The Union North America appoints staff to lead education and training, maternal and child health

The Union North America (UNA) in New York City has appointed several key new staff: two who are brand new to the organisation – and two well-known figures who have made outstanding contributions in other roles in the past.

 Dr Neil W Schluger, MD has been appointed to serve as The Union’s first Chief Academic Officer. In this role, he will develop The Union’s courses into a branded programme with global reach. Dr Schluger’s enduring interest in TB dates back to the early 1990s, when he directed the outpatient TB treatment programme at Bellevue Hospital during the height of a TB epidemic in the city. In addition to his clinical expertise and leadership experience, Dr Schluger brings extensive experience from his continuing work as Chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care Medicine at the Columbia University Medical Center and Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Environmental Health Science at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.

Ms Rajita Bhavaraju, MPH, CHES will work with Dr Schluger as Director of Curriculum and Assessment. A long-time member of The Union – and most recently a member of the Board and chair of the Coordinating Committee on Scientific Activities – she will coordinate the development and implementation of The Union’s course curricula, assessing both courses and students, and conducting education and training for health professionals. Ms Bhavaraju will also work with The Union’s offices around the globe, providing technical assistance in developing information, education and communication (IEC) activities, aimed at raising awareness and changing attitudes and behaviours that affect people’s health status. Prior to joining The Union staff, she led the Department of Education and Training at the New Jersey Medical School Global Tuberculosis Center at Rutgers University.

They will work both closely with Marianne Gaye-Ayrault, who directs the International Management Development Programme.

Ms Whitney Reitz has joined The Union as Senior Vice President for a new Division of Maternal and Child Health. She will work to harness The Union’s expertise and resources to address key health issues affecting women and children, including childhood pneumonia—a leading cause of death of children worldwide. She will also oversee a growing portfolio of grant-supported maternal and child health projects. Based in the Washington, DC metro area, Ms Reitz will also be the lead Union representative with U.S. government agencies and the executive branch, Congress, and public health policy and advocacy organisations.  Formerly she served as Senior Advisor for International Child Welfare to U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu, worked in the Foreign Service, led numerous bilateral negotiations on behalf of the U.S. government, and managed government programmes, including the Special Humanitarian Parole Program for Haitian Orphans.

Dr Stephen M Graham, MD, PhD has worked closely with The Union for nearly 30 years as a member, Scientific Section Chair, Board Member, consultant, author and Associate Editor of the International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Health. In his new role, he will serve as the Director of a new Paediatric TB, Pneumonia and Lung Health Unit within the Division of Maternal and Child Health. As such, he will be responsible for overseeing and growing The Union’s programmes and activities focused on some of the leading causes of child mortality, such as child pneumonia, as well as building global momentum behind efforts to address childhood TB. Additionally, he will continue to provide technical assistance and capacity building support to countries on paediatric lung health issues. One of the world’s leading experts on childhood TB and pneumonia, Dr Graham is a paediatrician and author of more than 200 articles, books and book chapters, reports and reviews. In addition to being Professor of International Child Health at the University of Melbourne in his native Australia, he works closely with the World Health Organization and chairs several taskforces on childhood health.

Updates on their new activities and programmes will be posted regularly.