WONCA Rural 2022: International Advisory Group

We have gathered a stellar international advisory group to help us develop the global element of this exciting conference. Members of the group come from every corner of the world, so that the conference will have a truly international flavour. I am delighted that many of the members are younger and from the next generation of future rural health leaders as the future of global rural health will be in their hands. In the wake of the tragedy of Covid-19, this global gathering will give us the opportunity to meet up again, share ideas, meet new friends, and reset our objective to achieve Universal Rural Health Coverage and quality health care for the world’s rural population.

Chair: John Wynn-Jones - UK     

A rural GP in Wales for over 30 years, now retired from clinical practice. Trained at Guy’s Hospital London 1969-75. Founded the UK Institute of Rural Health and the Welsh Rural Postgraduate Unit in 1997 and established the European Rural and Isolated Practitioner’s Association (EURIPA) remaining its president until 2012. One of the founding members of the Wonca (World Organisation of Family Doctors) Working Party on Rural Practice and chair from 2013-19. Currently the Senior Lecturer in Rural and Global Health at Keele Medical School in the UK and Board Member English National Centre for Rural Health and Care.


Katelyn Thorn - New Zealand  

Dr Katelyn Costello is a New Zealand doctor based in Queenstown. She is dual training in both General Practice and Rural Hospital Medicine. She is also a PhD student, looking at how to improve the rural medical workforce in Aotearoa. She has an interest in medical education and really enjoys taking on leadership roles. She has been involved with WONCA Rural (WWPRP) since she was a final year medical student in 2016. 

Shannon Nott - Australia        

Dr Shannon Nott is the Rural Director of Medical Services for Western New South Wales (NSW) Local Health District in Australia.  Through this role, he oversees 35 rural and remote hospitals and multipurpose services across some of the state’s most vulnerable communities.  Shannon is a Rural Generalist with advanced skills in anaesthetics, working in retrieval and primary care for the Royal Flying Doctors Service, as well as anaesthetics in Dubbo Base Hospital.  Shannon is also a current member of the WONCA working party on rural practice.

Alongside rural medicine, Shannon has a strong interest in virtual care.  His leadership in this space has recently seen him appointed as the Clinical Director of NSW Health’s Virtual Care Accelerator, a multi-agency, collaborative business unit created to advance virtual health care across NSW during the COVID pandemic.  He is also the Chair of the Virtual Health Community of Practice for NSW. Shannon is also currently on the World Health Organization’s Roster of Digital Health Experts and has contributed to a range of state and national digital health committees including thee Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine’s Digital Health Committee.

In his spare time, Shannon enjoys camping, 4WDing and riding horses having competed in the world’s longest and toughest horse race – the Mongol Derby.

South Asia:

Zakiur Rahman - Bangladesh    

Md Zakiur Rahman is the President of Primary Care and Rural Health Bangladesh. He is also the Executive, Wonca Working Party on Rural Practice and Organizing Chairman of Wrhc2020 Dhaka Bangladesh. He is a member of the faculty of family medicine in Bangladesh College of General Practitioners and Bangladesh Academy of Family Physicians.

Gobith Ratnam - Sri Lanka       

A Family Physician from Sri Lanka and a visiting lecturer at department of Community and Family Medicine, University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka. He took up the leadership in managing the Covid pandemic as a regional coordinator for Covid-19 preparedness and response. He serves as an executive council member of Rural Wonca and holds portfolio position for LMICs and is also a committee member of young doctors’ movement (Spice Route movement of young doctors - Sri Lanka). He is a co-founder and manager of a regional rural organisation called ‘Forum of Rural community Empowerment- FoRCE’. He has received his postgraduate diploma in family medicine from University of Colombo, Sri Lanka and board exam of College of General Practitioners (MCGP), Sri Lanka and obtained an MBA in healthcare administration from the International Institute of Health Sciences, Sri Lanka.


Jean Pierre Jacquet - France            

Jean Pierre is a rural family doctor in the French Alps. He is a former teacher in the Department of General Practice, Faculty of Medicine and former Director of the Scientific Committee of the Department of General Medicine, University of Grenoble. Jean Pierre is the president of EURIPA (European Rural and Isolated Practitioners Association). He is the Director of International relations at the French College of General Practice and Expert Member of the French National Drug and Safety Association.

Donata Kurpas - Poland            

Prof. Donata Kurpas, MD, PhD is a full time senior researcher and lecturer at the Department of Family Medicine, Wroclaw Medical University (WMU). She received her medical doctor degree (1999) from WMU; PhD in family medicine from WMU (2003); habilitation in family medicine (Chronic Care Model in Polish primary care) (2014). She is a full professor (since 2020); specialist in family medicine (2005); specialist in public health (2017); and engaged in undergraduate and postgraduate training of medical students and family physicians.

