Our Advisors are medical and public health experts who support DRASA in achieving our goal of making a sustainable impact on public health in Nigeria
Dr. Joan Benson
Executive Director, Program Partnerships
Global Public Policy & Corporate Responsibility, Merck & Co., Inc.
Dr. Joan Benson leads Merck interactions with global organizations involved in advocacy, immunization programs, procurement and funding for vaccines internationally, including but not limited to WHO, GAVI and UNICEF.
In this role, she engages with these organizations and with country governments to establish and manage key strategic partnerships and programs to address vaccine preventable diseases globally, including in resource limited countries. Joan Benson has led the development and execution of partnerships on cervical cancer prevention with several country governments, including Bhutan, Rwanda, Zambia, Ghana, Uganda and Botswana. Through partnership with Susan G. Komen for the Cure, she led Merck’s participation as a corporate founding member in the Pink Ribbon Red Ribbon – an initiative launched by the George W. Bush Institute, the United States Government through the U.S. Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), Susan G. Komen®, and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). The initiative is aimed at catalyzing the global community to reduce deaths from cervical and breast cancer in sub-Saharan Africa by raising awareness of these diseases and increasing access to quality services to detect and treat them.
Dr. Benson served as a public health physician at the Stamford Health Department, Connecticut and the Southend Medical Center in Stamford and also as a practicing physician in Nigeria. Dr. Benson graduated from the University College Hospital/University of Ibadan with a degree in Medicine and received her post-graduate training at Harvard University with a degree in Public Health focusing on International Health.
Dr. William Fischer
Researcher/Professor, UNC School of Medicine
William Fischer II, is Associate Program Director for research in the Division of Pulmonary Diseases and Critical Care Medicine at the University of North Carolina (UNC) School of Medicine in Chapel Hill.
Dr. Fischer earned his medical degree from UNC in 2004 and completed an Internal Medicine residency, a fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and was selected as an Assistant Chief of Service at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
Described by his colleagues and sponsor as tireless in his pursuit of scientific research that impacts clinical care in the US and internationally, and unwavering in his dedication to patients, Dr. Fischer has accumulated significant experience in viral infections including as an Emerging Infectious Disease Advanced Laboratory Fellow at the CDC, Clinical Advisor to the Global Influenza Programme at the World Health Organization, and most recently, as the clinical liaison between the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Maryland State Department of Health during the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic. He joined the faculty at UNC in 2012.
Billy (as he is known) grew up in Chapel Hill, N.C., and has always been particularly interested in infectious diseases. During his training Billy worked at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization (WHO).
In June 2014, Dr. Fischer was asked by WHO to help work on emerging pathogens and he has been sent to Guinea to work with Doctors without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières or MSF) to try to help reduce mortality from Ebola Virus in rural communities.
Dr. Muhammad Pate
Former Minister of State for Health, Nigeria
Visiting Professor, Duke Global Health Institute
Dr. Pate is currently Visiting Professor at the Duke Global Health Institute and most recently served as Minister of State for Health of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from July 2011 to July 2013.
He also served as member of the President’s Economic Management Team. During his tenure he led the Presidential Task Force on Polio Eradication in Nigeria and developed an innovative results-based initiative to Save One Million Lives in Nigeria from preventable mortality by reviving the primary health care system. He is co-chair of the Board of the Private Sector Health Alliance in Nigeria whose aim is to catalyze innovation and harness synergy between public and private sectors to improve health outcomes.
Prior to his ministerial appointment he served as the Chief Executive of Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) from 2008-2011, in which capacity Dr. Pate pioneered innovative strategies and successful interventions to address major Primary Health Care issues in Nigeria, including in the Polio Eradication effort and Midwives’ Service Scheme for redistributing human resources to underserved areas.
Dr. Pate spent several years at the World Bank Group in Washington, D.C., which included serving as the Senior Health Specialist and Human Development Sector Coordinator in the East Asia Pacific Region and also as a Senior Health Specialist in the African Region. He led the design and implementation of diverse and innovative projects that achieved development impact, such the Zambia Malaria Booster Project, Lesotho Health Sector Reform Project in Africa region and Samoa Health Sector Support Program in the Pacific Islands region.
Dr. Pate is an American Board Certified MD in Internal Medicine. He trained in sub-specialty of Infectious Diseases at the University of Rochester, NY, holds an MBA from Duke University and a Masters in Health System Management from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine UK. He graduated with a medical degree from the Ahmadu Bello University, Nigeria in 1990.
Dr. Kate Tulenko
VP of Health Systems Innovation, IntraHealth
Director of CapacityPlus
Dr. Kate Tulenko is a globally recognized expert in health workforce policy and health systems strengthening and serves as the Director of CapacityPlus, the US government’s flagship global health workforce program.
She also serves as Vice President for Health Systems Innovation at IntraHealth International, a global non-profit organization which has worked to support the needs of health workers in under-served communities for over thirty years. IntraHealth’s innovations include iHRIS (the most widely used open source workforce database), the Dean’s Dashboard management software for health professional schools, a mobile phone support application for community health workers, mobile phone updates for job applicants, and mobile phone interactive voice response training for health workers.
Dr. Tulenko previously coordinated the World Bank’s Africa Health Workforce Program and has served on expert panels for the World Health Organization, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Aspen Institute. Her most recent book “Insourced” identifies the links between the US and global health worker shortage and offers affordable solutions. Dr. Tulenko has had articles or reviews in the New York Times, Salon.com, Foreign Policy, and the Huffington Post.
Dr. Tulenko has a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Harvard University; a master’s degree in the history and philosophy of science from the University of Cambridge; an MD from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; and a master’s of public health degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She serves on the board of the National Physicians Alliance and on the Advisory Board of the Global Business School Network and has received a Rainer Arnhold Fellowship for innovation in global development. Dr. Tulenko is an adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and has taught on a wide variety of subjects including health system management and health economics. Follow her on Twitter at @ktulenko.