Michael J. Ryan (doctor)

Last updated

Michael Ryan
Michael Ryan ESCAIDE 2019 (49198471961) (cropped).jpg
Ryan speaking at ESCAIDE 2019 in Stockholm, Sweden
Born
Michael Joseph Ryan

1965 (age 5556)
Education M.P.H, MB BCh BAO
Alma mater NUI Galway
University College Dublin
Health Protection Agency
OccupationDoctor and Executive Director, Health Emergencies Programme (WHO)
Years active1990–present

Michael Joseph Ryan [1] (born 1965) is an Irish epidemiologist and former trauma surgeon, specialising in infectious disease and public health. He is executive director of the World Health Organization's Health Emergencies Programme, leading the team responsible for the international containment and treatment of COVID-19. [2] [3] Ryan has held leadership positions and has worked on various outbreak response teams in the field to eradicate the spread of diseases including bacillary dysentery, cholera, Crimean–Congo hemorrhagic fever, Ebola, Marburg virus disease, measles, meningitis, relapsing fever, Rift Valley fever, SARS, and Shigellosis. [4] [5]

Contents

Early life and education

Ryan is from the townland of Curry, near Tubbercurry, in County Sligo, Ireland. [6] He grew up in the town of Charlestown in County Mayo. [4] His father worked as a merchant sailor. [1]

Ryan trained in medicine at the National University of Ireland in Galway. [1] He received training in orthopaedics in Scotland. [1] Ryan has a Masters of Public Health from University College Dublin. He later completed specialist training in communicable disease control, public health and infectious disease at the Health Protection Agency in London. Ryan also completed the European Programme for Intervention Epidemiology Training (EPIET). [2] [4]

Career

Early career

In July 1990, Ryan moved to Iraq with his girlfriend, later his wife, to train Iraqi doctors. Very shortly after his arrival the Invasion of Kuwait happened, which suspended his work and meant he and his wife were made to work as doctors under captivity, often working under duress. A military convoy ran a vehicle Ryan was in off the road, crushing multiple vertebrae. [1] [7] Eventually Ryan and his wife were allowed to leave Iraq due to their injuries. Ryan's severe back injury prohibited him from working as a surgeon. He made a shift into the fields of public health and infectious disease. [1] [3] [8]

Ryan worked with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on their efforts to stamp out infectious diseases in Africa. [9]

Career at WHO

In 1996, Ryan joined the World Health Organization to work in a newly opened unit that focused on epidemics and infectious diseases under the direction of the infectious disease expert, David L. Heymann. [1] [2] He developed measles outbreak response guidelines as part of the Expanded Programme on Immunization (EPI) team who implemented surveillance for acute flaccid paralysis, which is how polio is eradicated. [4]

From 2000 to 2003, Ryan was coordinator of Epidemic Response at the WHO. [2] In 2001, he was based in Uganda where he was head of a team of international experts involved in the containment of the Ebola epidemic. [10] During this time, he was in areas of conflict like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where aid workers were often attacked and murdered. [7] In 2003, he also worked as an Operational Coordinator on the SARS outbreak. [2]

From 2005 to 2011, Ryan was Director of Global Alert and Response Operations for the WHO. [2] During this time he worked on the development of the WHO's Strategic Health Operations Centre and Event Management System. He worked on the implementation of the International Health Regulations (IHR), among other duties to do with infectious disease and emergency responses to pathogens and epidemics. [4]

In 2011, Ryan left the WHO and returned to Galway, Ireland, to work on the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Middle East, where he worked until 2017 and re-joined the WHO. [1] [3]

In the early days of the Ebola crisis, Ryan was a field epidemiologist, field coordinator, operational coordinator or director during the majority of the reported Ebola outbreaks in Africa. From 2014 to 2015, he served as a senior advisor to the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER) in West Africa. He worked in the field in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. [4]

From 2013 to 2017, Ryan worked in the Middle East as Senior Advisor on Polio Eradication and Emergencies for the World Health Organization's Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). [4] The goal was to eradicate polio from Pakistan and Afghanistan. [5] He coordinated operational and technical support to polio outbreak response activities in the region which included Syria and Iraq. In 2014, Director General Margaret Chan appointed Ryan to the WHO Advisory Group on the Ebola Virus Disease Response, which was co-chaired by Sam Zaramba and David L. Heymann. [11] During this time he was based in Islamabad, Pakistan at the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), where he liaised with the Government of Pakistan. [4]

From 2017 to 2019, Ryan served as Assistant Director-General for Emergency Preparedness and Response in WHO's Health Emergencies Programme. [2] In 2019, he was part of the leadership that created the Global Preparedness Report for the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB). [5]

In 2019, Ryan became Executive Director of the World Health Organization's Health Emergencies Programme replacing Peter Salama in an internal reshuffle. [2] [12]

As part of his work with the World Health Organization, Ryan appears in regular press conferences by the WHO regarding the 2019-2020 COVID-19 pandemic. [13] Ryan has provided answers to common questions about strategies to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and find a vaccine. Based on his experience in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with Ebola, Ryan has said that while physical distancing, lock-downs, and movement restrictions will stop the spread of COVID-19, eradicating the virus will require large scale public health interventions with a focus on the central tenets of containment: community-based surveillance, contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine. [14]

