Plenary Speakers

Issah Ali

Issah Ali is a board member of the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance (GAPA), Framework Convention Alliance on Tobacco Control (FCA), Executive Director of Vision for Alternative Development (VALD) and the Head of Secretariat of the West African Alcohol Policy Alliance (WAAPA). Mr. Ali served on the board and the last two years chaired the African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA) 2008 - 2012. His work includes authoring several reports including: Ghana's Civil Society Shadow Report on the implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and Tobacco Industry Mapping and Monitoring (TIMM) Report; and technical policy paper including on the tobacco industry interference's in Ghana (2016) and on tackling alcohol related-harms in West-Africa (2019). He was awarded a Certificate of Service from UNESCO, Department of Community Development  and Accra Metropolitan Assembly in 2000 for literacy drive in Greater Accra communities and a Certificate of Recognition from Stop TB Programme and Accra Metropolitan Health Directorate in 2007. Under his leadership VALD received the 2013 WHO Award for Tobacco control in Ghana. Mr. Ali is currently, among other tasks, providing assistance to the National Alcohol Policy Alliances (NAPAs) in West Africa on the development and implementation of National Alcohol Policies (NAP).

Gianna Gayle (Herrera) Amul

PhD Student (Global Health track) at the University of Geneva's Institute of Global Health

Gayle is a Filipino PhD student (Global Health track) at the University of Geneva's Institute of Global Health. Her PhD project is focused on examining alcohol and tobacco industry interference in policymaking in Southeast Asia, particularly in Singapore and the Philippines. She holds an MSc in Asian Studies from Nanyang Technological University (2012) and a BA in Political Science from the University of the Philippines, Diliman (2007). She is currently a Research Associate under the Dean's Office at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. She is one of the Research Fellows of the IDRC-funded Advancing Tobacco Taxation in Southeast Asia Project hosted by the Ateneo Policy Center (Philippines). She was previously Research Associate in Global Health Policy at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy. She was also Senior Analyst at the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies in the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU) from 2012-2015. Prior to that, she was Research Officer at the Department of National Defense in the Philippines.

Nicholas Carah

Senior Lecturer and Deputy Head of School in the School of Communication and Arts at The University of Queensland.

Nicholas Carah is a Senior Lecturer and Deputy Head of School in the School of Communication and Arts at The University of Queensland. His research examines the algorithmic and participatory advertising model of digital media platforms, with a focus on digital alcohol marketing. He is the author of Brand Machines, Sensory Media and Calculative Culture (2016), Media and Society: production, content and participation (2015), Pop Brands: branding, popular music and young people (2010). He is the co-editor of Digital Intimate Publics and Social Media (2018). He has also been involved in research projects on alcohol-related harms and nightlife culture and the use of digital media in fostering cultural change in drinking culture. He is the director of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education.

Frank J. Chaloupka 

Research Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Director of the UIC Health Policy Center

Frank J. Chaloupka is a Research Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Director of the UIC Health Policy Center. He holds appointments in the School of Public Health’s Division of Health Policy and Administration, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Department of Economics.  Hundreds of professional publications and presentations have resulted from Dr. Chaloupka's research on the effects of prices, policies, and other environmental factors on tobacco use, alcohol use and abuse, illicit drug use, diet, physical activity, obesity, and related outcomes. Much of this research has focused on youth and young adults.  At GAPC 2020 Frank Chaloupka is speaking on "Economic costs of alcohol and critical analysis of industry arguments.

More information about Professor Chaloupka

Suzanne Costello

CEO of the Institute of Public Health in Ireland

Suzanne Costello is the CEO of the Institute of Public Health in Ireland since December 2018.
Previously, Suzanne worked for Alcohol Action Ireland, where she served as the organisation’s CEO from 2013. From 2015, Suzanne also acted as the Interim Policy Lead for the Health Service Executive (HSE) Alcohol Programme.  In both roles, Suzanne was involved in the campaign to support the passage of the Public Health Alcohol Act which became law in Ireland 2018.
Prior to joining Alcohol Action Ireland, Suzanne was Samaritans Executive Director for Ireland for six years.  
Suzanne has a primary degree in Social Science from University College Dublin, and an MBS from the Michael Smurfit Graduate School of Business, UCD.

Cynthia Dapaah-Ntow

Cynthia Dapaah-Ntow is a Senior Legal Advisor with the Food and Drugs Authority, Ghana.
With a wide range of expertise in Food, Drugs, Herbal Medicinal Products, Cosmetics and Medical Devices Regulation, she has since joining the FDA in 2014 supported regulatory work with the development of guidelines and regulations in the health sector.
She established the Legal Department of the FDA, and is currently working to ensure that judges, investigators, police officers and relevant stakeholders are trained on the FDA law to enhance enforcement.
Cynthia is currently spearheading the development of the Alcohol Control Bill to strengthen the regulation of the production, advertisement and sale of Alcohol in accordance with meeting the SDGs.
Before joining the FDA, Cynthia practiced law with the law firm E. A. Mingle & Co.

