On December 10, EF convened its annual Bill Maynes Panel to discuss innovative ways to advance policy reform in public health. The 2014 Maynes Fellows, Dr. Elena Dmitrieva of Russia and Andriy Skipalskyi of Ukraine, joined veteran HIV/AIDS activist Gregg Gonsalves to talk about how to promote better health policies in their respective countries. Noted Russia expert Dr. Matthew Rojansky moderated the discussion.

The event opened with remarks from Clint Liveoak, a Public Health Advisor at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mr. Liveoak spoke about the critical need for effective public health strategies, and the vital role activists can play in urging governments to adopt constructive policies. He drew upon examples from his work with the Global Fund in Burma and Cambodia, and emphasized the intersection of the health issues the panel members have worked on.

As the panel began, Dr. Dmitrieva described how she created SMSmame (Text4Baby), an innovative service in Russia that provides new and expecting mothers with health updates, schedules for medical checkups, and tips and advice through text messages to their mobile phones. Mr. Skipalskyi followed with a summary of his work spearheading a anti-tobacco coalition in Ukraine. The coalition successfully advocated for the passage of multiple pieces of legislation, including regulation requiring graphic image warning labels on cigarette packages and a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants. Mr. Gonsalves related his experience within the U.S. of pushing for public officials to respond to the AIDS epidemic in the late 1980s with constructive, health-conscious policies.

The 2014 Bill Maynes Panel

Elena Dmitrieva — 2014 Bill Maynes Fellow — Moscow, Russia

Dr. Elena Dmitrieva is the director of the Health and Development Foundation, which develops health communication and health system improvement projects in Russia. Dr. Dmitrieva also serves as the head of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Russia. The Health and Development Foundation’s newest program, TEXT4BABY, provides expectant and new mothers with important information about their health and the health of their babies, communicated via text message. In 2013, Dr. Dmitrieva and the Health and Development Foundation collaborated with an American partner on “mHealth,” public health campaigns implemented over mobile devices.

Andriy Skipalskyi — 2014 Bill Maynes Fellow — Kyiv, Ukraine

Andriy Skipalskyi is Chairman of the Board of Life Regional Advocacy Center, a Kyiv-based NGO that advocates for tobacco control. He successfully advocated for the adoption of two tobacco control laws in Ukraine and the placement of graphic images on cigarette packages that show the effects of smoking. Mr. Skipalskyi graduated from the Institute of Finances and Economics at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and holds an MBA from the International Management Institute (Ukraine-Switzerland). He is fluent in Ukrainian, Russian, and English.

Gregg Gonsalves —  Guest Speaker — United States 

Gregg Gonsalves is a veteran of the HIV/AIDS movement. He was a research fellow at the Yale School of Public Health from 2011–2012, focusing on the role of social change and political processes in determining public health outcomes. As an Open Society Fellow, he examined how lessons from the response to HIV can be applied to other global health challenges. He is founder of the International Treatment Preparedness Coalition, which advocates for AIDS and tuberculosis treatment for all who need it, and a member of the Global HIV Prevention Working Group convened by Bill and Melinda Gates.

Clint Liveoak — Opening Remarks — United States

Clint Liveoak is a Public Health Advisor at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He has been with the Division of Global HIV/AIDS for ten years and has broad policy and programmatic experience implementing U.S. governmentsupported bilateral and multilateral global health programs. He recently returned from a one-year deployment to U.S. Embassy Rangoon, where he served as the Acting CDC Country Program Director and established CDC program operations in Burma. In 2012-2013, Mr. Liveoak served on detail assignment to the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator as the Global Fund Technical Assistance Coordinator.

Matthew Rojansky — Moderator — United States

Matthew Rojansky is Director of the Kennan Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and an expert on U.S. relations with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova. From 2010 to 2013, he was Deputy Director of the Russia and Eurasia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where he founded the center’s Ukraine Program and led a multi-year project to support U.S.-Russia health cooperation. He is an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins SAIS and American University, and a participant in the Dartmouth Dialogues, a track-two U.S.-Russian conflict resolution initiative begun in 1960.

About the Bill Maynes Fellowship 

Dedicated to the generous and gregarious spirit of Eurasia Foundation’s late president, the Bill Maynes Fellowship is a program that supports outstanding individuals from the countries where Eurasia Foundation operates. The fund builds personal and professional bridges between emerging leaders in countries in which we work and their counterparts in the United States. The fund is entirely financed by private donations.