24 February, 08.00-09.30 EST


Learning, Acting, and Building for Rehabilitation in Health Systems (ReLAB-HS), with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), invites you to a Global Launch to introduce the new ReLAB-HS consortium.


The Global Launch will highlight the need for integrating rehabilitation within health systems to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Coverage. Featuring a welcome from program leadership, keynote speakers from the WHO and USAID, an expert panel to explore some of the most pressing challenges, and opportunities for audience interaction and questions and answers, the launch will highlight the consortium’s goals and implementation strategies to address the need for rehabilitation responsive health systems.


If you require a disability accommodation, please contact us at: relabhsconsortium@gmail.com.


Date: 24th of February 2021, 8.00am – 9.30am (EST) via Zoom video conferencing


Welcome – 8.00

Abdulgafoor M. Bachani, PhD MHS

Director, Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit

Program Director, ReLAB-HS


Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD


Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health


Kirsten Lentz

Senior Technical Advisor for Rehabilitation



Barbara McPake, PhD

Director, Nossal Institute of Global Health

Co-Program Director, ReLAB-HS


Duration 15 minutes

SESSION 1 – 8.15

Health Systems and Rehabilitation: Status of the field and opportunities


Rehabilitation 2030: Expanding access to rehabilitation services globally

Alarcos Cieza, PhD

Unit Head, Vision, Hearing, Disability, Rehabilitation

World Health Organization

Duration 10 minutes


Health Systems of the Future: Where does Rehabilitation fit?

Abdul Ghaffar, PhD

Executive Director

Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research

Duration 10 minutes



About the speakers

Alarcos Cieza

Alarcos Cieza oversees the World Health Organization’s work on vision, hearing, disability and rehabilitation in her position of Unit Head, Sensory Functions, Disability and Rehabilitation.


Prior to joining WHO in September 2014, she served as Chair and Professor of Medical Psychology at the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom. After obtaining her MSc in psychology in Madrid, Spain, she conducted a Masters in Public Health and obtained a PhD in Medical Psychology from the Ludwig-Maximillians University in Munich, Germany. She led the research unit for over ten years at the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and then at the Pettenkofer School of Public Health at the Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, Germany.

Abdul Ghaffar

Abdul Ghaffar is the Executive Director of the Alliance for Health Policy and Systems Research at the World Health Organization. He has worked for over 30 years in low- and middle-income countries managing research for health; planning, designing and evaluating national health systems; and teaching health policy and management. Before joining the Alliance in 2010, Dr Ghaffar served as Regional Advisor for Research in the Eastern Mediterranean Office of the World Health Organization. Earlier, he worked as a Health Policy and Systems Specialist at the Global Forum for Health Research. Dr Ghaffar began his career in Pakistan as a public health physician, eventually transitioning into various senior leadership positions such as Assistant Director-General of Policy and Planning; Deputy Director-General of International Health; and Director of the Health Services Academy, a national school of public health. Dr Ghaffar has played a leading role in establishing and managing policy and research fora involving civil society, policy-makers and development partners, both at national and international levels. His desire and interest is to trigger a global movement to generate and use research evidence for improved policy and management decisions at the country level.

David Peters

David Peters is an expert in health systems who has worked as a researcher, policy advisor, educator, manager, and clinician in dozens of low-and middle-income countries (LMICs). Peters’ work seeks to improve the performance of health systems in LMICs through implementation science, building institutional capacity and applying innovations in organization, technology, and financing, with a focus on improving health equity. He has worked with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, and other agencies in developing the field of implementation research as a multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder endeavor, and has directed a wide range of implementation and policy research programs, including the Future Health Systems Research Consortium. He chairs a Department of over 200 full time faculty and 200 graduate students, with over 250 projects around the world. He has published eight books and monographs, more than 20 book chapters, and over 150 articles. While working at the World Bank, he pioneered the Sector Wide Approach (SWAps) in health, which is used by countries to define and implement national strategies and the allocation of foreign assistance. In India, he led a research program with local researchers, government, and civil society to examine inequities in their health systems, forming a basis for major policy change. In Afghanistan, he created the first nationally implemented Balanced Scorecard to assess and manage health services, and conducted trials where the results led to the end of user fees in primary care facilities. During the 2014-16 West Africa Ebola epidemic, Peters worked closely with the Ministry of Health in Liberia to re-focus the outbreak strategy on integrated community-based responses, which was critical to its eventual containment.

SESSION 2 – 8.50

An introduction to ReLAB-HS


Introduction to ReLAB-HS:

Rachael Lowe, Co-founder and President, Physiopedia


Duration – 8 minutes


Panel Discussion: How can ReLAB-HS shape the health systems of the future?


