Health care conference


Founder and Principal, ACCESS Partnerships
Adjunct Professor of Social Enterprise, American University, Washington D.C.

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Dr. Alene H. Gelbard has over four decades of international experience advancing social and economic development. During the last 15 years, she has focused on helping businesses become more engaged in improving community well-being based on the experiences and perspectives of businesses. Results include a highly successful model for business/community organization partnership building that has produced sustainable local resources for partnership building in Indonesia. Today, a network of hundreds of businesses and community organizations in that country use the resources to increase their abilities to partner. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Social Enterprise in the School of International Service at American University in Washington, D.C. where she has taught business-nonprofit partnership building for the past six years.

She created ACCESS Partnerships as a successor to ACCESS Health Worldwide (ACCESS HW), a project she created and ran at the Public Health Institute (PHI) from 2004 – 2016. Her prior experience includes advising policymakers, program directors, and researchers on how to use data for effective policymaking and program development and management. Her positions include Senior Population Policy Advisor for the US Agency for International Development USAID) in Washington, DC, Senior Communications Advisor on Health, Population, and Nutrition for USAID/Indonesia, Advisor to the Ministry of Planning and Coordination in Bolivia, and Policy Analyst for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). As director of international programs at the nonprofit Population Reference Bureau (PRB), she served on U.S. delegations to several international conferences on development in the 1990s. She has lived and worked in Indonesia, Bolivia, France, Brazil, and the Philippines and worked in other countries in Asia, Latin American and Africa. She speaks French, Spanish, Portuguese, and limited Indonesian. She has a doctorate in population dynamics from the Bloomberg School of Public Health/Johns Hopkins University and a BA in French from the University of Washington.

Strengths include strategic planning, leadership, management, design thinking, coalition and network building, and oral and written communication skills, especially in multicultural and multilingual settings.

Public health research

Dr. Maria Neira

Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health
World Health Organization

Title: “Climate change, Air Pollution and Health – The Moment to Lead a Healthy Transition.”

Dr. Maria P. Neira has been directing the Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at the World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland since September 2005. Throughout her tenure and up until now she has led and advised on policy and management in key areas of environmental health.

Prior to that she served as Under-Secretary of Health and President of the Spanish Food Safety Agency.  From 1993-1998 she was Coordinator of the Global Task Force on Cholera Control. Dr. Neira began her career as a medical coordinator working with refugees in El Salvador and Honduras for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). She then spent several years working in different African countries during armed conflicts.

Born in the city of Oviedo, Asturias, Dr. Neira is a Spanish national, a medical doctor by training and specialized in Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases; and Public Health. Among many distinctions, she has been awarded the Médaille de I’Ordre National du Mérite by the Government of France and received an “Extraordinary Woman” Award by HM Queen Letizia of Spain. Earlier this year, she was nominated among the “Top 100 Policy Influencers” in health and climate change.

public health organizations

Dr. Ricardo Baptista Leite

Member of Portuguese Parliament
Founder and President – ‘UNITE – Global Parliamentarians Network to end HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and other infectious diseases’
Public Health Advocate

Member of the Portuguese National Parliament, Vice-President of the Social Democratic Party Parliamentary Board, National Spokesperson for Health of the Social Democratic Party, Medical Doctor trained in infectious diseases and Head of Public Health at Católica University of Portugal.

Founder and President of ‘UNITE – Global Parliamentarians Network to End HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis and other Infectious Diseases’, a global platform of current and former policy makers created under the auspices of UNAIDS and committed to ending these public health threats by 2030 in accordance with the UN SDG’s.

Vice President of the ‘Parliamentary Network on The World Bank & International Monetary Fund’. By working directly with The World Bank Group and IMF, the network’s mission is to provide a platform for parliamentarians around the globe to advocate for increased accountability and transparency in International Financial Institutions and multilateral development financing.

Global Ambassador of the ‘G20 Health & Development Partnership’ aimed at advising and advocating G20 countries on health policies aligned with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Awarded by ‘The Economist Intelligence Unit’ as a ‘HCV Change Maker’ (2016). This acknowledgment, attributed to solely six people globally, came in due recognition of Ricardo’s academic work and policy leadership in the field of hepatitis c.

National Spokesperson for Health of the Social Democratic Party, 3rd term Member of the Portuguese National Parliament (2011- Present) and Vice-President of the Social Democratic Party Parliamentary Board, currently responsible for the following parliamentary committee’s: Health, Culture and Communication, and Agriculture and Sea. Also a member of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee.

Head of Public Health at the Institute of Health Sciences of Católica University of Portugal and Guest Lecturer at NOVA Medical School (Infectious Diseases and Microbiology). Former coordinator of the Sustainable Healthcare Unit at NOVA Information Management School. Senior Fellow at New Westminster College (BC, Canada) and PhD candidate in Public Health and Health Systems at Maastricht University (The Netherlands). Previous experience includes having been an elected member of the supervisory board of the National Genetic Database Protection Agency and a decade of experience in health technology as a medical consultant at Glintt Healthcare Solutions (2009-2016), a multinational software house.

From 2015 to 2017, Deputy Mayor and City Councilor of Cascais, responsible for local health policy, academic partnerships, international relations (including economic diplomacy), youth (including Cascais European Youth Capital 2018) and employment policies.

In the past, practicing physician during 7 years, including a 5-year Infectious Diseases residency program at the Western Lisbon Hospital Center, Coimbra Hospital Center and Amadora-Sintra Hospital. Intern in public health (HIV, Hepatitis and STI’s) at the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe, based in Copenhagen (2011).

Post-graduate studies in many universities in Europe and abroad, among which are Johns Hopkins University (MD, USA), Harvard Medical School (MA, USA), Harvard Kennedy School of Government/IESE (Madrid, Spain), Albert Einstein College of Medicine (NY, USA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain) and AESE Business School (Lisbon, Portugal).

Volunteer work related with health and development organizations, such as being member of the Center for Health and Development International Advisory Board (Mangalore, India), member of the board of the Hepatitis B and C Public Policy Association (Brussels, Belgium), member of the European AIDS Treatment Group (EATG) External Advisory Board, among many other affiliations with Patient Associations.

Alumin of the Millennium Fellowship at The Atlantic Council and of the Marshall Memorial Fellowship at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. Member of the European Leadership Network (, European Young Leaders (Friends of Europe | Europanova), European Young Leaders Forum (BMW Foundation), Emerging Leaders in Environmental and Energy Policy Network (ELEEP | The Atlantic Council), Chatham House (The Royal Institute of International Affairs). Fellow at the ZEIT Stiftung – Fundação Gertúlio Vargas 2015 Latin American Forum on Global Governance and member of the ZEIT Stiftung alumni. Member of the Antigua Forum alumni at Universidad Francisco Marroquín (Guatemala).

Founder of CREATING HEALTH – Research and Innovation funding, a sustainable nonprofit which has been set up within the Católica University of Portugal to help capture funding for health innovation and research projects ( Co-founder of the Estoril Conferences, which are focused on the issue of globalization under the motto Global Challenges, Local Answers ( Main author of the book “Citizenship for Health” (PT, 2015) and of the book “Strategic Consensus on Integrated Management of Hepatitis C in Portugal” (PT, 2014), among other publications.