For over 40 years, Health Action International has worked with a vibrant global network of independent experts in 70 countries around the world, with a selection of current members listed below. Together we share information and expertise to solve problems related to medicines access internationally.

Dr Adriana Ivama Brummell

Dr Adriana Ivama Brummell,PhD, is an international health, health surveillance and regulation specialist. She has international experience in engaging stakeholders for promoting policy and regulatory changes regarding medicines and other health technologies, as well as strengthening the education and practice of health professionals with an interprogrammatic approach. Focus areas of work include health system reforms; policies, regulation, research, access, incorporation and rational use of medicines and other health technologies; pharmaceutical services based in primary health care; human rights and social participation.

Line Buan

Line Buan is a Norwegian hospital pharmacist with a passion for rational medicine use and availability for all, and against antibiotic resistance and illegal medicines.

Dr Constantinos Christopoulos

Dr Constantinos Christopoulos, MD, PhD, is a Consultant Physician and Haematologist, and Director of the Department of Internal Medicine at the Amalia Fleming Hospital in Athens, Greece. His interests include medical education, cost-effectiveness analysis, and the promotion of the rational use of drugs. He is a member of HAI Europe association and has translated WHO/HAI’s manual “Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion – A Practical Guide” into Greek.

Andrew Defor

Andrew is a Professor of Global Health Security and Diplomacy, Senior Diplomatic & Government Relations Strategist and a Clinical Pharmacologist by training. His work focuses on global health security, foreign policy, diplomacy, multilateral negotiations, policy advocacy and government relations. He is currently Chief Executive Director and Director of Policy and Government Relations at the Center for Global Health Security and Diplomacy, where he directs global health foreign policy research and serves as Chief Advisor to diplomats and officials from G7/G20 governments, WHO, World Bank, AU, EU and NATO. Prior to being appointed as Chief Executive Director, Andrew worked as a Policy Advisor in various departments at the World Health Organization including the departments of essential drugs and medicines and Health Financing. He has also consulted for a number of NGOs including CARE Canada and UN Agencies like UNICEF and UNESCO. Andrew was honored as Senior Fellow at the Canadian International Council and has published widely at the UN and in high-ranking peer-reviewed journals. He has taught Global Affairs at Seneca College, Niagara and Centennial Colleges and  is currently a Professor at Mohawk College and Algonquin University Colleges in Canada. Andrew holds qualifications from the University of London and the University of Oxford, and has degrees in Pharmacology, Biotechnology, International Affairs and Global Health.

Tinotenda Dzikiti

A financial intelligence mogul and an agent of change. Ambassador and an advocate for Diabetes who’s hoping to explore and spread awareness world-wide as part of the Zimbabwe Diabetes Association (ZDA). The Zimbabwe Diabetes Association (ZDA) is a non profit Humanitarian organisation representing the interest of the growing number of people with diabetes; those at risk and their health care givers. ZDA hopes to improve the spiritual/physical and socio-economic welfare of people with diabetes in Zimbabwe and Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Zimabwe Diabetes Association (ZDA) is a non profit Humanitarian organisation representing the interest of the growing number of people with diabetes; those at risk and their health care givers. Thus, as ZDA we’re hoping to improve the spiritual/physical and socio-economic welfare of people with diabetes in Zimbabwe and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr Nafis Faizi

Dr Nafis Faizi is an Assistant Professor in Community Medicine at JN Medical College, AMU, Aligarh. His primary research areas include adolescent health, non-communicable diseases, randomised impact evaluations and health systems, primary health care and diseases at the intersection of public health and poverty. Apart from primary research, he works as a trainer for the Epidemiological Research Unit and Public Health Research and Assistance Society (PHRASe)  for different aspects of research methods, design, biostatistics, software and research dissemination. He advocates health as a fundamental right and for its public provision.

Vildan Gocmen

Vildan Gocmen is a pharmacist working at the Turkish T.C. Ministry of Health Yalova Provincial Health Directorate. He also organises regional activities and projects regarding the rational use of medicines for pharmacists, physicians and the general public.

