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Board of Trustees

icddr,b’s Board of Trustees comprises 17 health professionals and researchers representing both developed and developing countries.

The Board was created by an Ordinance of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. Three members are nominated by the People’s Republic of the Government of Bangladesh, with the World Health Organization and UNICEF nominating one member each. icddr,b’s Executive Director serves as the Member-Secretary.

The Board operates under the icddr,b Ordinance and follows the Rules of Procedure. The Board of Trustees’ roles and responsibilities include fund oversight; approving and monitoring the budget; setting broad institution-wide policies, as well as monitoring adherence to the Strategic Plan; employing, evaluating and supporting the Executive Director; maintaining the line between governance and management; and evaluating the Board’s own performance.



Professor Maxine Whittaker is the Dean, College of Public Health, Medical and Veterinary Sciences, at James Cook University, Townsville Australia. Prior to commencing this position in 2016, she was the Director of the Australian Centre for International and Tropical Health at the University of Queensland, Australia.

She has extensive experience in project and programme design in health and development, and for a variety of international development partner and NGO organizations and was recently the Director of the Australian Initiative for the Control and Elimination of Malaria, and the Secretariat for the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network, in which she remains an active member. She had worked for 10 years as a senior technical advisor to the Papua New Guinea Department of Health - advising the senior management team in disease control programmes, health policy development, sexual and reproductive health and monitoring and evaluation activities in support to the health sector in Papua New Guinea. Maxine Whittaker has developed academic training programmes in university settings in Australia, Fiji, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Switzerland, for in-service, Bachelors, Diploma and Masters levels. She has provided consultancy and technical support to the development of training activities using competency based teaching and adult learning methodologies, for face-to-face, self directed, facilitated learning environments, as well as innovative web based, CD-Rom, distance and video-conference delivery modes. She is a member of the Research Programme Review Panel of the Human Reproduction Programme of WHO and presently involved in health systems and social science research activities in malaria, sexual and reproductive health and one health.



Dr. Clemens, an expert in vaccine development and evaluation in developing countries with a career spanning academia, government and international organisations, was appointed Executive Director of icddr,b by its international Board of Trustees. A former research scientist at icddr,b from 1983-1988, Dr. Clemens transitioned from his previous position as Professor and Vice-Chairman of Epidemiology and founding Director of the Center for Global Infectious Diseases at the University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health to take up the new post.

Dr. Clemens’ previous roles include Chief of Epidemiology at the Center for Vaccine Development at the University of Maryland, and Chief of the Epidemiology Branch and Director of the World Health Organization International Collaborating Center for the Clinical Evaluation of Vaccines in Developing Countries at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the US National Institutes of Health. In 1999, Dr. Clemens became the founding Director-General of the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul, Korea, where he served until 2011. As a scientist, Dr. Clemens' research has focused on generating the evidence required for policy decisions about vaccine introduction in developing world populations, and innovative approaches to evaluating their effectiveness. He led the team that developed the first low-cost oral vaccine against cholera, which has recently deployed in Haiti, Guinea, Thailand, and Sierra Leone, and which is now being piloted in Dhaka.

In 2010, he was awarded the prestigious Sabin Gold Medal in recognition of his work. Dr. Clemens has published more than 350 peer-reviewed papers, and serves on the editorial boards of several international journals. He is an elected member of the American Epidemiology Society and a Fellow of both the American College of Epidemiology and the Infectious Disease Society of America. A member of multiple WHO expert advisory committees, Dr. Clemens is a graduate of Stanford (BS) and Yale (MD) Universities. He received his internal medicine training at Case Western Reserve University and his post-doctoral research training in clinical epidemiology as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Yale University.


Kazi Shofiqul Azam, Secretary, Economic Relations Division (ERD), Ministry of Finance, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh has been appointed a member of the Board of Trustees. He has replaced Mohammad Mejbahuddin who retired from the government service. 

Kazi Shofiqul Azam joined the Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance in December 2016 as the Secretary (in charge). Since joining Bangladesh Civil Service as a member of Audit and Accounts cadre in 1983, he has held several positions in different ministries and divisions of the government. Earlier as Additional Secretary, he headed the World Bank wing and Administration & Middle East wing.

