WGH Norway Team

Introducing the team of individuals leading and supporting Women in Global Health (WGH) Norway including the Goodwill Ambassadors, Advisory Group, Special Counselors, and Secretariat. 

Goodwill Ambassadors

Goodwill Ambassadors are well-known personalities or authoritative experts from a variety of fields who commit to contribute and advocate for a specific cause or issue. WGH Norway has selected individuals in an effort to raise awareness of important issues and solutions related to the network's mission: To ensure enabling environments for gender parity as well as greater progress in achieving the SDGs and better health for all genders. As Goodwill Ambassadors, these individuals will volunteer their time to mobilize support and shine a spotlight on the WGH movement, helping the Norwegian chapter reach its goals and to ensure a world that values women as leaders in global health and as catalysts for better health for all. 

Cathrine Lofthus

Cathrine M. Lofthus is the Secretary General at the Ministry of Health and Care Services since June 2021. For almost seven years, she was CEO at the Norwegian South East Regional Health Authority, the owner of the hospitals in South-Eastern Norway with approximately 80,000 employees. She has also been Deputy CEO and Chief Medical Officer at Oslo University Hospital, and held several leading positions at Aker University Hospital. Lofthus is a qualified doctor from the University of Oslo, where she also completed her PhD degree in endocrinology and epidemiology. She also holds qualifications in economy, administration and leadership, and has broad experience from the health sector as a clinician, researcher and leader. Furthermore, Lofthus has held board positions at e.g. Norwegian Healthnet, Oslo Science City and Oslo Cancer Cluster, in addition of being member of the National Council of e-Health and the National Council for Priority Setting in Health Care. At present, she is a member of the Standing Committee of the Regional Committee (SCRC), a subcommittee of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe. 

Interests: Equity in health, Quality Assurance and Patient Safety, Governance, Innovation and Global Health

Skills: Leadership, Strategic planning, Governance, Change Management and Research 

Competencies: Medical Doctor, PhD, Lecturer, Supervisor, Project manager and CEO

Anna Stavdal

Anna Stavdal is a family medicine specialist and associate professor at the
University of Oslo, teaching undergraduate students and training family medicine residents. She is active in public debate, as a columnist and an experienced speaker passionate and advocating for primary care and family medicine. She has held leading positions in family medicine organizations for 25 years, at the Norwegian, Nordic, European and now global level. Since November 2021, she is the President of the World Organisation of Family Doctors (WONCA). A main field of professional interest for her is the “Core Values” of family medicine, a prerequisite for sustainable healthcare.

Interests: Integration of Primary Care and Public Health, Equity in health, Value
based medicine

Skills: Leadership, Advocacy, Strategic planning

Competencies: Clinician, Educator, Mentoring, Project manager

Advisory Group

The Advisory Group (AG) for WGH Norway assists the Secretariat in its ambitions to empower women in global health in Norway. The AG will provide advice and suggestions to advance WGH Norway, ensuring processes supporting effective achievement of the WGH Norway's vision and mission. The AG members are serving in their personal capacity and have been chosen to reflect a variety of backgrounds (academia, public and private sectors, NGOs and IO sectors), a varied geographical base nationally, and  representation of junior, middle and senior levels. 

Afternoon Tea Conversations

Want to get to know the Advisory Group? Enjoy a series of interviews with some of the Advisory Group members including our Goodwill Ambassadors to find out more about their personal journey and why WGH is so important to them!

View the Afternoon Tea Conversations

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Anita Moe Larsen

Anita Moe Larsen has a degree in market communication, certified LeanSixSigma GreenBelt, and accredited in process and project management. She has honed experience from small and large companies within different industries and worked in several parts of the world. Anita has been Head of Communications at Norway Health Tech for more than 5 years and works as head communication resource in all major projects and has project lead on others. She is enthusiastic and dedicated to contributing to a strong and innovative health service and industry.



