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Membership of the selection committee for NIHR Research and Innovation for Global Health Transformation (RIGHT) Call 6


Published: 19 May 2023

Version: 1.0 May 2023

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Professor Kath Maitland (Co-Chair)

  • Professor of Tropical Paediatric Infectious Diseases
  • Imperial College London, UK
  • Over the last 20 years, Professor Maitland has been based full-time in East Africa, where she leads a research group who have highlighted the unique importance of emergency-care research as a highly targeted and cost-effective means of tackling childhood mortality in resource-limited Africa. Her most notable work, as the principal investigator, was the landmark fluid resuscitation trial (FEAST trial) which demonstrated that fluid boluses resulted in increased mortality in African children with shock. Her team recently completed the TRACT trial which tested two transfusion strategies in nearly 4000 African children that aimed to reduce deaths and illness of those hospitalised with severe anaemia. Both trial papers were published in NEJM on 1st August 2019 and are likely to lead to significant refinements to WHO transfusion guidelines and have important implications for blood transfusion services. Professor Maitland is also currently leading a large clinical trial COAST (Children Oxygenation Administration Strategies trial) and SMAART (Severe Malaria Africa – A consortium for Research and Trials) consortium.

Professor Paramjit Gill (Co-Chair)

  • Professor of General Practice, NIHR Senior Investigator
  • Warwick Medical School, UK
  • Paramjit is actively involved in applied research promoting research excellence in primary care locally and internationally by addressing health inequalities, particularly multiple long term conditions and evidence-based health care and its application to health care delivery. He is involved in several global projects and is a member of NIHR Mentoring Academy.

Funding Committee

Ms Nursidah Abdullah (Stage 2 Only)

  • Civil Servant
  • National Population and Family Planning Agency, Indonesia
  • Nursidah Abdullah is a longstanding family planning advocate. Over the last ten years, she has worked for the National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) , Government of Indonesia. Nursidah has much experience in adolescent health and youth issues, capacity building, and community engagement. Prior to joining BKKBN, Nursidah was a Media Consultant for BakTI News Radio Program for Eastern Indonesia Knowledge Exchange-The World Bank. She was responsible for producing and writing radio news programs related to the development agenda. Her recent research is focused on Stunting Elimination Program in Indonesia.
    She is a cum laude/distinction MSc graduate from Public Health and Health Promotion, at Swansea University, Wales-United Kingdom

Professor Helen Ayles

  • Professor of Infectious Diseases, Director of Research
  • London School of Hygiene and Tropical medicine, Zambart, Zambia
  • Helen has lived in Zambia for almost 25 years leading the research directorate at Zambart in Lusaka. Helen’s research interest is in the combined epidemics of TB and HIV and in the evaluation of large public health interventions. She was the Zambia principal investigator for the PopART trial (HPTN071), a large community-randomised trial of treatment as prevention for HIV and the overall PI of the TREATS consortium, an EDCTP funded study evaluating the effect of the PopART intervention on tuberculosis. Her current research includes integration of sexual reproductive health and non-communicable diseases, and sequencing for infectious disease with digital care pathways
    Helen has been part of developing many international guidelines for WHO including those on TB/HIV, TB screening, tests for latent TB infection, TB preventive therapy and HIV testing and treatment. She served a four-year term as a member of the technical review panel for the Global Fund and is currently a member of international working groups on TB/HIV, Differentiated service delivery for HIV and the WHO/UNAIDS Men and HIV global working group.

