Dr Francesco Branca is the Director of the Department of Nutrition and Food safety in the World Health Organization, Geneva.
From 2008 to 2019, he was the Director of the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development. During this period, WHO has developed a WHO Nutrition strategy, established a new nutrition guideline development process and has developed a Comprehensive Implementation Plan on Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition with six global targets. He has been leading the preparation of the 2nd International Conference on Nutrition and the Secretariat of the Decade of Action on Nutrition. Before that, in 2005-2008, Dr Branca was the Regional Advisor for Nutrition at the WHO Regional Office for Europe.
Between 1988 and 2005, he has been a Senior Scientist at the Italian Food and Nutrition research Institute where he was leading studies on the effects of food and nutrients on human health at the different stages of the life cycle and on the impact of public health nutrition programmes. He has been President of the Federation of the European Nutrition Societies in 2003-2007.
In 1985-1986, Dr Branca has been a medical staff of a Primary Health Care project in the South of Somalia ran by the Italian NGO, CISP
Dr Branca graduated in Medicine and Surgery and specialized in Diabetology and Metabolic Diseases at the Universita’ Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Roma and obtained a Msc and then a PhD in Nutrition at Aberdeen University.
Salim Yusuf, D.Phil, FRCPC, FRSC, O.C., is a Distinguished University Professor of Medicine at McMaster University, and Executive Director of the Population Health Research Institute. He holds a Heart and Stroke Foundation Research Chair, was a Senior Scientist of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (1999-2004), and has received (among others) the Lifetime Research Achievement award of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society, the Paul Wood Silver Medal of the British Cardiac Society, the European Society of Cardiology gold medal, the American Heart Association Clinical Research Award, and over 35 other international and national awards for research, induction into the Royal Society of Canada and Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, and appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada. He has led over 50 major international studies in over 100 countries and several of these have changed medical practice. He has published over 1000 articles in refereed journals, was the second most cited researcher in the world for 2011, and has the 17th highest H factor in history. He is a Past President of the World Heart Federation, where he has initiated the Emerging Leaders program to build capacity for implementation and policy research in all continents of the world, with the aim of halving the CVD burden globally within a generation.
Johanna Ralston has worked in global NCDs and their risk factors for over two decades. She has served as CEO of World Obesity Federation since 2017, working to elevate obesity on the global agenda and to measurably improve and expand education, advocacy and care. World Obesity is the only global organization working solely in obesity and is in official relations with the World Health Organization. Over the past four years Johanna has overseen the new five year plan in partnership with volunteers, members, staff and key stakeholders. The plan is built around global targets on obesity and focused on advocacy, convening, education and capacity building, and data and knowledge exchange. From 2011-2016 Johanna served as CEO of World Heart Federation, the main CVD organization in official relations with WHO and a founder of NCD Alliance. Johanna’s work included mobilizing the CVD community around the NCD agenda and WHO initiatives including the Global Action Plan on NCDs 2013-2020 and Global HEARTS, as well as a shared strategy to address rheumatic heart disease. Johanna also served as Vice Chair, steering group member and Interim Director of NCD Alliance during that period, and promoted the expansion of national and regional alliances and the engagement of people living with NCDs. From 1999 until 2011 Johanna was Vice President of Global Strategies at American Cancer Society, overseeing global advocacy and building the global capacity building program to strengthen community based cancer and tobacco control in LMICs. She is also a fellow at Geneva Centre for Security Policy, leading the course on global health security. A dual citizen of Sweden and the US, Johanna is an alumna of Harvard Business School and studied public health at Johns Hopkins, after a first degree in literature. She has served on many committees and boards includingGO2 Foundation (formerly the Lung Cancer Alliance), the WHO Civil Society Working Group on NCDs, the WEF Global Future of Health and Healthcare Council, the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Surgical Care, among others. Johanna has published extensively including journals such as Lancet and British Medical Journal, popular outlets including Huffington Post and The Guardian, chapters in textbooks including the Global Health Handbook, and more personal pieces on her own journey of living with NCDs in Medium and other online platforms.
