Keynote Speakers

Aniyizhai Annamalai

Aniyizhai Annamalai MD
Associate Professor
Departments of Psychiatry and Internal Medicine
Yale School of Medicine
Medical Director, Yale Adult Refugee Clinic

Dr. Annamalai is the medical director of the adult Yale Refugee Clinic that partners with the local refugee resettlement agency to provide comprehensive health screening and longitudinal care for all newly arrived refugees in New Haven, Connecticut. She has been working with refugee populations for the last ten years, and as both an internist and psychiatrist, provides both primary care and mental health services. The clinic serves as a central point for several clinical, educational and research programs to improve health of refugees resettling in New Haven. Dr. Annamalai is the editor of ‘Refugee Health Care’, a reference book, currently in its second edition, used by clinicians caring for refugees. Her academic interest is in integrating physical and mental health care for vulnerable populations, including refugees.

Sahar Bahadi

Sahar Bahadi
Advocate and Pediatrician

Dr Sahar Bahadi is a pediatrician from Aleppo, Syria where she worked in multiple hospitals over a 25-year period including the Red Crescent Hospital for children, all while running her own private clinic. In addition, she volunteered for many years in the Red Crescent Clinic for cerebral palsy and handicapped children, where she provided clinical care and lectures on child health to parents through UNICEF. In 1991, Dr. Bahadi completed a postgraduate study in the history of medicine and contributed to an encyclopedia of famous Arab and Muslim scholars. Although she worked very hard, her work was rewarding and safe.

At the beginning of the Syrian war in 2011, she received death threats to herself and her family, and she left Syria to start a new life in Canada for the safety of her children. On July 27th 2013, her vision of a safe new life was shattered when she received news of the death of her son Sammy Yatim by a policeman, on a Toronto Street car, who was subsequently charged and convicted of attempted murder.

While Dr. Bahadi has been experienced unimaginable pain due to the loss of her son, and her country, she continued to volunteer through the international organization Woman and Health Alliance to treat Syrian refugee children in refugee camps in Greece and Lebanon. In Canada she has been volunteering with the Arab Community Centre of Toronto, and recently with Dr. Banerji at the COSTI pediatric clinic.

Pablo S. Bose

Pablo S. Bose Ph.D.
Associate Professor Department of Geography
Director Global and Regional Studies Program
Provost’s Faculty Fellow for General Education
University of Vermont

My ongoing interest is in interdisciplinary teaching and research on issues of culture, space and power.I am in particular fascinated by the ways in which people and landscapes transform each other. The primary focus of my work over the past decade has been on migration, transnationalism, diasporas, and diverse environments. This has afforded me the opportunity to explore a range of different topics, regions, and time frames through the course of my investigations. Some of my earlier work focused on environmental advocacy and grassroots social justice struggles against dams and logging in both India and Canada and I continue to be inspired by activist struggles and the strength and challenge of resistance movements across the globe. I am also part of an ongoing multi-site, multi-year study of economic as well as other forms of development and population displacement which has resulted in several publications including the co-authored Displacement by Development: Ethics, Rights and Responsibilities (Cambridge University Press, 2011).

Stephen M. Cornish

Stephen M. Cornish
Master’s Degree, Global Risk and Crisis Management
Director General of Médecins Sans Frontières Operational Center
Geneva, Switzerland
Université Panthéon Sorbonne in Paris
Post-Graduate Diploma in Conflict Resolution
University of Bradford

Stephen Cornish is the Director General of Médecins Sans Frontières Operational Center in Geneva, Switzerland. The MSF Operational Center in Geneva Geneva provides medical humanitarian assistance to save lives and ease the suffering of people in crisis situations in more than 20 countries.

Stephen Cornish was the former David Suzuki Foundation Executive Director and General Director of MSF Canada. During more than ten years of field experience, he managed several major MSF humanitarian interventions in contexts such as Chechnya, Sierra Leone, Georgia and Peru. He has successfully negotiated humanitarian access to vulnerable populations in conflict settings across the globe.

