Meet the ECTMIH2023 team!
Two expert multi-disciplinary teams are charged with developing and delivering your Congress:
Drawn from key Dutch and European institutions and organisations, including University Medical Centre Utrecht, The Netherlands Society for Tropical Medicine and International Health, Kennis Connectors Global Health and the Federation of European Societies for Tropical Medicine and International Health, the Strategic Committee has developed the overarching vision, themes and objectives for the Congress and leads on all aspects of planning, logistics, and communications.
Leading scientists from around the world will work with the Strategic Committee to shape and curate each of the six Congress programme tracks. Read more about the Track Leaders here.
A series of sub-committees are being developed to support ECTMIH2023 as it gathers pace; these will include Communications, Education and Capacity-Building, Arts and Culture, and Congress Ethics and Sustainability.
Joyce Browne is a medical doctor and epidemiologist. The persisting global inequities in health are the driving force behind her transdisciplinary research and education. Her work focuses on health equity, maternal health, planetary health and research capacity strengthening. She currently is an Assistant Professor of Global Health at the Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, UMC Utrecht in the Netherlands.
Joyce graduated cum laude from University College Utrecht (UCU) with a major in pre-medical sciences and a minor in public health and development studies. Subsequently, she completed an MSc in Social Epidemiology at University College London, United Kingdom (2010), postgraduate medical school at Utrecht University (2013), followed by her PhD in Clinical Epidemiology at Utrecht University (2016).
She is an experienced educator and course coordinator. She is the Medical Sciences Fellow at UCU and member of the Education Committee of the MA Medical Humanities.
Academic and societal activities include memberships of institutional committees, academic/research networks, and WHO advisory committees. She co-founded the Dutch Global Health Film Festival, chairs the Global Health Knowledge Center (NL), is vice-chair of Simavi’s Supervisory Board, and deputy editor of the World Health Federation’s scientific journal Global Heart.
Joyce is ECTMIH2023 Vice-Chair and serves on the Strategic Committee and the Scientific Committee.
Dr George Downward is an assistant professor at the University Medical Center Utrecht and affiliated researcher at Utrecht University with a focus on environmental and planetary health research.
He has a background in clinical medicine, global health, and environmental epidemiology and his research focuses on how our changing environment impacts our health, particularly in low-resource settings.
George serves on the ECTMIH 2023 Local Organising Committee.
Oscar Franco is Professor of Public Health, and Director of the Department of Global Public Health & Bioethics at the Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, Utrecht University. He is also Adjunct Professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the University of Bern, the National University of Mar del Plata and scientific advisor for the French television channel France24.
Professor Franco obtained his MD at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia in 1998. In 2001 he moved to the Netherlands to complete MSc and DSc degrees in clinical epidemiology and a PhD in public health and cardiovascular disease prevention (2005) at the Erasmus University Medical Center.
Following a postdoc at Erasmus University Medical Center, he moved to the UK where he was a senior public health epidemiologist at Unilever England, assistant professor of public health at the University of Warwick, and then director of the MPhil programme and clinical lecturer in public health at the University of Cambridge. In 2012 Prof. Franco returned to Erasmus MC where he worked as professor of preventive medicine and the principal investigator of the cardiovascular epidemiology group. He also founded and directed the Rotterdam Intergenerational Ageing Research Center, ErasmusAGE, and he was cofounder and CEO of Erasmus Epidemiology Resources.
From 2018 to 2022, Oscar was based at the University of Bern as Professor of Epidemiology and Public Health and Director of the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine at the University of Bern, Switzerland.
Oscar serves on the ECTMIH 2023 Local Organising Committee.
Rick Grobbee is Professor of Clinical Epidemiology at the Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht and Distinguished University Professor International Health Sciences and Global Health, at Utrecht University.
He has been a (principal) investigator in numerous large-scale epidemiologic studies and randomized trials of interventions for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. His experience covers the full range of epidemiologic study designs including trials, cohorts and case-control studies. Topics include hypertension, diabetes, risk factors in children and youngsters, coronary heart disease, women’s health, cardiovascular aging, heart failure and non-invasive vascular imaging. In addition to research on drugs he examined the cardiovascular effects of various nutrients and dietary factors in cohort studies and trials.
In addition to his interest in cardiovascular disease, Rick has worked on the theoretical principles and methods of diagnostic and prognostic research. More recently he set up Elevatehealth.eu, a global platform for educational exchange in health sciences, serving as its non-executive director and Chair until 2019.
He acts as Chief Scientific Officer and statutory director at Julius Clinical Ltd. an Academic Contract Organization established in 2008 as a spin-off of the University Medical Center Utrecht, currently running projects in over 40 countries.
Rick is listed in the top 100 global most influential biomedical researchers; he serves on the board of the European Society of Cardiology and chairs its Global Affairs Committee. He is a Fellow of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences and is Editor-in-Chief of Global Heart, the official Journal of the World Heart Federation. He has supervised over 155 PhD fellows and published more than 1,700 scientific papers, chapters and books.
In 2017 Rick was knighted by the Dutch King (Knight in the Order of the Dutch Lion).
Rick is ECTMIH2023 Chair and serves on the Strategic Committee and the Scientific Committee.
Dr Martin Heine is an Assistant Professor in Global Health at the University Medical Centre Utrecht and research fellow at the Institute of Sport and Exercise Medicine, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
His research focusses on implementation research for strengthening access to non-communicable disease management and secondary prevention services in low-resource settings. He is a collaborator on the iHeartSA multi-stakeholder project on the integrated management of HIV and Hypertension, as well as the European funded SCUBY project on integrated management of diabetes and hypertension. He is academic editor for PLoS Global Public Health and sits on the editorial board for the South African Journal of Physiotherapy. In 2020, he was selected as emerging leader by the World Heart Federation, and steering committee member for the International Cardiac Rehabilitation Registry.