Professor Siobhan Creanor

  • Director of Exeter Clinical Trials Unit, Professor of Medical Statistics & Clinical Trials, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  • University of Exeter, UK
  • Siobhan is Director of Exeter Clinical Trials Unit (ExeCTU), one of the two British Orthopaedic Association (BOA) affiliated CTUs, having previously been Director of the Peninsula Clinical Trials Unit and Professor of Medical Statistics and Clinical Trials at the University of Plymouth. Siobhan is an experienced senior statistician and trials methodologist, a fellow of the Royal Statistical Society and has retained Chartered Statistician status for nearly 20 years. As well as leading ExeCTU, Siobhan continues to provide methodological and statistical advice to academic and NHS staff, particularly at the early stages of new health-related research proposals being worked up for funding applications. She was Chair of the NIHR Research for Patient Benefit (RfPB) South West Regional Advisory Committee (2017-2021), and continues as an expert reviewer of NIHR funding applications and final reports, as well as chairing/sitting on a number of trial oversight committees for NIHR-funded trials. Siobhan has played a central role in securing research and other funding in excess of £25M. She is currently a co-applicant/senior statistician on multiple clinical trials, of differing intervention types and trial designs, across a broad range of healthcare areas. Her collaborations have led to co-authorship on over 130 peer-reviewed publications as well as numerous reports to funders and government.

Dr Lucia D'Ambruoso

  • Senior Lecturer in Global Public Health, Aberdeen Centre for Health Data Science, School of Medicine, Medical Sciences and Nutrition
  • University of Aberdeen,UK
  • I am a social scientist and health policy and systems researcher interested in service organisation and delivery, the social determinants of health, and participatory theory and method. I work mainly with: Verbal Autopsy for routine mortality surveillance, and Participatory Action Research to shift power towards those most directly affected to understand and transform. I am also concerned with uptake of research, and the determinants of uptake. I have worked internationally for 20 years with universities, research agencies and networks, UN organisations, and in governments at different levels. My research is supported by research councils and philanthropic organisations. I lead a Global Challenges Research Fund programme strengthening health systems in rural South Africa through people-centred and comprehensive primary care approaches. I teach at postgraduate level on health systems and policy, global health and development, and qualitative methods. I am deputy director of the Centre for Global Development at the University of Aberdeen, Honorary Senior Researcher at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, Extraordinary Senior Lecturer in the Department of Global Health, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, and Global Affiliate of the Umeå Centre for Global Health Research, Umeå University, Sweden. I also serve on the Editorial Board of Global Health Action.

Professor Lisa Dikomitis

  • Professor of Medical Anthropology and Social Sciences
  • Kent and Medway Medical School, University of Kent, UK
  • Professor Lisa Dikomitis is a social anthropologist leading the global health programmes MRC-AHRC funded SOLACE and co-leading NIHR-funded ECLIPSE. Her methodological expertise is in qualitative and creative research methods, especially in ethnography. She works across four areas: (1) Refugees and forced migration; (2) Humanitarian and global health research; (3) Health service research and (4) Medical Education. A focus throughout her research is the socio-cultural dimensions of primary, frontline and community care.

Professor Janet Dunn

  • Head of Cancer Trials, Professor of Clinical Trials
  • University of Warwick, UK
  • Professor Janet Dunn has over 30 years clinical trials experience. She is currently involved in National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) breast cancer, haematology and head & neck cancer trials and is an active member of the NCRI breast cancer clinical studies group. In 2008 she was awarded National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Senior Investigator status being one of the inaugural cohort of investigators contributing to applied patient centred research. She has been successful in attracting NIHR HTA and EME grants totalling £12 million for cancer trials at Warwick. The current cancer portfolio at Warwick CTU has around 21 studies and Janet leads an active research team with patient involvement included at all stages of the research. Expansion to international sites and presentations at international conferences has led to her interest in global research.

Professor Jane Goudge

  • Professor of Health Policy and Systems Qualification
  • University of Witwatersrand,Johannesburg
  • Professor Jane Goudge has been conducting research in the field of health systems and policy research for over 20 years. She has a PhD in development economics from London University. Key themes of her work include barriers to access to care, inequities in the financing of health care, strategies to improve universal coverage and implementation of national health insurance in South Africa. Major recent themes in her work include the development of a district learning site to support an organisational change, the role of community health workers in bridging the gap between households and the health system, supporting the provision of integrated chronic care, and retention in care of adults with chronic illnesses. This has included a pragmatic RCT to examine the effect of shifting some tasks of chronic disease management, particularly hypertension, to lay health workers, and an implementation study assessing the benefits of supportive supervision on household coverage by the national CHW (WBOT) programme.