Stephen Cornish sat on MSF Canada’s board of directors (2008-2012) before serving as Executive Director (2012 to 2017). He also worked with the Canadian Red Cross as manager of programs for countries in armed conflict, and for CARE Canada as a policy and advocacy advisor. He was also a Board Member of the Youth Challenge International (2008-2018), is an honorary director of Canadian Physicians for the Environment and is a member of the steering committee for Pathways to Peace, an international peace-building initiative in Afghanistan.

Stephen Cornish holds a master’s degree in global risk and crisis management from the Université Panthéon Sorbonne in Paris, and a post-graduate diploma in conflict resolution from the University of Bradford.

James Cullingham

James Cullingham
The Cost of Freedom – Refugee Journalists in Canada
Tamarack Productions
Nogojiwanong – Peterborough ON

Jose Debes

Jose Debes MD
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine
Divisions of Infectious Diseases and of Gastroenterology
University of Minnesota
Associate Professor
Division of Epidemiology
School of Public Health at UMN
Department of Gastroenterology & Hepatology
Erasmus University, The Netherlands

Dr. Debes is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Divisions of Infectious Diseases and of Gastroenterology at the University of Minnesota. He holds academic positions at the School of Public Health at UMN as well as in Hepatology at Erasmus University in the Netherlands. His work focuses on viral hepatitis and liver cancer in resource limited regions. He developed and coordinates a multinational network of researchers in South America which has established the epidemiology of hepatitis-associated liver cancer in the regions and now focuses on assessment of biomarkers for liver cancer in chronic hepatitis, as well as mechanisms of early cancer development in patients with hepatitis B. He also founded and leads a network for hepatitis B awareness and education in Africa, encompassing over a dozen countries in the continent.

Marsha Griffin

Marsha Griffin MD
Director, Division of Child and Family Health, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine
Professor of Pediatrics, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine
Co-Founder, Community for Children

Marsha Griffin, MD, is Professor of Pediatrics and Founder of Community for Children program at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine (UTRGV). She completed her M.D. degree at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) in 2003, followed by pediatric residency at Texas Children’s Hospital and UTHSCSA. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Immigrant Child and Family Health, co-authored the AAP Policy Statement “Detention of Immigrant Children,” . Dr. Griffin has spent the last ten years writing and speaking both nationally and internationally about her concerns for the trauma inflicted on immigrant children on the border.

She served as Medical Director of the Humanitarian Care Respite Clinic in McAllen, Texas, where she initiated a partnership between Stanford School of Medicine, Baylor/Texas Children’s Hospital, Migrant Clinician Network and UTRGV School of Medicine to form the Humanitarian Care Network for Asylum-Seeking Families creating a network of clinics and academic medical institutions across the nation caring for newly migrated children and families. She also co-founded Medical Review for Immigrants, which is an organization of volunteer physicians working with immigration attorneys to obtain the release of detainees with chronic medical conditions from ICE detention centers and get them immediate medical care upon release. In 2019, Dr. Griffin was named Health Policy Hero by the National Center on Health Policy in Washington, DC. In 2018, she received one of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ highest awards, the Clifford G. Grulee Award, for her advocacy for all children and for her outstanding service to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

James Johnston
Clinical Associate Professor
Head of Respiratory Medicine Division at Vancouver General Hospital
Evaluation Lead at Provincial TB Services at BCCDC
Associate Member of the UBC School of Population & Public Health
Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

Michael Lynk

Michael Lynk
Associate Professor
Faculty of Law
Western University
London, Ontario
UN Special Rapporteur for the Situation of Human Rights in the
Palestinian Territory Occupied since 1967

Michael Lynk is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada. He joined the Faculty in 1999, and has taught courses in labour, human rights, disability, constitutional and administrative law. He served as Associate Dean of the Faculty between 2008-11.

Professor Lynk is the co-author, with Michael Mac Neil and Peter Engelmann, of Trade Union Law in Canada (Thompson Reuters). He is the co-editor, with John Craig, of Globalization and the Future of Labour Law (Cambridge University Press, 2006), and the co-editor, with Susan Akram, Michael Dumper and Iain Scobbie, of International Law and the Middle East Conflict (Routledge, 2011). He is a contributing author to Employment Law in Canada (4th ed.), with Peter Barnacle as principal revising author.

He has served as a labour arbitrator since 2000. Since 2007, he has been a vice-chair and arbitrator with the Ontario Grievance Settlement Board.