Martin serves on the ECTMIH 2023 Local Organising Committee.
Esther Jurgens holds a Master’s degree in medical sociology with additional training in research, programme management and planning.
Her professional career includes working for UNICEF in Latin America and other organizations in the health care and welfare sector, in the Netherlands and in low- and middle-income countries.
For more than 27 years she has worked in global health and international development, with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) including HIV/AIDS and SRHR commodities, health systems strengthening, and gender.
Besides her work as consultant Global Health, Esther works as policy advisor with the Netherlands Society for Tropical Medicine and International Health (NVTG), the FESTMIH. She also works as tutor and trainer at the Maastricht University in the Master Global Health Programme.
Esther serves on the Strategic Committee and the Scientific Committee.
Judith van de Kamp
Dr Judith van de Kamp is a medical anthropologist and Assistant Professor Global Health at the Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht.
Her education and research focuses on power dynamics and relationships between health workers in the context of international health care settings, and is closely linked to equity and justice on both the individual and institutional level. Her work touches upon White Savior Industrial Complex, terminology and equitable/fair communication, and perception.
Judith serves on the ECTMIH 2023 Local Organising Committee.
Dr Kerstin Klipstein-Grobusch is Associate Professor and Vice-Chair Global Health at the Julius Center for Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands, and Visiting Professor at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, University of Tübingen, Germany, and the School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
She is an epidemiologist with broad experience and expertise in research capacity-building and global health with a focus on cardio-metabolic disease in low-resource settings and vulnerable populations. Her current activities centre on implementation science research on scale-up of hypertension and diabetes care across several health systems in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Kerstin has extensive experience in research capacity building in epidemiology and public health in Sub-Saharan Africa as previous Academic Head of the Master of Science in Epidemiology program at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa and as a principal and co-investigator in capacity building training programs and face-to-face and online learning courses in epidemiology, public and global health.
Academic and societal activities include memberships of institutional committees and academic/research networks. She is deputy editor of the World Health Federations’ scientific journal Global Heart and executive board member of the European Global Health Research Institutes Network.
Kerstin serves on the ECTMIH 2023 Local Organising Committee.
Dr Virissa Lenters is an Assistant Professor in environmental epidemiology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Utrecht University. She investigates how plastic and chemical pollution impact reproductive and child health and is active within several EU-funded projects on the health risks of microplastics and endocrine-disrupting chemicals and has contributed to (inter)national chemical risk assessments. She also investigates disparities in exposure to pollution and factors that promote resilience and susceptibility to environmental insults.
Her teaching and societal engagement more broadly address planetary health, public health, and exposome science.
Virissa serves on the ECTMIH 2023 Local Organising Committee.
Alay Llamas is a general physician from the Philippines where she worked in underserved areas in partnership with an NGO called BayanihanMD.
She acquired her Master’s in Public Health/ International course for Health Development from KIT Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam in 2018.
Alay joined UMC Utrecht as a project manager for CATAPULT (capacity strengthening in epidemiology and public health), in partnership with Elevate Health and the Asian University for Women in Bangladesh. She is passionate about adolescent sexual and reproductive health rights and maternal health. Additionally, she is engaged in planetary health research and education activities, coordinating the Planetary Health course at University Medical Center Utrecht.
Alay serves on the Strategic Committee and the Scientific Committee.
Janneke Pala-van Eechoud
Janneke is coordinator at the Knowledge Centre Global Health (KCGH).
After 20 years of working in the financial sector, she moved to the Dutch Society for Tropical Medicine and International Health, and then took on the role of co-ordinator at KCGH in January 2022.
Janneke serves on the Strategic Committee.
Dr Lekha Rathod is an Indian physician and an early-career researcher in global health, working on implementation science and non-communicable diseases.
At University Medical Center Utrecht she is engaged in planetary health research and education activities. She co-chairs the planetary health working group of junior doctors at the World Medical Association.
Lekha serves on the Communications and Education and Capacity-Building sub-committees.
Jaco J. Verweij earned his PhD degree at Leiden University in the Netherlands on “Molecular tools in the diagnosis of intestinal parasitic infections”.
His principle areas of interest are infectious diseases, intestinal parasites, soil transmitted helminths, Strongyloides, (molecular) diagnostics, epidemiology, coinfection, zoonotic infections, capacity building, technology transfer, teaching.
For more than 20 years, Jaco has worked in the department of Parasitology of Leiden University Medical Center on the development, validation and implementation of new diagnostic tools, molecular methods in particular. He has a passion for teaching and is a strong advocate for technology transfer and capacity building in the countries suffering the most from parasitic diseases.
Since 2012, he has also held a position as medical molecular microbiologist and parasitologist in the Laboratory for Medical Microbiology and Immunology of the Elisabeth Hospital in Tilburg, the Netherlands.
Jaco serves on the Strategic Committee and the Scientific Committee.
Helene Voogdt-Pruis is Assistant Professor of global cardiovascular health at University Medical Center Utrecht. She is an experienced teacher in global public health research to doctors specialized in tropical medicine, youth health and infectious diseases.
In addition, Helene is an experienced consultant in quality improvement and implementation of health interventions. Her focus is on users' perspectives, cardiovascular health, stroke care, prevention and health services. Helene is also deputy editor of the World Health Federation’s scientific journal Global Heart.
For some years, Helene has worked on global development projects in Madagascar, South-Africa, India and Nepal.
Helene serves on the Strategic Committee and the Scientific Committee.