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Hosted at The World Health Organization

World Health Organization


The Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) is a global programme of scientific collaboration that helps facilitate, support and influence efforts to combat diseases of poverty. It is hosted at the World Health Organization (WHO), and sponsored by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and WHO. Its mission is to foster an effective global research effort on infectious diseases of poverty and promote the translation of innovation to health impact in disease endemic countries.


As TDR Programme and Portfolio Manager, Beatrice strives to foster a culture of innovative management leadership and continuous performance improvement. With a great interest in making a difference for a better global health she is building upon her scientific background (pharmaceutical product research and development) and broad understanding of health research with capacity strengthening and management skills to enhance research for health care delivery in low and middle income countries. In this context Beatrice leads, at TDR, the Social Innovation in Health Initiative.

Jamie is responsible for developing and managing TDR’s communications strategy. She works closely with stakeholders, TDR scientists and project teams to highlight TDR’s work and research outcomes. Jamie came to TDR in 2005 to initiate a new unit that would expand communications about TDR research results and increase researcher skills in this area.

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She has a background in multimedia, web development, community relations and advocacy, and produced a national television series on health and medicine in the United States. She says that the diversity among the many countries is a fascinating challenge and provides a rich source of ideas to choose from, for both implementation and training. Her favourite part of the job is getting to know the researchers, learning more about the conditions they face and seeing what they are able to accomplish. “There are so many stories of impact, it’s incredible to see what research can achieve. Our goal is to share these achievements and try to increase them,” say Jamie.

Pascal manages projects and initiatives to strengthen research capacities at institutional level and manages the Career Development Fellowship programme. Pascal joined TDR in May 2003. Driven by curiosity, he was first attracted to TDR by its scientific reputation.

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Originally an immunologist with specific expertise in clinical microbiology, Pascal brings to TDR experience he gained from being a researcher in New Caledonia, Senegal and French Guiana, as well as from heading the WHO Immunology and Training Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland. His initial training prepared him to manage diagnostic laboratories and from there he went on to study CD4/CD8 ratios in different infectious diseases, particularly in leprosy, tuberculosis and leishmaniasis for his MD and PhD theses. He recalls a time when he worked with nine band armadillos to produce Mycobacterium leprae for his research.

Mariam joined TDR in 2017 as Technical Officer with the Unit on Vectors, Environment and Society. Mariam is a social scientist and health and development economist with over ten years of experience in International Development and research capacity strengthening, gender mainstreaming, knowledge management and Environmental and Public Health research and policy.

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She is currently providing technical support and coordinating research projects on vector control in urban health settings and on capacity building for gender-based analyses in vector-borne disease and climate change research. For the last six years, Miriam worked for the Department of Public Health, Social and Environmental Determinants of Health at WHO focusing on knowledge management, evidence and research and managing research studies on effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of climate resilient WASH interventions in African and Asian countries. Prior to joining WHO in 2010, Mariam worked for UN-Woman covering Southern Africa Region countries and for other UN sister Agencies and Sustainable Development organizations. Mariam is passionate about intersectoral collaboration to strengthen countries capacities for social innovation through research.

Bernadette provides support for and coordinates projects studying population health vulnerabilities to vector-borne diseases and ways to increase population resilience against the impact of climate change in Africa. She joined TDR in June 2007 with over 20 years academic and research experience in health product innovation, drug discovery, vaccines and the development of diagnostics for infectious tropical diseases.

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A former TDR grantee herself, she is fully aware of the challenges faced by individual researchers on the ground. Bernadette enjoys working with colleagues who are driven, motivated and passionate about what they do. “I derive my inspiration from working with a great team that believes in the value and significance of our work,” she states, adding, “when there is commitment and a shared purpose among teams, we create a work environment that is conducive to achieving goals. We are a small team, but big on dreams and goals!”

Rachel has spent the past 4 years focusing on social entrepreneurship and social innovation in health care, in both research and project management roles. During her time at the Bertha Centre, Rachel coordinated the implementation of the Social Innovation in Health Initiative, co-leading research spanning 16 countries.

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Rachel has a background in development economics and holds an MComm from the University of Cape Town, specialising in social entrepreneurship models in developing country health systems. She was the project coordinator at LSHTM and the communications manager for SIHI and is now a technical advisor to TDR, WHO supporting the SIHI country-hubs.


TDR is the convening partner and provides global leadership for SIHI to (i) promote social innovation in health at the Global, regional and national levels, (ii) support research on social innovation to better understand what works, what does not work and highlight and share lessons learnt, and (iii) support research capacity building in countries and by countries.


TDR’s main aim is to expand partnership and leadership to research institutions in low and middle income countries and build the capacity to embed research in social innovation.

a. Building capacity to embed research in social innovations

Enhancing leadership in low and middle income countries – Financial support to the development of Country Social Innovation Research Hubs and support for research in the global south (Uganda, Malawi, Philippines mentored by LSHTM)


Developing tools Coordinate and support the development of a research approach and set of tools for social innovation in health (TDR convening of experts)


Disseminating results –Coordinate the publications on case study research

b. Getting evidence on how best to engage government

Identifying funds and synergies with collaborators to conduct research to better understand factors influencing decision makers’ engagement

c. Enhancing collaboration, global engagement and resource mobilization
  • Providing leadership to SIHI
  • Coordinating collaborations and synergies
  • Enhancing advocacy through TDR e-news
  • Reaching out to international organizations for advocacy and collaborations
  • Identifying new funding sources for 2018-2019

“Social innovation in health has a played an amazing role in strengthening health systems and contributing to Universal Health Coverage. Its community driven approach in bringing various health system actors together to identify issues, develop solutions and implement these is fully in line with the Global Development agenda for 2030. Building upon its historic engagement in research on community
based implementation, TDR believes it has a great role to play in advancing social
innovation in health and is very excited to see research institutions in low and middle
income countries play a leading role in advancing social innovation in health. ”