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At the recent Board of Trustees meeting of the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) Professor Maxine Whittaker was appointed Chair of the Board.

Based in Dhaka, Bangladesh, icddr,b (https://www.icddrb.org/ ) undertakes basic and implementation research and knowledge translation to solve public health problems facing low- and middle-income countries Using laboratory-based, genomic, clinical, epidemiological and health systems research it develops, tests and assesses the implementation of interventions specifically designed for resource-poor settings. For more than 50 years, icddr,b has been carrying out high-quality research and promoting the uptake of evidence-based interventions. Focuses of the Centre’s work are maternal and child health, respiratory and enteric diseases, emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases, nutrition demographic and health surveillance systems in urban slum and rural settings, other threats to public health, climate change and health, non-communicable diseases in resource-poor settings and methods of healthcare delivery.

In 2017 the Centre was awarded the Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize has been awarded to icddr,b with $2 million in prize money in recognition of its innovative approach to solving global health issues impacting the world’s most impoverished communities and the then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon  commended icddr,b’s decades of work towards solving public health challenges and saving lives, which is supporting the UN’s work to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He acknowledged that icddr,b’s interventions targeted for the developing world are directly contributing to sustainable development and this has helped to significantly reduce infant, child and maternal mortality in Bangladesh and beyond.  icddr,b was instrumental in the development of oral rehydration therapy –credited with saving 50 million lives worldwide.

Of her appointment, Maxine said “It is an honour to serve this wonderful organisation which has the vision of a world in which more people survive and enjoy healthy lives and to do so through solving public health problems through innovative scientific research. These are visions that I share and have and continue to work towards through my teaching, research, engagement and service.”

Maxine also is thrilled to be serving icddr,b as she attributes some of her career development to her time there. “I worked in the Maternal and Child Health extension project at icddr,b between 1989-1990. In this work, we tested innovative ways to deliver family planning and maternal and child health services to rural communities through the government of Bangladesh health system. I consolidated my implementation and qualitative research skills in the rural areas of Bangladesh as well as techniques in translating research into policy and practice.”

Maxine has been on the Board of Trustees for 5 years and will serve as Chair until the end of 2019. She also services in the icddr’b Scientific Advisory Group.

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