About Me

Who I am

Married, 2 daughters.

  • Since 1995, when I began working as a family doctor in Belgium until today, in my current position as Director of the Division of Health Systems and Public Health at the Regional Office for Europe, I have been determined to achieve better health for my patients and for countries all over the world, while always putting vulnerable people first.
  • During my entire career I have always listened to the needs of people and countries, then responded and followed through with concrete action. Building trust with health workers and stakeholders through hard work and promises made good is one of my highest priorities. 
  • With my teams, I have delivered measurable results throughout my career path, a path that has taken me from general practitioner clinics in Belgium to service for Médecins Sans Frontières in hospitals, rural health posts and communities during the civil wars in Somalia and Liberia, and implementing large-scale tuberculosis (TB) programmes in prison systems in Siberia and several former Soviet Union countries, building consensus at national health policy level in the Russian Federation. 
  • At the WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia, I continued to work on TB, AIDS and malaria in Myanmar and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, additionally coordinating rescue and response activities during the tsunami (2004) and Cyclone Nargis (2008) emergencies in Myanmar.
  • In the most recent decade of my working life, with the Regional Office for Europe, I have engaged with European Ministers of Health and other ministers in pursuing large-scale system transformations, among them the introduction of community-based primary health care in Greece during the financial crisis.
  • At the 10th Anniversary of the Tallinn Charter, held in Tallinn, Estonia, 13-14 June 2018, working with colleagues from across the region, spanning government, health providers, academia, and civil society, I set out a vision for the future of health systems in Europe based on 3 Is: Include, Invest, Innovate.
  • With the Ministry of Health of Kazakhstan and Unicef, I then brought the same partnership approach and vision to the International Conference on Primary Health Care on the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the Alma-Ata Declaration, 25-26 October 2018, Astana, Kazakhstan.

In these challenging times, I believe that I possess the vision, experience, diplomatic skills and passion to lead the Regional Office in providing a unique service relevant to all Member States.

My strengths

I offer:

  • nearly 25 years of extensive field-based and policy experience across three WHO regions with expertise in all relevant sectors – health systems, infectious diseases (particularly drug-resistant TB and HIV), chronic diseases and emergencies;
  • extensive knowledge of the European Region with a deep respect for its culture and diversity and the ability to integrate different visions through consensus-building;
  • the technical competence, stamina and managerial skills to lead the Regional Office successfully;
  • a track record of concrete results in building public health initiatives at both country and regional levels, working closely with state actors, health professionals and non-governmental organizations;
  • experience in preparing future public health leaders at universities by sharing my knowledge and experiences;
  • skills in bridging together academicians, policy makers and implementers in the field;
  • a proven ability to listen, to trust and be trusted and to implement proactive solutions that bring the Regional Office closer to countries and countries closer to better health.

It would be both an honour and a privilege to serve as the WHO Regional Director for Europe and to be able to fulfill the vision I have set out were I to be appointed.