Monday, December 4

Executive Committee

Executive Committee

IHRA is governed by an Executive Committee of individuals from around the world. Each Committee member is elected into a three-year term by IHRA’s members at the Annual General Meetings. After the latest Annual General Meeting (2 May 2006 in Vancouver, Canada), the current Executive Committee consists of the following people:

Ernst Buning (Chair)
Mukta Sharma (Vice Chair)
Bill Stronach (Treasurer)
Professor Nick Crofts
Monica Gorgulho
Professor Adeeba bte Kamarulzaman
Dr Suresh Kumar
Danny Kushlick
Dr Raquel Peyraube
Dr Patricia Spittal
Emilis Subata
Dr Alex Wodak

Ernst Buning, Chair
Ernst Buning has been working in the area of public health and substance use since 1977 and was instrumental in the development of harm reduction policies in the Netherlands in the early 1980s. Ernst was re-elected onto the IHRA Executive Committee in 2002 where he currently serves as the Chair. He is currently the Director of Quest for Quality (Q4Q) and Co-ordinates Euro-Methwork, the Latin American Travelling Seminar and the International Conference on Alcohol and Harm Reduction.

Mukta Sharma, Vice Chair
Mukta Sharma is a harm reduction researcher and programmer from India and has been Vice Chair of IHRA since 2003. Mukta trained as a demographer and is currently based at the Department of Social Policy at the London School of Economics in England. For over eight years, Mukta has been working in the fields of drug use and HIV/AIDS prevention and care in developing and post-conflict countries. Key areas of her work include policy analysis, the evaluation of needle exchange programmes and the promotion and design of high-coverage and high-quality harm reduction interventions in order to ensure better programme outcomes.

Bill Stronach, Treasurer
As well as being a founder of IHRA, Bill Stronach has been ever-present on the Executive Committee during the organisation’s 10-year history and is currently serving as Treasurer. Through the Australian Drug Foundation (ADF), Bill has also organised the 3rd, 7th and 15th International Conferences on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm.

Bill is the Chief Executive of the ADF, which operates an extensive range of programmes and services across Australia such as providing information, research, community development, education and advocacy for issues around drugs and drug policy. ADF’s particular focus is on alcohol use among young people and they pioneered one of the first alcohol harm reduction programs in Australia in the early 1990s. Bill has an interest in drug law reform and harm reduction initiatives for injecting drug users. He is also the Vice-President of the Association for Prevention and Harm Reduction Programs in Melbourne.

Professor Nick Crofts
Professor Nick Crofts is a leading researcher in the epidemiology and prevention of blood-borne viruses and has been the Director of the ‘Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre’ in Australia since 2004. After 12 years as a Medical Officer in community health, Professor Crofts founded the Epidemiology and Social Research Unit at the Burnet Institute in 1990. He later established the ‘Centre for International Health’, the ‘Asian Harm Reduction Network’ and the ‘Centre for Harm Reduction’ (which provides advocacy, technical assistance and implementation for harm reduction programmes throughout Asia). He has also been the Editor in Chief for ‘The Manual for Reducing Drug Related Harm in Asia’.

In 1998, IHRA awarded Professor Crofts with the International Rolleston Award for his work promoting harm reduction in Asia. In 2001, he was also awarded a Principal Research Fellowship by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Monica Gorgulho
Monica Gorgulho has been a member of the IHRA Executive Committee since 2002. She has previously worked as Coordinator for the Brazilian Harm Reduction Network (REDUC) and currently works for Dinamo – a drugs information organisation in Latin America. Monica is also the Regional Coordinator for the Latin American Travelling Seminar. Besides her work in the harm reduction field, she has her own private practice as a psychotherapist.

Professor Adeeba bte Kamarulzaman
Professor Adeeba Kamarulzaman received her undergraduate and postgraduate training in ‘Medicine and Infectious Diseases’ in Melbourne, Australia. In 1995, she returned to Malaysia to establish the ‘Infectious Diseases Unit’ at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Since then she has led the clinical and research development of infectious diseases and HIV/AIDS at the university and across Malaysia.

