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 United Kingdom and the United States. The Group also includes observers from the World Health Organization and the Union for International Cancer Control.


Ms Sondra Davoren – McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, and Cancer Council Victoria, Australia

Professor Sir Trevor Hassell – Healthy Caribbean Coalition, Barbados

Dr Hasan Hutchinson – Health Canada, Canada

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

Dr Shiriki Kumanyika – University of Pennsylvania, USA

Dr Feisul Idzwan Mustapha – Ministry of Health, Malaysia

Dr Anna Peeters – Deakin University

Dr Mike Rayner – University of Oxford and British Heart Foundation Health Centre on Population Approaches for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention, UK

Dr Juan Rivera – National Institute of Public Health, Mexico

Ms Sandhya Singh – National Department of Health, South Africa


Dr Tim Armstrong – World Health Organization

Dr Francesco Branca – World Health Organization

Dr Heather Bryant – Union for International Cancer Control

Ms Sondra Davoren

As a senior legal policy advisor at the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer and Cancer Council Victoria (Australia), Sondra Davoren works on alcohol law and policy, specifically, legal and regulatory interventions to reduce alcohol-related cancers; and the role of law in the delivery of cancer treatment and supportive care.

Prior to joining Cancer Council Victoria, Ms Davoren worked as a legal advisor at the Victorian Legal Services Board and in multi-party litigation for Irwin Mitchell Solicitors (UK), specialising in product liability claims. Ms Davoren holds a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts from the University of Canterbury, New Zealand, and the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom. She is currently undertaking a Masters of Law at the University of Melbourne.

Professor 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 over the years include Vice President of the World Heart Federation, President of the InterAmerican Heart Foundation, and President, 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.

Professor Hassell 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 the 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 the co-chair of Canada’s Federal/Provincial/Territorial Group on Nutrition and of the multi-sectoral Network on Healthy Eating. He serves on a number of 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 the Executive Director of Mental and Physical Health at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. Prior to this he was the Director General of Public Health at the Norwegian Directorate of Health from 2006-2015. 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 2010-2011
Dr Klepp was President of the International Society of Behavioural Nutrition and Physical Activity.

Dr Shiriki Kumanyika

Shiriki Kumanyika is Emeritus Professor of Epidemiology in the Department of Biostatistics & Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania, Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia, where her focus is on research and policy-related activities on obesity prevention and control.

Her current research is under the rubric of the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network (AACORN), a national network which she founded and chairs to identify solutions to the high risks of obesity in the US black population.

Professor Kumanyika is the incoming President of the American Public Health Association for 2014-2015 and has extensive experience as a public health advisor in the US and internationally. She co-chairs the Policy & Prevention Section of the London-based World Obesity Federation (formerly known as the International Obesity Task Force). She also co-chairs the World Health Organization Working Group on Science and Evidence for Ending Childhood Obesity.

Professor Kumanyika served on the World Cancer Research Fund Expert Panels on Diet, Nutrition, and Cancer Prevention (2002-2007) and Policy and Action for Cancer Prevention (2007-2009).

Dr Feisul Idzwan Mustapha

Feisul Mustapha is currently engaged in the practice of public health in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), with a special focus on diabetes and obesity. At the Disease Control Division of the Ministry of Health Malaysia, his main role includes developing and implementing interventions for the prevention and control of NCDs, NCD surveillance, and policy-driven and implementation research for the prevention and control of NCDs.

He led the development of the “National Strategic Plan for Non-Communicable Diseases” (NSP-NCD) 2010-2014, which provides the framework for Malaysia’s response to the increasing NCD burden, and the development of Malaysia’s guideline on marketing of food and drink to children in 2012.

He is involved in several large studies relating to diabetes and obesity in Malaysia, including “Jom Mama” that explores opportunities to develop and assess pre-pregnancy interventions to optimize women’s health to reduce diabetes and the transmission of other NCDs to the next generation.

Dr Mustapha was recently invited to be a member of the Ad-hoc Working Group on Implementation, Monitoring and Accountability on the Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO).

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 and 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 recently been awarded the prestigious IASO Andre Mayer Award for 2014 and a Churchill Award (2014).

Dr Mike Rayner

Mike Rayner is a Professor of Population Health at the Nuffield Department of Population Health and Director of the British Heart Foundation Centre on Population Approaches for Non-Communicable Disease Prevention. The Centre, which Dr 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.

Dr 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.

Dr Juan Rivera

Juan Rivera is the Founding Director of the Center for Research in Nutrition and Health at the National Institute of Public Health and a Professor of Nutrition in the School of Public Health of Mexico. He is also an adjunct professor in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.

Dr Rivera has published more than 354 scientific articles, book chapters and books, and has made over 530 presentations and conferences in scientific events. His research interests include the epidemiology of stunting (under-nutrition and obesity), the short- and long-term effects of under-nutrition during early childhood, the design and evaluation of politics and programmes to improve nutritional status of populations.

Dr Rivera is a former Director of Nutrition and Health at the Nutrition Institute of Central America and Panama (INCAP). He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, Mexican Academy of Sciences, Latin American Society of Nutrition and American Society of Nutrition. He was honoured in 2010 with the International Hippocrates and the Scopus Award in the area of health sciences and the Kellogg International Nutrition Prize in 2009 by the American Society for Nutrition.

Ms 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 Tim Armstrong

Timothy Armstrong is the Coordinator of the Surveillance and Population-based Prevention Unit, in the Department of Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases, in the Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health Cluster, World Health Organization (WHO), a position he has held since 2007. Dr Armstrong first joined WHO as a Team Leader in the WHO Noncommunicable Diseases Surveillance Unit in 2002. In 2004 he became the Team Leader of the Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, a position he held until 2007.

Prior to joining WHO he was Senior Manager of the Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, and Risk Factor Monitoring Unit at the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare Unit (Canberra, Australia). Dr Armstrong held post-doctoral research positions at the John Curtin School Medical Research, Australia (1994-1995), the Australian Institute of Sport, Department of Sports Medicine, Physiology and Nutrition (1992-1994), and the University of New England, Armidale, Australia (1992).

He obtained his qualifications and post-graduate qualifications in Epidemiological Medical Genetics from the University of New England in 1992.

Along with Dr Armstrong’s professional experience he is a former international level distance runner and currently coaches several international distance runners and triathletes. He is also President of the WHO Athletics Club.

Dr Francesco Branca

Francesco Branca is the 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 2003-2007.

Dr Branca graduated in Medicine and Surgery and specialized 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 is Vice President Cancer Control at the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (CPAC) and on the Board of Directors for the Union for International Cancer Control. Dr Bryant joined CPAC in 2008 and is implementing the Canadian cancer control strategy with partners throughout the country.

Prior to joining CPAC, she worked with the Alberta Cancer Board, where she implemented the first population-based breast cancer screening programme in the province. As Vice President of Population Health and Information, she led the cancer registry, population-based research, active screening and prevention programmes, and implementation of the patient electronic health record.

Dr Bryant is actively involved in international initiatives and in 2012 was elected to the Union for International Cancer Control’s Board of Directors. Prior to her election to the Board, she served on the Scientific Planning Committee for the World Cancer Congress for the 2010 meeting, and co-chaired the committee for the 2012 meeting. She also served on UICC’s Strategic Priority Committee.