Global Health Perspectives with Dr. Derek Yach

Global Health Perspectives

An ongoing series of conversations with Dr. Derek Yach and experts in global health about how smoking sits at the nexus of many major health issues. 

Dr. Yach is the president of the Foundation For a Smoke-Free World and a lifelong advocate for public health.

See his full bio here.

Episode 15: Dyborn Chibonga

Dyborn Chibonga is the regional head for Malawi and Mozambique at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), an alliance aimed to catalyze and sustain inclusive agriculture transformation for smallholder farmers in Africa.

He has more than 25 years of experience advocating for product diversification away from tobacco into other cash and food crops, as well as policy and regulatory reforms that promote food security and rural development.

Mr. Chibonga previously served as the CEO of the National Smallholder Farmers’ Association of Malawi (NASFAM) for 18 years. During this time, Mr. Chibonga grew the organization to more than 165,000 farmers, making it the largest smallholder-owned membership organization in Malawi. He transformed NASFAM from a small association into a sustainable business and a model for other countries to follow. Under Mr. Chibonga’s leadership, NASFAM established the Agricultural Commodity Exchange for Africa, a platform designed to encourage competitive bidding processes for smallholder farmers when selling their crops.

Mr. Chibonga is from Malawi and provides strategic guidance as a member of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World’s board of directors. Mr. Chibonga is also a board member of the Cooperative Insurance Company of Malawi, the Jubilee University Council and the Commercial Agriculture Support Services. He holds a BS degree from the Bunda College of Agriculture at the University of Malawi and an MSc in landscape ecology design & maintenance from the University of London, where he also holds a master’s certificate in NGO management.

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Episode 14: Melonie Kastman

Melonie Kastman has worked for 20+ years in film, producing television commercials for major brands and networks, partnered with dozens of the top ad agencies and production companies to film around the globe (list available upon request)

Moving into the documentary world, most notably directed “Road to Change” inside the life of an African President, filming with then President of Sierra Leone H.E. Ernest Bai Koroma as he worked to rebuild  his country after a violent civil war. Other clients include African Leadership Academy, The American Cancer Society, Doctors Without Borders, Ronald McDonald House Charities, UN Department of Peacekeeping, Crow Collection of Asian Arts, The Greenbelt Movement: filmed with Nobel Peace Prize recipient Wanguri Maathi, Foundation for a SmokeFreeWorld, The Carlyle Group, World Food Program, USAID,  Themiis Institute,  and the Conrad Foundation at NASA .


Most currently Melonie followed the UN Ebola Emergency Response team in Democratic Republic of Congo as they coordinated efforts to curb the 2nd largest Ebola epidemic, located in an area of high insecurity, conflict and facing rebel attacks o health care workers ad facilities.   

Ongoing Projects: For the launch of The Foundation for SmokeFreeWorld, an NGO focused on ending smoking in a generation. Melonie filmed a short documentary “The True Cost of a Cigarette” which depicts  the unintended consequences of decline in demand for small shareholder tobacco farmers  in developing nations. We continue to film and follow their important story across the globe.  

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Episode 13: Gerry Stimson

Gerry Stimson is a British public health social scientist, emeritus professor at Imperial College London from 2004, and a former honorary professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine from 2017. Stimson has over 220 scientific publications mainly on social and health aspects of illicit drug use, including HIV infection. He has sat on numerous editorial boards including AIDS, Addiction, and European Addiction Research, and with Tim Rhodes he was the co-editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Drug Policy from 2000 to 2016. He is one of the global leaders for research on and later advocacy for harm reduction. From 2010 he has focused on tobacco harm reduction.

Since 2010 Stimson has focused on how harm reduction can be applied to reduce the toll of death, disease and disability caused by tobacco use. He is now co-director of the Global State of Tobacco Harm Reduction (GSTHR), a project supported by the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. The GSTHR maps the availability, use and regulation of safer nicotine products and the public health potential of tobacco harm reduction worldwide. The GSTHR publishes a biennial report (new edition forthcoming November 2020) and a website which offers users tools to research and compare country-level data on safer nicotine products. In early 2020, the GSTHR team published ‘Tobacco harm reduction and the right to health‘, an introductory briefing paper to support tobacco harm reduction advocacy.

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Episode 12: Dr. Tikki Pangestu

Tikki joined the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy after 13 years at the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland as Director of its Research Policy & Cooperation department. In this capacity, he worked with countries to strengthen their national health research systems, developed mechanisms and initiatives to improve the efficiency and transparency of global health research, and helped formulate an Organization-wide research policy.

Tikki holds a BSC (Honours) and PhD degrees from the Australian National University in Canberra, Australia in the fields of biochemistry and microbiology/immunology. He is a Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists (UK), American Academy of Microbiology (USA), Institute of Biology (UK) and the Academy of Medicine of Malaysia. He was the Founding Editor of Health Research Policy & Systems and the Asia-Pacific Journal of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

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Episode 11: Dr. Marewa Glover

Dr Glover is a Māori (New Zealand indigenous) behavioral scientist with over 27 years of experience in tobacco control and over 100 scientific papers. She is the Director of the internationally-focused Centre of Research Excellence on Indigenous Sovereignty & Smoking. Much of her work as a Professor of Public Health has concentrated on designing pragmatic solutions to reduce smoking, particularly smoking while pregnant. She is well known for her compassionate insight and advocacy on tobacco harm reduction, which resulted in her being appointed as Tobacco Section Editor for the International Harm Reduction Journal. In 2017, Marewa was a Finalist in the Women of Influence Awards, and in 2019, in recognition of her contribution to society she was named one of three finalists in the New Zealander of The Year Awards. 