Ruth Lopert

Non-resident fellow, Center for Global Development
Ruth Lopert is a public health physician and consultant in global health, pharmaceutical regulation and policy, and health technology assessment. She is non-resident fellow at the Center for Global Development in Washington DC, a chercheur associé principal at the University of Strasbourg, and an adjunct professor in the Department of Health Policy & Management at George Washington University, where she held a Visiting Professorship in 2011-12 and a Harkness Fellowship in 2006-07. From 2008-11 Ruth was the chief medical officer in the Australian drug and therapeutics regulatory agency, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, and prior to that established and directed the pharmaceutical policy unit in the Department of Health. Ruth is a Fellow of the Faculty of Public Health of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians, a member of l’academie nationale de pharmacie of France, and a former member of the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Drug Policies & Management. Ruth is currently based in The Hague where she is studying international law. At GAPC Ruth will speak about 'The new syntax of “sin taxes”: Excise taxes as a tool to reduce harm and mobilise revenue.'

Martin McKee

Professor of European Public Health, Past President, European Public Health Association, Research Director European Observatory on Health Systems & Policies

Martin McKee is Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine where he founded the European Centre on Health of Societies in Transition (ECOHOST), a WHO Collaborating Centre. He is also Research Director of the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies and Past President of the European Public Health Association. He has written extensively on health and health policy, with a particular focus on countries undergoing political and social transition. AT GAPC Professor McKee will speak on "Corporate and Commercial Determinants of Health".

More information about Professor McKee

Nijole Gostautaite Midttun

Nijole Gostautaite Midttun is the president of the Lithuanian Tobacco and Alcohol Control Coalition, and director of the non-profit “Mental health initiative”. Has been actively involved in mental health advocacy, with a strong focus on alcohol and tobacco control policy for over a decade. She has background in medicine, psychiatry and health psychology, has worked in variety of mental health services in Lithuania and Norway. With more than 15 years of teaching experience in mental health, counseling, health advocacy, and addiction. Some of the most recent projects involve WHO Quality rights implementation in residential psychosocial institutions, development of the brief smoking cessation intervention for schools, contributing to the development of the National substance control program, developing and implementing addiction counselor services in Lithuania. At GAPC Nijole Midttun will speak in a panel on ‘Successes and failures in alcohol policy development

Brenda Mkwesha

Representative for the Swedish IOGT-NTO International work in the East Africa Region

Brenda Mkwesha is a citizen of Zimbabwe and Kenya, but presently lives in Tanzania where she is the new representative for the Swedish IOGT-NTO International work in the East Africa Region. Previously Brenda was a board member of IOGT International, she has worked for the Swedish development NGO Forum Syd as a Grants Manager for Eastern and Southern Africa, IOGT-NTO Movement as a Project Officer and Kenya Girl Guides Association as an Executive Officer. Brenda has a vision of an Africa free from Violence against Girls and Women. She has been a spokesperson for the African women being targeted by transnational alcohol corporations. Big Alcohol tops off this aggressive push by linking their products to women’s rights, gender equality, female empowerment and even feminism. At GAPC 2020 Brenda will speak about “Alcohol industry targeting women in Africa.


More information: See Brenda's blog

Maria Neufeld

Maria Neufeld is a scientist who focuses on health policy research in the areas of mental health and substance use, with a special interest in drinking patterns, socio-economic status and alcohol-attributable harm at the individual as well as population level. Maria completed her graduate studies at the Technical University of Dresden, Germany and the University of Vienna, Austria. Leading own studies on alcohol consumption and policy in Russia and collaborating with other Russian experts on theirs, she further serves as a Consultant for the Alcohol and Illicit Drugs Programme at the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases in Moscow.

Diarmid O'Sullivan

Diarmid O'Sullivan is an investigator and researcher specialising in abuses of power by big corporations. He has worked for Global Witness, the anti-corruption watchdog group, as well as the development charity ActionAid UK, and was an Open Society Fellow in 2012-13. He has been a board member of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a member of the European Commission's Platform for Tax Good Governance and a steering group member of the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation (ICRICT). He is based in London." 

