Plenary Speakers

We are delighted to announce that the following speakers have confirmed their participation at the HTAi 2020 Annual Meeting in Beijing:

Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah – Panelist, Plenary Three
Senior Consultant Surgeon in Breast and Endocrine Surgery, Putrajaua Hospital; Director General of Health Malaysia, Malaysia

Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah is a Senior Consultant Surgeon in Breast and Endocrine Surgery, Putrajaya Hospital and the current Director General of Health Malaysia since March 2013. Prior to that, he was the Deputy Director General of Health (Medical) between January 2008 and February 2013.

His area of expertise is in breast endocrine cancers, with numerous published papers and textbook chapters in endocrine surgery. He trained in breast and endocrine surgery under the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons Fellowship training program and obtained his Master of Surgery and Medical Degrees from the National University of Malaysia.

He chairs multiple medical professional councils and national-level technical committees and is actively involved as a policymaker in global organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi). He is also a Councillor-at-Large (2017-2021) in the Executive Board of the International Society of Surgery (ISS) and chairs the Global Surgery Committee of ISS.

Dr. Noor Hisham has been conferred numerous local and international awards including the prestigious Fellowship Ad Hominem of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh in 2018 for his contributions toward healthcare. In 2019, he was given the honour to deliver the distinguished Martin Allgöwer Lecture at the 48th World Congress of Surgery in Krakow, Poland.

His special interest lies in enhancing universal healthcare coverage to marginalized communities and bringing personalized healthcare back to the community and home through digital technology and creative innovation.

Prof. Silvio Brusaferro, Panelist Plenary Two
President, Italian National Institute of Health, Italy

President of the Italian National Institute of Health – Rome; Professor of Hygiene and Public Health at Udine University – Italy. Actively engaged, at national and international level, on Public Health topics such as quality in healthcare, patient safety, infection control and prevention, antimicrobial resistance, good practices in Public Health.

The characteristics of his commitment are the use of multi-sectoral knowledge to acquire and integrate different points of view and the change in organizations to respond to the community and individual needs specifically for health and well-being.

Kalipso Chalkidou, MD, PhD – Chair, Plenary One
Director of Global Health Policy, Centre for Global Development; Professor of Practice in Global Health, MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, Imperial College London, United Kingdom

Kalipso Chalkidou is the Director of Global Health Policy for the Centre for Global Development, based in London, and a Professor of Practice in Global Health at Imperial College London. Her work concentrates on helping governments build technical and institutional capacity for using evidence to inform health policy as they move towards Universal Healthcare Coverage. She is interested in how local institutions can drive scientific and legitimate healthcare resource allocation decisions. She has been involved in the Chinese rural health reforms and in national health reform projects in Colombia, Turkey and the Middle East, working with the World Bank, PAHO, DFID and the Inter-American Development Bank as well as national governments.

Kalipso led the establishment of NICE International for 8 years, and, more recently, as director of the international Decision Support Initiative, a multi-million multi-country network working towards better health around the world through evidence-informed spending in healthcare in low to middle income countries.

She holds a doctorate on the molecular biology of prostate cancer from the University of Newcastle (UK), an MD (Hons) from the University of Athens and is a visiting Professor at King’s College London and an adjunct professor at Griffith University in Australia. She has held visiting positions at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, sits on several journal editorial boards and has published over 100 peer reviewed papers and book chapters.



Dr. D Sita Ratna Devi – Panelist, Plenary One
CEO and Co-founder of DakshamA Health and Education, India

A medical doctor, public health and management professional, Dr. Ratna Devi brings more than 30 years of experience working to improve health outcomes in India. She spent her initial 10 years in the government and for the past 20 years, she has worked with national and international NGOs for public health initiatives. Dr. Ratna has demonstrated experience managing large-scale programs for success and scaling-up innovative pilot programs across India, at national and state levels. A versatile leader, she combines clinical qualifications to support high-quality service delivery and management experience.

Dr. Ratna Devi is the CEO and Co-founder of DakshamA Health and Education, an organisation that is dedicated to working for access to health, patient education and advocacy. DakshamA aims to create a network of caregivers and patient groups, and work with them on knowledge sharing as well as providing essential feedback for managing long term and chronic diseases. She leads a cross disease Patient Alliance in India called Indian Alliance of Patient Groups (IAPG) and is the Chair of Board, IAPO (International Alliance of Patient Organizations, Board member HIA (Healthy India Alliance – the National NCD Alliance in India) and  I – ORD (Indian Organisation for Rare Diseases). She holds an MBBS degree from Sambalpur University and a dual MBA from SYMBIOSIS and Manipal Institute of Distance Education. Dr. Devi also holds advisory positions at several NGOs and has contributed to research as well as publications.