Professor Oye Gureje

  • Professor of Psychiatry
  • University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  • Professor Oye Gureje, PhD, DSc, FRCPsych, is Professor and Director, WHO Collaborating Centre for Research and Training in Mental Health, Neuroscience and Substance Abuse, Department of Psychiatry, University of Ibadan. A past president of the Association of Psychiatrists in Nigeria and of the African Association of Psychiatrists and Allied Professions, Professor Gureje has served in various leadership positions of the World Psychiatric Association, including as member of its Board. He was for several years involved in the development of the Chapter on Mental and Behavioural Disorders of the 11th edition of the WHO’s International Classification of Diseases where he led a new characterization of somatoform and dissociative disorders. He plays a leading role in mental health policy development in Nigeria as the Chair of the Mental Health Action Committee of the country’s Ministry of Health. Professor Gureje’s research interests are in global mental health. He has conducted studies on epidemiology of mental disorders, ageing, mental health service development and psychiatric nosology. He has, in recent years, been listed by Clarivate among the global highly cited researchers. He is a Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science, Fellow, Nigerian Academy of Medicine and a laureate of Nigerian National Order of Merit, the country’s highest honour for academic achievement.

Professor Li Yang Hsu

  • Vice Dean of Global Health at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health
  • National University of Singapore (NUS)
  • Dr Li Yang Hsu is an infectious diseases physician who is currently Vice Dean of Global Health at the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore (NUS). He is also Associate Director of the Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering, a Research Centre of Excellence on biofilms and microbial communities based jointly at Nanyang Technological University and NUS.

Dr Ndenengo-Grace Lekey-Kawo

  • CEI Public Contributor
  • Tanzanian
  • Lekey-Kawo is a Tanzanian living in Dar es Salaam, with a lived experience with non-communicable diseases (NCDs)/chronic long-term health conditions as a patient, carer and public member. Together with her spouse, they are on treatment for non-communicable disease, experiencing what other patients with similar health conditions go through. In her family, caring for members suffering from chronic pain, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and chronic respiratory conditions has been her recurrent role. In particular, she is glad she could care for her late parents, who lost their lives to NCDs. Some of her family members are still on treatment for such conditions. Under the umbrella of medical and health-related associations, she has worked with different communities. For example, she worked as a Vice President of the Food and Nutrition Association of Tanzania
    and Secretary General of the Society for Women and AIDS in Africa (Tanzania branch), where she had an opportunity to reach various community members on health issues. As a member of the Medical Women Association of Tanzania, she participates in community awareness raising and screening for chronic diseases, particularly cervical and breast cancer, with a significant impact.

Professor Christopher Millett (Stage 2 Only)

  • Professor of Public Health
  • Imperial College London, UK
  • Christopher Millett is Professor of Public Health at Imperial College London. He worked in several research and public health roles before undertaking formal public health training in London. He completed his PhD at Imperial College in 2008 and was awarded a 5 year NIHR Research Professorship in 2014. He is a Fellow of the UK Faculty of Public Health. Christopher has published studies on a variety of topics, including tobacco control, active travel, nutrition, health system performance and health inequalities. His main research interest is public health policy evaluation, with a particular interest in health inequality impacts. This includes a focus on evaluating strategies to prevent and manage non-communicable diseases in middle income country settings. Christopher is Joint Principal Investigator for a new NIHR Global Health Research Centre on NCDs and Environmental Change with India, Indonesia and Bangladesh as partner countries

Professor Fred Nuwaha

  • Professor of Disease Control and Prevention
  • Makerere University, Uganda
  • Dr. Nuwaha is a professor of Disease Control and Prevention at Makerere University School of Public Health. He has a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degree (MD) from Makerere University; a master’s in public health (MPH) from Leeds University; and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Disease Control from Karolinsika Institutet. His fields of specialty and research interests include Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), HIV/STIs, TB, and Malaria; with over 110 peer reviewed publications. He is the Principal Investigator (PI) for FibroSCHoT that is evaluating the impact of repeated doses of praziquantel in Schistosomiasis hot spots in Uganda. He was a co-PI for SPICES-Scaling-up Packages of Interventions for Cardiovascular disease prevention in selected sites in Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, Dr. Nuwaha serves as the chairman for the Ugandan Ministry of Health Expert Committee for Schistosomiasis and Soil Transmitted Helminths, a member of the infectious disease institute scientific review committee, member editorial board for BMC Public Health as well as committee member NIHR Research and Innovation for Global Health Transformation (RIGHT-5).

