Diana Vaca McGhie is currently the American Heart Association’s (AHA) global advocacy portfolio lead. In this role, she works across the organization to leverage its core capacities and develops relationships with government, healthcare professionals, academics, patients, and other stakeholders to advance policies in support of “a world of longer, healthier lives”.
She has over 25 years of experience working in the nonprofit sector and has led several global coalitions to drive engagement focused on women’s health and noncommunicable diseases. In former roles she has developed leadership programs, led international relations efforts to advance country health priorities, and integrated organizational processes to support diversity, equity, and inclusion. She has managed and overseen projects in more than ten countries and is an active volunteer in her community.
Diana is a fellow of the 2022 North American cohort of the WomenLift Health’s global leadership program funded by the Bill & Melinda Gate’s Foundation and holds a master’s degree in public administration from New York University. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia, with her husband and twins.
Birgit Beger is the CEO of the European Heart Network (EHN), a Brussels-based alliance of foundations and associations dedicated to fighting cardiovascular disease. A well-respected senior executive with nearly 20 years of EU public policy experience, with a focus on leading European Professional Associations. Her senior management skills and diplomatic outreach to all political levels, both at the national and European level, have brought considerable added value to the leadership roles she has held during her tenures as CEO of the European Cancer Organisation (ECCO), and as Secretary General of the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME). She represented CPME and ECCO towards WHO-Europe and CPME at the World Medical Association. Ms Beger’s academic background is in law with a specialisation in EU law/International Public Law and Political Science. She holds master’s degrees in both, as well as a second state exam for practising law. She is a member of the Berlin Bar since 2000.
Fernanda de Carvalho is director of Institutional & International Affairs at Instituto Lado a Lado pela Vida (means Side by Side for Life) a healthcare Brazilian Think Tank. She is journalist, specialist in stakeholder engagement and reputation management.
Before joining Lado a Lado, in 2016, she worked as a corporate communication senior executive in global companies such as Ford Motor Company and Royal Philips and also acted as a trusted advisor for CEO’s in different areas.
She coordinated teams in Brazil and Latin America with active participation in global communications and crisis management committees.
Her responsibilities at Lado a Lado pela Vida are to establish relationships with public and private organizations, in Brazil and abroad, expanding the actions of the organization which is dedicated to positively impact healthcare in Brazil, in the areas of cardiovascular disease, oncology, and men’s health. She works with the President of Lado a Lado in the organization of events dedicated to healthcare sustainability in Brazil, such as The Global Forum Frontiers of Health.
Fernanda is a member of Heart Failure and Heart Valve Diseases Councils of the Global Heart Hub. She also represents Lado a Lado pela Vida as a Global Heart Hub affiliate at The Invisible Nation, a worldwide network of patient organizations committed to driving a decline in cardiovascular death by effecting systemic change in atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). The objective of The Invisible Nation is to engage policymakers, healthcare systems, and others to change the way ASCVD is identified, managed, and ultimately, prevented.
Lilian Mbau, MBChB, MPH, MSc. (Prev. card), PgDip (Diab) Dr. Lilian Mbau is a Medical Doctor, Public Health practitioners and specialist in Preventive Cardiology. She is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Kenya Cardiac Society. Dr. Mbau has vast skills and experience in strategic leadership, programme management, advocacy, research and policy development. She completed a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from Moi University and a Master of Science in Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine from the University of South Wales. She also holds a postgraduate diploma in diabetes from the University of South Wales and a certificate in cardiac rehabilitation from University of Wisconsin. She participated in the World Heart Federation (WHF) Salim Yusuf Emerging Leaders Programme which empowers the next generation of leaders to shape the future of cardiovascular health. She has extensive experience managing large scale Non-communicable Disease projects in resource limited settings as well conducting advocacy for prioritization of NCDs. Her areas of interests are increasing access to quality and affordable health care for patients with NCDs with a special focus on Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) as well as preventative and rehabilitative health.
Maria El Koussa is the Senior Advisor of Global Advocacy for Cardiovascular Health at Resolve to Save Lives. She currently supports the organization’s global and country offices in designing and implementing CVH advocacy strategies, sharing knowledge around advocacy, and fostering strategic partnerships.
Maria has over 10 years of experience working in diverse contexts and sectors. She previously served as the Senior Scaling and Advocacy Manager at the International Rescue Committee, Capacity Building Division Manager at the Global Health Institute of the American University of Beirut and Visiting Scientist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She led the design and implementation of system-level interventions and advocacy initiatives in the Middle East and North Africa region. She also organized over 30 high-level events that focused on research dissemination and capacity building.
Maria is a volunteer Strategy Advisor for WWO, she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from the American University of Beirut and a Master of Public Health degree from the New York University.
