​​International Advisory Committee

The International Advisory Committee, a group of world-renowned experts and thought leaders, provide their guidance to and share their knowledge expertise with the Founding Director to steer the Institute towards its objectives. 

Chaired by Dr Michael Merson, Professor of Global Health, Duke University and the founding director of the SingHealth Duke-NUS Global Health Institute, this committee guides in: 

  • Laying out the current global context 
  • Setting the strategic directions for the Institute, its scope of work, and approach to partnerships;
  • Offering guidance on how best to calibrate the ambitions and pace of the Institute;
  • Determining what could set the Institute apart;
  • Imagining the Institute’s character and placement on the research-policy-advocacy spectrum.


Dr​ Michael H. Merson, M.D. (Committee Chair)​

Dr Michael H. Merson is the Wolfgang Joklik Professor of Global Health at Duke University and the founding director of SingHealth Duke-NUS Global Health Institute ​established in 2018. He is also visiting professor and the Dean's Special Advisor on global health at NYU School of Public Health since 2019. He was previously the founding director of the Duke Global Health Institute from 2006-2017, Vice President and Vice Provost for Global Affairs from 2011 -2018 at Duke University, and as Vice Chancellor for Duke-National University of Singapore from 2010-2016.

Dr Merson graduated from Amherst College (BA) and the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center. After serving as a medical intern and resident at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, he worked in the Enteric Diseases Branch at the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA, and then served as the Chief Epidemiologist at the Cholera Research Laboratory in Dhaka, Bangladesh. His research focused on the etiology and epidemiology of acute diarrheal diseases, including cholera, in developing countries and on the cause of travelers' diarrhea in persons visiting these countries.

In 1978, he joined the World Health Organization (WHO) as a Medical Officer in the Diarrheal Diseases Control Program. He served as Director of that Program from January 1980 until May 1990. In August 1987, he was also appointed Director of the WHO Acute Respiratory Infections Control Program. In May 1990, he was appointed as Director of the WHO Global Program on AIDS. This Program was operational worldwide and responsible for mobilizing and coordinating the global response to the AIDS pandemic.

In 1995, he joined Yale University School of Medicine as its first Dean of Public Health and as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health. In 2001, he was named the Anna M. R. Lauder Professor of Public Health in the Yale University School of Medicine. From 1999-2006, he also served as Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS at Yale University, which undertakes research on HIV prevention in vulnerable and underserved populations in this country and abroad. He also led a number of training programs that strengthened the capacity of scientists in Russia, China, India and South Africa to undertake HIV/AIDS prevention research.

Dr Merson has authored over 180 articles, is the senior editor of the leading global health textbook “Global Health: Disease, Programs, Systems, and Policies" and co-author of The AIDS Pandemic: Searching for a Global Response on the history of the global response to AIDS. He has served in advisory capacities for UNAIDS, WHO, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria, World Bank, World Economic Forum, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and on several National Institutes of Health review panels and advisory committees.  Dr Merson has received two Commendation Medals from the U.S. Public Health Service, the Arthur S. Flemming Award for distinguished government service, the Surgeon General's Exemplary Service Medal, has two honorary degrees, and is a member of the National Academy of Medicine.

Dr Agnes Binagwaho, M.D., M(Ped), PhD​

Dr Binagwaho is a Rwandan pediatrician who returned to Rwanda in July of 1996, two years after the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi. Since then, she has provided clinical care in the public sector as well as held a number of project management, health system strengthening, and government positions. Professor Binagwaho currently resides in Kigali.

She completed her M.D. in General Medicine at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles and her MA in Pediatrics at the Universite de Bretagne Occidentale. She was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science from Dartmouth College and earned a Doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Rwanda College of Business and Economics, with her PhD Dissertation titled "Children's Right to Health in the Context of the HIV Epidemic.

