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I am very pleased to welcome Javier Guzman as the new Director of CGD’s Global Health Policy Program and a Senior Policy Fellow. Javier brings a wealth of experience as a leader in global health policy and practice across the public and private sectors—most notably as the former head of Colombia’s national regulatory authority. Javier stood out from an extensive, international pool of candidates, and my colleagues and I are delighted to welcome him to CGD.

Javier is uniquely positioned to build on the legacy of his predecessor, Kalipso Chalkidou, who advanced CGD’s efforts to strengthen value-for-money and priority setting in global health. Based in our Washington D.C. office, Javier will lead the global health policy team and steer an extensive portfolio of research aimed at informing decisions to allocate scarce health resources via CGD’s work as part of the International Decision Support Initiative (iDSI), advancing the agenda on equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, and ensuring strong health systems to preempt and prepare for future pandemics.

Javier has demonstrated leadership in designing and implementing policies to improve medicines quality and strengthen pharmaceutical systems in low- and middle-income countries. He joins us from Management Sciences for Health (MSH), where he served as the Technical Director of the USAID funded Medicines, Technologies, and Pharmaceutical Services (MTaPS) Program that aims to improve access to safe, effective, and affordable essential medicines across 20 countries in Africa and Asia.

Prior to MSH, Javier served in multiple roles within the Colombian government. Most recently, he was the General Director of the National Food and Drug Surveillance Institute (INVIMA, for its name in Spanish)—one of the eight National Regulatory Authorities of regional reference in the Americas. In this role, he led the country’s efforts to successfully recertify INVIMA as a reference authority and strengthen key regulatory functions related to pharmacovigilance, good manufacturing practices, and quality control.

While serving as Director of Medicines and Health Technologies at the Colombian Ministry of Health and Social Protection, Javier played an important role in passing legislation to institute a value-based pricing methodology to ensure affordability and accessibility of essential medicines and spearheaded the national response on antimicrobial resistance. As Deputy Director within the Colombian Health Technology Assessment Agency (IETS, for its name in Spanish), he led the update to Colombia’s health benefits plan (the topic of previous and ongoing CGD research, including the book What’s In, What’s Out: Designing Benefits for Universal Health Coverage to which Javier was a contributing author).

At this critical moment in global health and development, we need to challenge development agencies and multi-lateral development banks to ramp up support for global vaccine distribution, protect hard-won global health gains from pandemic-induced shocks, and create effective global preparedness mechanisms to stop the next outbreak in its tracks.

I am confident that Javier’s leadership, expertise, and vision will advance the goals of CGD’s Global Health Policy Program as it continues to produce rigorous research and policy ideas to inform global, regional, and national decisionmakers throughout the remainder of the pandemic and into a post-pandemic world.

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.