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Advancing Science for Global Health
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Home > Global Health Matters May/Jun 2021 > Former NIH Director Dr Harold Varmus leads new WHO Science Council Print

Former NIH Director Dr Harold Varmus leads new WHO Science Council

May / June 2021 | Volume 20 Number 3

Headshot of Dr. Harold Varmus.Former NIH Director Dr. Harold Varmus

As part of its transformation, the WHO has established a Science Council to provide advice on high-priority issues that could have a direct impact on global health.

Led by former NIH Director Dr. Harold Varmus, its members include several past and present Fogarty grantees, such as Dr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman of the University of Malaya, Dr. Salim Abdool Karim of CAPRISA in South Africa, Dr. Mary-Claire King of the University of Washington and Dr. Jean William (Bill) Pape of GHESKIO in Haiti. Additional members are Dr. Edith Heard of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Germany, Dr. Abla Mehio Sibai of the American University of Beirut, Dr. Denis Mukwege who is a gynecologist in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Dr. Yongyuth Yuthavong of the National Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Thailand.

Members of the Council serve in their personal capacity and represent a broad range of disciplines encompassing many aspects of science, from basic research to implementation science. Members are recruited and selected as acknowledged experts from around the world in the fields of basic science, translational and clinical research, social sciences, epidemiology and public health.

The Science Council will have the following functions:

  • Evaluate urgent, high priority scientific issues and provide input and guidance on translating them to public health impact in furtherance of WHO’s mission.
  • Identify current and new science and technology issues that WHO needs to address, including global health threats, and new advances with a potential for direct or indirect impact on global health.
  • Provide strategic orientation to WHO’s actions in science, research and innovation.
  • Participate in the rapid and confidential review of WHO normative products, when requested by the Director- General.
  • Undertake other duties and functions consistent with these Terms of Reference, when requested by the Director-General.

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