Panel Chair: Daphne Sorensen, President, MiracleFeet


  • Perth Rosen, Senior Director of Progams and Operations, UCP Wheels for Humanity
  • Lesya Kalandyak, Rehab and AT Technical Coordinator, UCP-Wheels for Humanity, Ukraine
  • Muhammad Iqbal, Disability and Gender Specialist, Humanity & Inclusion
  • Chiara Retis, Rehabilitation Specialist, Humanity &Inclusion – Asia

Duration – 30 minutes



About the speakers

Daphne de Souza Lima Sorensen

Daphne de Souza Lima Sorensen is president of MiracleFeet, overseeing the organization’s global programs and staff. MiracleFeet is expanding access to the non-surgical treatment for clubfoot, a leading birth defect and treatable cause of disability that affects millions worldwide. Daphne has 20 years of experience in international development, social justice and child and human rights, leading teams across Latin America and Africa. Previously, she led programs at the Lumos Foundation, Save the Children, and CARE and has lived and worked in Bolivia, Mozambique, Panama, Uganda and Angola.  Born in Brazil, Daphne grew up in Venezuela, the United Kingdom, and United States and is fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. She earned her master’s degree in Leadership from Duquesne University and bachelor’s in International Studies and Development and Economics from American University

Rachael Lowe

Rachael is a physiotherapist, digital innovator and entrepreneur from the United Kingdom, she is President of the Physiopedia charity, CEO of Physiopedia Plus and co-founder of both. Rachael is passionate about utilising technology to share rehabilitation knowledge, empower the profession and elevate standards of practice globally.  She has a 15-year history of providing e-learning and technology support to the international rehabilitation community.

Muhammad Iqbal

Muhammad works as a Disability, Gender and Age specialist with Federation Handicap International Pakistan. He has been active in the disability movement since 2011.  As a disability researcher, he has conducted a number of studies on disability related issues in Pakistan, but the most important was the submission of alternative report on the implementation of 2030 agenda in line with CRPD in Pakistan in 2019 to the UN through International Disability Alliance. Along with this, he is connected with following groups:

  • Member of Asia Pacific Disability Constituency on Sustainable Development
  • Member of World Blind Union in the youth engagement and leadership committee and employment committee
  • Alumni of International Disability Alliance bridge CRPD SDGS training initiative

Chiara Retis

A physiotherapist trained in Italy with a specialization in neurological conditions, since 2003 Chiara has been working for non-government organizations in low-resource settings, initially providing capacity building services (Yemen, Jordan, Afghanistan). Chiara has a long experience in support to policy reform for the promotion of physical rehabilitation, including designing evidence-based health sector policies (Nepal). Her knowledge and experience in Public Health includes global health issues, disaster preparedness, health promotion, quality assurance, organization and management of services.  Based in Cambodia as a rehabilitation specialist for programmes in Asia for Humanity & Inclusion since 2016, she has joined ReLAB-HS as interim coordinator for HI.

Lesya Kalandyak

Lesya Kalandyak is a physical therapist in Ukraine that has worked with UCP Wheels for Humanity as a technical advisor since 2015, supporting USAID-funded projects designed to strengthen rehabilitation service delivery systems through the development of policy and regulatory frameworks; the professionalization of physical therapy; and awareness raising about the importance of rehabilitation services.


In addition to her work with UCP Wheels, Lesya is a founder and board member of the Ukrainian Association of Physical Therapy. She has worked in Children’s Rehabilitation Centre “Dzherelo” and Rehabilitation Department of the Lviv Military Hospital, led several trainings for medical and rehabilitation personnel in areas including pediatric and adult neurorehabilitation, and is certified by the International Society of Wheelchair Professionals as a trainer of the Wheelchair Service Training Package – Basic level.

Perth Rosen

Perth Rosen is the Senior Director of Programs at UCP Wheels for Humanity, where she has led a health-systems approach to assistive technology-inclusive rehabilitation in over twenty countries, including Ukraine, Indonesia, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. For over twenty years, she has worked at the intersection of health products and services in several sectors including rehabilitation and assistive technology, HIV/AIDS, water and sanitation, nutrition, and reproductive health. She has worked and collaborated with NGOs, government partners, and ministries of health to drive global health programming.


Prior to Perth’s work with UCP Wheels, she worked with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services, Freedom from Hunger, the University of California, San Diego, and the International Organization of Migration among others. She holds an Advanced Master’s in International Relations with a focus on health security.


Nabeel Akram, MBBS MSc

Director Operations, ReLAB-HS