IPPNW 2012 - 2014 Board of Directors


Vladimir Garkavenko, MD PhD MBA
IPPNW Co-President
Moscow, Russia

Dr. Vladimir Garkavenko joined IPPNW in the late 80s and took an active part in organizing student projects on both the national and international levels. Since the early 90s, he has been a member of the IPPNW-Russia Board of directors and contributed much in establishing dialogue with the Russian nuclear establishment, provided organizational support to IPPNW-Russia projects, and helped establish cooperative contacts with medical professionals in CIS countries.

Dr. Garkavenko was elected regional Vice President at the 17th IPPNW World Congress in Helsinki in 2006. In this role he hopes to encourage the active participation of individuals and build up and strengthen the network of IPPNW affiliates in the Russia/CIS region. He strongly believes that one of the key issues of IPPNW further development and ability to meet the present-day challenges is to attract and involve younger generation of medical professionals, and to develop and expand medical students' activities.

Ira Helfand, MD
IPPNW Co-President
Massachusetts, USA

Dr. Helfand is a co-founder and past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), IPPNW's US affiliate. He has spoken widely on the medical effects of nuclear war in the United States, the former Soviet Union, India, Pakistan, and France, and is a co-author of the study "Accidental Nuclear War -- A Post-Cold War Assessment," which appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine in April, 1998 and of PSR's 2006 report, "The US and Nuclear Terrorism: Still Dangerously Unprepared". Dr. Helfand serves on the committee which oversees PSR's work for nuclear abolition and has a special interest in the danger of accidental war and the need to de-alert nuclear weapons. He is also the author of IPPNW's recent study on nuclear famine, "An Assessment of the Extent of Projected Global Famine Resulting from Limited, Regional Nuclear War".

Robert Mtonga, MD
IPPNW Co-President
Lusaka, Zambia

Dr. Mtonga is a general practitioner with a special interest in diabetes, injury prevention, and health and development issues. He serves as an expert advisor on numerous international boards and is a member of organizations involved in the areas of the prevention and banning of landmines and other ordnances in Africa, as well as the control of small arms and weaponry. Since he founded the Zambia Campaign to Ban Landmines in 1996, Dr. Mtonga has extensively engaged with governments throughout Africa on the landmine issue. He provides research on Zambia for the Landmine Monitor, the International Campaign to Ban Landmines’ (ICBL) global monitoring initiative, and is a member of the Zambian National Committee Against Landmines. Dr. Mtonga has been a consultant to many international organizations documenting injuries from violence, and has collaborated with the World Health Organization’s Global Burden of Disease and Violence and Injury Prevention initiatives; Gun-Free South Africa and the Center for Conflict Resolution of South Africa; and Small Arms Survey in Geneva, Switzerland, profiling the costs of small arms injuries to the health system in Zambia. Dr. Mtonga speaks and writes widely on health, development, violence and war prevention issues from a public health perspective.

Tilman Ruff, MB, BS (Hons), FRACP
IPPNW Co-President
Victoria, Australia

Tilman Ruff is an infectious diseases and public health physician, committed to the urgent public health imperative to abolish nuclear weapons, and to vaccines and immunisation. He is Associate Professor in the Nossal Institute for Global Health, University of Melbourne.

Tilman contributed to the development of travel medicine; worked on hepatitis B control, immunisation and maternal and child health in Indonesia and Pacific island countries; and documented the link between nuclear testing and outbreaks of ciguatera fish poisoning in the Pacific. He is Australian Red Cross international medical advisor and provides technical advice on immunisation for WHO, UNICEF, AusAID and vaccine manufacturers.

He has been active in the Medical Association for Prevention of War (Australia) since 1982 and a past national President; and was the South-east Asia Pacific vice-president of IPPNW from 2010-2012. In 2008-10 he was an NGO Advisor to the Co-chairs, International Commission on Nuclear Non-proliferation and Disarmament. Tilman chairs the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN).


Regional Vice Presidents

Daniel Bassey, MD
Regional Vice President -- AFRICA
Jos, Nigeria

Dr. Bassey joined IPPNW as a medical student. He served as a student project coordinator in the International Multi-injury Surveillance Project and One Bullet Stories, and also as a regional coordinator for IFMSA and on the board of the Nigerian affiliate. He is currently part of the Aiming for Prevention working committee. Dr. Bassey also believes that nuclear famine is a plausible threat that could effect the health and livelihood of everyone, including people in nuclear-weapons-free countries like Nigeria.