Prior to that, he served as Joint Secretary (Budget) in Finance Division, Director (Finance) in BSFIC, Deputy Secretary (Development Budget) in Finance Division, Additional Controller General of Accounts, Director (Finance) of National Nutrition Project, Director, Works Audit Directorate, Chief Accounts Officer in Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare etc.

As Secretary (in charge), ERD, he represents the government in different local, regional and global platforms to steer the development effectiveness agenda. He is an Alternate Governor of World Bank Group and Asian Development Bank. He acts as the National Designated Authority (NDA) to the Green Climate Fund.

He obtained his Bachelor and Masters from the Department of Finance, University of Dhaka. He also holds an INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) Diploma on Course Design and Instructional Technique, organised by Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institute in Bangkok and has been recognised as an IDI Training Specialist.

Md. Serajul Huq Khan, Secretary at Health Services Division, MoHFW, Government of Bangladesh, is a civil servant. He earlier served as Secretary at Ministry of Science and Technology. He has worked for around 30 years in the different capacities such as Assistant Commissioner, Director, Deputy Secretary, Deputy Commissioner, Joint Secretary, Divisional Commissioner, Additional Secretary and Secretary to the government. 

He has a BA (Hons.) and MA in English from Jahangirnagar University. He attended training programme at home and abroad and has represented the government in different international development organisations including the UN. He was born in 1959 in Gopalganj, Bangladesh.

Dr Abbas Bhuiya was the Deputy Executive Director and Division Director of Health Systems and Population Studies Division (HSPSD) until 2016 after working in various scientific and managerial positions for 37 years as a highly accomplished researcher at icddr,b.

Dr Bhuiya has a PhD and MA in Demography from Australian National University, Canberra and an MA in Statistics from University of Chittagong. He was the second Deputy Executive Director of icddr,b and the first Bangladeshi to be in this position. His research interests were around social determinants of health, and developing and testing interventions to reduce socioeconomic inequalities in health. He established icddr,b's Chakaria campus and Chakaria Health and Demographic Surveillance System (CHDSS). He served on the Board of Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED) and was interim chair for more than a year. He was a member of the first Executive Committee of the Asian Population Association.

During his tenure at icddr,b, Dr Bhuiya worked as the Interim Executive Director in 2012 and contributed enormously in mentoring and retaining staff and developing the physical infrastructure. He was instrumental in initiating the Dr Mujibur Rahman Memorial Lecture and establishing the Dr Stan D' Souza Fellowship.His book icddr,b: A Star in the South captures his decade-long observations about the organisation.



Thérèse Dooley has 20 years of international work experience in the areas of water, sanitation and hygiene. With a background in environmental health, she has worked in Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho and for Ireland Aid in Zambia and South Africa.



G. Balakrish Nair is the Acting Regional Adviser in the Research, Policy and Cooperation Unit of the Communicable Diseases Department at the Regional office of the World Health Organization for South-East Asia located in New Delhi.
Prior to this he was the Executive Director of the Translational Health Science Technology Institute (THSTI), a new autonomous Institute of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, in Gurgaon, Haryana. He took up this position in October, 2011 and superannuated in November 2015.
He was previously the Director of the National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (NICED), Kolkata, India. He joined NICED in 1981 and worked there till April 2000 after which he took up a 7-year assignment at icddr,b as the Director of Laboratory Sciences Division.
Dr Nair’s research is on enteric pathogens with particular emphasis on Vibrio cholerae, the causative agent of the disease cholera. His interest has recently expanded to the Human Microbiome with particular interest in the human gut microbiota and he was instrumental in creating the Centre for Human Microbial Ecology at THSTI.
Dr Nair is a Fellow of all the major National Academies of India, Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences, Fellow of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing Nations, Trieste, Italy, Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and Member of the German Academy of Sciences (Leopoldina).
Among other awards, Dr Nair received the prestigious Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar award for Medical Sciences in 1998 for his contributions to the discovery of Vibrio cholerae O139 Bengal. Under his supervision, 29 students have obtained doctoral degrees. He is the author of over 500 research papers.


