NCDI Poverty Network Co-Chairs Receive World Heart Federation Award in Geneva

Drs. Gene Bukhman and Ana Mocumbi discuss global health equity during a fireside chat with journalist Arianne Alcorta (left) at the World Heart Summit in Geneva.

The World Heart Federation has presented its Outstanding Contribution to Cardiovascular Health Award to Drs. Gene Bukhman and Ana Mocumbi, co-chairs of the NCDI Poverty Network. The presentation took place in May at the World Heart Awards ceremony in Geneva.

The two cardiologists were celebrated in part for their work as co-chairs of the groundbreaking Lancet Commission on Reframing NCDs and Injuries for the Poorest Billion. The commission launched in 2016 to address the crushing burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and injuries on the world’s poorest people.

In addition to its many findings, the commission highlighted the need for expanded financing and technical partnerships to address this burden. The commission also catalyzed the formation of the NCDI Poverty Network, which aims to prevent and reduce the death and suffering of those doubly afflicted by NCDs and extreme poverty. Drs. Bukhman and Mocumbi now co-chair the network.

Dr. Bukhman, who directs the Center for Integration Science in Global Health Equity at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, is an anthropologist as well as a cardiologist. He also serves as director of the Program on Global Noncommunicable Disease and Social Change at Harvard Medical School, where he is an associate professor of medicine and an associate professor of global health and social medicine. He is also the senior health and policy advisor on NCDs at Partners In Health. Between 2010 and 2015, he served as senior technical advisor on NCDs to the Rwanda Ministry of Health.

Over the past 15 years, Dr. Bukhman has argued that for those living in extreme poverty, NCDs are best understood as part of the “long tail” of global health equity, one that demands a new science of integration. He has translated this critique into practical health delivery strategies now being implemented in more than a dozen countries. He has authored more than a hundred peer-reviewed publications and book chapters that apply a range of methodologies — from ethnography and archival research to epidemiology and mathematical modeling — to identify solutions for people living in poverty with severe NCDs.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for carrying on in the tradition of African cardiologists focused on diseases of poverty,” Dr. Bukhman said. “We’re optimistic that by working together with the type 1 diabetes and sickle cell disease communities, we can finally make significant progress on these neglected conditions.”

Dr. Bukhman’s fellow awardee, Dr. Mocumbi, is both an associate professor of cardiology at Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo, Mozambique, and an affiliated professor in the Department of Global Health at the University of Washington in Seattle. Based in Mozambique, she also leads the Non-Communicable Diseases Division at the National Public Health Institute Mozambique (Instituto Nacional de Saúde).

Although Dr. Mocumbi’s research interests are broad, spanning from education to health management to clinical research, her particular focus is on neglected cardiovascular diseases, including cardiomyopathies and heart failure in children; women’s cardiovascular health; and the use of point-of-care technologies for improving access to health care in low-income settings.

Drs. Ana Mocumbi and Gene Bukhman each received a custom-engraved crystal plaque for their Outstanding Contribution to Cardiovascular Health Award.

Dr. Mocumbi serves as co-chair of the Taskforce for Access to Reproductive Health Services for Women with Cardiovascular Disease of the Pan African Society of Cardiology, as well as co-chair of the World Heart Federation’s Working Group on Rheumatic Heart Disease Prevention and Control.

“Merci à tous! Thank you!” Dr. Mocumbi said to a group of NCDI Poverty Network members upon being congratulated on the honor. “But this award belongs to all of us. Without you this would not be possible.”

The World Heart Awards celebrate individuals and organizations who have gone above and beyond in their mission to fight cardiovascular disease and promote healthy hearts.