Meet the members of the Alliance Secretariat

Dr Abdul Ghaffar, MD, PhD, Executive Director

Dr Abdul Ghaffar has worked for over 30 years in low- and middle-income countries managing research for health; planning, designing and evaluating national health systems; and teaching health policy and management.

Before joining the Alliance, Dr Ghaffar served as Regional Advisor for Research, in the Eastern Mediterranean Office of the World Health Organization. Earlier, he worked as a Health Policy and Systems Specialist at the Global Forum for Health Research. Dr Ghaffar began his career in Pakistan as a public health physician, eventually transitioning into various senior leadership positions such as Assistant Director-General of Policy and Planning; Deputy Director-General of International Health; and Director of the Health Services Academy, a national school of public health. Dr Ghaffar has played a leading role in establishing and managing policy and research fora involving civil society, policy-makers and development partners, both at national and international levels. His desire and interest is to trigger a global movement to generate and use research evidence for improved policy and management decisions at the country level. Dr Ghaffar is a physician by training with a PhD in International Health Systems from Johns Hopkins University.

Dr Nhan Tran, Manager

Responsible for overseeing the work of the Implementation Research Platform in three areas - stewardship, capacity strengthening and programmatic research. In addition, Nhan leads the portfolio on embedded research across three WHO regional offices.

Before joining the Alliance, Nhan worked as a health systems researcher at Johns Hopkins University where he led the development of a HIV surveillance system in Afghanistan as well as studies on the scale up of road safety interventions in Russia, Cambodia, and Vietnam. In addition to his work at Hopkins, Nhan brings 10 years of professional experience working with the US Department of Health & Human services where he designed and managed implementation research studies to inform national strategies for the delivery of family planning services. Nhan holds MHS and PhD degrees in International Health Systems from Johns Hopkins University.

Pauline Bempong, Administrative Staff

Pauline Bempong

Has overall responsibility for managing procurement contract processes and managing the office of the Executive Director. In addition, Pauline assists with human resources recruitment and meeting organization.

Having previously worked in the Classifications, Terminology & Standards unit, Pauline joined the Alliance in 2003 with an interest in gaining exposure to the field of health systems. Over the years, she has found it fascinating to observe how the field has evolved. Pauline finds pride in being part of a team that strives to empower and help governments in low- and middle-income countries put in place better health policies to improve health systems through use of research evidence.

Ms Lydia Bendib, Technical Officer

Lydia Al Khudri Bendib

Responsible for managing the research grants cycle in collaboration with members of the team. This includes initiating new grants, coordinating screening and review processes, coordinating protocol submissions with the WHO Ethics Review Committee, managing contract processes and monitoring grants.

Lydia joined the Alliance in 2007 with extensive experience at WHO managing and monitoring projects in the departments of Chronic Diseases and Health Promotion, Health Financing and Stewardship, Global Programme on Evidence for Health Policy, and Communicable Diseases. Lydia also brings experience coordinating large scale programmes such as World Health Surveys and the Surveillance of Chronic Disease Risk Factors. Inspired by the Alliance`s vision of bringing researchers and decision-makers closer together, Lydia works to support grantees in achieving their deliverables through close engagement. Her aim is to streamline the grants management practices through a standardized approach to produce efficient results. Lydia holds masters degrees in economics and languages from Grenoble University.

Maryse Coutty, Administrative Staff

Maryse Coutty

Has overall responsibility for the management of human resources and meeting organization.

Maryse joined the Alliance in 2008, bringing with her 19 years of extensive professional administrative experience at WHO. Maryse studied foreign languages in university and speaks multiple languages including French, English, Spanish and Russian, which she has found useful for her work at WHO.

Ms Gloria Kelly, Programme Officer

Gloria Kelly

Responsible for facilitating the effective and on-budget implementation of activities, coordinating and providing advice to members of the team on budget and finance-related matters, work-planning and monitoring, and donor relations.

Gloria joined the Alliance in 2002, following a broad base of international experience in the private sector. Gloria holds an Honours Law Degree from the University College Dublin.

Dr Etienne Langlois, Technical Officer

Responsible for the portfolio on evidence synthesis and issues related to embedded research and decision-making leadership development.

Etienne is an epidemiologist specialized in health policy analysis, systematic reviews and monitoring and evaluation. Before joining the Alliance, Etienne worked as a Researcher at the University of Montreal Hospital Research Centre, and Lecturer in clinical epidemiology and global health at the University of Montreal. In addition, he brings to the Alliance his professional experience working as Research Director of the International Forum of the Americas and Consultant for the World Health Organization.

Ms Stephanie Ngo, Technical Officer

Responsible for supporting relevant and timely dissemination of health policy and systems research evidence and knowledge across a diverse range of stakeholders, including policy-makers and practitioners. Stephanie also supports monitoring and evaluation work across programmes as well as external relations activities.

Stephanie brings to the Alliance a wide range of experiences in nursing, research, programme management and evaluation, quality improvement, and online course development in health and non-profit sectors.

Dr Zubin Shroff, Technical Officer

Responsible for the portfolio of work on universal health coverage and the development of a report surveying the state of the field of health policy and systems research. Zubin also provides technical support to Implementation Research Grants and supports the management of the programme of work on results based financing.

Zubin joined the Alliance in 2013 after graduating from the Doctoral Program in Global Health and Population from the Harvard School of Public Health where his thesis focused on the politics of publicly funded health insurance in India. He has served as a consultant to the World Bank in Cameroon as well as to the Public Health Foundation of India. Zubin has a first degree in medicine from Delhi University and a MSc in Global Health and Population from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Mr John Warriner, Technical Officer

Responsible for matters related to governance, risk management and compliance, and IT.

John joined the Alliance in the fall of 2010 after working as the Administrative, Human Resources, and IT Manager at the Global Forum on Health Research in Geneva. He has extensive management and operations experience which has given him solid grounding for his achievements - most notable is the management and organization of 45+ satellite sessions at the bi-annual Global Symposium on Health Systems Research conference.