As Managing Director, Dr. Vega leads the Rockefeller Foundation’s work in Health including development of strategy, implementation of the Foundation’s current Transforming Health Systems Initiative, and pursuit of new work in the field. Prior to joining The Rockefeller Foundation, Dr. Vega served as Director of the Center of Public Health Policy at the Universidad del Desarrollo in Chile. Before working for the Universidad del Dessarrollo de Chile, she was Vice Minister of health in Chile, leading the country’s 13-step agenda for equity in health. In 2003, Dr. Vega served as a Director at the World Health Organization in Geneva, where she led the equity in health agenda, looking at the social determinants of health and health systems. Dr. Vega started her career as a medical doctor in Chile specializing in Family Medicine. She has a master’s degree in Public health from the Universidad de Chile and a Ph.D. in Public Health from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Mr. Kenneth M. Dye was the Auditor General of Canada from 1981-1991, under the Trudeau, Turner and Mulroney administrations. He was trained as a chartered accountant at the University of British Columbia and articled as a clerk with the firm of Campbell Sharp, a predecessor firm of Grant Thornton Chartered Accountants. He graduated with his MBA from Simon Fraser University in 1971. Mr. Dye previously served on the Board of Auditors of the United Nations for ten years, nine years as Chair.

During his term as Auditor-General, Mr. Dye reorganized the office to take advantage of new technologies and assisted many governments to develop their own government auditing bodies, including China, Vietnam and Russia. Dye served as President of the Worker’s Compensation Board of British Columbia and Senior Vice-President of the Cowater Accountability Group, a subsidiary of Cowater International Inc. Mr. Dye is semi-retired and now works as an independent international development consultant. He is a Co-Chair of the Capital Campaign Cabinet for The Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre Foundation. He has been married to Frances for 58 years and has three children and four grandchildren.

Dr Ragama is the Chief Research Officer at Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) and Senior Clinical Trialist at the INDEPTH-Network. He is also a Lead Scientist at Centre for Research in Therapeutic Sciences (CREATES), Strathmore University - a consortium of KEMRI, Strathmore University, African Centre for Clinical Trials (ACCT), Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
A malaria expert, Dr Ragama served in different capacities at WHO technical Committees and has been a peer reviewer of the East Africa Medical Journal, Tropical Medical and International Health and Malaria Journal, Malaria Journal, Vaccine Journal, Clinical Pharmacology Journal, Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine. He has over 25 years of experience in hospitals and clinical research.
He received his PhD in Clinical Pharmacology from University of Nairobi after getting a Masters of Medicine in Paediatrics previously graduating as a medical doctor. He has over 130 publications in peer-reviewed journals and three books on malaria, management of coma and prolonged seizures to his credit.

Demissie Habte is a pediatrician born and raised in Ethiopia. He completed his undergraduate medical education at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, and his pediatrics training at the New York Hospital – Cornell Medical Center. He spent the first three decades of his professional life in Ethiopia working as a clinician and as member of the Faculty of Medicine, Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, where he rose to become professor and chairman of the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health, and later the Dean of the Faculty. Currently, he is Chair of the Board of Trustees of the International Clinical Epidemiology Network. He has over 70 publications to his credit in diverse areas reflecting his interest, i.e. child health, medical education, public health, etc.

Other positions he has held in the past are : Executive Director of the International Centre for Diarrheal Diseases (ICDDR, B) in Dhaka, Bangladesh (1989-1997), Senior health specialist for the African region at the World Bank (Washington DC) (1997-2005), Founding International Director of the James P. Grant School of Public Health, BRAC University in Bangladesh (2005-2007).

He is a recipient of the Rosen von Rosenstein Medal of the Swedish Pediatric Society. He is a fellow of the African Academy of Sciences and Honorary Fellow of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He was recently inducted as the first President of the Ethiopian Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Habte also serves as a member of the DCP3 Advisory Committee to the Editors.

