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.

Nahlah Ayed

Nahlah Ayed
Host and Producer CBC IDEAS

Nahlah Ayed is host and producer at CBC IDEAS. She is an award winning veteran of foreign reportage: first in the Middle East, where she spent nearly a decade covering the region’s conflicts; then in London, covering some of the biggest stories of our times—Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Europe’s refugee arrivals, the Brexit vote and its fallout, and the Rohingya Muslim crisis. She’s reported from all over the world: India, to Iran, Myanmar, to North Korea. Ayed holds a Master of Journalism from Carleton University, a Master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and B.Sc. in genetics from the University of Manitoba, and three honourary PHDs. Her first book, A Thousand Farewells, is a national bestseller that was shortlisted for the Governor General’s non-fiction award. She was born and raised (mostly) in Winnipeg.

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.

Martin S. Cetron

Martin S. Cetron MD FIDSA FASTMH
Director, Global Migration and Quarantine

Martin Cetron, MD, is the Director for the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine (DGMQ) at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Dr. Cetron holds faculty appointments in the Division of Infectious Disease at the Emory University School of Medicine and the Department of Epidemiology at Rollins School of Public Health. He received his B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1981 and his M.D. from Tufts University in 1985. He trained in Internal Medicine at the University of Virginia and Infectious Diseases at the University of Washington before joining the CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service and becoming a Commissioned Officer in the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) in 1992. His primary research interests are global health and migration with a focus on emerging infections, tropical diseases, and vaccine-preventable diseases in mobile populations. Dr. Cetron has co-authored more than 100 publications. Dr. Cetron has also been a leader in public health emergency preparedness and response activities at CDC and is a graduate of the Harvard School of Public Health & Kennedy School of Government’s National Preparedness Leadership Institute. For over 20 years, he has conducted epidemiologic research globally, developed global health policy and led domestic and international outbreak investigations including high profile international emergency responses to emerging infectious disease outbreaks [Anthrax bioterrorism 2001, SARS epidemic 2003, U.S. Monkeypox 2003, Hurricane Katrina/ Rita 2005, H1N1 influenza pandemic 2009, Haiti Earthquake / Cholera Responses 2010-11, Japan Tsunami-Radiation 2011, H7N9 2013, and MERS CoV 2012-3, Coronavirus Response (2013), Unaccompanied Children Central America (2014), Ebola Response (2014) & Zika Virus (2015)].

Dr. Cetron has been a consultant to several WHO Expert Committees: the US delegation intergovernmental negotiations of IHR 2005, the Pandemic Influenza and IHR Review Panel 2010, and the IHR emergency committee roster of independent experts. He also was elected in 2016 for a fellowship with IDSA (Infectious Diseases Society of America) & ASTMH (American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene).

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.

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.