Director-General's Office

Deputy Directors-General

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, Deputy Director General for Programmes

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan has been appointed Deputy Director General for Programmes (DDP). A paediatrician from India and a globally recognized researcher on tuberculosis and HIV, she brings with her 30 years of experience in clinical care and research and has worked throughout her career to translate research into impactful programmes. Most recently, Dr. Swaminathan was Secretary of the Department of Health Research and Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research. From 2009 to 2011, she also served as Coordinator of the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR) in Geneva. She has sat on several WHO and global advisory bodies and committees, including the WHO Expert Panel to Review Global Strategy and Plan of Action on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property, the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group of the Global TB Department at WHO, and as Co-Chair of the Lancet Commission on TB. She received her academic training in India, the United Kingdom and the United States and has published more than 250 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters

Jane Ellison, Deputy Director General for Corporate Operations

Jane Ellison is Deputy Director-General for Corporate Operations. From the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, she has more than 30 years of experience in politics, commerce and change management in both the public and private sectors. She was previously Special Parliamentary Adviser to the United Kingdom’s Chancellor of the Exchequer. In addition, as a member of the parliament of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2017, she served as the country’s Public Health Minister from 2013 to 2016 and as Minister of State at Her Majesty’s Treasury from 2016 to 2017. As Public Health Minister, she was involved in the UK’s response to the 2014–2015 Ebola outbreak and represented the Government of the United Kingdom in World Health Assemblies. During her time in Parliament she played a pivotal role in advancing health issues including founding the first All-Party Parliamentary Group on Female Genital Mutilation in 2011 and taking forward the UK’s plain packaging of tobacco legislation. Prior to becoming a Member of UK Parliament she worked in the private sector for the John Lewis Partnership. Ms Ellison has a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University.

Dr Peter Salama, Deputy Director-General of Emergency Preparedness and Response

Dr Peter Salama

Dr Peter Salama, a medical epidemiologist from Australia, has lead the Health Emergencies Programme at WHO since 2016. Before joining WHO, Dr Salama was UNICEF’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. Prior to these recent assignments, Dr Salama led UNICEF’s global response to Ebola, served as UNICEF Representative in Ethiopia and Zimbabwe (2009–2015), UNICEF’s Chief of Global Health and Principal Advisor on HIV/AIDS in New York (2004–2009), and UNICEF’s Chief of Health and Nutrition in Afghanistan (2002–2004). Prior to joining UNICEF in 2002, Dr Salama was visiting scientist at the International Emergency and Refugee Health Branch at the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and a visiting professor in nutrition at Tufts University. He has also worked with Médecins Sans Frontières and Concern Worldwide in several countries in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. Dr Salama has led research and published extensively on maternal and newborn child health, vaccine-preventable diseases, HIV, nutrition, war-related mortality and violence, refugee and emergency health, and programming in fragile states. He completed his medical and public health degrees at Melbourne and Harvard Universities, where he was also a Fulbright and Harkness fellow in public policy.

Key WHO Information

Director-General
Director-General and senior management

Governance of WHO
WHO Constitution, Executive Board and World Health Assembly

Media centre
News, events, fact sheets, multimedia and contacts

International travel and health
Publication on travel risks, precautions and vaccination requirements

World Health Report
Annual report on global public health and key statistics