Mr Shem Ochola (Stage 2 Only)

  • Deputy Director General
  • Commonwealth Foundation
  • Shem Ochola OGW is the Deputy Director General of the Commonwealth Foundation. Shem is a development practitioner with extensive experience in governance, public policy, diplomacy, programme development and implementation, resourcing, and a history of success in national, regional, and international influencing. His career experience spans several years of development work in civil society that includes designing and implementing programmes with communities and governments, positively impacting the people, policies, systems and institutions and practices. He has a cocktail of rich experience from Civil Society, Government, Private Sector and Academia. He holds a Master of Arts Degree in Economics and is currently pursuing his Doctorate Studies in Governance.

Professor John Petrie

  • Director of the Robertson Centre for Biostatistics and Clinical Trials Unit and Professor of Diabetes
  • University of Glasgow, UK
  • John Petrie has a long-term interest in diabetes control and complications e.g. he was Chief Investigator of the international JDRF-funded REMOVAL trial, the longest and largest trial of metformin in type 1 diabetes to date. John is currently Chair of Leadership of Panel the Diabetes UK Clinical Study Groups and a member of the Diabetes UK Strategic Research Advisory Group. He is past President of the European Group for the study of Insulin Resistance (2010-2015), a former Associate Editor of Diabetologia, and a current member of the ADA-EASD Technology Committee. He led the early development of the successful Scottish Diabetes Research Network (SDRN, 2005-2010) and chaired the 2017 Scottish “SIGN 154” guideline on glucose-lowering therapy in type 2 diabetes. He was a member of the LEADER trial Global Expert Panel. He recently completed six years as Chair of Board of Trustees of the Novo Nordisk UK Research Foundation (registered charity 1056410) and five years on the UK MRC/NIHR Efficacy and Mechanisms (EME) funding panel (the final two years as Deputy Chair). He has been active on international research funding panels including for JDRF, NHMRC Australia, and the Danish Diabetes Academy International Committee for Talent Development. John is currently co-PI (with Dr Paresh Dandona, State University of New York) of a JDRF-funded trial of combined adjunct therapy in type 1 diabetes (“TTT1”). He does weekly diabetes clinics (types 1 and 2) at Stobhill Ambulatory Care Hospital, North Glasgow. From August 2022 he has been Director of the Robertson Centre for Biostatistics/ Glasgow Clinical Trials Unit.

Ms Maike Pilitati (Pelenise Alofa)

  • CEI public contributor
  • Republic of Kiribati
  • Hails from Tarawa, Republic of Kiribati. Pelenise established the Kiribati Health Retreat Association working with patients living with multiple long term health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, liver and kidney problems and understands the effects on a person’s livelihood especially living in a low- and middle-income country. Pelenise also brings personal lived experience since caring for her mother who had diabetes. Pelenise was a carer for her sister from 2005 until she passed away in 2007 and understands the effects of living with a long-term health condition with amputations. It was the death of her mother and sister that made her look for solutions that can help non-communicable disease patients in Kiribati. She organised a six-month natural health training for more than twenty I-Kiribati youth in Fiji who today are facilitating activities at the Kiribati Health Retreat Association (KHRA) reaching more than four thousand people on South Tarawa and Kiritimati Island. Pelenise came to a realisation that health is a double haul canoe: Western Science and Natural/Traditional Science must go hand in hand. Her joy came from seeing patients recover with a determination to have a change in their lifestyle practices and understood that their health is their choice. Pelenise has been involved in research studies as a community member and supported focus group discussions and involved as an individual to support research. Pelenise is also a strong advocator for climate change internationally and nationally. She was able to establish the Kiribati Community Initiative Association consisting of more than 500 communities on South Tarawa. This platform enables her to implement Nature-based Solutions adaptation projects on food, water, sanitation, health, coastal protection to most communities in the urban areas of South Tarawa. She is proud that her engagement with communities was recognised by receiving the Point of Light Award from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II in 2021.

