Plenary speakers


The 2018 Congress brought top-notch plenary speakers who have sparked innovative thinking and ignited new perspectives on cancer control and public health issues.

Watch the videos of the Plenaries

 What's next after the UN High Level Meeting on non-communicable diseases (NCDs)?

Tuesday 2 October 2018, 11:30 - 13:00, Plenary Theatre

Dr Christopher Paul Wild, UK
Director, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)


Dr Wild obtained his PhD in 1984 from the University of Manchester, UK. He did post-doctoral work at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Lyon, France and the Netherlands Cancer Institute in Amsterdam.


In 1987, he rejoined IARC as a staff scientist and later became Chief of the Unit of Environmental Carcinogenesis. 


Dr Wild was elected Director of IARC, the cancer agency of the World Health Organization, from 1st January 2009 and was subsequently re-elected for a second five-year term of office.


His research has focused on understanding the role of environmental and behavioural risk factors in human cancer. While at IARC he has pursued a strategy of cancer research for cancer prevention. He has also placed emphasis on training the next generation of cancer researchers worldwide.


During his plenary talk, Dr Wild has reviewed the sixth version of GLOBOCAN, the sources and methods used in compiling cancer incidence and mortality estimates for 2018 in 184 countries worldwide, and briefly described the key results by cancer site.


Katie Dain, United Kingdom

NCD Alliance,Chief Executive Officer 


Katie Dain is Chief Executive Officer of the NCD Alliance, a global network of civil society organisations dedicated to transforming the fight against non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Katie has worked with the NCD Alliance since its founding in 2009. Katie is widely recognised as a leading advocate and expert on NCDs. She is currently a member of the WHO Independent High-Level Commission on NCDs, co-chair of the WHO Civil Society Working Group on the UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs, and a member of The Lancet Commission on NCDIs of the Poorest Billion. Her experience covers a range of sustainable development issues, including global health, gender equality and women’s empowerment, violence against women, and women’s health. Before joining the NCD Alliance, she held a series of policy and advocacy posts in international NGOs and government, including the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) in Brussels, leading their global policy and advocacy programme; the UK Government as a gender policy adviser; Womankind Worldwide, a women’s rights organisation; and the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), a HIV and sexual health charity. She has a BA in History from Sheffield University, and a Master’s degree in Violence, Conflict and International Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), 


Katie Dain has focused on the outcomes and recommendations resulting from the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs that took place in September this year.

Improving outcomes through healthcare systems

Wednesday 3 October 2018, 11:00 - 12:30, Plenary Theatre 
Kirsty Sword Gusmao

Ms Kirsty Sword Gusmao, Australia

Ms Sword Gusmão AO is a breast cancer survivor and the founding director of the Alola Foundation which seeks to improve the lives of women in Timor-Leste. The Foundation’s motto is “Strong Women, Strong Nation” and it has a strong record of enabling girls to complete their secondary schooling as well as contributing to a dramatic reduction in rates of infant mortality through promotion of exclusive breastfeeding, family planning and immunisation.


In 2015, Kirsty Sword Gusmão was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for her distinguished service to Australia-East Timor relations through the development of mutual co-operation and understanding, particularly in the education sector, and as an advocate for improved health and living conditions for the Timorese people.


Ms Sword Gusmão has called for a life-course approach to women's health to reach the NCD-related targets within the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 during her plenary talk.


Dr. Sanjeev Arora, US
Dr Arora is the Founder & Director of Project ECHO, and the distinguished Professor of Medicine with tenure in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of New Mexico (UNM) School of Medicine.
Project ECHO® (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) dramatically improves both capacity and access to specialty care for rural and underserved populations by linking expert inter-disciplinary specialist teams with primary care clinicians through teleECHO™ clinics, in which the experts mentor primary care clinicians to help them manage their patient cases and share their expertise via mentoring, guidance, feedback and didactic education. This helps rural clinicians develop knowledge and self-efficacy so they can adopt research findings and deliver best practice care for complex and chronic health conditions.
Dr Arora has explored the applicability of the ECHO model to cancer control, and how the initiative could contribute to achieving universal health coverage.
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Dr. M. R. Rajagopal, India
Dr Rajagopal is a renowned palliative care physician as well as the Founder & Chairman of Pallium, a palliative care non-governmental organisation based in Kerala, India. In 2014, Dr Rajagopal was honored by Human Rights Watch with Alison Des Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism, in recognition of his tireless efforts to defend the right of patients to live and die with dignity.
Dr Rajagopal has focused on palliative care as a human right for cancer patients. Watch the trailer.

 The economics of prevention

Thursday 4 October 2018, 11:00 - 12:30, Plenary Theatre
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Dr Rachel Nugent, US

Rachel Nugent is Vice President for Global Non-communicable Diseases at RTI International. She joined RTI in February 2016 to lead a global initiative to prevent and reduce the health and economic burdens of chronic non-communicable diseases in low- and middle-income countries.


Prior to this position, Rachel was Associate Professor in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington and Director of the Disease Control Priorities Network. She has advised the World Health Organization, the U.S. Government, and non-profit organizations on the economics and policy environment of NCDs. She is a member of WHO’s Expert Advisory Panel on Management of Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs), the Abraaj Health Care Fund Social Impact Committee, and The Lancet Commission on NCDIs of the Poorest Billion. She led a Lancet Task Force and Series on NCDs and Economics (2018).


She served on the U.S. Institute of Medicine Committee on Economic Evaluation for Investments in Children, Youth, and Families (2015-2016), was co-chair of the IOM Workshop on Country-Level Decision Making for Control of Chronic Diseases (2012), and a member of the IOM Committee on Promoting Cardiovascular Health in the Developing World (2008-2010).

Rachel focuses on using economic analysis for priority-setting in health, and has worked with global and national institutions to increase use of evidence for decision-making. Her recent work includes tracking donor funding on NCDs, and assessing costs and benefits of NCD policies and interventions. She received her M.Phil. and Ph.D. degrees in economics from the George Washington University in Washington, DC, USA.



Dr Frank J. Chaloupka, US

Frank J. Chaloupka is a Research Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago and Director of the UIC Health Policy Center. He holds appointments in the School of Public Health’s Division of Health Policy and Administration, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Department of Economics.  


Hundreds of professional publications and presentations have resulted from Dr. Chaloupka's research on the effects of prices, policies, and other environmental factors on tobacco use, alcohol use and abuse, illicit drug use, diet, physical activity, obesity, and related outcomes.


Dr Chaloupka has focused on fiscal policy and cancer prevention:

unhealthy behaviours, including tobacco use, excessive drinking, unhealthy diet, and physical inactivity, are leading causes of cancers and other non-communicable diseases. Fiscal policies, particularly excise taxation, can be used to curb these behaviours and promote health, while at the same time can improve government budgets by raising revenues and cutting costs.


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Dr Rob Moodie, Australia
Dr Moodie is the eminent Professor of Public Health at the College of Medicine, University of Malawi, and Professor of Public Health at the University of Melbourne's School of Population and Global Health (MSPGH). 
He chairs the Gavi Vaccine Alliance’s Evaluation Advisory Committee, and advises the World Health Organization in the areas of Non Communicable Diseases and Health Promotion. 
Dr Moodie has talked about the transferability of prevention strategies from high resource countries to low resource countries.