Elizabeth Iro, Chief Nursing Officer at WHO, among keynote speakers at ICN Congress in June

23 January 2019

Geneva, Switzerland; 23 January 2019 – Elizabeth Iro, Chief Nursing Officer at the World Health Organization (WHO), will be one of the main speakers at the 2019 Congress of the International Council of Nurses (ICN), together with other key internationally recognised experts.


Before joining WHO, Ms Elizabeth Iro had more than 30 years of experience in public health in the Cook Islands and regionally. As Secretary of Health of the Cook Islands, she implemented health reforms to strengthen the country’s health system. These include developing the country’s National Health Roadmap 2017-2036, the National Health Strategic Plan 2017-2021, and the Health Clinical Workforce Plan. She had previously served as the country’s Chief Nursing Officer and Acting Director of Hospital Health Services. For the first 25 years of her career, she was a staff nurse, midwife and charge midwife at hospitals in the Cook Islands and New Zealand.

chien lee

Dr Chien Earn Lee is currently the deputy group CEO of Singhealth (regional health services) and the CEO of Changi General Hospital, a 1000-bed public acute teaching hospital. Prior to these appointments he was the deputy director of medical services for health services and healthcare performance in the Ministry of Health Singapore where he led the strategic development and improvement of healthcare services. Prof Lee is an adjunct professor with the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore and Singapore University of Technology and Design. Dr Lee will talk about the Singapore Model in Primary Health Care.

jeremy lauer

Dr Jeremy Lauer has led inter-disciplinary teams in a range of countries on adapting economic evaluations to national settings, and, with colleagues, is currently finalising a cost-effectiveness study on 500 interventions covering a range of diseases, injuries, and risk factors (WHO-CHOICE). In 2016, he led WHO’s contribution to the High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth, analysing fiscal space for workforce expansion and interactions between the health system and the economy. Dr Lauer will give a lecture on Health Economics.

shelia tlou

Professor Sheila Tlou, Co-Chair of the Global HIV Prevention Coalition and Co-Chair of Nursing Now Global Campaign will present the Nursing Now campaign. She is former UNAIDS Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa and former Minister of Health of Botswana. She is also former Professor of Nursing at the University of Botswana and Director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Nursing and Midwifery Development in Primary Health Care for Anglophone Africa. She has played a key role in the development of national nursing and medical education curricula, working to broaden the scope of Health Sciences education in Botswana.

kristine gebbie

Dr Kristine Gebbie is Adjunct Professor at Flinders University, Adelaide and the University of Adelaide, Australia. Dr Gebbie served from 2009-10 as Dean at Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing, Hunter College, City University of New York. For 14 years prior, she was Elizabeth Standish Gill Professor of Nursing and Director, Center for Health Policy at Columbia University School of Nursing. She has published in nursing, public health and policy journals. She led the health departments of Oregon and Washington State and established the White House Office of AIDS Policy (under the Clinton administration). Dr Gebbie will highlight new approaches in Disaster Nursing.


Mrs Christine Hancock was President of ICN between 2001-2005. Today she leads C3 Collaborating for Health, a London-based global charity which works with diverse stakeholders to focus on the three risk factors which cause the four major chronic diseases: tobacco, poor diet, including excessive alcohol, and lack of physical activity, which are responsible for over 50% of the world’s premature and preventable deaths. She is an experienced clinician and manager, with clinical experience at London’s National Heart Hospital. She spent 12 years as General Secretary/CEO of the Royal College of Nursing. Mrs Hancock will focus on the Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD).


Dr Marla E. Salmon, Professor of Nursing and Global Health, and Adjunct Professor of Public Policy and Governance at University of Washington, USA, will discuss questions related to Nursing Leadership and Policy. Her career focuses on global human resources for health policy and capacity building, empowering women, strengthening health systems/services through investment in nursing and midwifery enterprise. She worked at the US Government as Chief Nursing Officer, Director, Division of Nursing. She acted as Chair of the WHO’s Global Advisory Group for Nursing and Midwifery. She was member of the White House Taskforce on Healthcare Reform. Dr Salmon is a member of the American Academy of Nursing and the National Academy of Medicine.


