Program Staff

About Us Program Staff

Overview of Program Staff

Anthony So, Program Director
Anthony D. So is Professor of the Practice of Public Policy and Global Health at Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and also a faculty member of the Duke Global Health Institute. In 2003, Dr. So came to Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy from the Rockefeller Foundation as a Fleishman Fellow in Civil Society. A one-month sabbatical became the seed for an interdisciplinary Program on Global Health and Technology Access in March 2004.

Key areas of the Program’s interdisciplinary work focus on issues of globalization and health equity. In some cases of globalization, expectations of life-saving technologies readily cross borders, but access to the technologies themselves lag behind. The program’s focus on reengineering the pharmaceutical value chain, from improving pre competitive collaboration to public financing of R&D, help to address this asymmetry in globalization. In other cases, the products of globalization, such as tobacco, readily cross borders while consumer protections lag behind.

As the Director for the Program, Dr. So has served as Principal Investigator on two NIH R01 grants, “Building a Technology Trust in Genomics” and “The Political Economy of Tobacco Control in Southeast Asia,” a collaboration with the Southeast Asian Tobacco Control Alliance and the American Cancer Society to build research capacity across seven Southeast Asian countries.

Antibiotic resistance has also been a core focus for the GHTA program. Along these lines, Dr. So has led the Strategic Policy Unit for ReAct—Action on Antibiotic Resistance. He also chaired an World Health Organization (WHO) expert working group that drafted a chapter on “Fostering Innovation to Combat Antimicrobial Resistance” as part of the WHO monograph, The evolving threat of antimicrobial resistance: Options for actionIn the British Medical Journal, he proposed the 3Rs framework-sharing resources, risks and rewards–for improving antibiotic innovation.

Dr. So has worked on innovation and access to health technologies for both rare and neglected diseases. Serving as a member of the Committee on Accelerating Rare Diseases Research and Orphan Product Development (2009-2010), he contributed to the Institute of Medicine’s report on “Rare Diseases and Orphan Products: Accelerating Research and Development”. He also authored the commissioned paper on “Sharing Knowledge for Global Health” for the Institute of Medicine’s U.S. Commitment to Global Health Committee and “Approaches to Intellectual Property and Innovation that Meet the Public Health Challenge of AIDS” for the UN Commission on HIV and the Law, advised TDR’s Thematic Reference Group on Innovation and Technology Platforms on Infectious Diseases of Poverty. Named a recipient of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research, Dr. So is studying how best to reengineer the system of U.S. pharmaceutical innovation.

Previously, Dr. So was Associate Director of the Rockefeller Foundation’s Health Equity program, where he co-founded a cross-thematic program on charting a fairer course for intellectual property rights, shaped the Foundation’s work on access to medicines policy in developing countries, and launched a multi-country program in Southeast Asia, “Trading Tobacco for Health,” focused on enabling countries to respond to the public health challenge of tobacco use. Prior to joining the Foundation, Dr. So served as Senior Advisor to the Administrator at the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), where he received the Secretary’s Distinguished Service Award for shepherding the AHCPR Liaison Office For Quality and its efforts in support of the President’s Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Health Care Industry and the Consumer Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. From 1995 to 1996, he served as White House Fellow to the US Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Dr. So studied Biomedical Sciences and Philosophy in a combined, six-year BA-MD program at the University of Michigan and his earned MPA from Princeton University as a Woodrow Wilson Scholar. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and his fellowship in the Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program at the University of California, San Francisco/Stanford.

Dr. So serves as a board member for Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that focuses on bringing consumer interests to the attention of U.S. policymakers, and Community Catalyst, a national consumer advocacy organization focused on healthcare issues in the U.S. In the past, he has also served on a range of other national, non-profit boards and advisory committees, including Grantmakers in Health, the Open Society Institute Information Program Sub-Board, the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum, the NIH PubMed Central Advisory Committee, and the American Medical Student Association Foundation.

Ryan DennistonRyan Denniston, Associate in Research

Ryan joined the program in November 2010 after graduating with a doctorate in Sociology from Duke University. Ryan is a researcher focused on the  Program’s NIH Fogarty grant on tobacco control in Southeast Asia, and his doctoral work uses a global value chains approaches to study political economy aspects of agricultural industries in the United States, particularly tobacco and livestock.


Tejen Shah, Associate in Research

Tejen ShahTejen Shah joined the program in November 2013 after graduating from Duke University with a major in Biomedical Engineering and Certificate in Global Health. As a National Academy of Engineering Grand Challenge Scholar, he had the opportunity to work in the Katz Lab on projects related to optimizing the formulations of microbicide gels used to prevent HIV infection. At GHTA, Tejen has contributed to Program’s work on the WHO Antibiotic Innovation Roadmap Report and the UNDP Access and Delivery Project. He has also collaborated on several projects with partners in our ReAct – Action on Resistance Network. Tejen also served as the Program Coordinator for the 2014 Global Health Fellows Program in Geneva.