Lars Pohlmeier, MD (IPPNW Board Chair)
Regional Vice President -- EUROPE
Bremen, Germany

Dr. Lars Pohlmeier is an internist in Bremen working in the Medical Practice Melcherstaette in Bremen-Brinkum. Dr Pohlmeier, born in 1969, studied journalism and medicine at the university of Hamburg with additional medical university education in Paris, St. Petersburg and Boston. Dr. Pohlmeier served as the Co-Executive director of IPPNW Germany. He has served the national German and the international IPNW board since the beginning of his student times in 1991. Dr. Pohlmeier is a member of the editorial board of Medicine, Conflict and Survival, a dedicated journal to IPPNW. 

Ahmed Saada, MD
Regional Vice President -- MIDDLE EAST


Juan Carlos Chirgwin, MD
Regional Co-Vice President -- NORTH AMERICA
Montreal, Canada

Dr. Chirgwin is a family physician based at CLSC Park Extension, a community health centre where he conducts pediatric and adult clinics serving a new immigrant/refugee population. Waves of immigrants that have successively populated this dynamic area of Montreal come from four different continents. Dr. Chirgwin has a strong interest in (i) the development of cultural competency within health systems and (ii) recognition of social determinants of health (e.g. poverty, war) that have impacted his own patient population and (iii) practising medicine using a community-centredand interdisciplinary approach. He is an active member of Physicians for Global Survival. In the past, he has travelled to Guatemala to conduct mobile clinics with the nongovernmental organization Pueblo Partisans. In March 2007, Dr. Chirgwin obtained support from the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University and organized a four week pilot selective for medical and nursing students with this NGO in Guatemala. He is currently a teacher and a clinical supervisor for medical students and nurse practitioner trainees from McGill University. Dr. Chirgwin is participating in the creation of an elective for medical students which introduces them to topics of global health in various Montreal clinics.

Andrew S. Kanter, MD MPH
Regional Co-Vice President -- NORTH AMERICA
New York, NY, USA

Dr. Kanter has been involved with IPPNW since 1985 when he was appointed as the first full-time Medical Student Liaison. He has participated in numerous Congresses and has participated in board meetings both as an At Large Member, and as an observer for nearly a decade. Dr. Kanter is currently the director of Health Information Systems/Medical Informatics for the Millennium Villages Project for the Earth Institute at Columbia University as well as a Asst. Prof. for Clinical Biomedical Informatics and Clinical Epidemiology at Columbia.

He travels globally, and has first hand experience of the effects of militarism on development and the environment: "I believe that IPPNW represents a unique opportunity for a group of like-minded people to focus the world’s attention on the greatest threats to our global survival. Physicians are perfectly suited to provide an alternative, positive vision for our future, and we can provide the crucial movement necessary to help guide the planet away from violence and the threat of nuclear annihilation, to a future based on mutual security, common survival and sustainable development."

Masao Tomonaga, MD, PhD
Regional Vice President -- NORTH ASIA

Dr. Tomonaga is Professor Emeritus Nagasaki University. He was born in 1943 in Nagasaki and encountered the second atomic bomb at 2.7 km on August 9 1945. Graduated from Nagasaki University Medical School and majored internal medicine and hematology. Engaged in research on the late effect of atomic bomb radiation on human health; proving its life-long effect. Now working for hibakushas as Director, Japanese Red Cross Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Hospital. Dr. Tomonaga is also Chairman of Nagasaki Global Citizen's Assembly for the Elimination of Nulcear Weapons. Since 1983 a member of IPPNW and once joined the Board Members. Appointed 2012 as President of North Asia Region of IPPNW and Board Member.

Vladimir Garkavenko, MD PhD MBA
Regional Vice President -- RUSSIA/CIS
Moscow, Russia

See bio under "Co-Presidents"

Tipu Sultan, MD, FFARCS
Regional Vice President -- SOUTH ASIA
Karachi, Pakistan

Peter Karamoskos, MD
Regional Vice President -- SOUTHEAST ASIA / PACIFIC
Victoria, Australia

Dr. Karamoskos is the treasurer and public officer of the affiliate, Medical Association for the Prevention of War (Australia) and ICAN (Aust). He also serves as the public representative on the Radiation Health Committee (RHC) of the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), the federal radiation regulatory body. The RHC’s statutory role is “to advise the CEO of ARPANSA on matters relating to radiation protection.” The Public Representative’s role is to act as a channel between the regulator and the general public and ensure the interests of the public are salient. Previously, he has served on the board of Amnesty International Australia.

