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Global Health Advocacy Seminars

Global Health: Developing Leaders

These seminars aim to enthuse and educate healthcare professionals about ways in which they can get involved in global health.  They set out to provide insight and guidance on how to develop policy positions and influence decision-makers, equipping individuals to be future leaders in global health advocacy.  The seminars are designed to be interactive, with a Question-Time format that relies on questions from, and engagement with, members of the audience.  A drinks reception or social event afterwards provides an opportunity for ongoing discussion and further questions, and of course for like-minded individuals to network, exchange ideas, and facilitate collaborations.  They are free to attend and open to all.

We recently published a letter in the Lancet about these seminars, in which we outlined the importance of educating tomorrow’s UK global health leaders so that they can realise lasting change, by providing them not only with knowledge but also the skills to assess need and subsequently identify, engage with, and influence key policy makers, politicians, and the public.

We are grateful to our partners at the Royal College of Physicians International Office and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine for their support with these events.  If you have any feedback on previous seminars or suggestions for future titles or speakers, please get in touch:



LSHTM Series: 2016/2017

Forced displacement: Health and human rights in a challenging environment

Venue: John Snow Lecture Theatre, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT
Date: Thursday 19th October 2017
Time: 6:15 – 7:45 p.m.  Followed by a drinks reception at the Pump Handle Bar, LSHTM.


In 2016, 25.6 million people, or one person in 113, had been forcibly displaced worldwide, both internally within national boundaries (40.8 million) and across borders (24.5 million). Not only are the numbers of those forcibly displaced increasing but these populations are also experiencing a rise in preventable diseases, deterioration in mental health and neglect of chronic diseases.

This seminar explored important health issues for these populations, including provision of healthcare to populations in different migration phases and the responsiveness of receiving health care systems. Broader political and legal barriers, such as protectionist policies and legal status and restrictions were also discussed.  This seminar challenged perceptions and raise awareness of some of the complex issues involved in providing healthcare for forcibly displaced people globally.

Dr. Laura Nellums,  Research Associate, Imperial College London

Dr. Natasha Howard,  Assistant Professor, Global Health & Conflict, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.
Susan Elden,  Department for International Development (DfID)
Dr. Anna Miller,  UK Programme Policy & Advocacy Manager, Doctors of the World, UK/Medecins du Monde

The event is available online here.



Crisis in the NHS: What is the way forward?

Venue: John Snow Lecture Theatre, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT
Date: Thursday 27th April 2017
Time: 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

This seminar asked, “Is the NHS in crisis?”  How is the NHS coping with increased demand and pressures to deliver excellence, in a context of increasingly limited resources and ongoing structural change?  Is our current model of healthcare sustainable in the current political climate?  What are the alternatives?

Professor Nicholas Mays,  Professor of Health Policy, LSHTM

Professor Neena Modi,  Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, and Professor of Neonatal Medicine, Imperial College London.
Dr. Ben White,  Bring Back The NHS/Justice4Health
Dr. Jeeves Wijesuriya,  Chair, BMA Junior Doctors Committee

You can listen to the seminar here.


The Changing Face of the Sex Trade

Venue: Manson Lecture Theatre, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT
Date: Thursday 8th December 2016
Time: Registration from 6:00 p.m. Seminar 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Held in conjunction with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Amid growing advocacy to decriminalise the sex industry on public health and other grounds, this seminar brought speakers from different perspectives to explore the potential public health impacts, risks and benefits of different legislative models relating to the sex industry.

Dr Lucy Platt
, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Alex Feis-Bryce
, CEO, UK Network of Sex Projects
Laura Watson, spokeswoman, English Collective of Prostitutes
Dr. Belinda Brooks-Gordon, reader in psychology and social policy, assistant dean for equality from Birkbeck University.
Heather Brunskell-Evans, Nordic Model Now!

Regional Seminars Series 3: 2014/2015

Gain or Drain:  Migration and the NHS

Venue: Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regents Park, London NW1 4LE

Date: Tuesday 3rd November 2015  18:30-20:00

This seminar will discuss the interaction between migration and the NHS, in terms of both usage and the delivery of healthcare in the UK. To what degree is the NHS dependent on migrants who comprise a significant proportion of its workforce? What does charging for healthcare mean in regards to human rights, public health and economic terms? And, what are the healthcare implications for the UK of the current refugee crisis?


Dr. Philipa Mladovsky, Assistant Professor in International Development, LSE

Dr. Angela Burnett, Freedom from Torture
Dr. Clare Shortall, Doctors Of The World
Dr. Derek Summerfield, London Institute of Psychiatry
Mr. Edwin Sesange, Out And Proud Diamond Group

Forces of Nature:  Climate change migration and the role of health professionals


Venue: Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regents Park, London NW1 4LE

Date: 3rd June 2015

This event discussed the effects of climate change on population movement and the subsequent impact on health. Should the term ‘climate refugee’ be established, and would this be helpful to those affected? How can healthcare systems address the problems and opportunities that climate change and environmental migration bring?