José María Gutiérrez

José María Gutiérrez is Emeritus Professor at the University of Costa Rica. For many years he has done research at Instituto Clodomiro Picado (School of Microbiology, University of Costa Rica) in snake venom composition and mechanisms of action, as well as in the analysis of the preclinical efficacy of antivenoms and in projects dealing with the epidemiology and clinical aspects of snakebite envenomings in Latin America. He has been involved in the development of new antivenoms for various regions of the world and collaborates with a regional network of public antivenom manufacturers in Latin America. Gutiérrez has been actively involved in international advocacy efforts aimed at raising the awareness of the impact of snakebites and the need to ensure antivenom accessibility on a global basis. He collaborates with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) in programs related to snakebite envenoming and antivenoms.

Joel Lexchin

Joel Lexchin, MD, Professor Emeritus, has been active in the HAI network for 30 years, and is now a member of the HAI Europe Association. He has researched, written, and talked publicly about pharmaceutical policy, both in Canada and internationally. Prof. em. Lexchin is currently based at York University, in Toronto.

Donald W. Light

Professor Donald W. Light is an activist scholar who has published works on ethical challenges posed by commercial health insurance, the effects of managed care on professional care, and the consequences of developing new medicines through patent-driven research. Key documents include: The Risks of Prescription Drugs (Columbia University Press, 2010) and Good Pharma: The Public Health Model of the Mario Negri Institute (Palgrave 2015). Prof Light is affiliated with Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine.

Thea Litschka-Koen

Thea Litschka-Koen is the founder of the Eswatini Anitvenom Foundation and aims to raise funds to treat snake bite victims in Eswatini. Snakebites are a disease of circumstance and poverty. The majority of snakebite victims are those who live in poor or rural communities.These bites often result in loss of life, a limb or even the ability to work because of a life-changing injury. Timely treatment with appropriate antivenom, along with modern medical care can prevent, reverse or at least minimise the major clinical aspects of snake envenoming. Sadly antivenoms are incredibly expensive when compared with the average income of the people most likely to require them. Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland), located in Southern Africa, is especially affected by snakebites. An abundance of dangerous venomous snakes and a stretched medical budget can manifest into a serious snakebite problem.

Paula de Oliveira

Paula Regina Simões de Oliveira is one of Angola’s leading experts on snakebite. She is the Dean at the University of Katyavala Bwila’s Faculty of Medicine. Her expertise covers epidemiology, treatment, clinical syndromes and community education. Paula has developed educational programs for HCW’s in the diagnosis and treatment of snakebites as well as community awareness and education tools for local populations. Paula is also involved in studies on local Angolan snake venoms and researches local snake distributions of the country.Paula has participated in over 70 scientific events, 7 research projects and 15 scientific articles includes authoring a book and co-authoring 2 books. She was also presented 2 gold medals for her work at the innovation fair in Nuremburg, Germany in 2015.

Dr Naoual Oukkache

Dr Naoual Oukkache leads the Venoms and Toxins Laboratory at the Pasteur Institute of Morocco. Driven by passion, Naoual excels in animal venoms and antivenoms focusing on proteomics, pharmacology, antibody engineering and preclinical studies. She trained and collaborated with several institutes including Marseille University of Medicine, Butantan Institute, Cuernavaca Biotechnology Institute, Kuala Lumpur Monash University; as well as the Atheris and Bioclon companies. Naoual currently participates in clinical studies and develops innovative antivenoms. Dr Oukkache is co-author of more than 50 scientific publications, member of the editorial board of international journals, member of scientific committees and societies, and member of the WHO expert committee on ophidian envenomations. She is also a member of several national and international projects has recently been nominated as a champion in the international campaign “Women Champions of Snakebite” and selected to participate in the international awareness campaign against ophidian envenomations.

