2014 SCA Barcelona Participants

We’d like to introduce you to the participants from our most recent School for Creative Activism workshop in Barcelona…

Mara Kardas-Nelson


Mara Kardas-Nelson is a journalist, advocate, and activist. She lived in South Africa for five years, where she worked on access to medicine issues for MSF’s Access Campaign and the Treatment Action Campaign, and was a contributing writer to the Mail & Guardian. Mara has now returned to her home country of America, where she continues to write on environment, health, and culture. She is also a consultant for OSF’s Access to Essential Medicines Initiative, where she works on communications and narrative change.

Lotti Rutter


Since July 2013, Lottie has been an activist campaigning to reform the patent system to improve access to medicines in South Africa (through the Fix the Patent Laws Campaign) for the Treatment Action Campaign. Previously she has worked on IP and access to medicines campaigns for the Stop AIDS Campaign in the UK since 2010. Before moving to HIV and medicine pricing Lottie was a social justice activist campaigning on a range of issues, which included setting up a Suffragette inspired women’s climate action group and mobilizing people to take mass action.

Mary-Jane Matsolo


Mary-Jane has worked for the Treatment Action Campaign for five years. Since 2013 she’s been working on the “Fix the patent law campaign” which involves workshopping ordinary South Africans in different provinces on how patents block access to affordable treatment which led to a mass mobilization and action for the Department of Trade and Industry to finalize South Africa’s Intellectual Property policy. This is the latest campaign in a series of different campaigns that TAC has embarked on over the years.

Diarmaid McDonald

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Diarmaid McDonald is Advocacy Manager at STOPAIDS and has been in the role since December 2009. He has worked on HIV programmes in Tanzania and Ethiopia and has eight years’ experience in advocacy and campaigns with UK NGOs, including the coordination of the grassroots university network of the Student Stop AIDS Campaign. He leads STOPAIDS work on access to medicines and reform of the medical innovation system.

Thuthu Mbatha


Thutu works for SECTION 27 as a researcher for the National Strategic Plan (NSP) Review. The NSP review is a joint publication between TAC and SECTION 27 that is published quarterly. As a researcher, her role is to monitor the implementation of the NSP and report on the state of the health systems across the country and things that hinder people from accessing healthcare services i.e. stock outs, overpriced medicines, lack of skilled personnel, etc. Moreover, it involves partaking in community mobilization, demonstrative protests and teaching people about the fix the patent laws campaign.

Oleksandra Ustinova


Oleksandra has worked with Patients of Ukraine since organization’s foundation. She leads all the media campaigns supporting the advocacy of adoption the national programs, reducing the prices for medicines, allocating additional funds in the state budget for state procurement of medications. Creative solutions to attract TV-channels and media pressure have always been the key element of the success of our organization’s campaigns. Just in a few years we managed to adopt the first national program on Hepatitis and allocate additional state budget for it, to increase the number of people receiving ART from 40 to 60 000, decrease the price of medicines for hepatitis twice.

Paata Sabelashvili

Paata Sabelashvili press photo

Paata Sabelashvili holds MA degrees in International Relations and European Studies. He worked on South Caucasus armed conflicts reconciliation while working for Danish Refugee Council in 2003-2009. In 2006 he founded the first LGBT organization in Georgia. Since 2011 he works at Georgian Harm Reduction Network as a Programs Manager. In his current position he works for rights advocacy of people who use drugs. In 2012-2014 Paata Sabelashvili was Open Society Foundations Access to Medicines Program fellow. His project focused on HCV treatment access. He is member of HCV World CAB (Community Advisory Board).

Vanessa Lopez


Vanessa is the co-founder and executive director of Salud por Derecho from 2004. She graduated in Social Physiology and received a Masters degree in Development. In its first six years, the organization focused on the fight against the HIV/AIDS pandemic in impoverished countries. From 2010 Salud por Derecho has gone further in a broader global health perspective and has additionally focused in the promotion of more and better R&D in a needs-driven and affordable innovation system and incorporated the commitment to promoting universal social health protection.

Ancel.la Santos


Ancel.la joined the HAI team more than a year and a half ago. Ancel.la is Policy advisor responsible for the projects on the rational use of medicines and good governance. She contributes to HAI’s goal to improve affordable access to needed medicines by promoting policy change and contributing to capacitate other civil society groups.

Ancel.le has a degree in Political Sciences, and Masters in Journalism and in European Politics. She has worked in the past for the medical devices industry sector.

Aliénor Devalière

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In addition to holding a degree in European Law from La Sorbonne, Aliénor has a Masters in European Public Affairs. Before joining the HAI Europe team, she worked for three years as a consultant at a Brussels-based public affairs consultancy. Prior to that, Aliénor gained experience on the European Institutional System having worked at the European Commission and the General Secretary for European Affairs in Paris. Within HAI Europe, her work focuses on equitable access to essential medicines, including issues on price and transparency.

Ioannis (Yannis) Natsis


Since joining TACD, Yannis has spent most of his time lobbying the EU on issues of medical innovation. Additionally, he has planned and carried out several patient empowerment workshops in Athens, Greece. Their overall goal is not only to strengthen the voice of patient groups and effectively counter the government rhetoric but also to highlight the failures of the current model of medical innovation in Europe. Prior to TACD, Yannis worked at the European Parliament and for a public affairs consultancy in Brussels. He has also spent four years as an investigative reporter for a Greek TV news programme.