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Episode 10: Angela Hofmann

Angela has served as a trusted advisor to members of the U.S. Congress and Executive Branch as well as to CEOs and senior executives in complex, multi-national organizations for over two decades. Angela is currently a member of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World’s Board of Directors. 

Previously, Angela was Vice President, International Corporate Affairs, at Walmart Stores, Inc. where she led the company’s external engagement in 40+ retail, ecommerce and sourcing countries around the world. She also launched innovative public-private chain capacity building projects focused on transparency, building safety, agricultural development and women’s economic empowerment in Latin America, Asia and Africa. Angela joined the company in 2002 as Director of International Corporate Affairs in the company’s Federal Government Relations office in Washington, D.C. In 2005, she moved to company headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas where she led corporate affairs engagement in the Americas as well as gained operational experience in the supply chain when she was promoted to Vice President, GNFR (indirect spend) and Sourcing Services in Walmart Global Sourcing.

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Episode 9: Dr. Pooja Patwardhan

Coming from a family of 3 generations of doctors, Pooja has always been passionate about providing holistic care to patients. Graduating with a first class from one of India’s top medical schools, she has worked in medical research in Singapore and is now a front line doctor in an inner city practice, working with marginalised and underprivileged communities in the UK. She is a strong believer of preventive medicine and working with people to help them make healthier life choices.

Along with working as a GP, she is also a clinical director and co-founder of the Centre for Health Research and Education (CHRE), working globally on tobacco cessation with a mantra of ‘Bridging the Policy and Practice gap’. Until now she has upskilled and empowered 100s of influencers in UK as well as in India, as part of the mission of creating local champions, to support tobacco users in their quitting journey.

During the covid pandemic, Pooja has been warning Public Health to pre-empt a surge in tobacco use and work proactively to prevent another healthcare calamity hitting the world. She herself has been at the forefront of creating and disseminating “Quit During Covid” message using innovative ways, during the lockdown period.

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Episode 8: Ethan Nadelmann

Ethan has played a leading role in harm reduction and other drug policy reform efforts in the United States and globally since the late 1980s. He was born in New York City, received his BA, JD, and PhD from Harvard, and taught politics and public affairs at Princeton University (1987-1994). He then founded first The Lindesmith Center (1994-2000, a drug policy institute created with the philanthropic support of George Soros) and then the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), which he directed from 2000 until 2017. His TED Talk, “Why we need to end the drug war,” has two million views.

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Episode 7: Darshita Gillies

Listed among the 100 Most Influential in UK – India Relationships, Darshita is Founder & CEO of Maanch and currently a member of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World’s Board of Directors. Her aim is to leverage the power of emerging technologies to address the complex business and societal challenges we face in a more sustainable, conscious, and strategic way. Her experience builds on and blends 3 facets, ‘Finance’, ‘Technology’ and ‘Planetary Sustainability’. With a professional background as Chartered Accountant, Investment Banker, Executive Coach, Impact Investing and FinTech/ Blockchain Specialist, Darshita also serves on Boards of ‘For Profit’ and ‘Non-Profit’ organisations. 

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Episode 6: Chitra Subramaniam

Chitra Subramaniam is an iconic investigative journalist from India now living in Geneva. She is recognized for her investigation of the Bofors-India Howitzer deal which is widely believed to have to have contributed to the electoral defeat of Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1989. This ten-year three-country investigation helped change jurisprudence in Switzerland in matters of international assistance in criminal cases. Subramaniam went on to work for the WHO after which she founded CSDconsulting a company at the crossroads of development, trade, and media. She has worked with some of the world’s top groups including India’s TATA group and Sweden’s Wallenberg group. We value any comments or ideas on what you’ve heard, email us at 

Episode 5: Nilesh Jain

Alumni of Carnegie Mellon, Nilesh Jain is a serial entrepreneur and an advisor for emerging entrepreneurs and start-ups. Nilesh is the founder and managing director of Harm Reduction Research and Innovation Center (HRRIC). He is also a co-founder of Quitx, an application that helps smokers quit smoking and Clinivantage Healthcare, a social enterprise for improving access to care at lower costs. He is focussed in the area of healthcare and tobacco harm reduction, and establish HRRIC to build research capacity in India.  We value any comments or ideas on what you’ve heard, email us at 

Episode 4: Yuchen Xue

As a Data Analyst, Yuchen Xue conducts research on the evolving tobacco landscape, focusing on industry changes in China. She also performs quantitative and qualitative analyses of relevant datasets, including surveys, government data, company reports, and publicly-available research. We value any comments or ideas on what you’ve heard, email us at 

Episode 3: Shlomi Madar


Dr. Shlomi Madar, VP of Healthcare Solutions at Signals Analytics, is a seasoned healthcare executive with 15 years of experience and a strong scientific background. He works closely with leading Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals companies to help them become data-driven organizations, embrace innovation, and drive success via evidence and analytics. We value any comments or ideas on what you’ve heard, email us at 

Episode 2: Candida Nakhumwa


As the Foundation’s Country Director in Malawi, Dr. Candida Nakhumwa manages the Agricultural Transformation Initiative activities in the country. She works closely with smallholder farmer organizations and agricultural cooperatives to identify and develop structured value chains that will promote transformation and inclusive growth for Malawian farmers. See her full bio here. We value any comments or ideas on what you’ve heard, email us at 

Episode 1: Dr. Riccardo Polosa

Dr. Riccardo Polosa is a world-renowned scientist and researcher in tobacco harm-reduction. Dr. Polosa is the founder of the Center of Excellence for the Acceleration of Harm Reduction in Catania, Italy and has published dozens of studies on topics related to tobacco harm reduction. We value any comments or ideas on what you’ve heard, email us at