Anne Bergh

Image may contain: Outerwear, Face, Hair, Facial expression, Eyebrow.Anne Bergh has a varied background from international collaboration, development and public health, including working 10 years for the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in Oslo and Geneva. Since 2007, Bergh has held positions in global health and migration issues at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and is currently leading the Institute’s Global Health Cluster. Bergh is a member of the Board for the Centre for Global Health at the University of Oslo. She holds an MA (Cand.Phil) in history of religion from the University in Oslo and has senior executive training from the Norwegian Defence University College.



Bente Mikkelsen

Bente Mikkelsen is the Director of Noncommunicable Diseases in the division of UHC/Communicable and Noncommunicable diseases at the World Health Organization Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. She was formerly the Director of the Division of Noncommunicable Diseases and Promoting Health through the Life-course at the World Health Organization Regional Office for Europe (Copenhagen, Denmark), Head of Secretariat for the Global Coordination Mechanism on the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (WHO GCM/NCD) at the World Health Organization Headquarters (Geneva, Switzerland) from its inception in 2014 as well as a former CEO of the Southern and Eastern Norway Regional Health Authority. Dr Mikkelsen is trained as a gynecologist and obstetrician and holds a master’s degree in Health Administration and Management from the University of Oslo. Her current focus is on achieving the SDGs through the reduction of premature deaths from NCDs in the context of WHO General Programme of Work, and working across sectors with multi-stakeholders, within and beyond the health sector using innovation, implementation research, health literacy and new technologies.


Candela Iglesias Chiesa

Image may contain: Person, Hair, Face, Eyebrow, Skin.Candela Iglesias Chiesa is the founder of Alanda Health, which provides public health expertise and research support to organizations working in global health, humanitarian and social development spheres. GHA works, for example, with the Red Cross supporting community health, epidemiology and infectious diseases projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. GHA has also worked with UNICEF and PAHO-WHO developing health policies and indicators in maternal, child and adolescent health. GHA is also providing COVID-19 evidence based communication to the public and Candela is leading the WGH Norway COVID-19 Taskforce. Dr. Iglesias is the author of “Build Your Dream Team. Leadership based in a passion for people,” and the founder of Sekkan Leadership, a platform helping people from nonmanagerial careers, particularly in the sciences and health fields, to become stronger leaders. She gives talks and workshops on leadership, team building and career change and mentors people in these areas. Candela is trained as a biomedical scientist, doing her masters and PhD at the Pasteur Institute in Paris. She then pivoted into global health doing a Master’s in Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Born in Argentina, she grew up in Mexico and the US and has lived in France and South Africa, before moving to Norway in 2015.


Eva Gerdts

Eva Gerdts, M.D., Ph.D. is full Professor of Cardiology at the University of Bergen, and member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. Her research focuses on hypertension and heart disease in women. Her international collaborations have involved research in Africa, North and South America and Europe. Currently, her most important collaborators are Professor Giovanni de Simone, Naples (hypertension), Italy, and Vera Regitz-Zagrosek, Berlin, Germany (sex differences). She has published more than 200 research papers, one book and several book chapters. She is a fellow of the European Society of Cardiology and of the American Heart Association.



Eva Turk

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As a health systems researcher, Eva Turk desires to find and implement safe and sustainable healthcare delivery models globally through co-creation and smart technologies and digital solutions. She has 15 years experience in health systems research, currently working as senior researcher in Gravitate Health project led by University of Oslo. She is also an associate professor working on task shifting, digital health, ethics in AI and digital health literacy at the University of South- East Norway. Her research has been focused on person centered care, digital health, patient safety, health technology assessment and quality of life. She teaches Public Health at the Medical Faculty, University in Maribor and is Public Health delegate - Emergency Response Unit with the Norwegian Red Cross. Eva serves as a Board member  of Polytekniske Forening- Helse, Women in Global Health Norway and is a member of the Expert Council at the Slovenian Digital Health Innovation Lab. 