Dr Binagwaho was named Vice Chancellor of the Partners In Health initiative, the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE), in 2017. From 2002-2016, she served the Rwandan Health Sector in high-level government positions, first as the Executive Secretary of Rwanda's National AIDS Control Commission, she then served as Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, and later during 5 years as the Minister of Health. She is a Senior Advisor to the Director General of the World Health Organization. She is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School, a Professor of the Practice of Global Health Delivery and Professor of Pediatrics at UGHE, as well as an Adjunct Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

She has held an array of leadership and advisory positions on national and international scale. From 2016 she is a member of the American National Academy of medicine and since 2017 a fellow of the African Academy of Sciences. Presently, she serves on: the African Advisory Board of the Steven Lewis Foundation; the Global Task Force on Expanded Access to Cancer Care and Control in Developing Countries; the Global Health Innovative Task Force; several editorial boards of scientific journals; she was a member of the Advisory Committee of the Disease Control Priorities 3 (DCP3); and multiple past and present Lancet Commissions, including the Lancet Commission on Investing in Health (2012-14), the Lancet Commission for Women and Health (2012-14), the Lancet-O'Neill Institute Georgetown University Commission on Global Health and Law, the Harvard Global Equity Initiative - Lancet Commission on Global Access to Pain Control and Palliative Care, the Lancet Commission for the Future of Health in Sub-Saharan Africa, the Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology Commission, and the Lancet NCDI Poverty Commission: Reframing NCDs and Injuries of the Poorest Billion.

In 2015, She received the annual Roux Prize and Ronald McDonald House Charities Award of Excellence. With over 180 peer-reviewed publications, her academic engagements include research across areas including, leadership accountability, universal health coverage, health system strengthening, health equity, and access to health services for the general and pediatric population.​​

Dr Richard Horton, FRCP, FRCPCH, FMedSci​

Dr Richard Horton is Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet. He is qualified in physiology and medicine with honou​rs from the University of Birmingham in 1986. He joined The Lancet in 1990, moving to New York as North American Editor in 1993. In 2016, he chaired the Expert Group for the High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth, convened by Presidents Hollande of France and Zuma of South Africa. From 2011 to 2015, he was co-chair of the UN's independent Expert Review Group on Information and Accountability for Women's and Children's Health. In 2011, he was elected a Foreign Associate of the US Institute of Medicine and, in 2015, he received the Friendship Award from the Government of China. In 2019 he was awarded the WHO Director-General's Health Leaders Award for outstanding leadership in global health and the Roux Prize in recognition of innovation in the application of global health evidence. He wrote Health Wars (2003) about contemporary issues in medicine and health. He has a strong interest in global health and medicine's contribution to our wider culture. He now works to develop the idea of planetary health – the health of human civilizations and the ecosystems on which they depend.​

Dr ​Azita Emami, PhD, MSN, RNT, RN, FAAN​

Dr Emami is the Robert G. and Jean A. Reid Executive Dean of Nursing, University of Washington, and a professor in biobehavioral nursing and health systems. Her career and advocacy span multiple countries, including as Dean of the College of Nursing at Seattle University, Head of the Division of Nursing in the Department of Neurobiology Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, and Academic Leader in the Division of Elder Care at the Karolinska Institutet. 

She has been a consistent, powerful, and productive force behind international collaboration, healthcare partnerships, and robust standards of education that enable nurses to provide for primary care needs globally. In this pursuit, in 2016, she also established the Center for Global Health Nursing at the University of Washington School of Nursing.

Her research has resulted in more than 70 publications in peer-reviewed journals internationally and reflects her research interests in cross-cultural care, elder care, the development of cultural competence, and specific diseases and conditions. 

She holds a bachelor's degree in nursing from the Karolinska Institutet, a master's degree in international health care from Karolinska and the Red Cross College of Nursing, a nursing education degree with a teaching certification, and a doctorate in medical sciences from Karolinska. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing.​

​Dr Hoda Rashad, BSc, MSc, PhD

Dr Hoda Rashad is a professor and director of the Social Research Center at The American University in Cairo. She holds a doctorate in population studies from the University of London.

She has served as Chief Technical Advisor to the United Nations, Associate of the International Population Council, and a faculty member at the Institute of Statistical Studies and Research, Cairo University.

Dr Rashad is a resource person and consultant to a number of national and international organizations, including the WHO and the UNFPA.

Dr Rashad has also served as a member of the National Council for Women, a council that aims to improve the conditions of women and their participation in the development of Egypt, member of the Senate (Shura Council), one of the two parliamentary bodies in Egypt, and member of the Social, Humanity and Population Science Council, the Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research and Technology.