Our Policy Advisory Group

The Policy Advisory Group provides advice on how we can more effectively meet the evidence needs of the policymaking community in developing and implementing policy actions to prevent cancer and non-communicable diseases.

This includes advising us on:

  • the evidence needs of the policymaking community
  • processes to update, interpret and communicate the evidence for policy
  • outputs that are useful to the policy community
  • how to overcome barriers to policy implementation
  • how to stimulate wider implementation of more effective policies
  • developing relationships and alliances to enhance our impact

Launched in April 2015, the Policy Advisory Group comprises experts involved in policy from government, academia and civil society from Australia, Barbados, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, the UK and the US. The Group also includes observers from the World Health Organization and the Union for International Cancer Control.


Dr Simón Barquera – National Institute of Public Health, Mexico

Anita George – McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, Australia

Prof Sir Trevor Hassell – Healthy Caribbean Coalition, Barbados

Dr Hasan Hutchinson – Health Canada, Canada

Dr Knut-Inge Klepp – Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Norway

Prof Shiriki Kumanyika – University of Pennsylvania, US

Dr Feisul Idzwan Mustapha – Ministry of Health, Malaysia

Dr Anna Peeters – Deakin University, Australia

Prof Mike Rayner – University of Oxford and Centre on Population Approaches for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention, UK

Sandhya Singh – National Department of Health, South Africa


Dr Francesco Branca – World Health Organization

Dr Heather Bryant – Union for International Cancer Control

Prof Fiona Bull – World Health Organization

Dr Simón Barquera

Simón Barquera is Director of the Nutrition and Health Research Centre at Mexico’s National Institute of Public Health.

Dr Barquera has been a consultant for the WHOPAHOUNICEF and the IAEA in the fields of nutrition, obesity and chronic diseases. He has published more than 251 research papers and chapters on these issues.

He is associate editor of Public Health Nutrition and editorial board member of the Global Health Epidemiology and Genomics. Dr Barquera is co-researcher of the Mexican Health and Nutrition Surveys (1999–2016), a member of the Ministry of Health Chronic Diseases advisory board, the PAHO Expert Group on sodium reduction, World Obesity Federation’s Scientific Advisory Board and a Fellow of the Obesity Society.

Dr Barquera has been recognised as a top-level National Researcher by Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology and is a Fellow of the Mexican National Academy of Medicine and the Mexican Academy of Sciences. He has received many awards including the PAHO Fred L Soper Award for Excellence in Health Literature (2003), Tufts University Nutrition Impact Award (2016), the UAM Distinguished Alumni Award (2016) and the 11th Michael and Susan Dell Lectureship Award in Child Health (2017).

Anita George

As a senior legal policy advisor at the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, a joint initiative of Cancer Council Victoria and the Union for International Cancer Control, Anita George works on the prevention of non-communicable diseases through legal and other regulatory measures and the interrelationship between these measures and international trade and investment law.

Before joining the McCabe Centre, Ms George practised as a lawyer with a major commercial law firm in Australia and as a human rights lawyer specialising in refugee and mental health law. She has also previously consulted to the Health Policies Division of the OECD. Ms George holds first-class honours degrees in Law and Arts from the University of Tasmania, was awarded a General Sir John Monash Foundation Scholarship to complete a Masters of Public Affairs at Sciences Po Paris and holds a diploma in Law and Strategy in humanitarian action, health, emergency and development from University Paris 8.

Prof Sir Trevor Hassell

Sir Trevor is Adjunct Professor of Medicine, University of the West Indies, Barbados, and Honorary Consultant Physician and Cardiologist, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Barbados. He is Chairman of the National Commission for Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases, and Barbados Special Envoy for NCDs. He is also President of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition, a civil society alliance for combating chronic diseases, and Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Chronic Disease Research Centre, University of the West Indies. Positions held by Sir Trevor include Vice President of the World Heart Federation, President of the InterAmerican Heart Foundation, and President of the Caribbean Cardiac Society.

Sir Trevor has developed national programmes for the provision of comprehensive cardiovascular care, including the development of community-based primary prevention cardiovascular, healthy lifestyle and wellness programmes. He has played a leading role locally, regionally and internationally in efforts aimed at slowing the epidemic of chronic non-communicable diseases.

Sir Trevor has received many awards, including the appointment to the Order of Barbados as a Knight of St Andrew in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the medical profession.

