Speaker Biographies

Join us for Turning the Tables: Patient Perspectives on UHC. This is a two-part fireside chat where patient advocates drive discussions with Member state missions, private sector representatives, and NGO implementers on how patient perspectives can be incorporated into both  the development and objectives of global health programs as well as the strategies of national and global health policies.

Tony Kimata

Tony Kimata

Patient Advocate, NCD Alliance, Kenya

My first encounter, with my NCD, was at the tender age of 12 years where I woke up one nightin the ICU of a Nairobi hospital after an episode with hyperglycemia. It ended up being a night of many firsts; with diabetes, endless hospital admissions, endless insulin injections, and doctor appointments. Being diagnosed at a young age is not easy. As a young adolescent, one does not understand life adjustments one needs to make to manage diabetes better. I made a few mistakes either out of ignorance or defiance.

It has not been an easy journey, from the high cost of insulin, seeking second opinions from different doctors on which drug is the better, and high cost of blood strips. Also, for my parents, it came as a shock and they were worried about how they will better manage me, now with this condition though we got counselling and other times we mostly had to rely on self-research. Teachers at my school were not knowledgeable about my condition whenever I would get an episode. Living with an NCD has not only given me a chance to learn more on how to live a healthy life but also to be self-disciplined so to excel in my career as a creative designer with TT Ainsley Media.

In January 2019, I got introduced to a group of persons living with NCDs by NCD Alliance of Kenya, and I realised I was not alone and learnt there were many conditions out there as NCDs. I was actively involved in the dissemination activity of the Advocacy Agenda of People Living with NCDs in Kenya by applying my creative skills in designing the media visuals for the digital campaign and later I did the UHC social media campaign on UHC with East Africa NCD Alliance in April-June, 2019.

Since then, I have been an active contributor to the hashtag #tuongeeNCDs in promoting meaningful involvement of persons living with NCDs and create NCDs awareness, to captivate the young generation in Kenya so to make better lifestyle choices which exposes them to NCD risk factors.

“NCDs is not a disease but a condition, do not let it stop you in achieving your dreams.”

Abdi Hussein

Abdi Hussein

Patient Advocate, Global Health Council, SeaTac, Washington

Abdi is a community health advocate with Global to Local, a SeaTac, WA-based nonprofit organization that adapts global health strategies to improve wellness in the United States. He helps Somali South King County residents connect with local resources, including primary care; improve their health through nutrition classes and physical fitness training; and build community leadership, especially among young people.

Born in Somalia, Abdi fled violence in his home country at age 6 and lived in Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya for 20 years. One of few students allowed to study outside of the refugee camp, he earned his bachelor's degree in social work from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. After serving as a social worker in Dadaab refugee camp for 7 years, Abdi came to the United States as a refugee. He is currently pursuing his master's degree in public health at Portland State University.

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Maia Olsen

Program Manager for NCD Synergies, Partners In Health

Maia Olsen, MPH is a Program Manager for NCD Synergies at Partners In Health. She holds an MPH in International Health from Boston University and a BA in Anthropology and Global Development Studies from Grinnell College. She comes to NCD Synergies with a background in non-profit program administration and resource development and has been volunteering with with Global Oncology since 2013, where she launched the GO’s Patient Education Materials project. She was named a 2013 Summer Graduate Fellow for the BU Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, publishing a policy paper in 2015 on the links between policy and advocacy for HIV/AIDS and NCDs and the feasibility of cancer control efforts in sub-Saharan Africa. She is currently a co-chair for the Taskforce on Women and NCDs, a coalition of 17 global health organizations from the women’s health and NCD communities. She is a cancer survivor, lives with a severe, chronic immune disorder and has been involved with various initiatives focused on the meaningful involvement of people living with NCDs.

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Dr. Janna Patterson

Senior Vice President of Global Child Health & Life Support, American Academy of Pediatrics

Dr. Patterson is the Senior Vice President of Global Child Health & Life Support for the American Academy of Pediatrics where she leads the global training and implementation programs. Prior to joining the AAP, she was a Senior Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation where she managed a portfolio of grants on maternal and newborn health ranging from the prevention and treatment of sepsis to care of the preterm infant, including kangaroo mother care. Her education includes an MD and MPH from the University of Alabama-Birmingham, with graduate medical studies at the University of Washington/Seattle Children's Hospital. Her bachelor’s degree in African Development was earned at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has been a practicing neonatologist and researcher on faculty at the University of Washington, and spent several years living and working in Tanzania including work as a Programme Officer at the Tanzania Public Health Association.

Arti Varanasi

Dr. Arti Patel Varanasi

President and CEO, Advancing Synergy, LLC

Arti Patel Varanasi, PhD, MPH is the President and CEO of Advancing Synergy, LLC. Dr. Varanasi is passionate about developing innovations that build stronger communities and enable all individuals to lead healthier and longer lives. She is interested in leveraging technology to address chronic disease and increase health equity. Dr. Varanasi is an active member of the health, entrepreneurial, and technology communities in the Washington, DC-Maryland-Virginia area. She serves as a Steering Committee Member of the Noncommunicable (NCD) Disease Roundtable, Chair of NCD Interest Group for the CORE Group, Member of the Howard Tech Council (HTC) Advisory Board based in Howard County, MD, Chair of HTC Women in Technology-Central Maryland group, Co-Chair of the HTC Health Tech Innovators Group of Central Maryland, Vice Chair of the Women in Technology Women Business Owners Special Interest Group based in Virginia, and Vice President of the Association of American Indian Scientists in Cancer Research (AAISCR). From 2012-2016, Dr. Varanasi served on the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) National Advisory Council on Nurse Education and Practice (NACNEP) appointed by the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services. Dr. Varanasi received her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and MPH from the Johns Hopkins University. She is a graduate of the National Science Foundation funded ACTiVATE® program for women technology entrepreneurs.

