The Empire Club of Canada
The WHO, Canada and the Way AheadDATE: Tuesday, November 17th, 2020 TIME: 12:00 PM Eastern Time
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus -Director-General, World Health Organization Dr. Peter Singer, Special Advisor to the Director-General of the World Health Organization Dr. Kate O’Brien MD, MPH, Director of the Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals Department at the World Health Organization As we approach winter with COVID-19 cases rising in many parts of the world, the importance of coming together in solidarity to overcome this pandemic has never been greater. Dr. Tedros, Director General of the World Health Organization, will talk about the global effort to defeat COVID19, the agency’s long and productive partnership with Canada, and where we need to focus our cooperative efforts in the months ahead if we are to protect and promote the public health of all citizens. The WHO has never been more relevant to Canada – and to all countries worldwide.
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As we approach winter with COVID-19 cases rising in many parts of the world, the importance of coming together in solidarity to overcome this pandemic has never been greater. Dr. Tedros, Director General of the World Health Organization, will talk about the global effort to defeat COVID19, the agency’s long and productive partnership with Canada, and where we need to focus our cooperative efforts in the months ahead if we are to protect and promote the public health of all citizens. The WHO has never been more relevant to Canada – and to all countries worldwide.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Director-General, World Health Organization
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was elected as WHO Director-General for five-year term by WHO Member States at the Seventieth World Health Assembly in May 2017.
He is the first WHO Director-General to have been elected from multiple candidates by the World Health Assembly, and is the first person from the WHO African Region to serve as WHO’s chief technical and administrative officer.
Immediately after taking office on 1 July 2017 Dr Tedros outlined five key priorities for the Organization: universal health coverage; health emergencies; women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health; health impacts of climate and environmental change; and a transformed WHO.
Prior to his election as WHO Director-General, 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. All roads lead to universal health coverage for Dr Tedros, and he has demonstrated what it takes to expand access to health care with limited resources.
The transformation he led as Ethiopia’s Minister of Health improved access to health care for millions of people. Under his leadership Ethiopia invested in critical health infrastructure, expanded its health workforce, and developed innovative health financing mechanisms.
Beyond Ethiopia, Dr Tedros’ global leadership on malaria, HIV/AIDS, and maternal and child health has been immensely impactful. He was elected as Chair of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Board in 2009, and previously served as Chair of the Roll Back Malaria Partnership Board, and Co-chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Board.
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. Dr Tedros is globally recognised as a health scholar, researcher, and diplomat with first-hand experience in research, operations, and
leadership in emergency responses to epidemics.
Throughout his career Dr Tedros has published numerous articles in prominent scientific journals, and received awards and recognition from across the globe. He received the Decoration of the Order of Serbian Flag in 2016, and was awarded the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Humanitarian Award in recognition of his contributions to the field of public health in 2011.
Dr. Peter Singer
Special Advisor to the Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and
Assistant Director General of the World Health Organization
Dr Peter Singer is Special Advisor to the Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and Assistant Director General of the World Health Organization. In this role he supports the Director General to transform WHO into an Organization sharply focused on impact at the country level. Dr Singer co-chaired the transition team; was the architect of WHO’s strategy and its “triple billion” target; works with colleagues to guide consistent strategy implementation of WHO’s programme budget, results framework and first investment case; and provides leadership to the secretariat of the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Wellbeing to strengthen collaboration among 12 multilateral agencies to accelerate the health-related Sustainable Development Goals.
Before joining WHO, Dr. Peter Singer co-founded two innovative, results driven, social impact organizations. From 2008-2018 Singer was Chief Executive Officer of Grand Challenges Canada. During this period Grand Challenges Canada raised CAN $450M to support 1000 innovations in more than 90 countries, which have the potential to save 450,000-1.6 million lives and improve 11-35 million lives by 2030. From 1996-2006 he was Sun Life Financial Chair and Director of the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics. He was also Professor of Medicine at University of Toronto and Senior Scientist at University Health Network.
In 2007, Dr. Singer received the Michael Smith Prize as Canada’s Health Researcher of the Year in Population Health and Health Services. In 2011, Singer was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to health research and bioethics, and for his dedication to improving the health of people in developing countries. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (where he was Foreign Secretary), the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, and The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS).
As a researcher, Dr. Singer published over 300 articles, received over $50 million in research grants, and mentored hundreds of students. He studied internal medicine at University of Toronto, medical ethics at University of Chicago, public health at Yale University, and management at Harvard Business School. He served his community as Board Chair of Branksome Hall, an internationally minded school for girls.
Dr. KATHERINE (Kate) L. O’BRIEN, MD, MPH
Director of the Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals Department at the World Health Organization
Dr. Kate O’Brien is Director of the Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals Department at the World Health Organization. In this role she is responsible for leading WHO’s strategy and implementation to advance the vision of a world where everyone, everywhere, at every age, fully benefits from vaccines for good health and wellbeing. The Department works across all levels of WHO (country, region and headquarters) in collaboration with partners to support countries in achieving the optimum use and impact of vaccines. Kate also serves as WHO’s Technical Lead of the COVID Vaccine Pillar (COVAX), a part of the Access to COVID Tools Accelerator (ACT-A). The mission of COVAX is to deliver 2 billion doses of COVID vaccine by the end of 2021, to help end the acute phase of the pandemic.
Dr. O’Brien is a Canadian who trained as a pediatric infectious disease physician, epidemiologist and vaccinologist. She earned her BSc in chemistry from University of Toronto (Canada), her MD from McGill University (Canada), and her MPH from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (US) before completing her training at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an Epidemic Intelligence Officer, in the Respiratory Diseases Branch. Prior to joining WHO she was Professor of International Health and Epidemiology and Executive Director of the International Vaccine Access Center at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research and policy work focused on vaccine preventable illnesses, especially for pneumonia causing pathogens including pneumococcal disease; Haemophilus influenzae type b; respiratory syncytial virus and influenza.