​International Advisory Committee

The International Advisory Committee is composed of world-renowned experts with extensive experience in global health and medicine from all over the globe. These committee members engage with the core IGHD team and work in conjunction with AKU faculty and staff in shaping the Institute.​​

IAC Members

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

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.

Agnes Binagwaho, MD, M(Ped), PhD​

Professor 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 MD 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.

Professor 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 He@lth 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.

Haile T. Debas, MD​​

Haile T. Debas, MD, is recognized internationally for his contributions to academic medicine and is widely consulted on issues associated with global health. At the University of California, San Francisco, he served as the Founding Executive Director of UCSF Global Health Sciences (2003-2010), Dean of the School of Medicine (1993-2003), Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs for six years, and Chancellor for one year. A gastrointestinal surgeon by training, Dr. Debas chaired the UCSF Department of Surgery (1987-2003) and is the Maurice Galante Distinguished Professor of Surgery, Emeritus. He also was the Founding Director of the University of California Global Health Institute from 2009 to 2016.

A native of Eritrea, Dr. Debas received his MD from McGill University and completed his surgical training at the University of British Columbia and post-doctoral fellowship at UCLA. He has held faculty positions at UBC, UCLA, and the University of Washington. Under his stewardship, the UCSF School of Medicine became a national model for medical education, an achievement for which he was recognized with the 2004 Abraham Flexner Award for Distinguished Service to Medical Education by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

Dr. Debas's prescient grasp of the implications of fundamental changes in science led him to create several interdisciplinary research centers that have been instrumental in reorganizing the scientific community at UCSF. He played a key role in developing UCSF's new campus at Mission Bay. In 2012, he was awarded the UCSF Medal for his academic and leadership contributions to the University.

Dr. Debas has held leadership positions with numerous membership organizations and professional associations, including serving as president of the American Surgical Association and Chair of the Council of Deans of the AAMC. He served for two terms as a member of the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy of the National Academy of Sciences; served four years on the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health; and was a member of the United Nations' Commission on HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa.
Dr. Debas is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of the Aga Khan University and previously served on the Board of Regents of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He was instrumental in the creation of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health, where he served as Founding Chair of the Board of Directors (2009-2012).Dr. Debas was a lead editor of the Essential Surgery volume of Disease Control Priorities, Third Edition (DCP3), published by the World Bank in 2015.​

Richard Horton, FRCP, FRCPCH, FMedSci​

Richard Horton is Editor-in-Chief of The Lancet. He qualified in physiology and medicine with honours 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.​

Azita Emami, PhD, MSN, RNT, RN, FAAN​

Azita Emami is Dean of the University of Washington School of Nursing. Her career has spanned multiple countries as has her advocacy on behalf of the nursing profession, nursing education, and global equity in access to healthcare.

Dr. Emami has been a consistent, powerful, and productive force for international collaboration, full healthcare partnership for nurses, and consistent standards of education that enable nurses to provide for primary care needs globally. She is one of the leaders of the Nursing Now USA initiative, which is part of an international effort that is raising the visibility of nursing and creating a new vision globally of nursing's role in the healthcare ecosystem.

As Dean, Dr. Emami has forged strong relationships and collaborative exchanges with nursing programs in many countries, including Thailand and China. While leading one of the nation's most respected nursing programs, she has fostered in both faculty and students a perspective that encourages global engagement and emphasizes the significance of the social determinants of health. In 2016, she established the Center for Global Health Nursing at the University of Washington School of Nursing.

Dr. Emami earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from the renowned Karolinska Institutet in Sweden, where she grew up after emigrating from Iran. She went on to gain 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.

Her academic leadership experience spans two countries and 25 years, including positions as the 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 Elderly Care in the Department of Nursing at the Karolinska Institutet.

Dr. Emami's research has resulted in more than 70 publications in peer-reviewed journals nationally and internationally. This body of work reflects her research interests in cross-cultural care, elder and dementia care, the development of cultural competence, and the evolving policy and clinical roles of nurses nationally and internationally. She maintains an active research schedule with collaborations around the world.​​

​Hoda Rashad, BSc, MSc, PhD

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.

Previously, she worked as chief technical advisor of the United Nations (1993-1995), associate of the International Population Council (1989-1993) and a faculty member at the Institute of Statistical Studies and Research, Cairo University (1991-1995).

She is a resource person and consultant to a number of national and international organizations, including the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (2014-2016). She also served as a member of the Technical Advisory Committee to the Regional Director of WHO/EMRO (2013-2016). Member of the Advisory Committee of the WHO Center for Health Development (ACWKC) in Kobe, Japan, for the period of three years (2012-2014). Member of the Scientific Committee for the 8th Global Conference on Health Promotion, WHO (2011-2013). Member of the Advisory Group of the WHO Global Strategy for Health System Research (HSR) (2011-2013). Member of the Regional External Advisory Panel for UNFPA Arab States Regional Office(2009-2010).

Rashad has also served as a member of the National Council for Women, a council that aims to improve situation of women and their participation in the development of Egypt (2000-2011); a member of the Senate (Shura Council), one of the two parliamentary bodies in Egypt (2004 - 2011); member of the Social, Humanity and Population Science Council, the Egyptian Academy of Scientific Research and Technology (2009-2012).​