Dr Shifalika Goenka leads Bioethics and Social and Behavioral Sciences at Indian Insititute of Public Health Delhi, Public Health Foundation of India. A physician from TNMC, BLY Nair Hospital Mumbai, she works to prevent non-communicable diseases through multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary and multi-level approaches; measure and enhance physical activity through multi-sectoral action, including built environment, worksite health, communities, national indicators for physical activity, environment and health promoting cities, and SDGs. Equipped with a combined epidemiological, medical (clinical) and qualitative research training she is sensitive to the interplay between medicine, built and social environment, as well as the social, economic, and political drivers of health and the environment. She has worked with different stake holders and a wide range of providers and populations and have intensive field experience working at the ground level and with marginalized communities and populations. Her PhD was an ethnography with private general practitioners especially those practicing in marginalized localities in Delhi. She teaches Non-Communicable Diseases and Public Health, Research ethics, Built environment for health, worksite health, Public Health Ethics and Law with high student ratings. Dr. Goenka leads the Physical Activity program at the Centre for Chronic Disease Control (CCDC) – a WHO Collaborating Centre for Surveillance Capacity Building, & Translational Research in Cardio-metabolic diseases. She was commissioner on the Lancet Obesity Commission.
Rebone Ntsie is a registered dietitian and she has BSc (Dietetics) from the University of the Western Cape ( UWC) and MSc (Dietetics) from MEDUNSA now Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University. She has worked in government, academia and private sector. She has more than 20 years of working experience in the nutrition field. She is currently the Director of Nutrition at National Department of Health, South Africa. She is passionate about public health nutrition and has interest in nutrition research for the promotion of health and prevention of diseases. She is currently overseeing the review and update of the Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Obesity in South Africa and the development of the Obesity Social and Behaviour Change Communication strategy. She is also managing the National Dietary Intake Survey which will further inform interventions for the prevention and control of obesity in South Africa. She is leading the annual National Nutrition Week campaign which promotes healthy eating and prevention of all forms of malnutrition. This year 2021, she led the launch of World Obesity Day in South Africa in 2021. She is a member of the national task team responsible for implementation of the National Food and Nutrition Security Plan which aims to significantly improve food security and reduce malnutrition in all its forms (including overweight and obesity) to afford South Africa’s people opportunities to lead healthy and productive lives.
Dr. Tolullah Oni, a Public Health Physician and Urban Epidemiologist, is the Principal of the Oni et al. urban health practice and founder of UrbanBetter, a science-informed, equity-centred, Africa-led, youth-privileged movement applying a health foresight approach to generate new knowledge that supports partnership between science, policy and societal role players to health-proof the future of cities. She is a Clinical Senior Research Associate and joint lead of the Global Public Health research group at the University of Cambridge MRC Epidemiology Unit. She is also an Honorary Associate Professor in Public Health at the University of Cape Town where leads the Research Initiative for Cities Health and Equity (RICHE) group conducting transdisciplinary urban health research to support development and implementation of healthy public policies in rapidly growing cities in Africa. Born in Lagos, she completed her medical training at University College London, postgraduate medical training in the UK and Australia, a Masters degree in Public Health (Epidemiology) at the University of Cape Town, and a research doctorate in Clinical Epidemiology at Imperial College London. She serves on several advisory boards including Future Earth and the African Academy of Science Open Research Platform; and is an editorial board member of Lancet Planetary Health, Cities and Health, and the Journal of Urban Health. Profiled in the Lancet (2016), Science magazine (2018), and the British Medical Journal (2019), she is a Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences, past co-chair of the Global Young Academy, 2015 Next Einstein Forum Fellow, and a 2019 World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. She is passionate about identifying creative strategies to address complex urban population health challenges in rapidly growing cities globally to make the healthy choice the easy sustainable choice.