In addition to his activities at WHO, Ryan has worked as a Professor of International Health at University College Dublin. He has taught and lectured on medicine and public health on the undergraduate and post graduate level. [4]

Other activities

Personal life

In 1988, Ryan met his wife, Máire Connolly, in medical school in Galway. They were married in 1997. [15] Connolly is also a doctor and author who has specialized in infectious disease by training and also worked at the World Health Organization. [1] [10] [16] She is a professor of health security and infectious disease at National University of Ireland Galway. [17] They have three children. [1]

Ryan is currently based in Geneva, Switzerland. [18]

Selected works and publications

See also

Related Research Articles

Peter Piot Belgian microbiologist (born 1949)

Sir Peter Karel, Baron Piot, KCMG, FRCP, FFPH, FMedSci is a Belgian-British microbiologist known for his research into Ebola and AIDS. Piot is the director of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Polio eradication Effort to permanently eliminate all cases of poliomyelitis infection

Polio eradication, the permanent global cessation of circulation by the poliovirus and hence elimination of the poliomyelitis (polio) it causes, is the aim of a multinational public health effort begun in 1988, led by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the Rotary Foundation. These organizations, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and The Gates Foundation, have spearheaded the campaign through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). Successful eradication of infectious diseases has been achieved twice before, with smallpox and bovine rinderpest.

The International Health Regulations (IHR), first adopted by the World Health Assembly in 1969 and last revised in 2005, are a legally binding instrument of international law that aims for international collaboration "to prevent, protect against, control, and provide a public health response to the international spread of disease in ways that are commensurate with and restricted to public health risks and that avoid unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade". The IHR is the only international legal treaty with the responsibility of empowering the World Health Organization (WHO) to act as the main global surveillance system.

A Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) is a formal declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) of "an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response", formulated when a situation arises that is "serious, sudden, unusual, or unexpected", which "carries implications for public health beyond the affected state's national border" and "may require immediate international action". Under the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR), states have a legal duty to respond promptly to a PHEIC. The declaration is publicized by an IHR Emergency Committee (EC) of international experts, which was developed following the 2002–2004 SARS outbreak.

Oyewale Tomori is a Nigerian professor of virology, educational administrator, and former vice chancellor of Redeemer's University.

Disease X Placeholder infectious disease name from the WHO

Disease X is a placeholder name that was adopted by the World Health Organization (WHO) in February 2018 on their shortlist of blueprint priority diseases to represent a hypothetical, unknown pathogen that could cause a future epidemic. The WHO adopted the placeholder name to ensure that their planning was sufficiently flexible to adapt to an unknown pathogen. Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci stated that the concept of Disease X would encourage WHO projects to focus their research efforts on entire classes of viruses, instead of just individual strains, thus improving WHO capability to respond to unforeseen strains. In 2020, it was speculated, including among some of the WHO's own expert advisors, that COVID-19, caused by SARS-CoV-2 virus strain, met the requirements to be the first Disease X.

Kivu Ebola epidemic Ebola virus outbreak in the eastern DRC from 2018 to 2020

The Kivu Ebola epidemic was an outbreak of Ebola virus disease (EVD) that ravaged the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in Central Africa from 2018 to 2020. Between 1 August 2018 and 25 June 2020 it resulted in 3,470 reported cases. The Kivu outbreak also affected Ituri Province, whose first case was confirmed on 13 August 2018. In November 2018, the outbreak became the biggest Ebola outbreak in the DRC's history, and had become the second-largest Ebola outbreak in recorded history worldwide, behind only the 2013–2016 Western Africa epidemic. In June 2019, the virus reached Uganda, having infected a 5-year-old Congolese boy who entered Uganda with his family, but was contained.

Neil Ferguson (epidemiologist) British epidemiologist and researcher

Neil Morris Ferguson is a British epidemiologist and professor of mathematical biology, who specialises in the patterns of spread of infectious disease in humans and animals. He is the director of the Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics (J-IDEA), director of the MRC Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis, and head of the Department of Infectious Disease Epidemiology in the School of Public Health and Vice-Dean for Academic Development in the Faculty of Medicine, all at Imperial College London.

Dale Fisher Australian physician (born 1960)

Dale Andrew Fisher FRACP is an Australian physician who specialises in Infectious Diseases and is a Senior Consultant in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the National University Hospital, Singapore. He is also a Professor of Medicine at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, the chair of the National Infection Prevention and Control Committee through the Ministry of Health, Singapore, and chair of the steering committee of the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network hosted by the World Health Organization.

Syra Madad is an American pathogen preparedness expert and infectious disease epidemiologist. Madad is the Senior Director of the System-wide Special Pathogens Program at NYC Health + Hospitals where she is part of the executive leadership team which oversees New York City's response to the Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in the city's 11 public hospitals. She was featured in the Netflix documentary series Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak and the Discovery Channel documentary The Vaccine: Conquering COVID.