South America:

Mayara Floss - Brazil              

Mayara is a Brazilian Family Doctor, writer, poet, film maker and activist. She is currently a PhD student at the University of São Paulo (USP). She was the junior author of the policy brief recommendations for Brazil of Lancet Countdown 2018 and 2019. Mayara is the Rural Seeds creator and Ambassador and executive member of the WONCA Working Party on Rural Practice and member of the WONCA Working Party on the Environment. She was the creator and coordinator of the Planetary Health and Planetary Health for Primary Care MOOC and is a member of the Planetary Health Group and the Advanced Studies Institute - IEA/USP. She is a champion for the health of rural and indigenous people across Brazil and has spoken on women’s health at the United Nations.

Marcela Cuadrado   Uruguay         

Marcela Cuadrado is Specialist in Family and Community Medicine and an Educator from Uruguay She was the former Adjunct Professor of the Department of Family and Community Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay. She is also President of the Uruguayan Society of Family and Community Medicine since 6/2016 and coordinator of the Rural Health Group of CIMF.


Innocent Besigye - Uganda          

Dr. Innocent Besigye holds a Masters in Family Medicine from Makerere University. He is a Family Physician and full time Lecturer at Makerere University in the Department of Family Medicine. He is a Faimer Fellow for medical education, NURTURE Research Fellow at Makerere University and has just completed a Mixed Methods Research Fellowship training at Makerere University. He has supervised and mentored several masters and undergraduate students. He has done several research projects and published in Family Medicine and Primary Care. He is the Assistant Editor in Chief for the African Journal of Primary Health Care and Family Medicine, President of the African Forum for Primary Health Care (AfroPHC) and a member of the Primafamed Executive Committee.

Shabir Moosa - South Africa   

Prof Shabir Moosa is a family physician with an MBA and PhD. He has extensive experience in rural general practice and the development of family medicine and primary care services in both rural and urban district health services in South Africa and Africa. Shabir is deeply involved in development and research around family medicine and community-oriented primary health care (COPC) in Johannesburg, Gauteng and Africa. He President of the African of WONCA (World Organisation of Family Doctors) and facilitator of AfroPHC, bringing African PHC team leaders together to advocate for PHC and UHC.  


Jie Gu - China              

Dr Gu is a general practice specialist, working for the past 20 years in Shanghai city. Since 2014, he has been an associate chief physician of the General Practice Department of Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University and the vice director of Xidu Community Health Centre. He graduated from the Shanghai Medical College of Fudan University in 2001 with a Bachelor Degree of Clinical Medicine. He obtained a PhD degree in General Practice from Fudan University in 2017. Over the past 10 years, Dr Gu has devoted himself to the training of rural GPs in China and has been responsible for several training programs. He is also the member of the WONCA Rural Working Party.

Aileen Espina - Philippines      

Aileen trained at the University of the Philippines, Cebu Institute of Medicine. She is a Doctor of Medicine, has a Masters in Public Health and Masters in Hospital Administration and is a Fellow of the Philippine Academy of family physicians. Aileen is experienced in Hospital Administration, Project Management, Family Med/Public Health, Disaster Recovery and Response. She was the Chief of Medical Professional Staff for the Eastern Visayas Regional Medical Center, the last standing hospital in Tacloban after Typhoon Haiyan hit the area in 2013. She was also the chief architect of EVRMCs Build Back Better initiative. Dr Espina serves as a consultant on disaster medicine to several international organizations, including CARE International and the World Health Organization. She is globally recognized as an expert on patient-centered, family-focused, and community-oriented approach to care. She currently sits as an Executive of the Asia-Pacific Regional Council of the World Organization of Family Doctors (WONCA) and chairs the WONCA Working Party for Women in Family Medicine.

Eastern Mediterranean:

Nagwa  Hegazy - Egypt             

Nagwa Nashat Hegazy is a family physician and a medical educator. She is an assistant professor in Family Medicine, Family Medicine Department, Faculty of Medicine, Menoufia University, Egypt since February 2018 and acting currently as the director of the Medical Education and Human Resources Center in the Faculty of Medicine, Menoufia University. She became the director of the Family Health Center in 2015.She holds a professional diploma degree in research methodology and program evaluation from the AUC and finished her FAIMER fellowship in January 2021 (Foundation for Advancement of International Medical Education and Research). She is also the treasurer and Executive Board Member of Egyptian Family Medicine Association (EFMA) and the Immediate past chair of Al Razi Movement. She acts as the honorary general secretory of the WONCA EMR for the East Mediterranean Region since June 2021.