Dr Abdullah Baqui, MBBS, MPH, DrPH, is a professor of International Health and the Director of the International Center for Maternal and Newborn Health at Johns Hopkins University, USA. He is trained in medicine, public health, health systems, and infectious diseases epidemiology. He has extensive experience in public health research, training, education, and policy advocacy. He joined the Bloomberg School of Public Health of Johns Hopkins University in 2000. Earlier he served icddr,b in various capacities for 22 years. Working closely with the WHO and many other national and international organisations, he assists with the development of policies intended to improve public health.  He serves as the editor-in-chief of Journal of Health Population and Nutrition and as an honorary editorial consultant of the Lancet.

He has authored 248 scientific articles published in peer-reviewed journal and many other reports, working papers and policy briefs. His current research interests include design and evaluation of health interventions to improve health and survival of mothers, newborns, and children and implementation research to improve coverage, quality and equity of preventive and curative health interventions in large programs in low- and middle-income countries of South Asia and Sub Saharan Africa. Working with Bangladesh Ministry of Health, icddr,b and other NGOs, he has established the Projahnmo Study Group in Bangladesh. He has conducted pioneering research related to newborn, child and maternal health that influenced national and global policies and programs.

The other interests of Dr Baqui include use of evidence in policy and programmes, including the development of research capacity and the strengthening of public health training and education. He has mentored numerous Bangladeshi public health professionals.

Dr Thein Thein Htay is a Deputy Minister for Health and currently her main responsibility for the medical education as well as health services delivery in Myanmar. She is also an adjunct faculty member as well as an honorary Professor to the University of Public Health in Myanmar.

She obtained her Master of Health Science in population development and reproductive health from the John Hopkins Bloomberg University of Public Health in 2000. She earned a range of certificates on MCH/Family Planning including from UCLA and BKKBN in early 1990s. She received her Master of Public Health from the University of Medicine (1), Yangon in 1987. She also holds a medical degree from the University of Medicine (2), Yangon since 1977. Her career focused originally on maternal and child health, and then extends to reproductive health since 1996.

Dr Thein was one of the founding members of family planning program in Myanmar. In this capacity, she leads the public health division of the DOH throughout her career, with main thrust on meeting MDGs  4 & 5. She is also volunteering as a technical consultant to the one of key national NGOs, Myanmar Maternal and Child Welfare Association since 2003. She has been a research consultant to many UN funded RH projects. She also served as a member of Gender Advisory Panel, WHO-HQ from 1999 to 2004.  Also served as a regional steering committee member for the Lancet series of South East Asia Region’s  health issues and also a country lead for Lancet Myanmar Series 2014.

Currently, she is a member of International Steering Committee of 8th Asia Pacific Conference on Sexual & Reproductive Health and Rights. She is keen in integrating HIV and FP services since decades ago and have participated in every effort to make it happened at country level. Her keen interest and vast experience in medical education has been instrumental in advocating decision makers for the reform towards new paradigm of medical education system in Myanmar. Currently, she is leading the country’s initiatives towards Universal Health Coverage and malaria elimination, both to be fulfilled by 2030.

Nancy Cheng was appointed as Assistant Auditor General at the Office of the Auditor General of Canada in 2003.

As Assistant Auditor General for performance audits, she co-leads the performance audit practice for the auditor general reports to parliament.  In addition to managing the practice, she provides oversight to performance audits of a wide portfolio of departments and agencies and a number of subject matters. This includes audits focusing on the central agencies; finance and revenue; industry and economic development; science and technology; public safety; law and order; foreign affairs, immigration, and international/border activities; transportation and agriculture; and government-wide functions such as human resources management, service delivery and information technology, financial management and control, internal audits, and programme evaluation.

Previously, Ms Cheng was the Assistant Auditor General responsible for the audit of the public accounts of Canada, the Canada pension plan, the employment insurance account, and a number of Crown corporations and federal entities, notably the Business Development Bank of Canada, the Canada Post Corporation, Marine Atlantic Inc., the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions, five public sector pension plans, the Royal Canadian Mint, and Via Rail Canada Inc. 

