The NCD Synergies project was launched at a conference hosted in Kigali in July 2013 by the Rwanda Ministry of Health, attended by representatives from ministries of health across 12 African countries. NCD Synergies builds on the clinical and planning models jointly developed by Partners In Health and Rwanda to address NCDs and injuries among the poorest.
Dr. Gene Bukhman, Founder and Director
Gene Bukhman, MD, PhD is the Director of NCD Synergies. He is the Senior Health and Policy Advisor on NCDs for Partners In Health. At Harvard Medical School, he is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and has directed the Program in Global Noncommunicable Disease and Social Change since 2010. By training, Dr. Bukhman is a cardiologist, an internal medicine physician, and a medical anthropologist. For the past decade, his work has focused on the design, planning, and evaluation of integrated strategies to address non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries of poverty. He is the lead author and editor for the (2011) PIH Guide to Chronic Care Integration for Endemic NCDs. In 2013, Dr. Bukhman helped launch the NCD Synergies project, an initiative focused on developing a community of learning and support for governments addressing the NCDs and injuries of the poorest billion.
Dr. Neil Gupta, Policy Director
Dr. Neil Gupta, M.D., MPH is an internist, pediatrician, and public health specialist who currently serves as Policy Director for the NCD Synergies Project and the Lancet Commission for Reframing NCDs and Injuries for the Poorest Billion. He has previously worked as Chief Medical Officer for Partners In Health in Rwanda, where he was responsible for the strategy, design, and implementation of clinical programs provided in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. Dr. Gupta is Primary Investigator for the Simplifying Hepatitis C Antiviral Therapy for Elsewhere in the Developing World study, which aims to promote access and availability of Hepatitis C treatment, and the Population Health Implementation & Training grant in rural Rwanda. He is a lecturer at the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda and leads strategic planning for the university’s teaching hospital. Dr. Gupta is a graduate of University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and Harvard School of Public Health, and he completed his residency training at Brigham & Women’s and Boston Children’s Hospitals. He is currently an Associate Physician of the Division of Global Health Equity at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston and is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Dr. Paul Park, Director of Implementation
Paul H. Park, MD, MSc is the Director of Implementation for NCD Synergies. He also holds appointments at Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the University of Global Health Equity. Dr. Park previously worked at Partners In Health – Rwanda as the Director of NCDs and later as the Deputy Chief Medical Officer of Chronic Disease. Before beginning his four years in Rwanda, Dr. Park worked on implementation research surrounding community-based models of delivery in both diabetes mellitus and MDR-TB for two years with AMPATH in Eldoret, Kenya. Dr. Park’s current career interests continue to focus on the novel implementation and research of rural care delivery of chronic diseases. Dr. Park continues to provide clinical care for the Indian Health Service. In addition, Dr. Park is the founder of the Timmy Global Health – Pop-Wuj NGO-based partnership in Xela, Guatemala and a former member of the Board of Directors for the Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM).Dr. Park earned his MD from Indiana University and his MSc at Duke University and completed a dual residency in Internal Medicine and Global Health at Duke University. Dr. Park has also completed fellowships with Fogarty International Center and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
Wendy Bennett, Senior Advisor
Wendy Bennett is a Senior Advisor to NCD Synergies. Wendy has worked in philanthropy and development for thirty years for both US based and international organizations. Since 2003 she has been engaged primarily in consulting on international grantmaking strategies in global health, with a particular interest in strengthening health systems, and prevention and care for noncommunicable diseases in developing countries. Recent clients have included the Medtronic Foundation and UnitedHealth Group. Previously she served as a consultant to corporate and family foundations across a range of issues, and was a program officer at the Archibald Bush Foundation. Wendy lived in Europe for 11 years and has enjoyed extensive travel internationally. She has a BA from Harvard College, and a Masters in Music from the University of Minnesota. Wendy has served on numerous nonprofit boards. She is a founder of the Minnesota Friends of the Children’s Heart Fund of Ethiopia, and she serves as a Global Ambassador for the Nature Conservancy.
