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Concluding 19 years of service to The Union

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Message from the Executive Director


Colleagues, friends, members,

This is a poignant moment for me. This is the final time that I speak to you as the Executive Director of The Union. It has been my honour to serve as the Executive Director of this unique and crucial organisation.

We are scientists and researchers. We are health workers on the front lines. We are government officials. We are survivors and people from affected communities. We are advocates and activists.

Together, we create a foundation of knowledge and expertise that rivals any university or government agency. But we all understand that it is not enough to KNOW how to end tuberculosis (TB), or how to defeat the tobacco industry, or how to stop a child from dying from pneumonia.

We understand that we need to SHARE that knowledge with the purpose of moving the world to action.

Knowledge in the service of action. This is what makes The Union.

And it is what has made being a part of The Union so special to me – because I have been privileged to learn from you and work in solidarity with you. I am so proud of what we have achieved together.

Our scientific approach to public health continues to break ground and produce best practices like DETECT Child TB and TBData4Health.

Researchers trained through our Centre for Operational Research have published more than one thousand peer-reviewed articles – and we are going beyond simply publishing and are actually tracking the impact of that research on health policy and practice.

In India, we shared information about TB with more than 20 million households. More than 120 thousand people received a diagnosis and treatment as a result of that outreach.

In sharing our members’ research with journalists, we have earned media coverage in more than a thousand news outlets in a hundred countries.

We have strengthened our partnership with affected communities, creating The Union’s Community Advisory Panel and convening the first-ever Survivors Summit.

We are advocating with governments around the world and The Union played a vital role in the United Nations High-Level Meeting on TB.

In Latin America we are the leading organisation assisting countries to become smokefree.

In Myanmar, we now provide antiretroviral therapy to more than 33,500 people – almost double the number in 2013 – and the Community Based MDR-TB Care Programme covers a population of 6.3 million.   

And in the course of conducting this work, The Union has grown to over 600 staff and consultants across the globe.

There are many people I wish to thank for their constant support and cooperation. The Union was one of the founding partners of the World Health Organization, and the importance of our collaboration has never been more apparent. To Bloomberg Philanthropies, Agence Française de Developpement, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, the Global Fund to Fights AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and all of our partners and donors, I extend my most sincere thanks. Without you, The Union would not be able to carry out its important work.

I remember first meeting Nick, now The Right Honorable The Lord Herbert of South Downs, in London in 2014, where he shared his vision for creating a global network of parliamentarians focused on TB. We then agreed to work together to launch the Global TB Caucus at the next Union World Conference in Barcelona, and since that time, the Caucus has become the largest network of its kind working on any issue. I’m grateful for the work Nick, the Caucus secretariat and all of the MPs around the world are doing today.

To The Union’s team – all our consultants, collaborators, staff, and Board – I have been so privileged to work alongside some of the most passionate and dedicated people I have ever met. You are the driving force of The Union and make our organisation stronger every day.

The Union membership is comprised of the best and the brightest from across the lung health field. Our members constantly push us closer toward our goal of creating a more inclusive Union.

Moving into its second century, The Union is needed now more than ever.

Whether it’s COVID-19, TB, air pollution, or diseases caused by smoking tobacco, many of the most critical health challenges people face today are respiratory.

These are exactly the problems that The Union knows how to solve. And I know that we will solve them.

That is because The Union’s people are among the most intelligent and committed people I have ever known.

I am now concluding 19 years of service at The Union and I have valued this time more than I can express, and I look forward to remaining your partner.


Thank you.