Keynote Speakers

Prof. David C. Bellinger
Professor in the Department of Environmental Health
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, USA.

Topic: "The Health Burden Associated with Children's Exposures to Neurotoxic Environmental Chemicals"

David C. Bellinger, a pediatric neuropsychologist and environmental epidemiologist, is a Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School/Boston Children’s Hospital and a Professor in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. His research focuses primarily on the neuropsychological and behavioral sequelae of children’s chemical exposures and has included studies on lead, methylmercury, elemental mercury, arsenic, manganese, perfluoroalkyl acids, fluoride, organophosphate pesticides, PCBs, and general anesthetics. Many of these studies have been conducted in developing countries, including India, Tanzania, the Philippines, Mexico, Bangladesh, China, and Mongolia. He has published more than 400 papers and been invited to lecture in two dozen countries. He is the Editor-in-Chief of Toxics and an Associate Editor (children’s health) of Environmental Health. He is the President of the International Society for Children’s Health and the Environment, Chairperson of the WHO Committee on Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Lead Poisoning, and a member of the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Food Safety. He has served on advisory committees of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency, and on committees of the National Academies focused on lead, methylmercury, seafood risks and benefits, and inorganic arsenic.


Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah
Director-General of Health Malaysia &
Senior Consultant in Breast & Endocrine Surgery

Topic: "Innovation and Collaboration in Public Health"

Datuk Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah is the current Director-General of Health Malaysia since 1st March 2013. He is also a Senior Consultant in Breast and Endocrine Surgery, Hospital Putrajaya. Prior to this, he also held the post of Deputy Director-General of Health (Medical Programme) between January 2008 until end of February 2013. He obtained both his Medical Doctor (M.D.) degree in 1988 and his Master of Surgery (M.S.) in 1994 from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). Four years later in between 1997-1998, he completed his Fellowship training in Breast & Endocrine Surgery from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons. He received his Fellowship of the Academy of Medicine Malaysia in 2004 and an Honorary Fellowship of the Royal College of Physicians London in 2012. He has also been conferred an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Medicine from Newcastle University Medicine Malaysia (2014), Honorary Fellowship of the Academy of Family Physicians of Malaysia (2015) and Honorary Fellowship of the International College of Dentists (2016). He is a world renowned for contribution in Endocrine surgery, especially on Thyroid surgery. He has presented many papers in local and international conferences and has had numerous invitations to speak at local and international events. Apart from that, he is also a prolific writer with extensive publications in local and international journals and has authored many chapters in various textbooks on endocrine surgery. He also actively involved in World Health Organisation (WHO), including his recent achievement as the WHO Western Pacific Regional Office (WPRO) Representative for the Working Group on Strategic Budget Space Allocation, WHO. He has led many innovative initiatives in health, while pushing others towards creative innovation with utilisation of home grown talents. He believes in breaking down silos and working together across the divide within the ministry and beyond — as every sector is a health sector. To meet the challenges ahead, he also mooted the idea of the Talent Grooming Programme (TGP) for Technical Healthcare Professionals for succession planning and developing good future healthcare leaders. In addition to that, he is a strong advocate of the utilisation of social media as a smarter, cheaper, faster, more efficient and transparent tool in reaching out and engaging with the public and various stakeholders, thus delivering real-time information on various healthcare issues locally and internationally.

Prof. Kumudu Wijewardene
Senior Professor of Community Medicine
Faculty of Medicine, University of Sri Jayewardenepura
Co-chair of Gender Equity and Equality Standing
Committee of University Grants Communion, Sri Lanka


Prof. Kumudu Wijewardene is a Senior Professor in Community Medicine at University of Sri Jayewardenepura Sri Lanka and Co-chair of Gender equity and equality committee of University Grants commission Sri Lanka 2015 to present. She was the Dean of the Post Graduate Faculty of University of Sri Jayewardenepura from 2003- 2009, which is responsible for training and awarding Diplomas, Masters, & PhD s, in Humanities, Social sciences, Science, Management and in Medical disciplines. She is one of the principal researchers for the Research Council of Norway, collaboration with Norwegian University of Science and Technology Faculty of Medicine: Evaluating interventions in antenatal care to identify and assist victims of gender based violence in Nepal and Sri Lanka and worked as Chief research coordinator for SIDA /SARREC grant from Sweden on health care for socially marginalized people 2003-2010.

She has published around 100 publications as well as she is a recipient of several national and international research grants and got several honors and awards including WHO Jacques Parisot Medal for research in social science which is a prestigious award given once in ten years to a WHO region in 50th World Health Assembly in 1997. She has successfully trained more than 30 MSc , Md community medicine and PhD graduates have being trained in their research and many of the students have got awards or acclaimed for their research and today some are holding prestige posts internationally and nationally senior professor, deputy director generals etc. Prof. Wijewardene has been invited as guest speaker at the fifth Asia pacific Action alliance on Human Resource for Health conference in Bali Indonesia, University New South Wales Australia, India, Brazil, Australia and was a consultant to several international and national bodies such as UNFPA, IDRC Canada, World Health Organization, World Bank, UNICEF, International organisation of evaluation Associations, Ministry of Planning, and Urban Basic Development Programme of Sri Lanka.