Imperial College London


Faculty of MedicineInstitute of Global Health Innovation

Co-Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation







Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Wing (QEQM)St Mary's Campus





David is Co-Director and Chair of Global Health at Imperial’s Institute of Global Health Innovation, which he was appointed in 2019. He is also Strategic Director of the Swiss-based social enterprise, 4SD (Skills Systems and Synergies for Sustainable Development), established in 2017, training and mentoring leaders for sustainable development.  

In March 2020, David was appointed Special Envoy of WHO Director-General on COVID-19. He is also co-chair of the World Innovation Summit for Health Forum on Climate Change and Health.

In 1982, David became a Lecturer in Nutrition and Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Senior Lecturer in Health Systems at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine in 1985. He joined the UK Government Foreign Office (Overseas Development Administration) as Senior Health Adviser for East Africa from 1989 to 1990 and Chief Health and Population Adviser between 1990 and 1997.  

In 1997, he became Director for Human Development in the UK Department for International Development (DFID. Two years later, David moved into the United Nations system starting as an Executive Director at the World Health Organization responsible for the Roll Back Malaria Project and the Office of the Director General. He was Special Representative of the WHO Director General for Health Action in Crises 2002-2005. 

Later, he was appointed UN System Senior Coordinator for Avian and Pandemic Influenza in 2005, and UN Secretary-General’s (S-G’s) Special Representative for Food Security and Nutrition from 2008 to 2014.  David was also appointed Coordinator of the Movement for Scaling Up Nutrition in 2011 (as Assistant Secretary-General), UN S-G’s Special Envoy for the West Africa Ebola Outbreak Response in 2014 and UN S-G’s Special Adviser for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Climate Change 2016 – 2017 (as Under-Secretary-General). 

In 2015, he was appointed, by the Director-General of WHO, as chair of the expert group on the reform of WHO’s work on outbreaks and emergencies. In October 2018, David was awarded the World Food Prize together with Lawrence Haddad for their leadership on nutrition.  

Since June 2018 David has curated the Food Systems Dialogues as a contribution to the transformation of food systems. The programme has involved more than 1700 leaders in 29 locations within the last 18 months. From July 2018, David contributed to preparations for the UN’s September 2019 Climate Action Summit. He co-facilitated the coalition that advanced the Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) workstream (co-led by China and New Zealand). 



Fisher D, Teo YY, Nabarro D, 2020, Assessing national performance in response to COVID-19, The Lancet, Vol:396, ISSN:0140-6736, Pages:653-655

Caron P, Ferrero y de Loma-Osorio G, Nabarro D, et al., 2018, Food systems for sustainable development: proposals for a profound four-part transformation, Agronomy for Sustainable Development, Vol:38, ISSN:1774-0746

Nabarro D, Wannous C, 2016, The Links Between Public and Ecosystem Health in Light of the Recent Ebola Outbreaks and Pandemic Emergence, Ecohealth, Vol:13, ISSN:1612-9202, Pages:227-229

NABARRO D, WANNOUS C, 2014, The potential contribution of livestock to food and nutrition security: the application of the One Health approach in livestock policy and practice, Revue Scientifique Et Technique De L'oie, Vol:33, ISSN:0253-1933, Pages:475-485

Nabarro D, 2013, Global child and maternal nutrition—the SUN rises, The Lancet, Vol:382, ISSN:0140-6736, Pages:666-667

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