Kate Thomson

Kate Thomson

Head of the Community, Rights and Gender Department, The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

Kate Thomson is Head of the Community, Rights and Gender Department at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The Department provides technical leadership and strategic and policy guidance across the organization on gender, human rights, and community responses. It also supports the engagement of communities in Global Fund related-processes.

Prior to joining the Fund Kate was with UNAIDS from 2005- 2013, where she led the Community Mobilization Division with overall responsibility for collaboration with diverse community and civil society groups. She oversaw civil society participation in strategy and policy development, as well as in political events such as High Level Meetings on HIV in the UN General Assembly.

Kate has been active in global health since the mid-1980s when she and two friends established Positively Women, a UK based peer-led support organization for women living with HIV. The organization is still active, now known as Positively UK and providing support to both women and men living with HIV on a national basis.

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Phumlani Kango

Patient Champion, Global Health Council

Twitter: @phumlani_prep

Phumlani is a well-known LGBTQ+ blogger and content creator. His writing has been featured by MTV Shuga (and still is), Huffington Post, We The Brave, Health4Men, Netflix (13th Reasons Why), lnxeba (The Wound) and Attitude Magazine in the UK, to name just a few. Phumlani actively advocates for sexual and mental health within the MSM community, Queer Culture and the use of PrEP. Having started his advocacy work when he was a fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders, he soon found that there was a need for dialogue on social media as the world is moving to the digital side.

His contributions to the LBGTI community social media and blogging space led to the inception of #GayLetsTalk and #OpenUpTheIndustry. Also as a recent brand ambassador for the Me1st campaign, Phumlani provided vital information to make sure they get their facts right, and that the Me1st Campaign speaks to MSM with accuracy and compassion. You can find out more about him at his blog: www.phumlanikango.com

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Priya Kanayson

Policy and Advocacy Manager, NCD Alliance

Priya Kanayson is Policy and Advocacy Manager of the NCD Alliance, based in New York City, where she leads the Alliance's advocacy efforts on integration of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) with HIV/AIDS; Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCAH); universal health coverage (UHC), and financing for NCDs. She works closely with United Nations Permanent Country Missions, UN Agencies, and other key global health and government stakeholders to advance the NCD agenda. Prior to joining NCDA in 2014, Priya worked with UNAIDS, New York Office, where she supported the monitoring and reporting of relevant discussion in the Economic and Social Council and General Assembly, including the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, and supported engagement with civil society. Priya holds a Master of Public Health from New York University.

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Jess Daly

Director of Global Health, Medtronic Foundation

Jessica Daly is the Director of Global Health at Medtronic Foundation, where she leads the foundation’s investments to improve outcomes for underserved populations through a skilled network of US domestic and global partners. Jessica brings a passion for strategic alliances and partnerships, bringing state-of-the-art public health and implementation science together with the power of business acumen and efficiency, to measurably improve health and well-being of underserved patients, their families and communities. Previously, Jessica led global partnerships for the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including private sector engagement in the Ebola crisis in West Africa, and directed public-private partnerships for the US Government’s global HIV/AIDS prevention, care and treatment program (PEPFAR). She began her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Guatemala, and subsequently implemented several USAID-funded initiatives to improve health for women and children across Latin America, Asia and Africa. Jessica holds a BA from Wesleyan University and an MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Michael Bukenya IGA - Uganda MP

Michael Bukenya Iga

Member of Parliament, The Republic of Uganda

Michael Bukenya Iga, MBChB, MMed, is an elected Member of Parliament representing the people of Bukuya County, Kasanda District, in the 10th parliament in Uganda. He is also Chairperson of the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Health and an active member of the Fertility Society of Uganda. Dr. Bukenya is known for being at the forefront of pushing for sustainable health financing mechanisms in Uganda. In 2019, he moved a Private Members Bill to introduce the National Health Insurance Scheme in Uganda and this is due to be tabled before parliament in October 2019. Before joining parliament, he worked in the public and private sector, as well as with faith-based institutions. He was a Senior Medical Officer for Busujju health sub-district in Mityana district for over five years. He also previously spent eight years leading the Department of Obstetricians at Mengo Hospital, a Church of Uganda medical institution.


Khuat Thi Hai Oanh

Executive Director, Center for Support Community Development Initiatives

Khuat Thi Hai Oanh is a medical doctor graduated from Hanoi Medical University, with a Master Degree on Sexual and Reproductive Health Research from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

She co-founded the Institute for Social Development Studies (ISDS) in 2002, and the Center for Support Community Development Initiatives (SCDI) in 2010. Oanh is currently the Executive Director of SCDI whose mission is to contribute to an inclusive society through improving life of marginalized populations. Aiming at contributing to Sustainable Development Goals agenda, SCDI focuses on community empowerment and creating enabling environment for the most marginalized and vulnerable populations.

In her other capacities, Oanh is the Chair of Council of Representatives of APCASO and Chair of Global Fund Advocate Network, Asia and the Pacific. She is a member of the Advisory Group on community, rights and gender issues to the Global Fund on AIDS, TB and Malaria.

In 2009, the World Economic Forum honored her as a Young Global Leader. In 2014, she was given Dedoner Clayton Award by the French Pasteur Institute and Nobel Laureate Françoise Barré-Sinoussi. In 2017, she was listed among the 50 Most Influential Vietnamese Women by Forbes Vietnam.