Eva holds an MBA in Healthcare Management and a PhD in Health Sciences. Originally from Slovenia, she has studied, lived and worked in Austria, Japan, Finland, Spain, Argentina, Syria and Norway. She believes that knowledge transfer, capacity building, motivation and empowerment through eduction represent a cornerstone for improving the society, therefore, she founded SanAstra Foundation, dedicated to improve digital health literacy. Apart from the healthcare expertise, Eva is passionate about the sustainable development and the SDG's, in particular SDG 5, Gender Equality. As the President of Professional Women's Network Norway, she is contributing to raising awareness about gender balanced leadership and opportunities for empowering female professionals.


Ingvild Hersoug Nedberg

Ingvild Hersoug Nedberg is a certified midwife and she has worked several years in Norway, Palestine and South Sudan. She went on to take a master of public health (MPH) at The Arctic University of Norway (UiT), before starting her PhD. Currently, Ingvild is a PhD-student in epidemiology and reproductive health at The Arctic University of Norway (UiT). The topic of her PhD includes caesarean sections in Georgia and Norway, and how maternal health care systems in these countries are organized. She has been actively engaged in the newly established national birth registry in Georgia. She is particularly interested in the role of midwives and how to make them an integral part of the health care system, which again can reduce unnecessary interventions in maternal health care.


Ingvill Constanze Mochmann

Ingvill Constanze Mochmann is head of the EUROLAB at GESIS-Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences in Cologne, Germany and Professor of International Politics at the CBS International Business School. She graduated in comparative politics, economics and German at the University of Bergen, Norway, holds a doctorate in political science from the University of Giessen, Germany, and a habilitation in social sciences at the University of Cologne, Germany. In 2013-2014, she was a fellow at the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative (HHI) and is now an affiliated expert of HHI. Her research expertise includes amongst others interdisciplinary, international and intersectoral research in the field of democracy and minority rights, children born of war, comparative social research and participatory research. She has published widely in the area of Children Born of War (CBOW) and is founder of the "International Network for Interdisciplinary Research on Children Born of War." Based on the experiences on challenges to obtain data from in particular sensitive population groups in conflicts and post conflict situations she founded the "IG Data for Development " at the Research Data Alliance (RDA) in 2014 to promote data access, data sharing and research infrastructure development also in developing countries. 2019-2020 she was appointed RDA Europe ambassador for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Kari Nyheim Solbrække

Image may contain: Glasses, Hair, Face, Eyewear, Glasses.Kari Nyheim Solbrække holds a Dr. polit in sociology and is professor at the Institute of Health and Society, University of Oslo (UiO). A main part of her research focuses on the lived experiences of NCDs especially related to the gender. Solbrække is also involved in the global capacity-building program in Africa and Ethiopia SACCADE by phd supervising as well as teaching academic staff in Enhancing Gender in Science and Education. Her background includes various positions of trust such as Head of Board at the Centre for Gender Research at UiO, and President of the Norwegian Association for Gender Research.



Karine Nordstrand

Karine Nordstrand is a medical doctor, specializing in Public Health with a Master’s degree in International Health from Charité Universitätsmedizin in Berlin. She works as the Director of Global Health at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), and has been the President of the Norwegian section of Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) since 2016. She went on her first mission with MSF in 2008, and has since worked with the organization in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Indonesia and Greece.




Marie Louise Sunde

Marie Louise Sunde is a medical doctor and holds a PhD in Surgery. In 2015, Dr. Sunde co-founded the organization #HunSpanderer addressing unconscious gender bias, and in 2019 she co-founded Equality Check, where she is now CEO. Equality Check is a platform where employees anonymously can review how equal their work place is, catalysing change through transparency and evidence based solutions.  Dr. Sunde has co-authored a bestselling book addressing unconscious gender stereotypes and was a leading voice during the medical #MeToo movement in Norway. She is also a member of the advisory board of Partnership for Change and is a sought after public speaker.