Dr Hasan Hutchinson

Hasan Hutchinson is Director General of the Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion at Health Canada. As the focal point for public health nutrition within the federal government, the Office’s main functions include dietary guidance, food and nutrition surveillance, research and data analysis, health promotion, and public health nutrition policy.

Dr Hutchinson is co-chair of Canada’s Federal/Provincial/Territorial Group on Nutrition and of the multi-sectoral Network on Healthy Eating. He serves on nutrition-related committees at the World Health Organization and Pan American Health Organization, and has served on health-related committees both at the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development and at the United Nations. He also served as Chair of Canada’s Sodium Working Group.

Previously, Dr Hutchinson was Associate Director of the Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Before working in the public service, he was a faculty member in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University. Dr Hutchinson has a PhD in Quantitative Genetics and an ND in Naturopathic Medicine.

Dr Knut-Inge Klepp

Knut-Inge Klepp is Executive Director of Mental and Physical Health at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Prior to this he was Director General of Public Health at the Norwegian Directorate of Health from 2006–15. He is an adjunct professor at the University of Oslo, where he served as a full professor in public health nutrition from 1996–2006. Prior to this he was a professor in international health promotion at Norway’s University of Bergen.

Dr Klepp has published over 250 papers in peer-reviewed journals, primarily in adolescent health promotion, nutrition and HIV/AIDS prevention. He has coordinated and served as investigator on many European Union research projects, and has extensive research experience from eastern and southern Africa. Since 2008, Dr Klepp has been involved in WHO efforts to reduce non-communicable diseases, and has chaired the WHO EURO Member State network on reducing marketing pressure on children.

He served as chair of the Norwegian National Council on Nutrition and Physical Activity, and chaired research programmes on public health within the Norwegian Research Council. From 2010–11, Dr Klepp was President of the International Society of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity.

Prof Shiriki Kumanyika

Shiriki Kumanyika is an Emeritus Professor of Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania and Research Professor of Community Health and Prevention, Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health, both located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US. At the Dornsife School, she leads the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network (AACORN), which she founded in 2002 as a national affinity group and collaboration platform comprising senior and early career researchers and community-based research partners.

Prof Kumanyika’s research and policy activities focus on food and obesity and related health consequences and health inequities. She is an elected member of the USA National Academy of Medicine (NAM, formerly known as the Institute of Medicine) where she has been extensively involved in nutrition and obesity-related activities. Prof Kumanyika is also a past president of the American Public Health Association.

In the global sphere, Prof Kumanyika is co-chair of the Policy and Prevention Section of the World Obesity Federation and a nutrition advisor to the World Health Organization. She served on the World Cancer Research Fund Expert Panels on Diet, Nutrition, and Cancer Prevention (2002–07) and Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention (2007–09).

Dr Feisul Idzwan Mustapha

Feisul Idzwan Mustapha is a public health doctor, currently engaged in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), with a special focus on diabetes and obesity. At the Ministry of Health Malaysia, his main roles include policy and programme development, and strategic implementation of interventions for the prevention and control of NCDs. His most recent work is the development of the National Strategic Plan for Non-Communicable Diseases (NSP-NCD) 2016–2025.

Dr Mustapha is also actively involved in global public health. He represents Malaysia at various international platforms, mainly at the World Health Organization (WHO). Dr Mustapha is currently a Member of the WHO Ad-hoc Working Group on Implementation, Monitoring and Accountability on the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity, and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for the Monash University South East Asia Community Observatory (SEACO), 2013–2018.

In 2014, Dr Mustapha led the development of the Leadership and Advocacy in the Prevention and Control of NCD in Malaysia (LeAd-NCD) training workshop, that is still ongoing. Alumni of LeAd-NCD formed an association in 2016 and LeAd-NCD serves as a platform for identifying and grooming future leaders in the prevention and control of NCDs in Malaysia.

Dr Anna Peeters

Anna Peeters is a Professor of Epidemiology and Equity in Public Health and Head of Obesity and Population Health in the School of Health and Social Development at Deakin University. She is also on the council of the Australia New Zealand Obesity Society.

Dr Peeters is interested in bringing objectivity and equitability to strategies aimed at tackling the rapidly escalating rates of obesity in Australian communities. She leads a team of public health researchers who aim to build the evidence base for public health policy regarding the prevention of obesity and obesity-related diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. During the past decade, her research, both in Netherlands and Australia, has focused on obesity and the relationship between increasing weight and loss of life expectancy, links with disease and disability, and the implications for socioeconomic inequalities in health. 

