Speakers at ESCAIDE 2022

Plenary A: Controlling a pandemic – what are the ethical boundaries?

Alena Buyx

Germany
Professor, Institute for the History and Ethics of Medicine, Technical University of Munich

Alena Buyx is Professor and Director of the Institute for the History and Ethics of Medicine at the Technical University of Munich. Previously, she held positions at Münster University, Harvard University, Kiel University and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics in London. A medical doctor with degrees in philosophy and sociology, Buyx regularly advises large international research consortia or institutions such as WHO on issues of biomedical and research ethics. She has been a member of the German Ethics Council since 2016 and was elected its chair since 2020. In 2021, she was appointed a member of the German Government’s Covid-19 Expert Advisory Council. In these latter roles and during the Covid 19 pandemic, she provided various policy advice to government and other institutions and engaged in public debate.

Photo copyright: Klaus Ranger

Plenary B: Refugees and refuge: how to promote and protect the health of displaced people

Paul Spiegel

United States
Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health

Dr Spiegel, a Canadian physician and epidemiologist by training, is one of the few humanitarians in the world that both responds to and researches humanitarian emergencies. He is internationally recognised for his research on preventing and responding to humanitarian emergencies, and more recently broader issues of migration. Beginning in 1992 as a Medical Coordinator responding to the refugee crisis for the “lost boys of Sudan” in Kenya, Dr. Spiegel has responded to and managed numerous humanitarian crises in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East for over 30 years. Most recently he managed the emergency response for WHO in Afghanistan (Nov/Dec 2021) and in Europe for the Ukrainian refugees (Mar/Apr 2022).

Dr Spiegel is the Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health and Professor of the Practice in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH). Before JHSPH, Dr. Spiegel was the Deputy Director of Program Support and Management and the Chief of Public Health at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. He previously worked as a Medical Epidemiologist in the International Emergency and Refugee Health Branch at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States, a Medical Coordinator with Médecins Sans Frontières and Médecins du Monde in refugee emergencies, and has been a consultant for numerous international organizations including the Canadian Red Cross and WHO.

Dr Spiegel was the first Chair of the Funding Committee for Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (2013-2018). He has published over 130 peer-reviewed articles on humanitarian health and migration. He has served as a Commissioner on the Lancet Commission for Migration and Health and the Lancet Commission on Syria. He is currently co-chair of Lancet Migration.

Aurélie Ponthieu

Belgium
Director, Analysis Department, Médecins Sans Frontières

Aurélie Ponthieu has been working for the international medical humanitarian organisation Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) since 2006. She is currently Director of the Analysis Department at MSF in Brussels where she manages a team composed of humanitarian specialists in the areas of health politics, forced migration, conflict and humanitarianism and negotiated access. Her area of expertise includes forced migration and the humanitarian impact of asylum and migration policies. She provides support to MSF operations in terms of context analysis, positioning and advocacy strategies.

Before working at MSF Headquarters in Brussels, she has worked in MSF Operations for several years in Niger (2006), Sudan (2007-2008), Chad (2008), Colombia (2009) and Haiti (2010). She also been sent to support emergency interventions during Ebola outbreaks in Liberia (2014) and the DRC (2019). In 2020 she worked on the covid-19 pandemic, advising the MSF emergency response in Brussels and as an Emergency Coordinator in Ecuador.

She has a Master’s degree in International and European Law from the University of Toulouse (exchange program with McGill University in Montreal) and a Post-Graduate degree in Humanitarian Action/International Field Legal Assistance from the University of Aix-Marseille (NOHA).

Apostolos Veizis

Greece
Executive Director, INTERSOS

Dr. Apostolos Veizis is currently the Executive Director of INTERSOS in Greece. He has worked at the headquarters of Medecins Sans Frontieres-Greece as Director of Medical Operational Support Unit (SOMA), Programs and Institutional relations Director and Medical Director. Prior to that he worked as Head of Mission and Medical Coordinator for Medecins Sans Frontieres and Medecins Du Monde in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Russian Federation, Albania, Egypt, Georgia, Greece, Turkey. He also participated in assessment, emergency assignments and evaluations in Kyrgyzstan, Morocco, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, Ukraine, Turkmenistan, Zambia, Malawi, Uzbekistan, North Macedonia, Cyprus, Moldova, Poland and Tajikistan. He is Advisory board member of the Lancet Migration European Regional Hub. He also participated and had announcements in international and national congresses and contributed to publications of relevant articles.