Professor Fhumulani Mavis Mulaudzi is the Head of Department of Nursing Science and Chairperson of the School of Health Care Sciences at the University of Pretoria. She is currently the president of Chi-Xi chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau (Chi XI at Large), Chairperson of the Forum of University nursing Deans in South Africa (FUNDISA), and the treasurer of the South African health care Sciences Deans committee. She is currently the Editor-in-Chief of Curationis Journal. Professor Mulaudzi will underline the importance of Nursing Ethics.


Mrs Jolanta Bilińska is the past chair of the International Alliance of Patients Organizations (IAPO), will draw attention to the Patient Perspective. Currently, she works as plenipotentiary Director of Development and Social Communication at the City Medical Centre, Dr. K. Jonscher in Łódź, Poland. She has an M.A. in Clinical Psychology. She has published almost 2,000 articles concerning medical issues and politics and is interested in matters relating to patients’ rights and the way they are observed in the healthcare system.

Cerón Mackay

Mrs Consuelo Cerón Mackay, who has an MSc in Educational Psychology and Diploma in Management of Higher Education Institutions, started her professional career as a bedside nurse in an Intensive Care Unit in a Paediatric Hospital. She joined the Nursing School at Universidad de los Andes, Chile, as a faculty member, and was part of the Paediatric course where she taught in aula and clinical settings. For five years, Cerón Mackay served as Director of the School of Nursing and, since 2015, has been the Dean of the Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery. She is an active participant in the Chilean Association of Nursing Education and in the Technical Group Developing Competence of Advanced Practice Nursing in Latin-American Countries. She is also a Senior Research Fellow of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research from University of Pennsylvania and leading the research team for the Project RN4CAST-Chile. Mrs Cerón Mackay will address issues related to Advanced Practice.

James Buchan

Professor James Buchan, Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), will talk about Retention of Nurses. He has specialised in nurse workforce policy and analysis throughout his career. He has worked extensively as a consultant in Europe, Asia and the Pacific, for governments and international agencies such as ICN and CGFNS. His background includes periods working as a senior manager in the National Health Service in Scotland; senior policy analyst at the Royal College of Nursing, (RCN), UK; and as a specialist adviser to Health Workforce Australia, a federal government agency. He was also a Harkness Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. He is Editor-in-Chief of “Human Resources for Health” a peer review journal.

Percy Mahlathi

Dr Percy Mahlathi is a medical graduate of the University of Natal and holds an M Phil (Stellenbosch) and PhD (Fort Hare). As previous Deputy Director General at National Ministry of Health, Dr Mahlathi spearheaded major innovations in the health workforce in South Africa notably: Nursing Strategy 2008; Policy on Employment of Foreign Health Professionals in Public Health Service; Policy on Remuneration of Health Professionals. He also played a role in the formulation of the WHO Global Code of Practice on International Recruitment of Health Personnel and the Guidelines to Recruitment and Retention of Health Personnel in Rural and Remote Areas. He was previously Chief Executive of South African Medical Association, an organisation he played a critical role in its formation. Dr Mahlathi is a Fellow of Africa Leadership Initiative SA (member of Aspen Global Leadership Network). Dr Mahlathi will present his views about Migration Issues.

ICN received over 4,300 abstract submissions for its 2019 Congress. Each abstract was reviewed by an expert panel of reviewers and 599 of the highest quality has been selected for oral concurrent sessions and a further 1,547 for poster presentations and 483 will be available as e-posters. ICN’s 2019 Congress will be held on June 27-July 1, 2019 in Singapore. For more information and to register click here.

Note for Editors

The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of more than 130 national nurses’ associations representing the millions of nurses worldwide. Operated by nurses and leading nursing internationally, ICN works to ensure quality care for all and sound health policies globally.

For further information please contact

Gyorgy Madarasz, Press Officer, International Council of Nurses, Tel: +41 22 908 01 16