Chaired by:

Prof. Paul Wilkinson Public & Environmental Health Research Unit, LSHTM
Dr. Ilan Kelman,UCL Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction
Prof Hugh Montgomery, director of the UCL Institute for Human Health and Performance
Hugh Grant-Peterkin, Centre for Sustainable Healthcare
Alex Randall,  UK Climate Change and Migration Coalition.


Contagion of Fear: Ebola and global health security responses

Venue: Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regents Park, London NW1 4LE

Date:  27th November 2014

This event addressed the current Ebola crisis in West Africa and analysed the international community’s response to the outbreak.  What caused the delayed response by the WHO/UN, and what triggered individual state responses?  How might travel bans affect control efforts?  How can health professionals in the UK contribute to the global response, and will this outbreak affect future global health security responses? 

Chaired by:

Dr Titilola Banjoko, Africa Recruit
Dr David Mabey, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Dr Colin Brown, Alma Mata Global Health Network/King’s College London
Ms Ali Readhead, Tony Blair Africa Governance Initiative/Sierra Leone MoH
Dr Michael Edelstein, Chatham House

Liverpool: Global attitudes to dying 

Date:  15 October 2014, Liverpool Medical Institution

This seminar in Mersey aimed to examine attitudes to death and end of life care around the world. The discussion explored different perspective to dying and how these shape end of life and palliative care. What are the models for palliative care worldwide? Who delivers this care and what barriers exist to access?


Dr Anne Merriman, Hospice Africa
Prof John Ellershaw, University of Liverpool
Prof Tony Simpson, University of Manchester
Dr Sudad Jawad, Cardiff & Vale University Trust
Dr Mary Bunn, Queenscourt Hospice, Southport

Patient safety in low and middle income countries: Ethics and the junior doctor’s responsibilities

Venue: Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regents Park, London NW1 4LE

Date: 25th September 2014

This seminar explored ethical issues and challenging scenarios that doctors may encounter whilst working in low resource settings.  A panel of speakers discussed their personal experiences, present ethical arguments, and reviewed existing guidance to support doctors working abroad.

Chaired by:

Professor John Porter, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Dr. Gareth Walker, Doctors of the World UK
Mr. Michael Stark, DfE/DfID/DoH/Cabinet Office
Dr. Gareth Lewis, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health

Apps, maps and cyber chats: how technology can be harnessed for global health


Venue: Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regents Park, London NW1 4LE

Date: 19th June 2014

How can technological innovations be employed in low-resource settings to address global health issues?  Are these tools diverting resources from ensuring sustainable health systems and can they really hold value for money in global health settings?  How can the developed world learn from innovations taking place elsewhere and incorporate them into existing health systems?  

Chaired by:

Dr Caroline Free, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Mr Chris Phillips, MapAction
Dr Tariq Sadiq, St. George’s Hospital/eST12 Consortium
Dr Susie Whitwell, Medicine Africa
Mr Alan Hardiman, T-Systems.

Responding to Emergencies:   The challenges of NGO competition

Venue: Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regents Park, London NW1 4LE

Date: 27th March 2014

This seminar explored the immediate response to emergency situations requiring humanitarian or healthcare intervention.  What challenges arise from having multiple agencies arriving simultaneously?  Is there a balance of power at play, and how do they interact with each other and with pre-existing health systems?  The discussion considered examples of emergency situations where the response has been effective, and of situations that have been less successful.

Chaired by:
Annie Devonport – Head of Programmes and Accountability, Disasters Emergency Committee
Dr. Michael Pelly – Member of initial Merlin team; previously worked for the Red Cross and Save the Children Fund, Malawi
Dr. Amy Hughes – UK International Emergency Trauma Register
Mr. Steve Mannion – St. George’s University, Royal College of Surgeons
Dr. Aula Abbara – Hand in Hand for Syria

Series 2:  2013

Travellers and other minority communities: navigating the NHS and alternative approaches to health

Venue: Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regents Park, London NW1 4LE

Date: 28th November 2013

This seminar aimed to build awareness of communities that use the NHS in a limited way, or have difficulties with accessing NHS services, such as some Gypsy and Irish Traveller communities. It also looked at whether there are other mechanisms for managing health within these communities and what role mainstream health services should play.

