WHO elects first African director-general: U-M experts can discuss

May 24, 2017
Mandira Banerjee


Former Ethiopian health minister Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been chosen as the World Health Organization’s next director-general—the first African to lead the U.N. agency. University of Michigan experts can address the top priorities for the organization as he comes into office July 1.

Matthew Boulton, senior associate dean for global public health, is a professor of epidemiology, preventive medicine and health management and policy at the School of Public Health. His research involves vaccination and other public health issues in Africa and Asia.

“The election of Dr. Tedros as the first African director-general of WHO doesn’t come as a big surprise, although Nabarro, the British candidate, made it a harder fought campaign than many of us thought it would be,” he said. “Dr. Tedros clearly has his work cut out for him as WHO’s reputation is still reeling from the serious hit it took as a result of their slow and clumsy response to the Ebola outbreak amid calls for major reform of the agency.”

Contact: mboulton@umich.edu

Mousumi Banerjee is research professor and director of biostatistics at the Center for Healthcare Outcomes & Policy at the School of Public Health. Her research focuses on the interface of mathematical and statistical modeling with applications to cancer epidemiology and health services research.

“WHO should focus on equitable health care access for people in developing countries,” she said. “Financial burden should not be an impediment to safe and quality health care, and the WHO should champion and support countries to move universal health coverage forward.

“Another priority area should be monitoring and surveillance of noncommunicable diseases, especially cancer and cardiovascular diseases, to help governments in developing countries with disease burden and implement evidence-based cost-effective strategies for management of these diseases.”

Contact: 734-764-5451, mousumib@umich.edu

Laura Rozek is associate professor in environmental health sciences and nutritional sciences, and is associate director of the Office of Global Public Health at the School of Public Health. She is an expert on the epidemiology and population dynamics of global cancer.

Contact: 734-615-9816, rozekl@umich.edu