Elke Jakubowski

Germany
Health Policy Europe

Elke Jakubowski is a Medical Doctor who specialized in comparative public health systems and health policies. Elke has been working for the World Health Organization in the European Region for about two decades. During her time in WHO, Elke has worked intensively with many Member States of the European Region, providing policy advice on strengthening health systems and improving access to health services. She moved back to Hamburg, Germany, four years ago in order to gain practical experience in policy making. In Germany, Elke was responsible for preventing and managing infectious diseases in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, working in the ministry of social affairs. She also coordinated the medical aspects of the Corona pandemic at the regional level since 2020. In early 2022, Elke additionally took over responsibility for setting up structures and processes to improve access to public health and medical services for the growing number of displaced people in Hamburg. Elke is currently reengaging in international health work, which is the passion of her professional life. 

Plenary C: Revolutions in vaccination in the age of COVID-19

Hanna Nohynek

Finland
Chief Physician, Unit Vaccines and Immune Protection, THL

Hanna Nohynek is a Chief Physician of the Infectious Diseases Control and Vaccines Unit at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare (THL). Her research interests are register-based vaccine impact studies, evidence-based policy and decision making, vaccine uptake, vaccine safety, hesitancy, RSV, influenza, and pneumococcus. She was instrumental in designing the HPV vaccine introduction to the Finnish national immunisation programme. She has served on expert committees evaluating HBV, PCV, and rotavirus vaccine in Finland, and as an advisor to organisations including the EU, WHO and GAVI. She presently is a member of the WHO SAGE, chair of the WHO SAGE working group on COVID-19 vaccines, and a member of subgroup Influenza Vaccines, a member of the ECDC NITAG coordinating committee, and Vice-Chair and Board Member of the International Vaccine Institute. She also serves as secretary of the Finnish NITAG.

Cornelia Betsch

Germany
Heisenberg Professor for Health Communication, University of Erfurt

Cornelia Betsch is a psychologist and appointed Heisenberg Professor for “Health Communication” at the University of Erfurt. There she created the master's degree programme of the same name, a mix of psychology, communication science, medicine and public health. She also heads the Health Communication working group at the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine in Hamburg. Even before the Corona pandemic, she was doing research in the field of psychology and infectious diseases control. Since the beginning of the pandemic, she and her team have regularly carried out the COVID19 Snapshot Monitoring (COSMO), a recording of the psychological corona situation. For this work she received the German Psychology Prize in 2021 and the Thuringian Research Prize in 2022. She presently is a member of the German government’s COVID-19 Expert Advisory Council, of the WHO Technical Advisory Group on Behavioral and Cultural Insights, and of the Interdisciplinary Commission for Pandemic Research by the German Research Foundation (DFG). She is currently setting up an interdisciplinary research institute on Planetary Health Behaviour.

Photo copyright: Marco Borggreve

Jeremy Ward

France
Associate Researcher, INSERM

Dr Jeremy Ward is a sociologist and associate researcher at the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM). His work has mainly been focused on vaccine-related controversies in France and their effect on the French public. His focus is on the interface of sociology of public controversies, sociology of science and of cognition and representations. He has published in a variety of journals (Nature Immunology, Lancet Infectious diseases, Social Science and Medicine, Revue Française de Sociologie), and has numerous publications on vaccine mandates, including for COVID-19 vaccination.

Plenary D: Cutting through the noise: the role of public health experts in managing an infodemic

Mihai Craiu

Romania
Professor of Paediatrics, Carol Davila University of Medicine

Mihai Craiu is a Professor of Paediatrics at the Carol Davila University of Medicine in Romania. He has worked as a paediatrician for almost 30 years at the National Institute for Mother and Child Health of Romania (IMCHR). He has also served as a board member on national councils (the National Society of Paediatrics- SRPed and the National Society of Paediatric Respiratory Diseases) and is currently leading the Romanian NITAG. He is the founder of a social media educational project, ‘Spitalul Virtual pentru Copii’ (‘The Virtual Children’s Hospital’), which has contributed to changing the landscape of communication and education in Romanian language to parents.