He has been a radiologist and nuclear medicine physician since 1995, specializing in nuclear cardiology and board certified by the American Society of Nuclear Cardiology, and is a member of numerous international professional bodies. He has worked in both public and private health sectors. He also lectures at the Nossal Institute for Global Health at the University of Melbourne.
His interests concern radiation health, the nuclear industry and the risks to human health arising thereof and the connections to the nuclear arms industry.

At Large Directors

Robert M. Gould, MD
Dr. Gould graduated from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and from 1981 until 2012 worked as a Pathologist at Kaiser Hospital in San Jose. In 2012, Dr. Gould was appointed as an Associate Adjunct Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at the UCSF School of Medicine, to serve as Director of Health Professional Outreach and Education for the UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE). Since 1989, he has been President of the SF-Bay Area Chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), and in 2003 was President of National PSR, to serve again in this capacity in 2014. Since 1986, Dr. Gould has been a leading member of the Peace Caucus of the American Public Health Association, for which he has been Chairperson for numerous years, and in 2009 APHA awarded him the prestigious Sidel-Levy Peace Award. Dr. Gould has been recognized as a leading expert on the environmental and public health impacts of nuclear weapons, and has been a contributing author to chapters on health impacts of nuclear weapons and nuclear terrorism in “War and Public Health” (2008) and “Terrorism and Public Health” (2011) published by Oxford University Press. Since 1992 Dr. Gould has been a leading member of the Environmental Committee of the Santa Clara County chapter of the California Medical Association (CMA), and through this work has authored and submitted numerous environmental health resolutions adopted by CMA as policy. For his work within CMA, he received the Santa Clara County Medical Association’s (SCCMA) "Outstanding Contribution in Community Service" award in 2001, and “Outstanding Contribution to the Medical Society award in 2012. Dr. Gould was also listed as one of Santa Clara County's "Top 400 Physicians" in peer-review surveys published in San Jose Magazine in 2001 through 2007.

Helmut Lohrer, MD
Dr. Helmut Lohrer, is a member of the international IPPNW Board of Directors and International Councillor of the German affiliate. After working as a teacher in Cameroon he studied medicine at Heidelberg University. He carried out part of his clinical training in Great Britain. Since 1986 he was involved in establishing student membership for IPPNW. He is a founding member of the South-North working group of IPPNW Germany which studies the interface between economic globalization and war since 1992. In the 1990s, Dr. Lohrer was active in building the anti-landmines campaign. Apart from the issue of small arms, the concept of the “Responsibility to Protect” is one of his main topics of interest. Dr. Lohrer works as a GP in Villingen-Schwenningen and is a part-time lecturer at Furtwangen University.

Arun Mitra, MD
Ludhiana, India
Dr. Arun Mitra is an Ear Nose Throat Surgeon by profession working as consultant in the city of Ludhiana in Punjab state in India. Presently he is the member of the Board of the IPPNW. He is National General Secretary of Indian Doctors for Peace and Development (IDPD). Besides this he is an elected member of the Punjab State Medical Council (PMC). He is also member of the Central Working Committee of Indian Medical Association(IMA). He has been Senior Vice President IMA Punjab in 2009 and President IMA Ludhiana in 2007 and 2008. As a medical student he was National President of All India Medicos Federation. Has been actively involved in the peace movement since his student days in the All India Peace and Solidarity Organisation (AIPSO). He was the key person in organizing the 18th world congress of IPPNW at New Delhi. He has also been actively involved in organizing South Asian regional meetings of IPPNW affiliates.

Andreas Nidecker , MD
Basel, Switzerland

Dr. Nidecker completed his postgraduate education in the US and in Switzerland. Experienced as General Practitioner in Colombia, South America and Jamaica. Trained and received the Diploma of the American Board of Radiology at the University of Toronto / Canada. In 1999, he became the associate professor or Radiology at University of Basel.

Dr. Nidecker is a specialist in diagnostic radiology, nuclear medicine and MRIs, and is also the Co-Founder and partner of a larger private group practice in Basel with a teaching position at the University of Basel. Member of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA), the American College of Radiology (ACR), the Swiss Medical Association, the Swiss Association for Medical Radiology, the International Skeletal Society. Professional interests: bone tumors.

