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Dr Derek Yach is currently Executive Director of the Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health cluster at the World Health Organization (WHO). His responsibilities include overall policy development and management for WHO of those programmes aimed at the prevention of major risk factors for chronic diseases (tobacco, alcohol, diet/nutrition and physical activity), the management of cancer, cardiovascular diseases, mental disorders and genetics, and the prevention of injuries and violence. Previously he developed WHO's Tobacco-Free Initiative, one of Dr Brundtland's Cabinet Projects.

From July 1995 to May 1998, Dr Yach was responsible for the design and implementation of the World Health Organization global consultative process that resulted in the development of the new global health policy, Health for All in the 21st Century, adopted at the May 1998 World Health Assembly. Prior to joining WHO, he held a variety of senior research and policy positions in South Africa, and served on a number of international and national Advisory Committees dealing with a wide range of public health issues. He has published over 200 original articles, editorials and chapters. A particular focus of his writing has been the need for global actions to complement national policies in many areas of public health, as well as the relationship between research, policy development and implementation.

He has degrees in medicine (Cape Town), epidemiology (Stellenbosch) and public health (Johns Hopkins).

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