Since 2004, Adeeba has been a member of the Malaysian AIDS Council’s ‘Malaysian Harm Reduction Working Group’ and has played a pivotal role in advocating for harm reduction responses to HIV/AIDS amongst injecting drug users in Malaysia. For example, in 2005, Malaysia introduced national methadone maintenance treatment and needle exchange programmes. In January 2006, Adeeba was elected as President of the Malaysian AIDS Council.

Suresh Kumar
Suresh Kumar is a Senior Consultant in Psychiatry at Chennai, India and has previously worked as a Professor of Psychiatry at the Madras Medical College and Research Institute in Madras and as a Hubert Humphrey Fellow at the Substance Abuse Program. Dr. Kumar has an MSc in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA. He has been providing treatment for drug users since 1983 and is currently engaged in research and training on HIV/AIDS and drug use. He has also worked as a consultant on HIV/AIDS projects in several Asian countries.

As well as being on the Executive Committee for IHRA, Dr. Kumar is also involved in several other groups, such as the Asian Harm Reduction Network, UN Global Reference Group on HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care among IDUs, Global Research Network on HIV Prevention Among Drug Using Populations and the Centre for Harm Reduction at the Burnet Institute, Melbourne.

Danny Kushlick
Danny Kushlick has worked with clients with learning difficulties and unemployed ex-offenders. He then began work as a drug counsellor for drug users that had been referred from the criminal justice system. His experiences of working with heroin and cocaine users on probation and in prison led him to believe that the prohibition of drugs caused much more harm than the drugs themselves. As a result, he founded the Transform Drug Policy Foundation – a UK charity campaigning for effective drug policy (including the replacement of the global prohibition-based framework with a system whereby nation states can put in place democratically governed systems of legal regulation and control). As well as founding Transform, Danny is currently the Director of the organisation and is a passionate supporter of harm reduction.

Raquel Peyraube
Raquel Peyraube is a medical doctor who has specialised in the field of drug use since 1987. From 1990 – 2004, Dr. Peyraube Directed “Grupo de Cavia” – the first NGO in Uruguay that supported harm reduction approaches towards drug treatment, public education and HIV prevention. She has developed national advocacy work on harm reduction through the media and training programmes for teachers, medical staff, social workers and NGO staff.

Dr. Peyraube has been involved with various European and Latin American organisations and has worked closely with professionals and drug users on harm reduction strategies relating to cocaine and crack cocaine. Her work has involved drug users through training and user involvement and the “Grupo de Cavia” also supported “La Caja de Pandora”, a review produced by Uruguayan drug users. For the last 5 years, Dr. Peyraube has carried out projects for the National Drug Council of Uruguay and the Municipality of Montevideo.

Patricia Spittal
Patricia Spittal is an anthropologist working primarily in Vancouver’s downtown eastside with the Vancouver Injection Drug User Study and the Cedar Project (a new cohort study initiated young Aboriginal drug users in Canada). As well as serving on the IHRA Executive Committee and co-organising the 17th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm, Dr. Spittal also works in Uganda with Save the Children-Norway and Makerere University on a project addressing child soldier and HIV issues.

Emilis Subata
Emilis Subata has a background in medicine and mental health and currently works as Director of the Vilnius Center of Addiction Disorders. Emilis has been instrumental in introducing harm reduction programmes into his home country of Lithuania. The Vilnius Center for Addictive Disorders has operated a pioneering methadone maintenance programs since October 1995, outreach programmes since 1997, mobile needle exchanges since 2001 and programmes for commercial sex workers since 2002.

Emilis also works as Technical Adviser for the Open Society Institute’s International Harm Reduction Development Program (IHRD) and is responsible for supporting the introduction of methadone treatments into the former Soviet Union countries. Emilis was a founder of the Central and Eastern European Harm Reduction Network (CEEHRN) and was later elected as Coordinator for the group.

Alex Wodak
Alex Wodak trained as a physician and, since 1982, has been Director of the Alcohol and Drug Service at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, Australia. Dr Wodak and his colleagues helped to establish the National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, the Australian Society of HIV Medicine, Australia’s first (pre-legal) needle exchange programme and Australia’s first (pre-legal) medically supervised injecting centre. Dr. Wodak is currently the President of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation and is a member of several state and national committees. He often works in developing countries to assist efforts to control HIV infection among injecting drug users.