Dr Peeters is a National Health and Medical Research Council Career Development Awardee and previous VicHealth Research Fellow. Dr Peeters has been awarded the prestigious IASO Andre Mayer Award for 2014 and a Churchill Award (2014).

Prof Mike Rayner

Mike Rayner is a Professor of Population Health at the Nuffield Department of Population Health and Director of the Centre on Population Approaches for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention. The Centre, which Prof Rayner founded in 1993, is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre on Population Approaches for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention and carries out research in two main areas: the burden of cardiovascular disease and the promotion of healthier diets and increased levels of physical activity.

Prof Rayner is also Chair of Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming and Chair of its Children’s Food Campaign in the UK. He is a trustee of the UK National Health Forum, Chair of the Nutrition Expert Group for the European Heart Network based in Brussels and a member of the Scientific Advisory Panel of the International Obesity Task Force. He is also an ordained priest in the Church of England.

Sandhya Singh

Sandhya Singh is Director of Chronic Disease, Disability and Geriatrics at the National Department of Health in South Africa, where her core functions involve non-communicable disease policy development, modelling of services and creating legislative frameworks.

In response to the recent global positioning of NCDs on both health and development agendas, Ms Singh is leading exciting political and strategic change at the national level to transition South Africa’s health platform to help prevent and control NCDs.

Ms Singh also serves as a Ministerial representative on national and South Africa structures and participates as a Departmental representative on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and WHO AFRO consultations. She participated as a member of the African Delegation in Formal Meetings of the World Health Organization, which finalised work on the Global Monitoring Framework and Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs.


Dr Francesco Branca

Francesco Branca is Director of the Department of Nutrition for Health and Development in the World Health Organization, Geneva and is currently the acting Executive Secretary of the Standing Committee of Nutrition.

He has been a Senior Scientist at the Italian Food and Nutrition Research Institute where he was leading studies on the effects of food and nutrients on human health at the different stages of the life cycle and on the impact of public health nutrition programmes. He was President of the Federation of the European Nutrition Societies from 2003–07.

Dr Branca graduated in Medicine and Surgery and specialised in Diabetology and Metabolic Diseases at the Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Roma, and obtained a PhD in Nutrition at Aberdeen University.

Dr Heather Bryant

Heather Bryant, Chief Scientific Officer of the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) since 2017, joined CPAC in January 2008 as its first Vice President, Cancer Control. In that role, she developed and led a portfolio of pan-Canadian cancer control programmes throughout the cancer continuum, including population-based prevention and cancer screening, diagnosis and care, patient centered reporting and palliative care, and research. She has led in the development of cancer system performance reporting in Canada. Prior to joining CPAC, she was Vice President, Population Health and Information at the Alberta Cancer Board for many years.

Dr Bryant was elected to the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) Board of Directors in 2012 and has been re-elected for two subsequent terms. She is also the chair of the International Cancer Benchmarking Program, an international comparison of cancer survival and its antecedents carried out by Cancer Research UK. She has also chaired many national cancer or research committees.

Dr Bryant studied medicine at the University of Calgary, followed by a fellowship in community medicine and a PhD in epidemiology. She is a Clinical Professor in the departments of Community Health Sciences and Oncology at the University of Calgary. In 2015, she was named one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada by the Women’s Executive Network.

Prof Fiona Bull

Fiona Bull is Programme Manager in the Department of Non-Communicable Disease Prevention at the World Health Organization (WHO) based in Geneva, Switzerland. She leads the development of the WHO’s global normative and standard setting work, as well as country assistance and policy implementation, related to healthy eating, physical inactivity and the prevention of obesity.  

Prior to joining the WHO in 2017, Prof Bull was Professor of Public Health and Director of the Centre for Built Environment and Health at the University of Western Australia and Director of the British Heart Foundation National Center for Physical Activity and Health at Longhborough University (UK).

Prof Bull has a background in public health, spatial epidemiology, exercise science, physical activity and education. Her interests span measurement, population surveillance, programme evaluation, understanding the causes of unhealthy behaviours at the individual, social and environmental level, and developing and testing programmes and policy interventions.

Prof Bull has extensive experience in national and international research and policy, and has supported the global public health agenda to promote healthy living. In 2014 her contribution to research and policy was recognised with the award of an MBE.