Maia Olsen, Program Manager
Maia Olsen is a Program Manager for NCD Synergies at Partners In Health. She holds an MPH in International Health from Boston University and a BA in Anthropology and Global Development Studies from Grinnell College. She has been working with Global Oncology since January 2013, serving as project leader for the Patient Education Materials project, and assisting with the GO-QECH Malawi partnership and GO Talks. She was named a 2013 Summer Graduate Fellow for the BU Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future, conducting research on the links between policy and advocacy for HIV/AIDS and NCDs and the feasibility of cancer control efforts in sub-Saharan Africa. She comes to NCD Synergies with a background in non-profit program administration and resource development.
Chris Noble, Program Coordinator
Chris Noble is a Program Coordinator for NCD Synergies at Partners in Health. He joined the team in February 2016 while finishing his Masters in Public Health at Boston University School of Public Health concentrating in Global Health and Access to Medicines with a BA in Integrative Biology and a minor in Nutritional Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. Chris has worked with a number of NGOs in access and global development including Universities Allied for Essential Medicines on their North American Coordinating Committee and All Youth Understanding Diabetes Abroad as their In-Country Liaison for their Dominican Republic and Haiti grassroots diabetes education programs. Chris comes to NCD Synergies with a passion to support people’s access to NCD health resources globally that stems from his own diagnosis of type one diabetes over 20 years ago.
Amy McLaughlin, Program Coordinator
Amy McLaughlin joined the PIH NCD Synergies team in September 2016 as a Communications & Advocacy Coordinator. She earned a MA in International Development with a focus in global health from Sciences Po while working with ActionAid Ghana and UNESCO. Prior to her graduate studies, Amy worked in in both rural and urban development in Ghana promoting primary and higher educational opportunities for traditionally marginalized communities. She completed a Bachelors of Social Welfare from the University of Washington while working with low-income immigrant communities in Seattle, and young adults facing homelessness.
Wubaye Walelgne, Ethiopia
Wubaye Walelgne is the NCD Technical Advisor to the Federal Ministry of Health of Ethiopia and a consultant working for PIH, supported by NCD Synergies. He was born and educated in Ethiopia and is now a Medical Doctor by training with a postgraduate Specialty Certificate in Internal Medicine at Addis Ababa University.
Dr. Wubaye has extensive experience in clinical and program management of tropical health problems in East Africa (Ethiopia and South Sudan) for a total of 19 years and has been working in the public sector for a total of 6 years. Starting at the primary health care level then in tertiary hospitals, Dr. Wubaye now teaches at the Medical school in Addis Ababa. He has worked in the private sector as a consultant Internist starting in 2006 up to his current practice of clinical medicine. He also worked in International NGOs like Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University-ICAP and KNCV TB Foundation for the past 10 years.
Dr. Wubaye has programmatic experience in chronic diseases like Tuberculosis and MDR TB, HIV and Diabetes. His interest is in establishing a robust chronic care service at primary health service level for NCDs that are increasingly affecting resource limited settings like his home country.
Noel Kasomekera, Malawi
Noel Taonga Kasomekera is a public health specialist with a Preventive Health background currently working with Partners In Health as a Technical Assistant seconded to the Ministry of Health Headquarters in Malawi in the Non Communicable Disease Unit. Furthermore, the National Coordinator for the Non Communicable Disease and Injuries Poverty Commission. Noel currently hold a MSc in Public Health from Oxford Brookes University (United Kingdom 2010-2011) and a BSc in Environmental Health from the University of Malawi, The Polytechnic (Malawi 2003-2007).
With over nine years’ experience of strategic leadership and technical expertise in Maternal Child Health, Malaria, Family Planning and District Health Information Systems, Noel worked to steer head the local governments in democratic accountability and transparency on health through a DFID project and strengthening of the health system in seven districts. Noel has held different positions as a Director of Programmes for Family Planning Association of Malawi, District Team Lead for Maternal Child Health Project, Community Mobilization Project focusing on the Essential Health Packages and The Acute Respiratory Infection/Pneumonia Project and Technical Assistant as a Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Supervisor.