Her work spans across policy initiatives for non-communicable diseases, rare diseases and patient safety, focusing on changing the way healthcare is perceived and delivered in India, bringing in best practices and patient perspectives for designing, and implementing and measuring health outcomes. As a strong patient safety advocate, she works with government as well as patient organizations to advocate for better quality and safety at home, educational institutions, and workplaces.

Her work with International Alliance of Patient Organisations (IAPO) as a Board Member contributes to Universal Access to Healthcare in a global context focusing on the sustainable development goals, migration and healthcare, and healthcare in disasters. She is a member of technical groups, advisory committees, and working groups in India and internationally. Dr. Ratna Devi holds a  medical degree from Sambalpur University.


Professor Brendon Kearney – Moderator, Plenary Three
Consultant Physician,
Royal Adelaide Hospital (Central Adelaide Local Health Network),Australia

Professor Kearney works as a Consultant Physician, Haematology Unit, Royal Adelaide Hospital, and is Site Clinical Director RAH, SA Pathology.

He is a past chair of Euroscan International and chaired Health PACT, National and International Committees that advise on new and emerging health technologies.

He chaired the Population Health Research Network which is building a national data linkage system for health researchers.

He has been Chair of the SA Health Commission, CEO, Royal Adelaide Hospital, and Director, Institute of Medical and Veterinary Science, and has been awarded the Sidney Sax Medal and an AM for his work in health.


Professor Gillian Leng, CBE – Chair, Plenary Two
Deputy Chief Executive, NICE, United Kingdom

Gillian Leng is the Deputy Chief Executive at NICE and a visiting professor at King’s College London.  Gillian trained in medicine at Leeds, and studied for an M.D. at Edinburgh University.  She was involved in the Cochrane Collaboration as it became established, and still contributes as an editor.  She worked as a consultant in public health medicine before moving to NICE in 2001. At NICE, Gillian led the set-up of several major programs, including the clinical guidelines program, implementation, social care, quality standards and indicators and the NHS Evidence portal. Gillian chairs the national Shared Decision Making Collaborative and sits on several national boards. She is actively involved in research into quality improvement, and is a trustee at the Royal Society of Medicine, and chair of the Guidelines International Network.

Durhane Wong-Rieger, PhD – Panelist, Plenary Two
President & CEO, Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders, Canada

Durhane Wong-Rieger, PhD is Chair of Rare Disease International, Vice-Chair of Asia Pacific Rare Disease International, member of the Editorial Board of The Patient- Patient Centred Outcomes Research, member of the Global Commission to End the Diagnosis Odyssey for Rare Diseases and member of Health Technology Assessment International Patient /Citizen Involvement Interest Group.  In Canada, she is President & CEO of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders, Chair of the Consumer Advocare Network, President & CEO of the Institute for Optimizing Health Outcomes and Chair of Canadian Heart Patient Alliance.  She is a certified Health Coach.

Dr. Wong-Rieger has served on numerous health policy advisory committees and panels and is a member of Ontario’s Rare Disease Implementation Working Group and member of Genome Canada Steering Committee for the Rare Disease Precision Health Initiative.

Durhane has a PhD in psychology from McGill University and was professor at the University of Windsor, Canada.  She is a trainer and frequent lecturer and author of three books and many articles


Kang ZHANG, M.D., Ph.D. – Panelist, Plenary Three
Director, Center for Biomedicine and Innovations; Professor of the Faculty of Medicine, Macau University of Science and Technology, Macau

Kang Zhang, MD, PhD is the Director of Center for Biomedicine and Innovations, Professor of the Faculty of Medicine, at Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST). Dr. Zhang obtained his M.D. with Magna Cum Laude honors from Harvard Medical School and MIT joint MD program and his PhD in genetics from Harvard University. He did his postdoctoral training also at Harvard.  He completed his residency in ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins University and his retina surgery fellowship at University of Utah. He was a faculty member at Johns Hopkins University, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, University of Utah, and University of California San Diego.

Among his honors include AAAS fellow, fellow of American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, memberships in Association of American Physicians and American Society of Clinical Investigation; Outstanding Achievement Award of Chinese Ophthalmological Society, Burroughs Wellcome Clinical Scientist Award in Translational Research; Lew R. Wasserman Merit Award and Senior Investigator Award from Research to PreventBlindness; Charles Schepens Award for Excellence in Retina Research; and Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions Clinician Scientist Award, the Ophthalmologist 100 Powerlist, American’s Top Ophthalmologists.

Dr. Zhang has published over 200 peer-reviewed manuscripts in top peer-reviewed journals- covering a wide range of topics in genetics, epigenetics, stem cells, nano-engineering and 3D printing, clinical trials, and artificial intelligence.  He has more than 26,000 citations and an h-index of 80. His discovery that HTRA1 is a major susceptibility gene for age-related macular degeneration is listed as one of “top-ten breakthroughs in 2006” in Science Magazine.