A Devex event in partnership with the novartis foundation

Stopping the Syndemic:

The role of tech to ensure cardiovascular health
in the COVID-19 era

March 31, 2021

9 a.m. ET | 3 p.m. CET


Hosted by:

In partnership with:

The Novartis Foundation


About the Event

In addition to the direct health risks of the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus’ indirect effects have also severely disrupted access to basic health services that prevent, diagnose, and treat patients with noncommunicable diseases. Every year, NCDs kill 41 million people — up to 71% of all deaths globally. The majority of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, where health systems are often limited in terms of capacity and resources.

We’re now facing a syndemic — the convergence of several epidemics — with people around the globe facing severe disruption to care, preventive screenings, and postponed surgeries. It has also created a ticking time bomb when it comes to cardiovascular health. At the height of the crisis, more than half of the 155 countries surveyed by the World Health Organization reported partially or completely disrupted services for hypertension treatment, with 31% of cardiovascular emergencies disrupted.

Yet the pandemic has also laid bare the tremendous potential of digital technologies to not only help address COVID-19 related health needs, but also to make services to address chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, more effective and affordable.

On Wednesday, March 31, Devex hosted a virtual event in partnership with the Novartis Foundation to explore how the global health community can build on this momentum of increased use and trust in virtual health and care services, to leverage technology for improving cardiovascular population health, especially in LMICs.

This exclusive panel event was hosted by Devex in partnership with the Novartis Foundation as part of the HealthTech Dialogue Hub partnership. The HealthTech Dialogue Hub is a space to transform innovative ideas into impactful healthcare solutions. It showcases lessons learned around technology-enabled innovations, hosts events and facilitates ongoing dialogue between government leaders, health care workers, and innovators.


9:00 a.m. ET

Welcome & introduction by Catherine Cheney, Devex Senior Reporter

9:05 a.m. ET

Spotlight - Data driven decision making for heart health —
Fireside chat on the importance of data and AI driven approaches to addressing CVD

-Prof. Fausto Pinto, President, World Heart Federation
-Moderator: Amruta Byatnal, Associate Editor, Devex

9:15 a.m. ET

Panel discussion

-Prof. Dr. Edson Amaro Jr, neuroradiologist and Head Big Data Analytics, Albert Einstein Hospital
-Farouk Meralli, Founder and CEO, mClinica Pharmacy Solutions
-Dr. Nneka Mobisson, Co-Founder and CEO, mDoc
-Moderator: Catherine Cheney, Senior Reporter, Devex

09:55 - 10:00 a.m. ET

Closing remarks by Catherine Cheney, Devex Senior Reporter and Jason Shellaby, Director of Global Health Policy, Novartis Foundation


Professor. Dr. Edson Amaro Jr

Professor. Dr. Edson Amaro Jr

Neuroradiologist and Head Big Data Analytics, Albert Einstein Hospital

Professor. Dr. Edson Amaro Jr is a neuroradiologist and Head Big Data Analytics at Albert Einstein Hospital. He graduated in medicine with a PhD in neuroimaging at University of São Paulo, and finished postdoctoral degree from the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London. He was responsible for the Albert Einstein Hospital Brain Institute from 2008 to 2012.

Farouk Meralli

Farouk Meralli

Founder, mClinica Pharmacy Solutions

Farouk Meralli is the Founder of mClinica Pharmacy Solutions, a healthcare startup connecting pharmacies in emerging markets through a common mobile technology platform. mClinica operates across southeast Asia connecting over 45,000 pharmacies and 190,000 pharmacy professionals which reach over 150 million patients. Previously, Farouk held senior roles in strategy and product development at global pharmaceutical companies Pfizer, Sanofi, and Roche. He is the recipient of the Harvard Alumni Public Health Innovator Award, an Endeavor Entrepreneur, a Board Advisor at PATH, and the Chair and Founder of non profit organization, Borderless World Volunteers. He holds a Bachelors in Biomedical Sciences and International Development Studies from McGill University and a Masters in Health Policy and Management from Harvard University.