Mekdes Gebremariam 

Mekdes Gebremariam, MD, MPhil, MSc, PhD is currently a Senior Researcher at the Department of Nutrition, University of Oslo (UiO) and a Deputy Director of the Center of Global Health. After completing her PhD, she worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow at Oslo Metropolitan University, University of California, Los Angeles and UiO. Her research focuses on the promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviors and the prevention of non-communicable diseases. Social inequalities in health is a central theme in her research. Gebremariam has coordinated and led several research projects including international interdisciplinary research projects. She is currently the Principal Investigator of a large interdisciplinary research project funded by the Norwegian Research Council. The project aims to identify trends in the development of socioeconomic inequalities in body weight from birth to 14 years of age using a birth cohort study. It also explores mediators of socioeconomic inequalities in lifestyle behaviors and body weight among youth. She is a collaborator in a Horizon 2020 project involving nine countries, aimed at obesity prevention among youth. She also participates in different public health and capacity building projects in Ethiopia. She is a Management Committee Member from Norway for a COST Action Plan (Determinants of Physical Activity in Settings), which includes participants from 26 countries.

Noor Khan

Noor Khan is a senior Norwegian career diplomat and a practicing medical doctor. She has worked clinically at the University Hospital in Oslo, as well as at the Clinton Foundation in New York and the WHO in Geneva before joining the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) in 2008. In addition to her medical training, Dr. Khan has a Masters of Public Health from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). She recently returned to the MFA in Oslo after serving at the Norwegian Representative Office in Jerusalem where she was responsible for the UN portfolio, humanitarian and health issues. She has a particular focus on developing global health policy at the Ministry.



Signe Elisabeth Åsberg

Signe Elisabeth Åsberg holds a PhD in Molecular Biology from Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). During her PhD, Åsberg investigated the interplay between macrophages, antibiotic therapy and mycobacteria at the level of single cells and single bacteria. Åsberg’s main interest is the global challenge of infectious diseases. As a research coordinator, she facilitates translation of medical research into the health care system, thus reducing the burden of infectious diseases. Finally, Åsberg is a relentless popular science and user-oriented dissemination author having contributed to several blogs, scientific and mainstream articles.


Victoria C. Simensen

Victoria C. Simensen is a medical doctor and specialist in oncology. She has more than ten years' experience in clinical medicine, primarily from Oslo University Hospital. She has worked with the National Advisory Unit for Late Term Effects after Cancer Treatment. Victoria has a passion for accelerating priorities on cancer control on the global agenda, which led her to collaborate with the WHO on overviews related to screening and HPV vaccination and on mapping cancer workforce.

In 2020, she obtained an MSc in Public Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Her thesis evolved around the implementation of Cancer Care Packages in Scandinavia. The timing of her degree spiraled her into efforts combating the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2020, she has been part of several European clinical trial projects and primarily responsible for coordinating the dialogue on vaccine and therapeutics research amongst European networks through the Trial Coordination Board. She has been affiliated with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, Department of Global Health and is now with the Department of Infection Control and Vaccines. She has a particular interest in reaching vulnerable populations to provide better tailored care, and on bridging initiatives in research and health.  



Special Counselor Andrea S. Winkler

Special Counselor

Jeanette H. Magnus Image may contain: Glasses, Forehead, Hair, Smile, Cheek.
Youth Coordinator Laura Herget
Youth Coordinator Urusha Maharjan



Ingeborg K. Haavardsson 
Vice-President Bernadette Nirmal Kumar Image may contain: Scarf, Hair, Face, Eyebrow, Forehead.
Communications Adviser Gabriella Rodriguez  Image may contain: Person, Hair, Face, Chin, Hairstyle.

WGH Norway Organization

Published Nov. 5, 2020 12:59 PM - Last modified Dec. 5, 2022 2:50 PM