Mr. Ronnie Bissessar is an Attorney- at- Law in private practice and is the Head of Chambers of Lawgivers. He is also a Mediator (Civil Non-Family Matters) certified by the Mediation Board of Trinidad and Tobago and the University of Windsor Faculty of Law and has served as Arbitrator.
Mr. Bissessar is the President of the Trinidad and Tobago Heart Foundation and a Director of the InterAmerican Heart Foundation (based in Texas, USA) and the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (based in Barbados). He is a former Vice President of the Assembly of Southern Lawyers and Past President of the Rotary Club of San Fernando South and has received a Paul Harris Fellow which is Rotary’s highest honour. Mr. Bissessar has served in numerous leadership capacities in respect of non-governmental organisations, charities and philanthropic groups.
Mr. Bissessar is a Senior Ordinary Member of the Council of the Law Association and a former Chairman (and now Director) of the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute which is a non-profit foundation whose principal objective is to encourage corporate governance best practices regionally; Mr. Bissessar is co-founder of the Trinidad and Tobago Legal Network which promotes and provides continuing legal education to members of the legal profession.
Mr. Bissessar has presented on various aspects of Corporate Governance and Business Law at the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business and was a Lecturer in Corporate Practice and Procedure at the Hugh Wooding Law School. Mr. Bissessar has presented scholarly papers on Corporate Governance for the Barbados Law Association and the Barbados Stock Exchange. Mr. Bissessar is also an External Examiner of the University of the West Indies.
Mr. Bissessar is a Barrister at Law with a commercial and public law practice and he has represented the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago in contentious proceedings involving the CARICOM Commission at the Caribbean Court of Justice. He practices extensively as Counsel in heavily litigious claims in public and administrative law, constitutional proceedings, company law, defamation claims, trade and industrial disputes and land law.
Mr. Bissessar and Lawgivers has and continues to serve as external Corporate Secretary and Legal Advisor for several State Enterprises and special purpose State companies and has presented seminars on behalf of Corporation Sole to newly appointed Chairs and Directors of State Enterprises.
In 1985 Mr. Bissessar was awarded the Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from the University of the West Indies and in 1988 was awarded an LLB from the University of London. In 1993 he received the Legal Education Certificate from the Hugh Wooding Law School.
With over a decade of experience as a development professional in areas of public health, Dr. Shamim Hayder Talukder is exploring the scope of innovative ideas and skills in research, designing essential and need based study, surveys and techniques. Being a focal point of Eminence, he has been providing overall technical and strategic leadership for the expansion and scale-up of activities for sustainability of the Organisation and maintaining excellent relations with high government officials, policy makers, donors and coordination and strong partnerships. Moreover, having scopes to work as secretariat of different national and international society related to health and nutrition, Dr. Talukder is leading participation in policy formulation and implications process. As a member of the World Heart Federation Advocacy Committee, the NCDA Global Advisory Committee, and the President of SEAR NCDA, he currently has a variety of responsibilities that are constantly honing his ability to offer advice on matters such as governance, financial management, public relations, and membership engagement. Dr. Talukder also developed strategies for several networks while serving as president of the International Society of Urban Health (ISUH) from 2015 to 2017. He acquired a combination strong analytical, and management skills with expertise in participatory appraisal, Strategic Planning, Operations and Program Management, Review, Policy Advocacy and Analysis, research and evaluation focusing Maternal and Child Health, Reproductive Health, Non-Communicable Disease (NCDs), Urban Health, Communicable Disease and Nutrition. Dr. Talukder completed M. Phil in International Community Health from University of Oslo, Norway, and Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) from Rajshahi University, Bangladesh.
I have enjoyed along career in education, research, health promotion and with the National Heart Foundation of Australia, as Director Cardiovascular Health and as National Director Physical Activity. I have extensive experience in community-wide programs, media, advocacy and applying evidence to interventions at local, national and global scales. I have current adjunct appointments at Curtin University and University of WA Schools of Public Health where I am engaged in various research studied in public health and have 100 publications. I have been awarded Life Membership of the Australian Health Promotion Association (AHPA) and a Fellow of the International Society for Physical Activity (ISPAH) and Executive Board member of the Australasian Society for Physical Activity (ASPA). I serve of the WHO Civil Society Working Group for NCDs, which provides advice to DG Tedros on NCD matters. I am a member of the WHF Advocacy Committee and currently leading the WHF Policy Position on Physical Activity. My main motivation in engagement with the WHF is to improve global cardiovascular health (CVH) and contribute to closing the gap between the evidence for CVH and its risk factors and robust implementation of policies and interventions with proven efficacy.
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