In January 2015, Professor Lynk was named to the Mayor of London’s Honours List for his work on humanitarian issues.

In May 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Professor Lynk as Special Rapporteur for the human rights situation in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967 for a six-year term. In his capacity, he delivers regular reports to the UN General Assembly and the Human Rights Council on human rights trends in the OPT.

Nina Marano

Nina Marano DVM MPH Dipl ACVPM
Immigrant Refugee and Migrant Health Branch
Division of Global Migration and Quarantine
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Dr. Marano trained in veterinary medicine at the University of Georgia and in public health at Emory University, and has been a medical epidemiologist at CDC since 1998. Her CDC experience has focused on prevention and control of infectious diseases. In 2006‚ Dr. Marano joined the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ) as the Branch Chief for the Travelers’ Health and Animal Importation Branch. In 2009 she became the Chief of the Quarantine and Border Health Services Branch, where she worked on national policy‚ regulations‚ and research to mitigate translocation of communicable diseases via travel and transportation. Under her leadership‚ the Quarantine Branch responded to 2009 Influenza A H1N1‚ earthquake and cholera in Haiti‚ and nuclear radiation leakage in Japan. In June 2012‚ Dr. Marano was appointed Director of the DGMQ Africa Refugee Health Program at the CDC Kenya office in Nairobi. She led the team that is responsible for overseeing the implementation of guidelines for disease screening and treatment‚ tracking and reporting disease‚ responding to disease outbreaks‚ and advising partners on health care for refugees and immigrants from Africa. In August 2015, Dr. Marano was appointed Chief of the Immigrant, Refugee, and Migrant Health Branch, which promotes and improves the health of immigrants, refugees and migrants, and implements border health strategies that prevents the spread of infectious diseases across international borders. She has co-authored over 80 publications in the peer-reviewed literature‚ and is an Associate Editor for CDC’s Emerging Infectious Diseases Journal. She also works part-time as a veterinarian in a companion animal practice in Atlanta.

Gabriel Schirvar

Gabriel Schirvar
Senior Program Assistant, LGBTIQ+ FP
International Organization for Migration
Washington, DC

Gabriel Schirvar is the LGBTI Training Focal Point for the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Gabriel has helped develop IOM’s comprehensive training package, “Working with LGBTI persons in the Humanitarian Context,” including a training module specifically concentrating on LGBTI health and another addressing sexual and gender based violence concerns for LGBTI people in displacement. Gabriel has traveled internationally to facilitate LGBTI training for IOM staff, and has trained audiences from every region of the world, in addition to helping develop and lead two workshops for future facilitators. Gabriel is currently finishing their master’s degree in Global Public Health Policy at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. Their previous experience includes sitting in on the Health Working Group for the US Department of State.

Paul Spiegel

Paul Spiegel MD MPH
Professor, Health Systems, Dept of Int’l Health,
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Humanitarian Health

Dr. Spiegel, a Canadian physician by training, is internationally recognized for his research on preventing and responding to humanitarian emergencies, with a focus on refugee crises. Paul 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 Deputy Director and 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 and as a Medical Coordinator with Médecins Sans Frontières and Médecins du Monde in refugee emergencies, as well as a consultant for numerous international organizations.

Dr. Spiegel was the first Chair of the Funding Committee for Research for Health in Humanitarian Crises (2013-2018). Dr. Spiegel has published over 100 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.

Mike Woodman

Mike Woodman MD MPH DTM&H
Senior Public Health Officer
UNHCR Geneva

Mike Woodman is a Senior Public Health Officer with UNHCR currently based at the Geneva Headquarters. He is from Zimbabwe and received his medical training in Cape Town, South Africa and further training in Public Health and Tropical Medicine in Australia and UK. He has worked as a physician and manager in several humanitarian crises worldwide including in Afghanistan, Somalia, Sudan, Sri Lanka, Democratic Republic of Congo, Myanmar, Chad, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Haiti, Lebanon, Ethiopia and several other countries. He has a special interest in provision of health services in emergencies and low resource settings, response to emergencies and epidemics, inclusion of refugees with national health systems and health system strengthening. Prior to joining UNHCR he worked for Médecins Sans Frontiers.