Media Advisory: Confronting Global Health Inequities

February 6, 2023 – The Meridian Center for Diplomatic Engagement is hosting the next program in its Diplocraft series – Combatting Global Inequalities in Aging and Longevity – to explore how foreign governments, multilateral organizations, and the private sector are committed to sharing best practices to reduce economic and social ramifications of global health inequalities. This program will also explore key findings from AARP’s Aging, Readiness & Competitiveness 4.0 Report, which will be made public following the program.


Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the largest reduction in life expectancy since World War II. Yet, as with most global health issues, this decrease affects populations differently within and across borders. The COVID-19 pandemic starkly highlighted the historical and structural barriers that minorities and underserved populations experience in accessing healthcare.

As we collectively strive towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals, global health inequities continue to limit many populations’ ability to thrive. Meridian will bring together leaders from multilateral organizations, the foreign diplomatic corps, and the private sector to discuss the economic and social linkages between global health inequalities and development and to explore different resources to combat them.

Date: Thursday, February 9
Time: 8:30 – 10:15 AM ET
Location: Meridian House (1630 Crescent Place NW, Washington, DC 20009)
Note: Complimentary parking is available on-site


Keynote remarks: Dubravka Šuica, Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, European Commission

Panel Discussion:
Dr. Jean Accius, Senior Vice President of Global Thought Leadership, AARP
Dr. Susan Harvey, Vice President of Worldwide medial Affairs, Hologic Inc.
Her Excellency (Hajia) Alima Mahama, Ambassador of the Republic of Ghana

Moderator: Akilah Johnson, National Health Reporter, The Washington Post

To attend the in-person program or request an interview with a speaker, please reach out to Meridian’s Director of Communications, Danielle Najjar, at

Register for the virtual program here.

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Meridian International Center is a nonpartisan, nonprofit diplomacy center that connects leaders through culture and collaboration to drive solutions for global challenges. Founded 60 years ago, Meridian has equipped thousands of leaders with the networks, insights, and cultural context essential for nonpartisan work on shared issues. Meridian strengthens engagement between the United States and the world through diplomacy, global leadership, and culture because we believe we are stronger when globally engaged.

Speaker Biographies

Dr. Jean Accius, Senior Vice President, Global Thought Leadership, AARP

As Senior Vice President of Global Thought Leadership at AARP, Dr. Jean Accius leads a team in positioning AARP as a global thought leader by identifying emerging trends around the world, cultivating and elevating new ideas, forging global strategic alliances that become the foundation for collaboration and sparking bold solutions to change systems and improve the lives of the global population as it ages.

With tri-sector experience and deep knowledge, he has a strong track record of building high-performing teams, managing cross-functional operations and processes, and developing innovative and actionable solutions, policies, and programs to close the opportunity gap so everyone can live longer healthier and more productive lives.

Accius has been quoted by or appeared in numerous media outlets, including The New York Times, Forbes, TIME Magazine, USA Today, Reuters, Politico, Next Avenue, ESPN’s Undefeated, Rolling Out, NationSwell, Congressional Quarterly, and Huffington Post. In 2020, he facilitated several sessions at the 50th annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and engaged nearly 300 leaders across industries and sectors at the United Nations.

Accius is a National Association of Corporate Directors member and has held various board and advisory positions, including Justice in Aging, the American Society on Aging, Leadership Maryland and the American University School of Public Affairs Board of Advisors. Accius is an Executive Leadership Council Fellow, a member of G100’s Transformational Leadership Network, and holds a bachelor’s degree in hospitality administration and a master’s degree in aging studies from the Claude Pepper Institute at Florida State University. He also holds a Ph.D. in public administration from American University.

Dr. Susan Harvey, Vice President, Worldwide Medical Affairs, Hologic Inc.

Dr. Susan Harvey is currently the Vice President of Worldwide Medical Affairs at Hologic Inc., a medical technology innovator focused primarily on women’s health. She joined the organization in April 2019, and her current goal is to help elevate women’s health and well-being worldwide. That includes her leadership role with the Hologic Global Women’s Health Index, the most comprehensive survey – conducted in partnership with Gallup – about women’s health.

Harvey was the Director of Breast Imaging for Johns Hopkins Medicine for over seven years, overseeing the organization’s growth in clinical service, teaching, and research. She has worked in underserved and resource-scarce regions worldwide to identify the most appropriate detection, diagnosis and treatment opportunities in these resource-constrained areas. Harvey’s global health experience includes research in health literacy, screening and strengthening continuum of care models for women in Uganda and South Africa, the latter in partnership with PEPFAR.

