David is passionate about enabling people to access what they need to be free of disease, to enjoy good health and to live their lives to their full potential. He is frustrated that those who are better off tend to have the best access, and this results in their having the longer life-expectancy and the greatest opportunities in life.
David’s initial professional qualifications were in physiology (1970) and medicine (1974). He worked in many different settings in more than 50 countries - in communities and hospitals, governments, civil society, universities and in the United Nations. He served for 10 years in the British Government in the 1990s before joining the World Health Organization (WHO) in January 1999 covering Malaria, AIDS and TB, as well as responses to health crises.
When David joined the office of the UN Secretary-General in 2005, he was made responsible for advancing the strategies on what the UN as a whole did on influenza; for coordinating the activities of different UN organizations and for partnering with governments, businesses and scientific groups. He is passionate about the benefits that result from individuals and organizations working together in ways that reflect common purpose, trust and respect for each others’ perspectives.
His coordination abilities meant that between 2008 and 2014 he coordinated UN system action on food insecurity, between 2010 and 2014 he created and then coordinated the Movement to Scale Up Nutrition, and during the same time he continued working on a coordinated response to disease outbreaks.
Between 2014 and 2015 David served as the Special Envoy of the then UN Secretary-General for the West Africa Ebola outbreak.
Between 2016 and 2017 David supported the Secretary-General as Special Adviser for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Cholera in Haiti. These recent roles were about encouraging all concerned to pursue consistent strategies and to achieve the best possible results.
David left the UN at the end of June 2017. He now seeks ways to advise for sustainable development, to encourage coordinated action and to support those who seek ways to connect issues and disciplines for the benefit of people who do not normally fare well in development. He is advising SYSTEMIQ on the implementation of the Food and Land Use Coalition - from a base near Geneva, Switzerland which means that he can indulge in other passions like skiing and going to music festivals.