Chaired by:

Dr David Napier, University College London
Yvonne MacNamara, The Travellers Movement
Prof Volker Scheid, University of Westminster
Kathryn Finlay, Ezer Leyoldos

Sex, contraception and HIV – a global perspective

Venue: Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regents Park, London NW1 4LE

Date: 19th September 2013

This seminar addressed key issues around sexual health such as growing levels of STIs, late presentation for HIV and high teenage pregnancy rates. The panel examined these issues using various international examples and perspectives.

Chaired by:

Prof Jane Anderson, Homerton Hospital, London
Winnie Sseruma, Christian Aid
Dr Ernestina Coast, London School of Economics
Dr Ceppie Merry, St James’ Hospital, Dublin

Austerity and Health – costing lives?

Venue: Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regents Park, London NW1 4LE

Date: 4th July 2013

This seminar considered potential adverse effects on population health of austerity measures and aimed to provide potential advocates with insight into the different arguments surrounding this issue and give guidance on how to influence decision-makers.


Dr Aaron Reeves, Research Associate, Department of Sociology, University of Cambridge
Mr.Thomas Cawston, Research Director of Reform
Dr Elias Kondilis, Research Fellow, Queen Mary’s Global Health, Policy and Innovation Unit
Dr Louise Irvine, Chair of the Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign

Seeking refuge – effective advocacy for refugees and asylum seekers

Venue: Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regents Park, London NW1 4LE

Date: 30th May 2013

This seminar aimed to build awareness of the key issues that refugees and asylum seekers may face and how best we can protect and promote their health and wellbeing.  After brief introductory speeches from the panel, the audience were led through a Question Time-style plenary discussion of the various perspectives of key organisations in the field.



Series 1:  2011/2012

Under the influence: Alcohol and Advocacy

Venue: Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regents Park, London NW1 4LE

Date: 21st June 2012

A variety of stakeholders shape the health of populations. Industry is recognised to play a key part in health policy, but their level of involvement is the subject of wide debate. Using the example of alcohol, this seminar looked at how advocacy works at many levels, from patient behaviour to legislation. After brief introductory speeches from the panel, Sir Ian Gilmore led the audience through a plenary discussion about the various perspectives on how to reduce the harm caused by alcohol.

Chaired by:

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Royal College of Physicians
Dr Lesley Graham, a leader of the Scottish minimum pricing campaign
Elizabeth Woodeson, Department of Health.
Professor Mark Bellis, Director, Centre for Public health at Liverpool John Moores University

Policy and politicians: How to engage

Venue: Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regents Park, London NW1 4LE

Date: 26th April 2012

 Looking at health policy development and implementation, this seminar provided potential advocates with insight and guidance on how to reach policy positions and influence decision-makers. With speakers including former NHS chief executive Nigel Crisp, it aimed to enable those working in health partnerships to engage effectively in the UK, EU and internationally.

This event was supported by the Tropical Health and Education Trust (THET).

Chaired by:

Lord Nigel Crisp, former chief executive of the NHS.
Lisa Cunningham, senior public affairs and PR officer, RCP
Andrew Jones, senior partnerships manager, THET

Advocacy in partnership: bringing voices together

Venue: Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regents Park, London NW1 4LE

Date: 26th January 2012

Global health improvements are often brought about by collective voices making powerful cases on specific issues. Advocacy works best in partnership through the joint efforts of individuals and organisations working together across disciplines and countries. This seminar explored practical examples of collective advocacy.

This event was supported by the Royal College of General Practitioners.


Dr Ike Anya, Public Health Foundation Nigeria and Nigeria Health Watch
Aaron Oxley, executive director, Results UK
Dr Gabby Ivbujaro, World Federation of Mental Health and Global Family Doctor Working Party on Mental Health 

Non-Communicable Diseases and the 2011 UN summit: Future trends in global health

Venue: Royal College of Physicians, 11 St Andrews Place, Regents Park, London NW1 4LE

Date: 29th September 2011

The rise in levels of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) across the world was recently highlighted at the UN summit. This inaugural seminar aimed to explain the roles of the multinational agencies in this agenda and look how the summit could influence the focus of global health.  Learning objectives included:  Appreciation of the current burden of NCDs globally; Identification of the type of multinational agencies that may be involved in this shaping the policy agenda, and exploring the reasons behind their involvement;  Contrasting the different advocacy strategies of these agencies, and evaluating the summit outcomes with relation to their role; and Discussing this summit’s influence on the global burden of NCDs as a result of these outcomes.

Chaired by:

Dr Colin Brown, NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in Infectious Diseases and Microbiology
Professor John MacDermot, International Director at the Royal College of Physicians; THET
Paul Lincoln Chief Executive, National Heart Forum
Judith Watt, freelance consultant
Professor John S Yudkin, Emeritus Professor of Medicine and former Director, International Health and Medical Education Centre, University College London

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