Neville Calleja

Malta
Director, Health information and research, Ministry for Health

Professor Neville Calleja is a medical doctor and public health specialist leading the Directorate for Health Information and Statistics within the Ministry for Health in Malta. He lectures medical statistics, epidemiology and public health to health care professionals, together with ethical and scientific review of projects, both at the local and international level. He has also been involved with collaborative research projects on health information, on developing statistical frameworks at the national level, and on piloting a WHO-designed peer-review health information system assessment methodology and also chairing a number of fora on the subject for WHO in Europe. Since 2020, he has been working with WHO to set up an infodemic management strategy and has been actively involved in the training of infodemic managers globally since.

Alma Tostmann

Netherlands
Epidemiologist and Deputy Head, Infection Prevention and Control Unit, Dept Medical Microbiology, Radboud University Medical Centre

Alma Tostmann works as an infectious disease epidemiologist and assistant professor at Radboud University Medical Centre in the Netherlands. She is Deputy Head of the Infection Prevention and Control Unit responsible for the surveillance of hospital acquired infections and the detection of outbreaks. Her research and teaching interests include global public health, infectious disease prevention, outbreak detection and control. She received the Dutch Women in Media award in 2022 for her active role in explaining epidemiological concepts and providing updates on the COVID pandemic in the media. She has also served as regional epidemiologist for the Antimicrobial and Infection Prevention Regional Healthcare Network of the province Gelderland (GAIN) and is affiliated to the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) as Regional Epidemiology Consultant for AMR. She is also a previous EPIET fellow and has previously served as the vice president of the EPIET Alumni Network.

Martyna Bildziukiewicz

Poland
Head, East Strategic Communications Task Force, European External Action Service

Dr Bildziukiewicz is a strategic communications and disinformation expert. Since 2018, she has been part of the EU East StratCom Task Force, of which she became the head in May 2021. The task force, based in the European External Action Service, runs the EUvsDisinfo project – the European Union’s flagship initiative that monitors, responds to, and raises public awareness about pro-Kremlin disinformation. Dr Bildziukiewicz is also engaged in EU strategic communications in the Eastern Neighbourhood. Before she started to explore the dark side of words and messages, she was a career diplomat, spokesperson of the Polish Permanent Representation to the EU, journalist, and analyst. She holds a PhD in political science.

Plenary E: The COVID-19 pandemic – a surveillance game changer?

Silke Buda

Germany
Deputy Head, Respiratory Infections Unit, Robert Koch Institute (RKI)

Silke Buda is the Deputy Head of the Respiratory Infections Unit at the Robert Koch Institut, which is responsible for the surveillance, monitoring, epidemiological research and development of preventive concepts for respiratory infections. She has been working for some years on the use of ICD-10 codes for surveillance of viral respiratory diseases, including COVID-19, influenza and RSV. She has extensive experience in the use of electronic health records and surveillance of respiratory pathogens.

Søren Alexandersen

Denmark
Executive Vice President, Diagnostic Preparedness, Statens Serum Institut (SSI)

Søren Alexandersen is the Executive Vice President for Diagnostic Preparedness at Statens Serum Institut. This is part of an integrated One Health collaboration, which involves the laboratory diagnosis of infections in humans and animals. His research interests include the development and use of molecular biology methods, including sequencing and metagenomics, as well as virus detection, characterisation and pathobiology, molecular epidemiology, and One Health. He is also an Affiliate Professor at Deakin University, in Victoria, Australia.

Fernando Simon

Spain
Director, Coordination Centre for Health Alerts and Emergencies, Ministry of Health

Fernando Simón Soria is a Spanish epidemiologist serving as Director of the Coordination Centre for Health Alerts and Emergencies of the Ministry of Health. He came to public prominence as spokesman for the special committee on Ebola virus disease in Spain in 2014, and a similar role during the COVID-19 pandemic. He graduated in Medicine at the University of Zaragoza and specialized in Public Health and Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. Simón trained in the European Training Program in Intervention Epidemiology (EPIET) at the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.

Page last updated 20 Sep 2022