David Hammerstein


David Hammerstein has been working as a senior advocacy advisor for the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue since January 2010. He holds a degree in sociology from the University of California. He was born in Los Angeles in 1955 and he is of Spanish Nationality. He has lived and worked in Spain since 1978. From 2004-2009 he was a Green Member of the European Parliament and was a member of its Industry Committee and also was the spokesperson for the Greens on the EP Petitions Committee that defends citizens rights. As a green politician since the mid-nineties in Spain and in the EU he has legislated and campaigned on a variety of health, environmental and social issues, as well as being a foreign policy specialist on the Mid-East crisis.

Merith Basey


Merith has 10 years experience in global health and advocacy. Following studies at Universidad Complutense, she spent many years leading AYUDA, where she was responsible for strengthening local capacity in diabetes communities across Latin America. After a Master’s at LSHTM, she worked with the World AIDS Campaign. Her interest in access to medicines stemmed from experiences on the ground and disheartened by a lack of action around access to insulin she was inspired to co-found the 100 Campaign aimed at re-framing insulin access as a human rights issue and reducing barriers to access. She recently joined UAEM as Executive Director.

Keaton Andreas


UAEM’s campus campaigns organizer Keaton Andreas focuses on keeping UAEM’s student chapters supplied and engaged in advocacy. In addition to training in organizing and social action, he offers direct support in areas of recruitment and chapter planning. A graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, Keaton has an academic grounding in advocacy and social action, and is particularly skilled in speaking from a “moral authority” angle. He has interned with worker justice groups such as CLUE-LA and worked for the faith-based advocacy organization Bread for the World where he served as a regional organizer for their advocacy groups.

Peter Maybarduk

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Peter Maybarduk is a Washington, D.C.-based human rights lawyer and a songwriter. He directs Public Citizen’s Global Access to Medicines Program, which helps developing countries defeat pharmaceutical monopolies in order to promote access to medicines for all. His work has yielded major HIV/AIDS medicine price reductions and new state access to medicines policies. As a composer and performer of music Maybarduk has released three albums, the latest of which is A Ring Around the Atlantic (2012), produced by J. Robbins.

Pedro Villardi


Pedro has degree in International Studies and is a Masters in Public Health. Since 2012, he is the coordinator of the Working Group on Intellectual Property, a collective of about 15 NGOs and social movements. Pedro is author of the book “Status Patentário e Registro Sanitário dos medicamentos ARVs no Brasil”.

Luisa Arueira Chaves


Luisa is a hospital pharmacy specialist with experience in community and undergraduate education, research and activities in access to medicines, rational use of medicines (RUM), pharmaceutical services, primary healthcare and evidence-supported health interventions. She has worked on the production of educational materials on access to medicines and RUM and have been granted twice the national RUM award by the Brazilian Ministry of Health. Currently, she is an MA student in public health and teaches health policies, pharmaceutical managing, consumerism and evidence searching and evaluation.

Lorena Di Giano


María Lorena Di Giano, Executive Director, Fundación Grupo Effecto Positivo (FGEP) – Ms. Di Giano is a lawyer who specializes in human rights and HIV/AIDS and earned her law degree from Universidad Nacional de Mar del Plata in Argentina. She is an experienced advocate who has dedicated her professional background to defending the human rights of people living with HIV (PLHIV). Since January 2012 Lorena is serving as General Coordinator of RedLAM – Red Latino Americana por el Acceso a Medicamentos (FGEP is the leading organization of RedLAM) in which role she is coordinating a regional program focused on improving access to ARVs by addressing intellectual property barriers in countries of Latin American region.

Giten Khwairakpam Singh

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Giten is currently the Community and Policy Project Manager at TREAT Asia in Bangkok. He has been working on improving hepatitis C treatment access and advocating for price reductions in South and South East Asia. Giten also has been providing training to national PLHIV and PWID networks on hepatitis C treatment, access issues and new direct acting agents and their use with antiretroviral therapy. His involvement in regional advocacy for hepatitis C treatment access has included efforts to engage with UNITAID and the Global fund, and facilitating negotiations with originator and generic pharmaceutical companies to address price- and non-price barriers.

Loon Gangte (Henminlun)


Loon is the founder of Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+) in 1999. He has 5/6 years experience working directly with HIV patient at Michaels Care Home, which is care home PLHIV, before the ARV era in India. In the last 6/7 years Loon has worked as ITPC-South Asia regional coordinator, giving small grants to community to base organization to do advocacy work around treatment access.

Gaëlle Krikorian


Gaëlle is currently working as a political advisor for the Green/EFA at the European Parliament. Before that she was conducting research on intellectual property, free trade agreements and access to medicines. She has a PhD in sociology and is a member of the Interdisciplinary Research Institute on Social Issues. Social Sciences, Politics and Health (IRIS) in Paris. Her involvement on access to medicines issues started at the end of the 1990s when she was an AIDS activist with Act Up working primarily on access to medicines in the Global South.

Irene Romero


Irene Romero Bhathal is a European Coordinator for Universities Allied for Essential Medicines. She has been researching on access to medicines (HepC drugs) and advocating for universal access to healthcare, new models of R&D and transparency in public healthcare. She is one of the leaders of UAEM’s Access & Innovation Project, which aims to involve researchers in advocacy for public needs-driven research, and new models of R&D funding. She is also working on a documentary about access to medicines, R&D and austerity measures in Spain. She has experience in facilitating workshops about access to medicines and R&D intellectual property laws.