From 2008-2010, Dr. Nidecker served on the IPPNW Board as the head of the organizing committee of the 2010 IPPNW World Congress. He has been active in IPPNW since the mid Eighties and was President of the Swiss affiliate for a number of years. Also president of "Sun21 - energy and resources", a Basel based association to promote energy conservation and the use of renewables, co-founded with Martin Vosseler, the founder of PSR / IPPNW Switzerland.

Ogebe Onazi, MBBS
Jos, Nigeria

Dr. Onazi holds a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from the University of Jos College of Medicine, and is a champion of IPPNW's Aiming for Prevention Program. Since joining IPPNW in 2005 as a medical student, he has held several progressive leadership position in the organization including Secretary of the IPPNW African Student Congress in 2005, National Student Representative for Nigeria from 2006-2008, Co-Regional Student Representative of Africa from 2008-2010 and Co-International Student Representative from 2010-2012.

Dr. Onazi played other key roles in IPPNW related-activities such as coordinating the Global Week of Action against Gun Violence and the Nuclear Abolition Day in Nigeria. He pioneered the IPPNW Radio Show in Nigeria, and his service reflects his deep commitment to youth engagement in violence prevention, especially in the global south and to bridging the North-South divide. He has spoken widely at international health events and at global disarmament conferences. He also has published on peace and health issues. As a board member, he will be building upon his past achievements as he continues in his commitment to all IPPNW core programs.

Wenjing Tao, MD (Board Deputy Chair)
Goteborg, Sweden

Dr. Tao graduated from Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. She joined the Swedish affiliate of IPPNW (SLMK) in 2005. Since then, she has served as international coordinator of Nuclear Weapons Inheritance Project (NWIP) from 2006-2008, and as international student representative from 2008-2010 on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee. She has worked actively with students from the global north and global south on nuclear disarmament, including organizing youth delegations to Iran, China, DPRK, USA etc. Alongside her work with Dr. Hilt as Vice Chair of the Board, Dr. Tao will continue to support the student movement and young doctors in training. She is currently developing a mentorship program intending to bolster the communication between younger and senior members of IPPNW, in order to strengthen the organization from inside. 

International Medical Student Representatives (ISR)

Karin Harada
Hiroshima, Japan

Ms. Harada is a 4th year student at Hiroshima University Medical School in the oral medical department. She joined the IPPNW student movement in 2010, and worked as one of the organizers of the student World Congress in Hiroshima, and also participated in the Bike Tour Japan. Currently, she is serving as one of the two International Student Representatives 2012-2014.

Niloufar Rahim
The Netherlands

Ex Officio Members

Michael Christ
Executive Director
Massachusetts, USA

As a father, Mr. Christ is worried about the future of his children. As IPPNW's Executive Director, he is convinced that physicians and health workers worldwide have a major role to play in ensuring that coming generations are protected from the effects of war and the threat of nuclear destruction. Mr. Christ joined IPPNW in 1988 with a background in environmental economics and political activism. He describes his visits to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1989 and to the downwind community of Karaul near the former Soviet nuclear test site in Kazakhstan in 1990, as "life changing." Mr. Christ led IPPNW's World Court Project to persuade the World Health Organization and the United Nations to challenge the legality of nuclear weapons at the International Court of Justice. As Director of Programs from 1996 to 1998, he was responsible for numerous projects and campaigns on nuclear non-proliferation, disarmament, and landmines awareness. Mr. Christ was appointed Executive Director in January 1998.

Kati Juva , MD
Speaker of the International Council
Helsinki, Finland

Dr. Juva has been a member of PSR-Finland since its beginning in 1982, has served as the chairperson for 12 years and is currently the chair of its peace group. Dr. Juva has two adopted children from Ethiopia.

Bjørn Hilt, MD
Deputy Speaker IC
Trondheim, Norway

Dr. Hilt has been a member of the Norwegian affiliate of IPPNW since it was founded in 1982. Since 1998, he has been a board member of that affiliate, and from 1999 to 2004 its leader. From 2004 to 2008, he was the European Regional Vice President of IPPNW, and since September 2006 at the Helsinki World Congress, he was elected chairman of the Board of IPPNW. Dr. Hilt is working as a senior consultant and a professor of occupational medicine at the St. Olav University Hospital in Trondheim, Norway. His main professional interests are in occupational diseases and preventative medicine in general. He is married, has two sons and five grandchildren.