"Defining the endgame: why we must separate nicotine from tobacco control policy?"

The Michael Russell Oration 2015 has been delivered by Dr. Derek Yach, who led the development of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control at the World Health Organization (WHO), and is currently Executive Director of the Vitality Institute, a think tank focusing on health promotion and chronic disease prevention.

Derek Yach has focused his career on advancing global health and tackling tobacco control at national and international levels. He leads the Vitality Institute, an evidence-driven and action-oriented research organization founded by Discovery Holdings and dedicated to health promotion and the prevention of chronic disease to build a culture of health.

Previously, he served as SVP Global Health and Agriculture Policy at PepsiCo., headed global health at the Rockefeller Foundation, and was a Professor of Global Health at Yale University. Dr. Yach is also a former Executive Director for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health of the World Health Organization (WHO). At WHO, he served as cabinet director under Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland where he led the development of WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the Global Strategy on Diet and Physical Activity.

Dr. Yach established the Centre for Epidemiological Research at the South African Medical Research Council, has authored or co-authored over 200 articles covering the breadth of global health, and continues to publish regularly on topics including but not limited to tobacco control, e-cigarettes, workplace health, and the importance of cross-sector collaboration for improved population health. He serves on several advisory boards including those of the Clinton Global Initiative, the World Economic Forum and the Wellcome Trust’s Sustaining Health Initiative, and was nominated in September 2014 as the Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Ageing.

His degrees include an MBChB from the University of Cape Town, BSc (Hons Epi) from the University of Stellenbosch and an MPH from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The Michael Russell Oration has been established as an annual event, delivered to honour the work and memory of Professor Michael Russell, one of the pioneers in the study of smoking behaviour, clinical interventions and public policy action, who died in 2009. The oration will be given by a leading researcher, practitioner or commentator in the field of nicotine use.