Bruce Aylward is a Canadian physician and epidemiologist. Since September 2017, Aylward has been Senior Advisor to the Director-General of the World Health Organization. He is part of the implementation of the WHO's COVAX Facility. He has past experience in the areas of polio eradication, Zika virus, and Ebola.

Maria DeJoseph Van Kerkhove is an American infectious disease epidemiologist. With a background in high-threat pathogens, Van Kerkhove specializes in emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases and is based in the Health Emergencies Program at the World Health Organization (WHO). She is the technical lead of COVID-19 response and the head of emerging diseases and zoonosis unit at WHO.

Nahid Bhadelia Indian-American infectious diseases physician and researcher

Nahid Bhadelia is an American infectious-diseases physician, founding director of Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases Policy and Research (CEID), an associate director at National Emerging Infectious Diseases Laboratories (NEIDL) at Boston University, and an associate professor at the Boston University School of Medicine.

Caitlin Rivers American emerging infectious disease epidemiologist

Caitlin M. Rivers is an American epidemiologist who as Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, specializing on improving epidemic preparedness. Rivers is currently working on the American response to the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on the incorporation of infectious disease modeling and forecasting into public health decision making.

Alexandra Phelan is a faculty member of the Center for Global Health Science and Security at Georgetown University School of Medicine and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Georgetown University. She specializes in legal and policy issues that are related to emerging and reemerging infectious diseases, as well as health threats posed by climate change.

Peter Daszak British-American zoologist

Peter Daszak is a British zoologist, consultant and public expert on disease ecology, in particular on zoonosis. He is the president of EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit non-governmental organization that supports various programs on global health and pandemic prevention. He is also a member of the Center for Infection and Immunity at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Daszak was involved in investigations into the initial outbreak which eventually developed into the COVID-19 pandemic and became a member of the World Health Organization team sent to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic in China. This became controversial due to Daszak's previous activities with the Wuhan Institute of Virology, perceived by some as a conflict of interest.

Natalie E. Dean is an American biostatistician specializing in infectious disease epidemiology. Dean is currently an assistant professor of Biostatistics at the University of Florida. Her research involves epidemiological modeling of outbreaks, including Ebola, Zika and COVID-19.

Sylvie Champaloux Briand is a French physician who is Director of the Pandemic and Epidemic Diseases Department at the World Health Organization. Briand led the Global Influenza Programme during the 2009 swine flu pandemic. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Briand launched the WHO Information Network for Epidemics which looked to counter the spread of coronavirus misinformation.

Faisal Shuaib Nigerian Public Health Professional

Faisal Shuaib is a Nigerian medical doctor and public health specialist. He serves as the Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency, a parastatal of Federal Ministry of Health (Nigeria). Prior to his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari in January 2017, he was a Senior Programme Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, USA.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Branswell, Helen (2019-10-30). "The World Health Organization's emergencies chief is put to the test". STAT.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 "WHO Headquarters Leadership Team: Dr Michael Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme". World Health Organization. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  3. 1 2 3 Cullen, Paul (2020-02-02). "Irishman leading WHO response to coronavirus outbreak optimistic". The Irish Times.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 "About WHO: Dr Michael J Ryan, Senior Advisor, Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), National Emergency Operations Centre, Islamabad, Pakistan". World Health Organization. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
  5. 1 2 3 Patnaik, Priti (2020-03-12). "Q&A: How countries in crisis can prepare for a coronavirus epidemic". The New Humanitarian.
  6. McCarrick, Roger (2020-02-11). "Corona Virus". The Sligo Champion.
  7. 1 2 "Taking risks to provide care in a conflict zone". World Health Organization. 2019-05-22.
  8. "Sligoman leads the fight against global spread of coronavirus". Ocean FM (Ireland). 2020-02-05.
  9. Murray, Eavan (2020-03-17). "How a former trauma surgeon from Ireland is leading global fight against coronavirus". Irish Independent.
  10. 1 2 Feehan, Conor (2001-01-13). "Hero doctor returns from fighting Ebola virus". Irish Independent.
  11. "WHO: Members of the WHO Advisory Group on the Ebola Virus Disease Response". World Health Organization. September 2015.
  12. Green, Andrew (2020). "Peter Salama". The Lancet. 395 (10223): 490. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)30298-1 .
  13. "COVID-19 – Virtual Press conference 18 March, 2020" (PDF). World Health Organization. 2020-03-18.
  14. Jamjoom, Mohammed; Ryan, Mike (2020-03-27). "Talk to AlJazeera: WHO's Dr Mike Ryan: Coronavirus vaccine 'at least a year' away". Al Jazeera.
  15. Altman, Lawrence K. (2005-01-04). "From a Far Continent, Victims' Needs Beckon. But So Does Her Family". The New York Times.
  16. "Team at PANDEM - Pandemic Risk and Emergency Management EU: Coordinator Prof. Máire Connolly (NUIG)". PANDEM. Retrieved 2020-03-28.
  17. Nicholson, Craig (2020-03-27). "Pandemic expert calls for action now against future outbreaks". Research Professional News.
  18. McGreal, Edwin (2020-03-10). "Charlestown man at heart of worldwide fight against coronavirus". The Mayo News.