Dr. L. Nneka Mobisson

Dr. L. Nneka Mobisson

Co-Founder and CEO, mDoc

Dr. L. Nneka Mobisson is co-Founder and CEO of mDoc, a digital health social enterprise which integrates proven methodologies in quality improvement, data, and behavioral science with technology to provide self-care support to people living with chronic health needs in sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to mDoc, Dr. Mobisson served as Executive Director, Africa, at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement Dr. Mobisson, also served as Vice President of Community Health and Population Health Management at Connecticut Hospital Association and worked on health care strategy at McKinsey & Company. She also worked at the World Bank, and Merck & Co.

Professor Fausto J. Pinto, MD, PhD

Professor Fausto J. Pinto, MD, PhD

President, World Heart Federation

Professor Fausto J. Pinto, MD, PhD, is Dean, Faculty of Medicine, University of Lisbon, Portugal; Full Professor of Cardiology and Head of Cardiology and Heart and Vascular Department at University Hospital Sta Maria/CHULN, Lisbon School of Medicine, Portugal; He is also President of World Heart Federation (WHF) (2021-22); President of European Society of Cardiology (ESC 2014-2016); Fellow and Gold Medal of the European Society of Cardiology (FESC), American College of Cardiology (FACC), Society for Cardiac Angiography and Interventions (FSCAI), American Society of Echocardiography (FASE), American Society of Angiology (FASA). He is a full Member of the Portuguese Academy of Medicine and honorary member of Academia Nacional de Medicina do Brasil, Czech Cardiology Society, Colombian Society of Cardiology, Hungarian Society of Cardiology, Japanese Circulation Society, Societé Française de Cardiologie, Societá Italiana di Ecografia Cardiovasculare, Peruvian Society of Cardiology, Romanian Society of Cardiology, Romanian Academy of Medical Sciences, Russian Society of Cardiology, Slovakian Society of Cardiology.

Jason Shellaby

Jason Shellaby

Director of Global Health Policy, Novartis Foundation

Jason Shellaby is the Director of Global Health Policy at the Novartis Foundation (NF). During his time at NF, Jason has led several global health initiatives, including the national scale-up of a telemedicine program in Ghana and the management and policy integration of urban hypertension programs in Senegal, Ghana and Vietnam. Prior to NF, Jason served as Director of External Affairs at Village Health Works, supporting the scale up and capacity building for health care facilities in Burundi, East Africa and managing the NYC office. He was a Program Fellow at the Clinton Global Initiative, and worked on the Environmental Initiatives team at the World Economic Forum. Jason holds a BA in International Relations from Tufts University, an MA in International Affairs from The Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, and an MSc in Global Health Policy from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Amruta Byatnal

Amruta Byatnal

Associate Editor, Devex

Amruta Byatnal is an Associate Editor at Devex based in New Delhi. She reports on global health, gender and human rights. Previously, she worked for News Deeply and The Hindu. She is a graduate of Cornell University where she studied international development.

Catherine Cheney

Catherine Cheney

Senior Reporter, Devex

Catherine Cheney is a Senior Reporter for Devex. She covers the West Coast of the U.S., focusing on the role of technology, innovation, and philanthropy in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. And she frequently represents Devex as a speaker and moderator. Prior to joining Devex, Catherine earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University, worked as a web producer for POLITICO and reporter for World Politics Review, and helped to launch NationSwell. Catherine has reported domestically and internationally for outlets including The Atlantic and the Washington Post. Outside of her own reporting, Catherine also supports other journalists to cover what is working, through her work with the Solutions Journalism Network.

The Novartis Foundation aims to improve the health of low-income populations by working with local authorities and partners to re-engineer health systems from being reactive to proactive, predictive and preventative.

The Novartis Foundation