David (Rāwiri) Ratū

David Rawiri Ratu is an indigenous Maori of  Aotearoa, New Zealand. He holds several positions at community level related to alcohol harm, including as a Maori Warden, an organisation with legal responsibilities in relation to Maori and alcohol.  He has expressed  strong concern over the disproportionate alcohol harm experienced by Maori  and has critiqued the licensing processes. Under the Treaty of Waitangi (the founding document for New Zealand) the Crown undertook to protect Maori and in 2018 David initiated a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal (which advises NZ government) arguing  the government has breached the Treaty by failing to protect Maori from alcohol harm. Mr. Ratū has spoken extensively at various hui/conferences including sharing a speaking role with Auckland Regional Public Health Services (ARPHS) at the IHUPE indigenous peoples conference in Rotorua on alcohol and the harm to Māori (2019). In 2019 he was the recipient of the Health Ministers Volunteer of the Year Award, for work carried out in the alcohol space and raising issues concerning the unequal harm of alcohol on Māori people.

Jürgen Rehm

Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Professor Jürgen Rehm is a leader in generating and analysing the scientific data needed to inform policy-makers of strategies to reduce alcohol-related harm. His recent research has more and more included interactions between socio-economic status, poverty and substance use, including analysis of policies and interventions with respect to reducing or increasing inequalities. At GAPC Dr. Rehm will speak in the opening session about "Trends in global alcohol exposure and harm and implication for equity"

More information about Professor Rehm

Viroj Tangcharoensathien

Dr Viroj Tangcharoensathien, MD. PhD, is the Senior Adviser, International Health Policy Program (IHPP), Ministry of Public Health, Advisor on Global Health to Permanent Secretary Office of the Ministry of Public Health, Thailand and the Secretary General of IHPP Foundation. 
While working for nearly 10 years as a rural doctor he completed an award winning PhD on community health financing at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Dr. Viroj has held various positions in the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH). In 2001 he joined the newly created International Health Policy Programme (IHPP), Ministry of Public Health, Thailand. 
His scholarly contributions are huge  with 227 international publications, the majority of which are in high impact peer-reviewed publications.
He has also held influential roles in global technical and advisory bodies, including in GAVI and the Global Fund. Dr Viroj has been involved in a number of intergovernmental negotiations including as chair of drafting groups and negotiations at the WHA and WHO Executive Board.

Dr Thaksaphon (Mek) Thamarangsi 

Dr Thaksaphon (Mek) Thamarangsi is working with World Health Organization, Regional Office for South-East Asia as the Director of Non-Communicable Diseases and Environmental Health, before restructured in 2020 into the Department of Healthier Populations and Non-Communicable Diseases. Among many other areas of responsibility, he also provides technical support to WHO Member States in the Region in the areas of health promotion, NCD prevention and control, mental health, injury prevention, social and environmental determinants of health. All of which are very relevant to alcohol use and related harm. Also known by his nick name, he got Doctor of Medicine and Master of Public Health both from Mahidol University-Thailand, and PhD from Massey University- New Zealand. Prior to serving WHO in 2015, Dr Mek was the Director of the International Health Policy Program-IHPP (2015), Health Promotion Policy Research Center-HPR (2013-15), Center for Alcohol Studies-CAS (2009-13), Manager for the Thai NCD Network (2013-15). Apart from global health and collective capacity building, Dr Mek is interested in promoting evidence-based response by working closely with academics, civil society, regulators and policy makers in alcohol and other health promotion areas.  

Colin Tukuitonga

Associate Professor Colin Tukuitonga is a Public Health Physician and Associate Dean (Pacific) at the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences in the University of Auckland. Until recently, he was the Director General of the Pacific Community based in New Caledonia.  The Pacific Community is the largest regional development organisation in the Pacific region providing scientific and technical information to Member States.  A key part of the portfolio includes advice and information on public health including alcohol control.  Prior to that role, he served in a number of clinical, public policy, research and academic roles in New Zealand, the Pacific region and internationally. At GAPC Colin Tukuitonga will be one of the experts from Intergovernmental Organisations who will comment on the report back from the regions of the world regarding alcohol harm and policy and the way forward at regional and global level.

Douglas Webb

Douglas Webb is with UNDP, as a Team Leader in the HIV, Health and Development Practice. In 2014-2015 he was seconded to be a Deputy Director in the UN Mission for the Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) in West Africa. In UNDP his work focuses on infectious and chronic epidemic response governance and the social determinants of health. From 2008-2011 he was with UNICEF in Ethiopia managing UNICEF’s child focused social protection, HIV prevention and AIDS impact mitigation. He was the Chief of the Children and AIDS Section in the UNICEF Regional Office in Kenya (2004-8). He was the Global HIV/AIDS Adviser for Save the Children UK (2000-2004). Previous appointments included to UNICEF Zambia (1995-1997). His doctoral thesis examined HIV and AIDS in Southern Africa (University of London, 1995). He has over 50 published articles and book chapters and is the author of HIV and AIDS in Africa and co-editor of Social Protection for Africa’s Children.

Photo: Nathalie C. Andersson

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