North America:

John Gale - USA                           

John A. Gale, M.S. is a Senior Research Associate, Maine Rural Health Research Center, University of Southern Maine. President, National Rural Health Association (NRHA) Since joining the Maine Rural Health Research Center (MRHRC) in 1999, rural health has been a central focus of his research. Building on his experience as a Senior Manager in Primary care and Behavioral Health Practices, his focus is on rural healthcare delivery systems involving Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), mental health/substance use providers, and emergency medical services (EMS).

John Cullen - USA                           

John Cullen practices full scope family medicine, including operative obstetrics and emergency medicine, in the frontier community of Valdez, Alaska.  Besides seeing his patients, he loves to teach residents and students at his small group private practice, the Valdez Medical Clinic. Dr.  Cullen has been involved with the American Academy of Family Physicians since 1995. He was elected to the AAFP Board of Directors in 2014 and was President in 2019. During his time on the AAFP Board he was a strong advocate for health equity, reducing racial and geographic disparities and access to health care. He is a champion for reducing maternal and infant mortality in underserved and rural areas. Dr. Cullen served as Board Chair of the AAFP during the outbreak of the COVID-19 Pandemic and helped this organization and its 136,000 members navigate a time of crisis. He has served on the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services where he toured the country, evaluating critical access hospitals, and rural health systems.

Brock Slabash - USA               

Brock is the NRHA Chief operations officer, NRHA. He has administrative responsibility for all areas of member services, including membership, communications, and meetings/exhibitions. Brock was a rural hospital administrator for more than 21 years and has served on the board of the National Rural Health Association and the regional policy board of the American Hospital Association. He specializes in rural health system development that encompasses population health and the varied payment programs moving rural providers into value based purchasing models. Brock is the 2015 recipient of the Calico Quality Leadership Award of the National Rural Health Resource Center and received the American Society of Healthcare Pharmacists Board of Directors’ Award of Honor for 2018. He earned a Master of Public Health Degree in Health Administration from the University of Oklahoma and is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

Rural Seeds Conference Ambassador

Lara Feasby - Ireland           

Lara is the Rural Seeds student ambassador. She is a 3rd year medical student at the University of Limerick. Prior to entering medical school she completed a Masters degree in occupational therapy and worked clinically in inpatient spinal cord injury rehabilitation.

Ex Officio Members

Alan Bruce Chater - Australia         

M.B.,B.S. Hons (Qld), FACRRM, DRANZCOG (Advanced) FRACGP OAM

Assoc Professor Alan Chater is from Queensland, Australia where he is Medical Superintendent with Right to Private Practice in the rural town of Theodore.

He is Chair of Rural Wonca (World Organization of General Practitioners Working Party on Rural Practice), Mayne Associate Professor and Head of the Discipline of Rural and Remote Medicine at University of Queensland, and on the Australian Independent Hospital Pricing Authority Board.He was the founding convenor of the Rural Doctors Associations of Queensland and Australia and the founding Chair of the Australian National Rural Health Alliance and inaugural Chair of the Statewide Rural and Remote Clinical Network Queensland Health.

He remains grounded in the needs of rural communities as he performs these roles while providing comprehensive rural generalist hospital practice and general practice in Theodore. He has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to Rural Medicine and his rural community.

Liam Glynn - Ireland            

Prof Liam Glynn is the Professor of General Practice at the University of Limerick School of Medicine. He qualified from Trinity College, Dublin in 1995 and, after completing general practice training in the Scottish highlands and remote health care postings to Guyana and Ecuador, he returned to work in the West of Ireland as a rural GP and academic.  He was awarded his M.Sc. degree in 2003 and his M.D. in 2007, both from National University of Ireland, Galway. He was appointed an HRB Cochrane fellow in 2007.

His career ambition is to contribute to the development of general practice and primary care in Ireland and the transformation of the Irish healthcare system with high quality teaching and research of international standing while continuing an active clinical role as a rural GP. In 2015, along with other Rural GPs, he co-founded the “No Doctor No Village” advocacy campaign. His primary research interests are in preventive medicine with a focus on physical activity, and applying and researching mHealth interventions in clinical practice. His other research interests include chronic kidney disease, hypertension and adherence to medication. 

Prof Glynn is a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland. He is also chair of the Research Committee and a Board member of the Irish College of General Practitioners.