Dr Rusla Anne Springer

Dr Rusla Anne Springer is an Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Saskatchewan. Her work focuses on the ethics of pharmaceutical industry omnipresence in healthcare research and practice. Her area of inquiry is among the most pressing of the social, political, economic, scientific and ethical challenges facing the sustainability of health care systems around the world. Dr Springer’s published works in this area problematise the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and the profession of nursing and are intended to raise awareness amongst nurses about the magnitude of the purview of the pharmaceutical industry and its insidious ‘creep’ into nursing’s intimate relational spaces.

Staffan Svensson

Dr Staffan Svensson, MD, PhD, is a specialist in Family Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology who works at the GP Centre in Hjällbo, a suburb of Gothenburg, Sweden. He has a long-standing interest in rational drug use, side-effects, medicalisation and overdiagnosis. He is active in a committee of the Swedish Association of General Practice that deals with these issues, and has been a member of the HAI Europe Association since the early 1990’s.

Romulus Whitaker

Romulus Whitaker was born in New York City in 1943 and came to India in 1951 with mother Doris and step-father Rama, son of Kamaladevi and Harindranath Chattopadhyaya. Rom and colleagues set up the Madras Snake Park in 1969, Crocodile Bank in 1976, Andamans Centre of Island Ecology in 1989, Agumbe Rainforest Research Station in 2005. His awards include Whitley Fund for Nature, Rolex Award for Enterprise, Peter Scott Award, Salim Ali Award, and Padma Shri. He has several hundred scientific and popular publications.

Michael Starkey

Michael G. Starkey is a conservation biologist, ecological consultant and public speaker working to educate and involve the public in wildlife conservation issues. Michael has a diverse background in the field of wildlife conservation, and he has worked as an ecological consultant for environmental consulting firms and government agencies such as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish & Wildlife. He has worked with a wide diversity of wildlife, including San Francisco gartersnakes, giant gartersnakes, California tiger salamanders, bats, ringtails and Yucatán black howler monkeys. Michael has developed and implemented community-based conservation initiatives that focused on the protection of wildlife populations in Belize and Ghana. Michael is the Founder of Save The Snakes and serves as Executive Director. He uses his knowledge of snake ecology, positive attitude to inspire, and enthusiasm for snake conservation to engage the public with protecting these beautiful animals. Michael has given presentations around the world to inform the public about the threats facing wildlife and to help nurture a society that respects and appreciates nature and wildlife.

Priyanka Kadam

Priyanka Kadam runs Snakebite Healing & Education Society (SHE-INDIA.ORG), a national level civil society group in India. She is a part of WHO’s roster of experts. In 2018, she produced an award-winning advocacy film, “The dead don’t talk” (, a powerful advocacy tool worldwide. The initiative has done seminal work by producing educational materials in 14 regional languages supporting volunteers and organizations across India. The team also does capacity building of doctors in Primary Health Centers (PHC) and Rural Hospitals (RH).

Priyanka is a published author with PLoS NTD and Toxicon X Journals and a reviewer with PLoS NTD, Toxicon, ASTMH, RSTMH and Frontiers in Tropical Diseases – NTD. Along with Community awareness & Advocacy, the organization also does capacity building of medical staff.

Shyamala Mathavi

Shyamala Mathavi the director of JEEVAKARUNYA TRUST 942/BK4 started the above organization in 2004, addressing the neglected unspoken & unaddressed issues of the society. Currently fighting the depression among youth & women, along with fighting snakebite on the frontline in the high-risk agricultural & rural communities of southern India.

In 2013, Shyamala won a UN-Habitat Recognition Award for her comprehensive direct-impact activities as solutions through at her “National Snakebite Initiative” such as:

  • Daily snakebite victim case studies and advocacy
  • Snakebite investigation, documentation and victim welfare support
  • Rural awareness and educational outreach
  • “Snake Safety Officer Skill” trainings
  • Establishing “Snake Safety” zones

Shyamala has worked to scale-up towards the establishment of a Snakebite Rehabilitation Training & Information center to facilitate and bridge the gap between the international pioneers, researchers and rural victim.