor with the Rheumatic Fever Prevention Program at the New Zealand Ministry of Health and is currently working in a senior advisory role within the Fiji Rheumatic Heart Disease (RHD) Prevention and Control Program.

RHD is a significant public health problem in Fiji and the Pacific Islands, and secondary prophylaxis with regular benzathine penicillin (BPG) is the mainstay of RHD control. In Fiji, the effectiveness of secondary prophylaxis is impaired by factors such as poor access to health services, lack of knowledge about the disease and purpose of the treatment, and problems associated with the supply and management of BPG, which is an essential medicine. One of Sainimere’s tasks in her current role is providing oversight over interventions aimed at improving secondary prophylaxis which includes ensuring adequate supplies of BPG to the 4000 patients currently registered on the national RHD information system.

Sainimere’s passion for her work stems from a desire to reduce health inequities and improve health outcomes particularly for Pacific peoples,