Harvey attended medical school at the University of Vermont (UVM). He completed her residency in diagnostic radiology at Yale New Haven Hospital before completing a fellowship in Oncoradiology with a focus on breast cancer care at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and The Dana Farber Institute in Boston. She joined the faculty at Brigham and Women’s Hospital for four years, then returned to UVM, where she continued practicing until 2005 when she joined Johns Hopkins Medicine as a full-time breast imager. While at Hopkins, Harvey held leadership positions in the radiology department, including being the Director of breast imaging. She received many student mentoring awards in the School of Medicine, Bloomberg School of Public Health and Biomedical Engineering and was elected as a member of the Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence. Harvey is on the Board of Directors for RAD-AID, a global NGO and Johns Hopkins Biomedical Engineering.

Akilah Johnson, National Reporter, The Washington Post

Akilah Johnson joined The Washington Post in 2021 as a national reporter exploring the effect of racism and social inequality on health.

In prior roles at ProPublica and the Boston Globe, she covered the intersection of health, race, politics, and immigration. She shared a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and was a Pulitzer finalist as a member of the Globe’s Spotlight Team investigation into racism in Boston. Her reporting has won several other national awards, including NABJ Salute to Excellence Award, ONA’s Knight Award for Public Service, and a National Headliner Award for Journalistic Innovation. Before her time at the Globe, Johnson covered education and public safety for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. She graduated from the University of Miami and is an alumna of the John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships at Stanford University.

Her Excellency Alima Mahama, Ambassador of the Republic of Ghana

Her Excellency Alima Mahama was appointed Ambassador of the Republic of Ghana to the United States of America in June 2021. Throughout her career, Mahama has held many prominent roles, including as Ghana’s Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, a Consultant for IFAD (SRDP & LACOSREP) OXFAM, and Action Aid Ghana.

Mahama is a Humphrey Fellow and participated in Post Graduate Studies with Institutional attachments in Urban Policy and Planning and Women Studies under Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program at Rutgers University. She was affiliated with the Center for Women’s Global Leadership and the Center for American Women and Politics (CAWP) and pursued a three-month attachment at the World Bank.

Before her appointment to the United States, Mahama served as a Member of Parliament and Minister for Local Government and Rural Development from 2017 to 2021. As Minister, she was instrumental in formulating the National Decentralization Policy and Strategy (2020-2040), developed to foster quality service delivery through a decentralized local governance system and active citizen participation to facilitate economic growth, income generation and poverty alleviation. She was also a member of Parliament and Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs from 2005 to 2009. She contributed to the passage of the Domestic Violence Act and the Human Trafficking Act, as well as ratifying related conventions at the African Union and the United Nations level. She also influenced changes in Ghana’s National Health Insurance Law to improve maternal health.

Mahama served as Senior Technical Advisor for the Attainment of MDG3 in Liberia (2009-2011), a program supported by the Government of Denmark to promote gender equality and women empowerment.

From 1987 to 2001, she served as the Senior Planner and Gender Development Coordinator of the Northern Region Rural Integrated Program (NORRIP), a Ghana Government and Canadian International Development Agency initiative.

Mahama is a product of the Ghana Law School and was called to the bar in 1982. She holds a Master of Arts Degree in Development Studies specializing in Regional Development Planning from the Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague in The Netherlands.

Dubravka Šuica, Vice President, Democracy and Demography, European Commission

Since December 2019, Dubravka Šuica has been Vice President of the European Commission in charge of Democracy and Demography.

Šuica is a Croatian politician from the city of Dubrovnik, where she served for two terms as its first female mayor and was awarded the 2006 World Mayor Award. Šuica entered politics in the 1990s as a Member of the Croatian Democratic Union and served as a Member of the Croatian Parliament and Vice-Chair of the EU Integration Committee. Between 2004 and 2009, she was a Board Member of the Union of the Association of Towns and Municipalities of the Republic of Croatia. For ten years, she was the Vice-President of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe. From 2013 to 2019, Šuica served as a Member of the European Parliament and Vice-Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee. In June 2019, Šuica was elected as the first Vice Chair of the EPP Group in the European Parliament. Since 2012, she has been the Vice President of EPP Women.

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