Dr Ramesh Poluru

  • Senior Program Officer
  • The INCLEN Trust International, New Delhi, India
  • Ramesh Poluru did his Masters and PhD in Population Studies from Sri Venkateswara University, Tirupati, India. His interests and expertise spans across social demography, statistics, epidemiology, public health and surveillance (reproductive and child health including STIs, HIV/AIDS), impact assessment and vaccine safety. Dr Poluru has more than two decades of experience in conceptualization, implementation and monitoring of large scale socio-demographic, behavioural, biological and operations research studies; analysis and interpretation of data (primary and secondary), using both qualitative and quantitative approaches. He has also been extensively involved in the community-based studies, action research/operations research, phase-3 & 4 clinical trials to deliver intervention services from general population (women and children) to more vulnerable populations (infants, minority population, high-risk groups - Female sex workers, MSM, IDU and truckers). Dr Poluru has published over 40 research papers in peer-reviewed journals/chapters, and co-authored technical reports of national and international research projects. He has served and continues to serve as scientific reviewer for about forty journals and various international agencies for research grants, reports, conferences, fellowships and nominations for awards. Dr. Poluru also serves as editorial board member of four international journals.

Dr Rahul Shidhaye

  • Senior Research Scientist and Associate Professor of Psychiatry
  • Pravara Institute of Medical Sciences, Loni, India
  • Dr Rahul Shidhaye, psychiatrist and epidemiologist by training, has worked in Global Mental Health and Implementation Science for close to two decades in India and other low-and-middle income countries with a specific focus on reducing treatment gap for mental disorders by translating evidence-based treatments in ‘real-world’ settings. He is a recipient of India Alliance (Government of India-Wellcome Trust) intermediate fellowship in public health research. His work involves design and evaluation of yoga-based interventions for mental disorders.

Professor Athula Sumathipala

  • Director Institute
  • Research and Development in Health and Social Care, Sri Lanka
  • He graduated in Sri Lanka with MBBS, and obtained a Diploma in Family Medicine and a MD. Athula re-trained as a Psychiatrist in the UK and obtained MRCPsych and Specialist Training (CCST). He earned a PhD at University of London. He is the Director of the Institute for Research and Development and the Chairman of the National Institute of Fundamental Studies, in Sri Lanka. He is an Emeritus Professor of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine, Keele University, and an Emeritus Professor of Global Mental Health at Kings College, London, UK. He is an Editorial Board member of the British Journal of Psychiatry. He received the HB William Travelling Professorship of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists (RANZAP), in 2007. He is internationally recognized for his pioneering research on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for the treatment of Medically Unexplained Symptoms. His research interests are centred on epidemiology of chronic disease and multi-morbidity, especially physical and mental illness combinations; evaluation and implementation of complex interventions, using twin methods in the study of illness aetiology and ethics related to research. He established Institute for Research & Development (IRD) and the Sri Lankan Twin Registry He also has an international reputation in bioethics.

Professor Anthony Udezi

  • Professor of Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice
  • University of Benin, Nigeria
  • A pharmacy graduate of the University of Benin started his career as a vaccine representative in May & Baker Nigeria Plc. He was appointed Lecturer II in 2005 in the University of Benin where he bagged a PhD with a research focus on Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research in 2010, won the ISPOR International Fellowship Award and founded ISPOR Nigeria, an affiliate of ISPOR based in the United States. He has consulted for Novartis Nigeria on cost effectiveness and budget impact of a new antihypertensive drug. Anthony has a master trainer’s expertise (through John Snow) in Logistics and Supply Chain Management of healthcare commodities. He had trained many healthcare professionals in the six geopolitical regions of Nigeria with Chemonics and as consultant to Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC). He served with the UNODC/Federal Ministry of Health technical working group that developed the curriculum for training future healthcare workers on access to controlled medicines. Currently he is director of information technology in the university of Benin in addition to his academic roles. He has over 50 peer reviewed scientific publications.