She also oversaw the Office’s operations in Montréal and Halifax, and was responsible for the audit of two UN agencies: UNESCO and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Prior to her appointment as Assistant Auditor General, Ms Cheng was seconded to the Communications Security Establishment as Associate Deputy Chief for Information Technology Security.

Ms Cheng served for five years as a member of the Council of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario (now CPA Ontario), and also took on the role of Treasurer. She was a member of its Applications Committee from 1998 to 2010, serving as Chair of the Committee for the last two years. She is currently the Chair of CPA Magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board and served seven years on the Information Management and Technology Advisory Committee of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada. She served for ten years as a member of the Executive Committee of the Ottawa CA Association, and six years on the Board of Directors of the EDP Auditors Association (now ISACA) in Ottawa, the last two years as Treasurer. She has lectured at Algonquin College and taught auditing at the University of Ottawa as a part-time professor. 

Ms Cheng is a member of the Board of Governors of Algonquin College and the Board’s Executive Committee, and has chaired its Audit and Risk Management Committee since 2013.  She is a Director on the Board for CCAF, the Canadian Comprehensive Auditing Foundation.  Ms Cheng also serves as a member of the Advisory Board for the Salvation Army in Ottawa.

In 2017, Ms Cheng was appointed to the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AASB) of CPA Canada.  The AASB sets authoritative standards and guidance for audit and other assurance engagements in Canada. Before joining the Office, Ms Cheng was a Computer Audit Manager with a major firm of chartered accountants, where she articled and qualified as a Chartered Accountant (now CPA). In March 2000, she was elected to the Fellowship of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario (now FCPA). 


Professor Anu Maria Kantele-Häkkinen is a professor of infectious diseases at Helsinki University, Finland and a visiting professor at the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden. She is also Head of Clinic for Travel Medicine, Medical Centre Aava, Helsinki and Head of Villa Karo Research Center, Benin and Head of HUCH Vaccination Center, Helsinki University Hospital.

She has dual docent degrees in Infectious Diseases (2010) and Immunology (2002) and certified specialist qualifications in infectious diseases and internal medicine following Doctor of Medical Sciences and Licentiate of Medicine degrees from University of Helsinki and an MSc in Cell Biology from University of Jyväskylä. She also holds Diplomas in Tropical Medicine on Southeast Asia and South America, and a Fellowship of Faculty of Travel Medicine in Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow.

She has editorial board memberships with Travel Medicine and Infectious Diseases and Finnish Medical Journal and has been a reviewer with over 10 international journals. She has managed a number of large research grants including vaccine trials as a principal investigator and supervised doctoral dissertations at the university level. She has also been in the scientific advisory boards of Pfizer, Novartis, Crucell, GSK and Valneva.

Prof Kantele-Häkkinen has nearly 200 research articles in scientific journals, edited volumes and textbooks. She is affiliated with a number of institutes including The Finnish Society for International Health (FSIH), International Society of Travel Medicine (ISTM), TropNet (Network of Tropical Medicine Experts in Europe), Nordic Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (NSCMID), Northern European Conference on Travel Medicine (NECTM), founder and member of North European Initiative for Travel Medicine Education (NITME) among others. 



Mr Syed Monjurul Islam joined icddr,b as Deputy Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer in February 2017 after retiring from his role as Secretary, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Government of Bangladesh in October 2016.

As a senior member of the Bangladesh Civil Service, Mr Islam has previously represented the government on a wide range of committees, which include The Global Fund, GAVI and the icddr,b Board of Trustees. He has vast experience in health, finance, project/programme management, governance, bilateral funding and working with donors, as well as team building. As Health Secretary Mr Islam was responsible for overseeing the Ministry of Health’s annual budget of approximately US$2 billion and 200,000 staff across seven executing agencies.

Mr Islam has a PGD in ‘Development Planning Techniques’ from the Graduate School of Development Studies, Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague Netherlands (1997), and an MBA from the Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka (1983) and a Bachelor of Commerce, from the University of Dhaka (1979).